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Killer Duck Blinds On A Budget

DuckBuckGoose - PHJ ProStaff - Cincinnati, OH

Duck Blinds can range from super-simple quick setups to permanent structure that house heaters, stoves, televisions and many of the comforts of home. But the good news is, you can kill ducks equally well with either type of blind. Some of my most successful duck hunts were out of a makeshift blind made from natural cover and a little ingenuity, just minutes before sunrise. If you would like to save a little money on a blind without giving up good concealment, consider the following budget duck blind tips. 

The Backpacker’s Blind:
One super light weight way to transport and quickly build an effective duck blind is to find a few old fiberglass tent poles — the kind that are collapsible but held together with elastic shock cord for easy set up. If you don’t have any old ones, you can buy replacement tent pole kits for less than $10.00 online.

Next find some portable blind material and load up on a dozen or more heavy-duty clothes pins (or similar clips which might be suitable for attaching your blind material to the tent poles or other naturally occurring cover.)

Finally pack some twine or light rope and few tent stakes. You’ll be surprised at how quickly and creatively you’ll be able to set up an effective blind with just these simple, lightweight and backpack friendly materials.

Boat Blind Material “Quick Snap” Set Up:
Attaching blind material to a boat can be time-consuming and a hassle if you’re not well prepared. And the last place you want to be when birds are flying overhead is outside the boat messing around with your camo and six feet away from your gun. Here’s a tip for how to quickly attach blind material to almost any duck boat, and save some money at the same time.

Buy several feet of 1/2 inch, black irrigation pipe from your local hardware store. Then cut the pipe into 8-10 inch sections and cut it lengthwise down one side of the pipe, so you can pull it open like a hot dog bun. You’ll find that these sections will pull apart, but keep enough tension to fit snugly over the blind material and the gunwale of almost any duck boat — making it a “snap” to attach blind material to the sides of the boat.

Outfit Your Outboard:
Instead of spending the money for a custom outboard motor cover, simply take an old T-shirt (make sure it is large enough to fit over your engine) and spray paint or dye it to make it a natural camouflage color if it isn’t camo already. Then sew up the neck hole. You find that it will slide over your outboard in seconds, and it will be a simple, inexpensive and effective way to conceal your outboard motor.

Christmas Tree Camo:
Looking for a durable and effective blind material? Try taking the branches off of an old, artificial Christmas tree or artificial houseplant and attach them to your blind. They’ll last several seasons if attached well, provide a great base of camo coverage, and will save you time in the field — because you won’t have cut and replace as much natural brush each season.

If the color isn’t quite right, you can easily spray paint them with a flat paint to match your desired shade. Don’t buy a new tree. It’s surprisingly easy to find artificial trees anytime of year at garage sales, and on local buy/sell websites like

The “Finisher” Fence:
In most areas of the country, a successful waterfowler has to stay mobile and “go where the ducks are” in order to consistently shoot limits. A great tool for the light packing mobile hunter is to create a portable shore or boat blind out snow fencing or other types of light plastic fencing.

Simply take the fencing material and staple it to four or five light wooden rods, leaving room at the bottom of the rods to drive into the ground. Then weave some wild grasses, through the holes in the fencing and “stubble” it with a little extra local vegetation when you get to your hunting spot.

When you’re done with your hunt, simply roll up and store it in your boat or vehicle — then follow the birds to your next honey hole.

Outrigger Canoe Blind:view from a duck blind
Want to turn your “tippy” canoe into a versatile duck-hunting rig? Try adding a homemade outrigger system. This kind of rig can be relatively inexpensive to make (IF you already have a canoe) and it offers great hunting versatility. For example, it can be used as a low profile shore boat blind that offers great concealment. It can also be used as a “sneak boat” for river hunting, and even as a layout blind for open water hunting with a few seating modifications.

Here are some very general directions for how to build one. It may take some creative engineering on your part to make it work for your specific needs and canoe type.

First take 8” or larger diameter PVC pipe and cut two sections long enough to be a sound outrigger for each side of your canoe. I would recommend making them at least 5 feet long. Then glue pvc caps on the ends of the pipe to create two completely waterproof “pontoons”.

Next take some large copper piping or similar material that will be strong enough to create a brace that extends over, and attaches to the top of the canoe and onto the pontoons on either end. Calculate where the pontoons will need to set in relation to the canoe’s waterline to work effectively when on the water. Make sure that the pontoons won’t ride too high and hang above the water, or too low in the water where they would create too much drag or want to “submarine” when under way. This is an important step; so take some time to get it right.

Once you figure that out, put a 90 degree elbow down from your outrigger arms to the desired height of the of the pontoon. Then devise a way to attach the pontoons to the outrigger arms. There are many ways to do this. When we did it, we used huge hose clamps that wrapped completely around the pontoons and held them to a bracket mounted to the outrigger arms.

Next spray paint the whole rig with a flat camo paint that either matches the predominant backdrop vegetation or the typical water color.

Now you’ll need to devise a way to temporarily but solidly mount the outrigger arms to the canoe. We drilled holes in strategic places through the copper piping that lined up with the oarlock holes on our canoe (in four separate places…we have a large canoe). We then simply attached the outrigger rig to the canoe while on the shore by the water using long bolts with washers and nuts.

Finally we added camo netting across the top of the whole outrigger setup (and when mounted, across the middle of the top of the canoe). Not only did this work great for concealment, but also the military style netting we used is strong enough that it helps support and transport a decoy back or two on the way to and from the hunting spot.

If your canoe isn’t camo already, you can cover it quickly and easily with pre-cut blind material using the “quick snap” set up technique described earlier in the article.

Do you have other innovative duck blind plans or ideas?
We would love to hear them. If you have ideas to share, email them to us by clicking here, or add a comment to the comments area that follows the article.



Posted 9/20/2009
hey i got one for your quick boat blind set up. take some broom or mop handles and make a frame as long or big as needed. leave handles long enough to mount into pole holders. i use pvc pipe cut about 4 or 5 in. long and attach the pvc to hinges. then staple some camo burlap to the frame. the hinges allow the frame to be pushed forward (be sure to rig up a stopping system for the frame others wise you'lll be replacing it daily) for shooting and the pvc holders make it removeable for when your on the go.
Trophy Room
Joined: 9/14/2009
Posted 9/30/2010
For our pit blinds, we sometimes got busted popping our heads up and watching the birds circle. In order to keep an eye on them (1/2 the fun) and see how they're reacting to the calls, i attached the inside of a hard hat to the bottom of a goose shell. Now i can keep an eye on them and it adds movement unlike any other decoy (the Robbins walk). Just make sure you're far away from areas that poachers won't take a pop shot at you from their pickup truck!
Trophy Room
Joined: 12/23/2008
Posted 4/12/2015
Trophy Room
Joined: 3/31/2013
Posted 4/12/2015
Trophy Room
Joined: 3/31/2013

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