Although it is not the sexiest part of the duck hunt, your concealment is perhaps the most important. Well, I would say scouting and being where the birds want to be is THE most important. But next in line, is your hide.
Yes it is racier to be the best with a call, or to have the fanciest decoys, or even, the best shot in your group; but unless you are well hidden in a spot frequented by the birds all of that and a $1.50 will get you is a coffee!
Being well hidden should be something you plan; not something that comes last after everything else. Too often I see guys that appear to think about their hide 10 minutes before shooting light after the decoys are put out. To me, this is a failure looking for a place to happen.
Be committed to your hide. That commitment should start today. Plan now to be concealed in all the environments you plan to hunt in this season. A few easy actions now can ensure you are ready to NOT be seen.
Preemptively grass your field blind.
If you hunt out of a layout blind, this is one of the best things you can do; after mudding the blind, lightly cover the blind with colored raffia grass. Raffia grass is durable, paintable, dyeable, and lite weight. It provides a surface for field debris to “hold” on to. It provides “depth” to your hide making it much more difficult to pick out.
Build some “Raffia Ropes”.
A great way to have great camo readily available is to make some raffia ropes before you need them. Raffia ropes can be tied to ends of a blind, hang over an opening in a pit or boat blind, or be used as the front barrier on a bank blind. I have used them to cover me as I lie down in a field. One key to a good raffia rope is to use multiple colors of raffia. When using multiple colors it will assist in blinding in a variety of fields with different dominating hues.
Get a “Camo Blanket”.
A camo field blanket is a tool every diehard waterfowler should have. Perfect as a cover in a clean flat field. It is the blind that deliver the lowest possible profile. It is also cheap, portable, and adaptable. A field blanket is made with some leafy cut camo netting, raffia grass, and some rope (to provide a weighted edge). By putting your blind bag behind your head you can layout and be well concealed.
You can also use the blanket as a cover on a pit or boat and it is a great tool for a person who hasn’t gotten a coffin blind yet.
Portable A frame.
I always have a portable lite weight portable A frame in my trailer. It is made of a 2x2 frame and netting with some raffia grass. I am able to put it out on a pothole, or on the edge of a river. Mostly I use it crow and dove hunting.
By thinking of your hide as an essential element to your success and planning to be hidden now, you will kill more birds …. Even more than if you can blow a nine note hail call that gets your neighbors to call the police!
Until I see you in the field, be safe, be good, and BE LUCKY!