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Blinds.

A thin line of pink sits low on the horizon as whistling wings overhead tell you they're coming. Everyone tenses, shrinking their shoulders into their necks, lowering cap bills. This is it. The time has arrived. The birds do it right, peering into the spread to see only the decoys as they descend into awaiting hell fire. You call the shot and a steady greenhead rain begins to fall. It wasn't luck. You took the time to dig in, brush up.. .you did it right, too. Concealment will make or break the hunt, and we have to disappear in a variety of environments--corn stubble, winter wheat, the marsh--wherever the birds take us.

LAYOUTS

RIG'EM RIGHT DRAKE RAIDER

If you're hitting hot fields day after day, forget digging in the mega layouts. Stick with the Drake Raider, a low-profile door-less blind you can brush in quick and then cover up with the blanket-like top. Throw off the cover to sit up and shoot. It creates a more natural look in the field. There's a mesh panel over the face to keep track of circling flocks.

$230 | rigemright.com

TANGLEFREE OPTIFADE

You're soaking up some early afternoon sun when the geese suck right in, only to flare the kill hole because your layout doors were open. The inside of the Tanglefree's doors are coated in Optifade, so if you're snoozing, the honkers keep coming. Flagging ports and interior shell bags keep you organized. The blind folds in half and has backpack straps for long hauls, and there's a heavy-duty dragging handle too.

$450 | tanglefree.com

LUCKY DUCK GEAR DOWN

If you really want to get at the ducks and geese you may have to walk in the gear. Most aren't willing to invest the required sweat equity, but you are, and the Gear Down is way easier to lug than most layouts. It's a reclining seat with a covering blanket, fitted with plenty of stubble straps. The blanket has a metal rod built in, so it can be tossed out of the way at shooting time.

$80 | luckyduck.com

FA BRAN PACK-N-GO

When it's cold, rainy or snowing, and you've got a long day in the field, it's nice to escape the elements and stay in the game. The waterproof floor and adjustable, padded backrest keep you dry and comfy. An insulated foot bag will protect lower extremities, and a zippered foot access makes for easy clean out. Fa's original spring-loaded doors fly out of the way quickly when it's go time. The Pack-N-Go compresses and folds up nicely, so it doesn't take up much room.

$314-$357 | primos.com

CABELA'S NORTHERN FLIGHT

For decoys, shadows are natural, but the alarms sound when they come from a boxy layout. The shadow-free Northern Flight has no harsh edges, which minimizes bird flares. It's also loaded with features, such as flagging ports, an adjustable hammock seat with headrest, pin-less doors that open quickly and quietly, and wire mesh panels you can adjust to your specifications to watch birds work.

$250 | cabelas.com

MOMARSH AT-X INVISILAY

Think of the AT-X as the Argo of waterfowling layouts. It's built for land or water, with three sets of adjustable, folding legs. Leave them flat for dry land, or extend them up to 16 inches for hunting layout style in flooded fields. Mud feet on the bottoms of the legs keep you from sinking the blind, it's rated to hold 300 pounds, so even the big boys can hunt from the Invisilay.

$380 | momarsh.com

HARD CORE DELUXE MAN CAVE

Forget trying to stick the spinner stake in the ground after the big freeze, the new Man Cave has an integrated Mojo mount. The DriBed bottom separates you from wet fields in up to 6 inches of water. There's a flag pouch and pocket to hold the Mojo if the honkers show ,s up. There are no pins in the frame, so you can assemble it with gloves on. Ambidextrous flagging ports, an adjustable back and head support and mesh viewing panel round out the features.

$350 | hardcore-brands.com

HEAVY HAULER FLP

Fast, light and packable, the FLP is built for the waterfowler who likes to run and gun. A padded aluminum backrest frame keeps your head up, and it's covered by a flip-top lid encased in mesh, so you can see 365 degrees. Your torso sits inside a camouflage bag fitted with dozens of stubble straps. It folds up in seconds, and weighs just over nine pounds.

$150 | heavyhauleroutdoorgear.com

GROUND BLINDS & PITS

AERO DEADLY DUCK

How'd you like to be one of those marsh clumps right next to the perfect duck hole? The Deadly Duck is a folding, steel-tube blind covered with mesh. Set it up and then grab some grass and brush from around your hunt site and weave it into the mesh. Each blind is built for two, but you can connect multiple blinds together to expand your hunting party.

$300 | aerooutdoors.com

HUNTING PITS PRO-PIT

If blinds were rated like hotels, the Pro-Pit would have five-star status. It's the ultimate pit that allows you to hang out in style while waiting for ducks and geese to zero in on the spread. This all-steel blind is coated with epoxy to prevent rust, and its seams are welded to keep water from seeping in. 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. The 24-inch-wide open top allows plenty of room for everyone to shoot.

$5,410 (16-foot) | huntingpits.com

AVIAN-X A -FRAME

This is a blind we've hunted the past couple of years, and it is awesome for field edges or next to standing crops. The square-tube frame sets up and breaks down in a couple minutes. The camouflage cover is loaded with stubble straps, so you can brush in the blind wherever you're hunting, inside, there's plenty of room for three hunters, but you can squeeze in a fourth if needed. Two blinds can easily be tied together to provide room for 6 to 8 hunters.

