August 13, 2014
A flock of honkers chatter away as the leader takes them downwind. It looks like they're getting out of Dodge. Did they peg you? Just about the time your heart starts to sink, the birds dip their wings to circle back. They stop flapping and bow up, losing altitude quickly. Your blood's up, every sense heightened. You know what's about to happen. Is there anything more gratifying?
Being invisible means feeling invincible. Waterfowlers are always looking to improve their hides. We want to be comfortable. We want to stay dry. But mostly, we want to vanish from the spying eyes of ducks and geese. There's something for everyone — big hunters and small, run-and-gunners and hunters who like to stay put.
Check out the newest blinds for 2014:
Rig'em Right Low Rider II
Losing the pins that hold your layout together is really aggravating. You don't have to worry about that with the Low Rider II
, because there aren't any. But it still sets up in seconds and is ideal for waterfowlers who need to hug the ground (it's only 17 inches high). Flagging ports, a see-through face shield and rugged bottom round out this workhorse.
Laying in a field surrounded by honker decoys and smashing geese is the name of the game. For 2014, the Goosebuster
is available in Avery's KW-1 camo, the height of the wing doors is adjustable and there's a large zipper at the foot end to open up the blind for easy clean-out. It still has a waterproof bottom and sides.
Tanglefree Dead Zone
Built for hunters who like lots of room in their layouts, the Dead Zone's
larger foot print actually casts less of a shadow. It's 86x39, but it only stands 18.5 inches high. A padded backrest, zippered flagging ports and a mesh viewing panel with supports built in to keep it off your face, make this an extremely capable blind.
War Eagle Marshtoon
It can be frustrating to watch birds light hundreds of yards from a permanent blind, so take the fight to the ducks with the Marshtoon
. Capable of holding four hunters, the 10'x8' mobile floater comes with comfy seats, front and back flip-out panels for 360-degree shooting and your choice of camo paint. There are two platforms for the dogs and Avery RealGrass panels come standard.
Zink Avian-X A-Frame
We've used the A-Frame
blind the past couple of years in the fields of southern Ontario, and it's a waterfowl smasher. At 96 inches long, 60 inches wide and 48 inches tall, it comfortably hunts four. Its aluminum frame is sturdy, but light, and the blind sets up and breaks down in minutes. Cover the outside with stubble, grass or reeds, and set it against some natural cover.
Aero Outdoors Deadly Duck
Think of the Deadly Duck
as a box blind you fold up and take home with you at the end of every hunt. Quick-Connect pins make for easy assembly afield, and the steel-tube panels are covered with mesh, handy for brushing in. Built for two hunters, the blinds are modular, so you can add more to accommodate multiple hunters.
If you work for Avery
, you're going to have to put in time afield, so these folks know what works in a layout. The Outfitter's
aluminum frame keeps it light while standing up to the rigors of the season, and stress points have steel reinforcements for strength. A padded headrest puts your head in the right position for watching flocks, and the padded seat is adjustable
Banded Cross Cut
The Cross Cut
was built to be abused. While most layouts use round tubes, Cross Cut stubs are square steel for stability. The heavy-duty camo cover and floor make it ultra-durable. The blind also has a tapering skirt that helps eliminate goose-spooking shadows, a roomy cockpit, flagging doors and a mesh viewing area.
Bust'em Boat Blinds
Turn your duck boat into a hide with a custom tubular-framed blind from Bust'em
. The base features include an ABS shell (edges cut in saw-tooth pattern to disguise hard edges), two cargo doors, hinged front door, two hinged transom flaps, two adjustable Peak Bay flaps with viewing slots and all mounting hardware.
Cabela's Northern Flight Sit-Up
After a week of laying in cut corn fields, we could have used the Northern Flight Sit-Up
. So sore from early-morning brush-ins followed by hours of waiting on the birds, we could barely rise at shooting time. This layout keeps you seated upright and ready to fire. Ideal for fencerows or the edge of standing corn, it's 75x37 — plenty of room for hunters of all sizes.
Camo Unlimited Speed Reed
The Camo Unlimited Speed Reed
synthetic grass panels measure 2 feet long by 28 inches wide, and they come in packs of two or four, limiting the amount of natural cover you'll need. The grass-like material is flexible and treated so it won't decay under UV rays. Panels come in a cattail color, but you can spray-paint them to your liking.
