February 03, 2014
Posterior philosopher Diogenes was just looking for an honest man. John Wayne and Jeffery Hunter were searching for Natalie Wood. My partners and I at Five Guys And A Swamp Duck Club spent years searching for the perfect duck blind seat.
We plopped our fannies down on wooden benches, five-gallon buckets, stumps, and two buckets with a board across.
We tried those fold-up canvas seats with metal legs that sink into the soft ground so your knees end up under your chin and you need a forklift to stand up. We once built a blind around a comfortable-looking log, then the first time we sat on the damn thing it collapsed.
We thought the problem was solved with stackable plastic chairs. They came in a variety of colors and we chose dark green because, well, we're duck hunters. Who would take us seriously if we put flamingo pink or periwinkle blue chairs in our blinds?
The only drawback was we actually had to pay for them. If you really want to get technical, the perfect duck blind (and anything that goes inside it) should be built with scrounged up materials.
The chairs were nothing if not adaptable. Experiencing a flare-up of a common condition that makes sitting painful? No problem. Comfort is only a chain saw away — just cut a hole in the bottom. Hey, it worked for me.
Uncooperative ducks thumbing their noses at your well-placed decoy spread and landing hundreds of yards away? No big deal.
Just haul your plastic chair wherever you need it, throw together a temporary blind, and you're in business. Chair legs sinking into the mud? Not a problem€¦just screw a piece of plywood to the bottom of the legs.
We were happy with our plastic seats, but as time went on there was a growing problem (in more ways than one). When a guy puts on long johns, heavy pants, thick sweater, bulky parka, chest waders, (and a few pounds), his butt gets wider. When we stood to shoot, the chairs stuck to our bottoms.
It caused us to lose concentration, our loud swearing flared incoming ducks, and the dogs gave us funny looks. I once had to waddle back to the house with my butt hung in the chair and have someone pry it off with a crow bar.
Going on a diet was out of the question, and a man needs several layers of polyurethane, fleece, Thinsulate and Gore-Tex, plus a hefty layer of blubber, to stay warm in duck season.
So before the season started, we convened a special session to solve the duck blind seating dilemma. If your butt's not happy, neither is the rest of you, so we had to replace the chairs with something comfortable, something we associated with good times and pleasant memories...I don't remember who first came up with the idea, but it was genius.
Bar stools would be the perfect duck blind seats! Our butts were well acquainted with them. But not just any bar stool would do. They must have backs, and no shiny chrome to flare ducks. Our bar stools would have to be sturdy, withstand rain, harsh weather, and pups chewing on them.
After much searching, we found five inexpensive stools. It was time to camo up and move out! We've used our bar stools for one whole season, with excellent results. Some advantages even popped up that we hadn't anticipated.
For instance, when seated on a bar stool it's easier to wake up and spring to your feet to shoot when somebody yells, "Take 'em!"
And when some joker yells,"Take 'em!" just to wake you up when there isn't a duck in sight, it's easier to settle back in to sleeping position. In fact, unless you just want to stretch your legs, you don't have to stand up to shoot at all.
At the club, we have six blinds. If we're all on speaking terms we occasionally hunt together, so there can be lots of butts to accommodate. Now that our bar stool experiment has worked out so well, we need 25 more. So if you know of a saloon that's closing, give me a call.
You'll be sending geese to the grave with the tapered design of the Banded RIP
, which flattens the blind's profile and nearly eliminates shadows. The cockpit has plenty of room for big boys (78x62), and the heavy-duty, square-tubed steel frame is built for punishment. There are plenty of comfort features, like flagging doors, mesh to cover your face and a padded back and head rest.
Rig'em Right Low Rider
Putting together layouts on chilly mornings can be arduous. Rig'em Right
made it simple with its low-profile Low Rider
, which uses no pins and assembles in 30 seconds, giving you more time to focus on the intricacies of the spread. A multi-layered padded seat, backrest and headrest will keep you comfy and warm, and the storage compartment behind the headrest is a perfect place for a blind bag.
Hard Core Run-N-Gunner
Sometimes your scouting is just off. You could sulk and go home, or run-and-gun with this mobile blind. Unfurled, it's a fully-functioning layout with headrest and cover that's tattooed with stubble straps. Load them up and disappear. Folded, this blind from Hard Core Brands
doubles as a handy backpack. You can stuff about a dozen duck decoys, six full-body goose blocks or a dozen goose shells inside.
Foiles Strait Stealth
Just pull the Foiles
low-profile blind out of the box, mud it up and head straight to the field. An outside cover eliminates shadows and the boxy look of conventional layouts — perfect for wary, late-season birds that have seen it all. The seat is padded with plenty of lumbar support. There's also a scabbard for your gun, which is handy if you can't drive out to the field.
Nobody would be hunting from ground blinds if it weren't for Ron Latschaw, the brains behind the Originator
, so you know it's going to put you in the driver's seat. At 84x32, it has room for the big guys, but still only 14.75 inches tall, so no one's going to stick out like a sore thumb. And we're thrilled with the drag handle, so there's something solid to grab onto when we haul it across a field.
Cabela's Northern Flight Ultimate
Even when the ducks and geese are dumping in like crazy, laying in the rain gets old fast. The Cabela's Northern Flight Ultimate
blind will keep you dry in up to 10 inches of water. The cover is a 600D polyester, with PVC backing designed to keep Mother Nature from crying all over you. The floor is sealed PVC with reinforced corners. A wide, adjustable seat with a movable back-support cushion lets you hunt in style and comfort.
Final Approach X-2
Sometimes you can't get the truck to the spot where birds are going to land. Fold up the Final Approach X-2
, stuff in up to four-dozen silhouettes or 200 rag decoys and throw it on like a backpack — there's also a scabbard for your gun and flag.
