Portable or Permanent: Blinds Have to be Adaptable

I would guess I have hunted in most types of water and land-based blinds. Some have all the creature comforts of home and others are only for the strongest of waterfowl hunters. In my 50 plus years of duck hunting, I have learned one simple rule about blinds and that is: You will never get it in the right place the first time. 

One of the marshes I hunt now has had the blind moved at least five times in the last five years. Now I have to admit Mother Nature took care of moving the two remaining blinds this past summer, but in hindsight, it was perhaps the best thing that ever happened. With high water and current laden floodwaters, two blinds just floated off. Hard to imagine what it must have looked like, but a nearly 20-foot six-person blind caught the current and for now is not usable.

There are a lot of reasons one might need to consider a portable blind and Mother Nature ranks right at the top.

There are all kinds of permanent blinds out there but most miss the point of how one knows exactly where to put a permanent blind. Friends have them, and talk often about being miss-aligned or in the wrong location with regard to the sun and worse, just do not blend in well. On the other hand, the newest in portable blinds are worth considering. 

At one end of the spectrum, several companies have blinds that can be packed up and carried in like Lucky Duck. They make a lightweight two or convertible to a four-man blind. The blind can be easily carried anywhere and brushed. Perfect for those tough hides. 

The type I want to show it is more rigid but still lightweight. You can weld one up, or purchase these for a few hundred dollars and once set in place give you a ton of options like:

  • Built on skids so you can drag them in
  • Light enough two people can pick them up
  • Seating is adaptable
  • Woven wire panels brush up easily
  • Flip front doors
  • Great visibility
  • Can be blended into any environment

You might call these a hybrid between the steel or concrete pit blinds and the fully packable blinds. ARduckblinds in England, Arkansas makes a wide variety worth checking out with pricing dependent on the style you choose.  

This is a very simple design and so far really nothing we don’t like – take a look though at all the options ARduckblinds provides.
Many styles exist but find one large enough and light enough you can move it easily.
The rigidity and strength of these types of blinds come from the cattle panels welded to the outside. 

Sighting a blind is difficult unless you have years of experience in that marsh. The first blind we had was in the middle of the marsh on a bump, and then we removed it and moved it to the levee. Next, we moved north, then after the flood, we moved even further north more or less ending up in a small part of the marsh. We had noticed over the years birds wanted in this area and by moving further north, we put the sun on our right shoulders early and behind us the rest of the day. In the photo taken at 8:20 AM, you see the blind position in the darkness and shade provided by vegetation east of the blind.  

Duck hunters know the best location is with the sun at your back and the wind at your back. This is a tough combination as the sun continues to set further in the southern sky while the winter winds are predominantly out of the north and northwest. Best you can do is find a happy medium to get the ducks landing into the wind in a way you can see them. Of course, they have a mind of their own.

Sun plays a huge role in your ability to hide.  Find a location where shade prevails most of the time. Remove as little vegetation as possible to blend in.
Being in the right location and blended in means everything – Take a look back at your blind from a distance to see how well it does blend into the surroundings.

While these blinds are easily pulled around either by hand or with a four-wheeler, having something in the way of a floor really keeps the whole thing from turning into a muddy mess. The platform did not take much to build and stabilize the interior. Hard to keep the wind out on these types of blinds, but some fabric can be placed on the windward side.

These blinds are to be placed on the ground. However, your comfort is enhanced with a simple platform and several platforms in the marsh make the blind setup easy.

The wire around the frame are pieces of cattle panels that are stiff and easy to zip-tie all types of vegetative material. You can stuff, tie, cover and camouflage in just about any manner. Notice here, the high backside that allows those in the blind to be backgrounded rather than silhouetted when the sun is at your back. A flip forward single door gives you all kinds of room to shoot and in the early morning hours really does not need to be closed. Those high-speed teal passes are much easier to shoot if you are standing and ready. 

The view is wide and all hunters can shoot with little difficulty. In the early morning hours, you can leave the gate down for those fast-moving teal!
While narrow you still have room for four and stools to sit on. 

Another feature of blinds that is well worth the effort is to place more brush in front of the blind and in back a few feet out. This creates a sense of depth and breaks up the geometry of the blind. Use small stakes to attach bundles of brush in several locations. 

Create some dimensional texture with more brush outside the lines of the blind.  Do whatever you can to make the blind blend in.
Here you can see the depth of the material and blending.
You see the gate is closed so the hide is excellent regardless of the sun or wind. 
Raffia grass and some backing make both a good windbreak and excellent camouflage. 
The lightweight nature of the frame coupled with durable grass makes opening and closing the gate easy.

So far, we have had great success in this new portable configuration. Still, discussion abounds concerning another move. Time will tell, but if that happens, it will not take any time to move. Also, at the end of the season, this blind can be stored as-is and no more worries about flooding. 

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About the author: David R. Vaught, Ph.D. began hunting waterfowl at a young age due to his father being a waterfowl biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation. Today he hunts both public and private waterfowl grounds and is always working on something related to waterfowl throughout the year. He loves to turkey hunt and fish for walleye and crappie in the spring. David is a university professor, holds an NRA Level II coaching certification and works with youth in trap and skeet shooting in the summer with his annual trap-shooting academy.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • NELSON CHATELAIN October 3, 2020, 12:27 pm

    This is very Helpful , I have been a Duck since 1958, he knows Ducks!

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