80 (two-pack); $
Cupped Up Muskrat Hut
With the Muskrat Hut
, you're just another clump of weeds in the marsh. It's a float tube with a retractable blind you can load up with synthetic or real vegetation. Simply float out with the ducks (even in open water), or set it on dry ground and hide like a layout. A viewing window lets you watch the birds, and there's plenty of pockets for shells and calls.
Final Approach Pack-N-Go
When it's go time, you still want to be comfortable, so the Pack-N-Go
unfolds into a padded, waterproof recliner that keeps you relaxed when the birds are circling. An insulated foot bag helps keep you warm on the coldest days, and It has FA's signature folding doors that easily swing aside when it's time to shoot.
Foiles Migrators Strait Stealth
Don't look for shadows from the Strait Stealth
. With its extended skirt and gently sloping sides, there are no harsh angles to spook birds. The five-position backrest can be adjusted to suit you. And the square tubing that frames the doors is extra rigid, so there's less flex when you want to push the doors out to shoot.
Gibson Duck Blind Covers
Stop and think how a duck views your blind from the air. This is where Gibson
shines — in performance, that is. Use these covers to top any sunken or stand-up blind. Made of powder-coated steel covered with synthetic grass, Gibson covers can be attached to form a horizontal canopy when closed, flipping open easily when it's time to shoot.
Go-Devil Grass Boat Blind
We love our duck sleds, but come summer it's a bass boat. This Go-Devil
blind can be taken down with a few D-clip pins once the four aluminum bases are installed. Available in 14 to 18 feet and 19 to 20 feet, the blind will fit most boats. Avery RealGrass is backed by plastic netting to provide cover.
Hard Core Run-N-Gunner
serves double-duty as a layout and decoy bag. Stuff it with a dozen duck floaters or six full-body honkers strapped to your back. Once you reach your spot, dump the dekes and set the blind just upwind from the X. Load up the stubble straps and disappear.
Heavy Hauler FLP
This blind is runway-model-thin (16 inches tall), so you'd better leave the day-olds at home. The FLP's
low profile allows you to disappear, your dekes standing taller than the blind. A backrest and padded headrest keep you comfy, and the hood is nylon mesh to watch the action. It has backpack straps for easy hauling and comes with a Cupped and Committed Canada Flyer.
Hunter's Specialties Backpacker
Some of the best duck spots are hard to reach. Any gear you need for the day has to be hauled on your back. The Backpacker
folds up to the size of an umbrella, then unfurls to 54 inches tall by 12 feet long. You decide where you want it, then arrange it to suit your needs. Available in Advantage Max-4.
Hunting Pits Pro-Pit
Nothing beats the comforts of a pit. The Signature Pro-Pit
makes installation a relative snap. Dig your hole and set in the blind. This all-steel pit is coated with epoxy to prevent rust, and its seams are welded to keep water out. Comes in lengths of 12, 14, 16 and 18 feet. An 18-inch-wide bench seat runs the length of each blind, and access is provided by walk-down stairs.
All you need is a hole and propane tank for Kohler's luxury pits
, available in 12-, 16-, 20- and 24-foot models. Three 15,000 btu burners keep hunters warm and can cook up a quick meal. The pits are double-seam welded with a powder coat finish to prevent rust. Floor mats, seat cushions and 100 percent natural broomcorn or Dura Cover panels are all part of the package.
Lucky Duck Gear Down
When it's time to hunt like a minimalist, the Gear Down
is the way to go. It's basically a backrest and seat with a blanket for cover. The blanket has a rod tucked in one end, so it easily throws open, and it's covered with stubble straps so you can blend in with the surroundings. The blind weighs only 9 pounds.
MoMarsh Freedom Hunter
Some of us don't move as well as we used to, and the Freedom Hunter
is built for waterfowlers with mobility issues. Constructed around an upright chair, the one-man blind can be used in fields, marshes or shallow water. When it's time to shoot, move your arm to release the spring-loaded top. When you buy one, money is donated to send wounded service members on outdoor adventures.
Phowler Total Concealment System
system provides custom-built hard or soft blinds for any boat. You'll have see-through cage tops with overhead covers, so you can spin 365 degrees to watch the birds. There's plenty of room for shooting, and you can customize dog doors. An aerodynamic design will allow you to race across the water, beating everyone else to the honey hole.