There are some good reasons why right now might not be a bad time to work on your duck blinds. Bob Humphrey photo
By Bob Humphrey
If you’re like me, your list of outdoor chores revolves around, and changes with the seasons. As fall turns to winter it’s time to put away the guns, calls and decoys and pull out the ice-fishing tackle. When winter ends it’s time to stow the snowmobiles, tune up the turkey calls and get the boat ship-shape. You get a break over summer, but as Labor Day closes in you must attend to skeet shooting, hanging treestands and building or re-building duck blinds.
For the latter, most guys, and gals, go out a month, a week or a few days before season, throw up some camo mesh, tie on some fresh-cut alders and call it good. I have to admit I am among those who typically put that chore off until several months from now. However, there are some good reasons why right now might not be a bad time to work on your duck blinds.
You have lots of choices over blind building materials, but natural is better than synthetic, and live is better than dead. The more natural your blind looks, the better it works. The typical tactic is to cut thatch, brush and other natural vegetation and attach it to your blind’s frame. If you do a good enough job, it might look fairly realistic for a few days, maybe even a week. Soon it dies, the leaves fall off and you’re left with dead, bare branches and brown cattails. Meanwhile leaves are still clinging to the surrounding live vegetation; so your blind sticks out like crow in a glass of milk.
Instead of attaching dead plants to your blind, build the frame now and let native vegetation grow in, on, over and around it. It will be far more natural looking because it is. Vegetation will last far longer, and in the long run it’s less work. You’ll never have to cut live vegetation (except maybe for some pruning) or weave brush and reeds through a welded wire frame again.
Another plus to building blinds now is that it’s the dry season. You’ll have to carry in materials and equipment, and this may be the only time of year, outside of winter, when you can reach your shore blind with an ATV or Side-by-Side vehicle.
It’s also easier to dig pit blinds. Dry soil is all you need to reach more areas with heavier equipment; but those soils aren’t frozen solid. Furthermore, pits won’t flood and cave in while you’re working on them. And here again, you’ve got plenty of time to allow native vegetation to grow up around them, reducing or eliminating the need to “brush them in” come fall.
Summer blind building offers a couple more positives too. One is that the job is done; so come fall there’s one less thing on your “to-do” list. The other is that it gives you something hunting related to do to carry you over during the long summer break between seasons.