$500 | avian-x.com

GROUND BLINDS & PITS

HUNTER'S SPECIALTIES BACKPACKER

If simplicity and versatility are what you're looking for in a blind, check out the Backpacker. Its aluminum frame sets up in just about any shape. The blind can be modified to your needs to stand up to 54 inches tall, and it extends out to 12 feet long when set up as a single wall. The blind is covered with leafy material, available in Realtree Max-4 or xtra. This blind sets up and tears down in seconds and comes with a handy carrying strap.

$55 | hunterspec.com

KOHLER BLINDS

There are only two things you need before you get a Kohler: a hole in the ground and a propane tank. Get those two things squared away, and you can hunt in leak-free, heated style. These pits have it all--three built-in, 15,000-btu heaters, padded bench seat, gun hooks, front shelf, floor mats and more. The top flips open when you stand to shoot, and features covers that look like the bottom of a broom. Available in 12-, 16-, 20-and 24-foot lengths.

$5,995 (12-foot) | kohlerblinds.com

FLOATING BUND & CONCEALMENT

PHOWLER SUPERFLY

For waterfowlers tired of trying to get mass-produced blinds to fit their boats, like shoving a square peg into a round hole, Phowler has your back. The Superfly is a pop-up blind that's custom-fitted to any boat. Lay it flat on the deck, when you're running, then raise it into position with ease when it's time to hunt. Poles are made of super durable aluminum that's designed to take a lifetime of abuse. Flip-open top provides total concealment when the ducks are circling. Sewn-in stubble straps allow you to blend in anywhere.

$1,660 (starts) | phowlerboatcompany.com

MUD BUDDY SHAGGY BLIND

How'd you like a ghillie suit for your boat? That's basically what the Shaggy Blind is. Hundreds of individual strips of , camouflaged cotton, nylon, canvas and burlap will make your rig melt into the marsh. The blind kit covers boats 14 & to 20 feet long. Galvanized frame of 1-inch bars is light, yet strong. Sets up and takes down in seconds. You set the shooting gap at the top to meet your taste.

$741 | mudbuddy.com

BANDED AXE

How long have you stored one blind for your boat and another for land? The dual-purpose Axe is roomy, folds down flat during boat rides or hauling it in a truck bed, and sets up in 10 seconds. Stubble straps make it easy to brush in, and a sliding top cover lets you hide from birds. Available in regular (44" x 9"), extra-long (48"x1 1") and 2XL (56" x 14").

$349-$449 | banded.com

GO-DEVIL GRASS BOAT BLIND

With the Go-Devil boat blind, you can run across the water with the blind laying flat, then simply raise it into position and lock it into place with two brass clips to hunt. Additionally, once the bases are installed, you can remove this blind easily for the off-season. The aluminum frame is covered with Avery RealGrass backed with plastic netting. Comes in three sizes: 14-16 feet, 17-18 feet and 20 feet. Add $200 for installation.

$595-$695 | godevil.com

BEAVERTAIL STEALTH

Designed to fit over a Beavertail Stealth 2000, the Stealth layout cover makes the boat vanish in the marsh. It has dual compartments, so you can switch from paddling to reclining while you hunt. Cover up with flip-open doors, and blend in by stuffing grass into the sewn-in vegetation straps. The waterproof and windproof polyester allows you to hunt in the nastiest conditions.

$240 | explorebeavertail.com

CUPPED UP MUSKRAT HUT

Fisherman have long known the value of float tubes for getting to holes boats can't access. The Muskrat Hut is a float tube for duck hunters, adding a flip-top cover that can be camouflaged with grass. (And the grass is included when you buy the blind.) it weighs only 17.5 pounds, so it's a cinch to get in the water. The backrest and seat are comfortable, and there's a built-in gun mount, plus mesh windows for bird watching.

$300 | cuppedupoutdoors.com

WAR EAGLE DUCKTOON

How would you like to hunt flooded timber from the comfort of a mobile box blind? The Ducktoon lets you motor to the birds. Mounted on pontoons, the metal frame includes a large bench seat with plenty of room for four hunters, concealing roof and flip-forward shooting rail you can brush up. Comes standard with four stabilizing legs, panels of Avery RealGrass and fold-out steps.

$5,024 | wareagleboats.com

GIBSON BLIND COVERS

You have a pit or a boat rigged for the hunt. Now you've got to turn it into a hiding place. All the work you put into placing seats and gun holders in just the right spots is worthless if the ducks can look right in. These covers, in lengths from 2 to 6 feet, make hunters disappear. And simple frames make it easy to weave in camo material.

$185-$405 | gibsonduckblindcoversinc.com

CAMO UNLIMITED ULTRA-LITE NET

Some of the best duck spots are so gnarly and nasty, you've got to build a make-shift blind. The Specialist Series Ultra-Lite Net is made for such places, it's 20'x8', so there's plenty of material to conceal hunters. The 3D pattern and 6-color digital printing will keep you hidden from prying eyes. Choose from eight color patterns.

$70 | camounlimited.com
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Author:Reilly, P.J.
Publication:Wildfowl
Date:Aug 1, 2015
Words:1915
Previous Article:Duck and goose calls.
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