The X-2 measures 84x26, is 14 inches high, and weighs just 12 pounds.
Edge By Expedite Gear Down
Not all of us are rolling in cash, but you can still be successful in the field. This souped up deck chair/layout from Lucky Duck
is basically a steel-tube recliner with a camo blanket attached. Weighing only nine pounds, the blind folds up neatly and has straps so you can carry it on your back. The unattached side of the blanket is weighted so it doesn't blow away on windy days.
Avery Power Hunter
Avery is counting on hunters to rack up daily limits now that this workhorse blind comes in BuckBrush camo. From tilled crop fields to pond banks, BuckBrush will flat disappear. Of course, the Power Hunter is still covered with brush loops, so you can add natural vegetation. At 11 pounds, the Power Hunter
is among the lightest layouts on the market, equipped with a single, flip-back door covered with mesh.
has beefed up the Goosebusters
to take a beating. It has heavier gauge tubing (anodized to cut down on glare). Also, the polyester shell is now 900D, as opposed to the old 600. This blind is loaded with features, including a large zippered foot bag for easy clean out, see-through mesh that covers your face, flagging ports and a removable shell bag.
War Eagle Ducktoon
Capable of accommodating five hunters, it's an all-welded, 11x9 aluminum boat. Weighing in at 525 pounds, the Ducktoon
is powered by an electric trolling motor. The front shooting rail can be covered with sheets of Realgrass that come with the blind, and you can add natural vegetation.
Phowler Total Concealment System
Boat blind hunting will take you to the birds, but you have to have a good hide to keep the ducks coming. Phowler
blinds are constructed from lightweight aluminum, and customized to fit your boat. They're built on a fully open design, so there's no bracing or supports to trip over.
Price: [imo-slideshow gallery=38],500-$4,500
Go-Devil Floating Duck Blind
Pop a 23- to 27-hp engine on this all-aluminum blind to hunt where you want. The Go-Devil
boat is 16x7, and the blind box is 9x5. Brush pipes and fence wire surround the exterior for adding natural concealment. A hard top provides protection from the elements, while the low-profile model has no top, but sits lower in the water.
disappears in any tall vegetation, and four guys can hunt out of it comfortably. An aluminum structure breaks down in seconds, and is covered with two 900D shells. Throw the support poles on top of the outer shells and roll it up into a 26-pound bundle for transportation.
Aero Deadly Duck Blind
This portable blind from Aero Outdoors
takes some time to put together, but once the job is done, prepare to hunt in style. Big enough for two hunters and a dog, you can connect several together for larger parties. The blind itself is a metal frame made of square tubing and covered with mesh.
Hunter's Specialties Backpacker
When you're chasing wood ducks in the timber, or hugging a fencerow for honkers, the Backpacker
is a go-to blind. The aluminum frame stands 54 inches tall and extends up to 12 feet long, so there's plenty of room for you and a couple buddies to hunker behind it with shotguns at the ready. Sets up and takes down in seconds, and you can haul it on your back.
Hunting Pits Unlimited Pro-Pit
The Pro-Pit Signature
is built from heavy gauge steel and welded inside and out, stopping leaks cold. Painted with an epoxy MILSPEC, the pit won't rust. Walk-down stairs on either end of the blind allow hunters and dogs to enter with ease. Shotgun stand pegs, a full-length top, wooden bench and shelf for storage are available in 12-, 14-, 16- and 18-foot pits.
Price: $5,410 (16-foot)
Those marsh stools may keep you comfortable, but they aren't much of a hide unless you can find some tall reeds. The Invisichair
blends into standing corn, cattails, tules, timber...basically any kind of vertical cover. Adjustable from 22-34 inches, the bi-fold chair also has a blind cover that springs out of the way at shooting time.
Camo Systems Specialist Ultralite
This camo netting will leave you hidden and dry on those rainy mornings. Measuring 20x8, the Specialist Series
is 100 percent waterproof, and resistant to rot and mold. The 3-D camo material is treated so it won't give off duck-spooking glares. It will also remain pliable in extreme temperatures. Comes in a variety of patterns.
Mud Buddy Shaggy Pro Hunter
Tapped as a 'ghillie suit for your boat, ' you'll love the Shaggy Pro
, and so will the ducks...until it's too late. The blind comes with galvanized tubing, hardware, and camo. Made of polyester, cotton and burlap strips, the camo mesh gives the look and movement of a pile of leaves and grass. Available for boats 14-20 feet long.
Gibson Duck Blind Covers
You brush up the blind, stand back and think, 'man, that looks awesome. ' But the ducks have eyes on the big black hole in the middle. These steel-tube, powder-coated covers from Gibson
come in pairs two-six feet long. When grassed, they completely cover the top of your blind, and flip out to shoot. A gap at ground level allows you to watch the birds work.
D&M Outdoors Ultimate Blind Door
If you're looking for an adjustable blind door that opens lightning fast, the Ultimate Blind Door
is worth looking at. Instead of the door opening to the outside of the blind, this product allows it to slide inside the pit, box or boat blind. This translates into less bird spooking. The door can easily be covered with just about any natural material or FastGrass to help it blend in.
Cupped Up Muskrat Hut
Anglers have been getting to hard-to-reach spots on float tubes for years. Now duck hunters can too. Tow the Muskrat Hut
, now available in Muddy Water camo, to a flooded field or marsh, jump inside with your waders and cover up. The blind can be covered with included synthetic material, or you can stuff the real thing inside the elastic cords stretched across the exterior. Zippered windows allow you to see the ducks coming.