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Field & Laydown Blinds


Tricking those wary local geese can be a difficult thing and the birds often have us on their turf. Ground blind hunting has tilted the advantage back towards the hunter. The next time you hunt waterfowl make sure you are settled into the right blind.

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Article: Tips for Successful Ground Blind Hunting
   Author: Nick Schwarz
   Date: October 10, 2006

Ground blinds are great tools for fooling waterfowl.  Follow these tips to make sure you get the best out of your ground blind:

  • Mud it up:  Blinds are often made with polyester which has a sheen to it (which can tip off wary birds).  To reduce the sheen, take some mud (mix dirt & water) and smear it all over the fabric of the blind.  Let the mud dry overnight and then brush it off with a broom (don't worry about removing everything).  It's not often that you intentionally get a new item dirty before you use it - but trust me, you need to do this. 
  • Decoy your blind: One way to reduce the visibility of your blind is to place it in the middle of a family group of decoys.  The decoy can serve as interference - breaking up the profile of your blind to approaching birds.  Place the birds around your blind so that one would be seen from any direction as birds approach.  Additionally, the decoys can help conceal movements such as raising or lower a call or your shotgun.
  • Stubble effect: Most ground blinds have 'stubble straps'.  These little elastic loops can be stuffed with debris from the field to help camouflage your blind even further.  Take the extra effort to 'stubble-up' your blind and when you do, make sure not to use stubble from near your blind - walk beyond your decoy spread - this will help make the landing area look more natural.
  • Dig down: If you've got a shovel and some time on your hands, you can reduce your blind's vertical profile by digging a hole (the approximate footprint size of the blind).  The hole would only need to be a few inches deep to give you good concealment.  Besides lugging a shovel and the manual labor, the other downside is that you need to consider where you put the dirt that you've just dug up.  This can work real well in a black field though. 
  • Graffiti time:  If you can purchase a blind that has no pattern and is just one color (olive drab, khaki, etc.), you'll be fine with some spray paint.  In fact, often single tone blinds cost less than those with a pattern (an additional way to reduce the cost).  Touching up your blind with spray paint to fit into the surrounds works well.  Just add some black, tan & green colors in random highlights.  Also, for those late season winter hunts, consider having a can of white to add the perspective of snow to blend in. 
  • Pack precise: Before you head to the field, make sure to pack your blind. Most blinds have internal pockets that can store supplies even before you set up in the field. Place you box of shells, bug spray or your calls inside these pockets to reduce fumbling around for the gear in the dark.
  • Swing left, swing right:  Beyond concealment and optimum location, when choosing where to situate your blinds, make sure to consider your shooting angles.  Do you have any left handed hunters?  Do you have anyone who is particularly good at longer shots?  Placing your blind at a 45 degree angle to right (left for lefthanders) of where you anticipate the waterfowl to land or to the right will give you the best swing and shooting zones.  Placing your weaker shots on the inside and your best shots on the outside is also recommended.
  • Safety considered:  Safety doesn't necessarily come naturally.  It is a good thing to line up the blinds on the same plain (or with a slight curve).  Blinds should never be placed in the shape of a "U" or "O" with people facing inwards - this would be a mistake as the birds could land in the middle putting your hunter partners in your line of site.  Even with a good setup, be conscious of where your other hunters are at all times  (including dogs).  If you set your gun in your blind, make sure it is on safe and the muzzle pointed away from others.  When swinging at birds, be thinking about your surrounds - where are others located and is there anything coming into your sight lines.  Keep in mind that the time you shoot is about the time the dog runs out to retrieve the game - make sure to keep your shots elevated enough that a quick dog doesn't become a doomed one.  
  • Sound it out Captain: Before you climb into your blind to wait for the birds to come, make sure to choose a captain and a command for indicating the time to shoot.  Without this, one person may ruin shots for the others in the group or conversely one hunter may get three shots off before the others have popped the lids on their blinds.  Kill 'em, shoot 'em, or take 'em, - whatever it is, choose a command AND a commander and there will be no guessing as to when to shoot.

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