By Josh Boyd
If you have ever watched any amount of waterfowl hunting on outdoor television, you would be led to believe that every hunter along the flyways of America spends most of their season nestled away in spacious duck blinds that offer all the amenities of home.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. While many outfitters across the nation utilize sizable pit blinds within their operations, this does not accurately represent the blind arrangements of the bulk of waterfowl hunters.
For the average blue-collar waterfowl hunter, pit or floating blinds of square footage measurements that resemble that of a small house, are simply unattainable financially. Very few individuals have a spare $10,000 laying around to shell out for a fully furnished pit box, and understandably so.
In reality, many waterfowl hunters spend their time hunkered down wherever necessary to provide ample concealment. Blinds are regularly constructed out of ghillie netting and cut cedars or other materials of similar nature.
However, hunting out of a comfortable blind that you can call your own does not come as an unattainable goal for the working class waterfowler. With a level of thriftiness, hard-working ingenuity, and ample planning, you can build a blind that is conducive to comfortable hunting, with little more than what can be found lying around on most farms.
After coming to the decision that you intend to fashion a homemade duck blind, a healthy dose of planning is in store. This is especially true if you intend to make your project as feasible as possible.
The first item of business to attend to is deciphering if you wish to build a stationary blind or a blind that is mobile in nature. Much of this decision hinges upon your intended destination for the blind.
Do you have a consistently productive honey hole on private ground over which to hunt? If so, then a stationary blind will more than likely be adequate to suit your needs. However, if your hunting destinations change from year to year, or if you hunt on a lease of which you cannot guarantee a renewal, then a mobile option becomes the more viable route to pursue.
Locating Rolling Stock For Mobile Blinds
If a mobile blind is to be built, you must begin pondering how you will procure running gear on which building can be based. Depending upon the size blind that you would like to build, several options exist.
One such option is to use a utility trailer of a particular size. Utility trailers make excellent rolling stock on which to build a blind, and come in nearly any size imaginable. Many people have aged trailers with rotten deck boards pulled behind barns, or parked in fence rows, that they will part with for a nominal fee. While this might require a little sweat equity to whip back into shape, it will also save you a significant amount of money in the long run.
Another option to consider when seeking a mobile base for a waterfowl blind is an old hay wagon. Thanks to the current market need for round bale hay, the practice of square baling hay has largely fallen by the wayside. This has led to a surplus of out-of-work, well-weathered hay wagons. If you can locate one such wagon, you are typically well on your way to obtaining a sizeable base for a mobile duck blind at a minimal cost.
Sourcing Materials On A Shoestring Budget
No matter your choice in blind configuration, you must now locate building supplies that won’t break the bank. In many cases, if you are willing to think outside of the box and are not afraid to get your hands dirty, much of these materials can be obtained free of charge.
Does a family member or friend have an old chicken coop sitting around that is no longer in use? What about a dilapidated barn that has became an eyesore? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you are probably looking at an adequate source of material for your duck blind build.
Barn wood can easily be repurposed into boards for the walls of your blind. Likewise, barn tin is perfect for roofing your project in a cost-effective manner, and will typically serve you well for a number of years.
Another way to locate blind building materials at a minimal price, is to locate someone who is removing an unwanted deck. Maybe the individual is planning to replace the old deck entirely. Maybe it is getting dismantled as part of a home demolition. Whatever the reason for its removal, deconstructed decks make an excellent source of usable wood, and can often yield larger stock that can be used when framing up your blind.
With all raw building materials gathered, you are only left with a few remaining items such as paint, nails, and screws to purchase before construction can begin. A trip to the local hardware store will satisfy all of these needs.
Making It A Reality
At this point, you are poised to make your waterfowling dream a reality. It is time to move into the construction phase of your project. It is advisable to take the time to adequately think through the building phase of your project before any actual labor commences.
Thinking things through at this stage in the game is vital. At this point, you have everything lying in front of you that is needed to piece together your blind. However, a severe miscalculation now could waste your wisely sourced materials. In the event that you do not have excess supplies available, this could potentially turn costly.
Take measurements to ensure that your plans are carried out efficiently and as intended. The wise old saying “measure twice, cut once” fits rather aptly here.
Above all else, take the process slowly and enjoy yourself. There is no wrong or right way to build a duck blind. The process is solely a reflection of your vision and can be whatever you strive for it to be.
Budget Blind Building Success
If you have always dreamed of having a blind to call your own, do not let the fear of excess expenditure smother out your potential for success. With careful planning and resourceful thinking, you will be taking limits of ducks from your honey hole hideaway quicker than you might have ever thought possible.