Duck season is one of my favorite times of the year. There is something really special about wading through the muck with your dog and your friends to sit in your blind all morning. However, building a blind can be a daunting task.
In this article we will cover how to build a basic ground duck blind, a floating duck blind, and how you might want to add on to the construction.
A good duck blind can make your experience comfortable and can ensure that the ducks do not spot you before it is too late… but there are also several ways a blind can go wrong.
- If your shooting window does not factor in flight direction, you may never see the ducks fly in.
- If you build a ground blind in an area that floods, you may be swimming while you hunt.
- If you are sloppy with the construction, a rough storm could destroy your blind the night before your hunt.
Making a mistake on your blind could spell disaster for your duck season. In this article we will help you build a blind that will get the job done.
Planning your Duck Blind
There are several important decisions that need to be made before you ever start building your duck blind. This construction can go several different directions, so you need a clear vision to get started.
The best place to make these decisions is walking or boating through your intended hunting area.
#1. Duck Blind Location – Obviously, some spots are going to have more duck activity than others. Where ducks fly and land is determined by food sources, wind direction, visibility, and the contour of the land and vegetation. Before you decide anything about your blind, find a spot where ducks fly through in high numbers. You may even want to set out some decoys and try calling some ducks in to see how they react.
#2. Floating or Ground Duck Blind – Be aware before you make this decision that floating duck blinds are generally more difficult and expensive to construct than ground duck blinds. Once you have established a good spot for hunting, observe the changes in water level.
You can typically look at the shoreline and tell how high and low the water gets throughout the season. If you have a piece of dry land that appears to stay dry all year, you can do a ground duck blind. Otherwise, a floating duck blind will raise and lower with the water level keeping your feet dry no matter what.
#3. Shooting Window Direction – While you can and may build a duck blind that has the potential for shooting in 360 degrees, most hunters will set up their blind for a primary shot direction. You will want to face your duck blind so that ducks are either flying towards you or flying across your shot window within shooting range.
In addition to actually observing the ducks, you can also look at the prevailing wind directions. For example, if the prevailing winds come in from the West, you can set up facing northeast. This gives you either a head on shot or a crossing shot from left to right. I find this to be an ideal scenario for my shooting ability. Also, try to avoid facing your blind directly at the sun during your hunting times.
#4. Duck Blind Building Materials – When building a ground duck blind, stability for the frame is the main priority. However, with floating duck blinds you need to also keep the materials as light as possible. For ground blinds I typically just use wooden posts and two by fours. However, you can also use hollow aluminum tubes or even PVC pipes for a lighter construction.
Other materials to consider are for camouflage. You can use natural materials to save money, or you can buy camo sheets or tarping to reduce weight and save time on construction. Specifically for floating blinds, you will need to purchase floats. Some people try to use 55 gallon drums. However, they do not have spots to attach a frame so welding is needed. Dock floats are the best option as they are designed for exactly this purpose.
#5. Duck Blind Plans – If you are not comfortable drawing up your own plans, there are plenty of plans that you can purchase or print off of the internet. Do not be overwhelmed by this venture.
Duck blinds are normally very simple in design. It is typically about as complicated as building a garden shed or a tree house. Just think about the vital elements of the construction. All duck blinds need a strong frame, camouflage around the sides and over the top, and a wide shooting window. In addition, a roof and floor can keep out the rain and a floating duck blind needs floats. Anything more than these elements are purely for your comfort while hunting.
Building a Ground Duck Blind
The simplest duck blind you can build is a ground blind. We are going to walk you through the most basic construction of that blind. Here are the materials you will need:
- Six wooden fence posts
- 12 yards of woven fencing wire
- One 4×8-foot sheet of ½-inch plywood
- 1 lb. of framing nails
- One package of black cable ties.
You will need a hammer, ax, saw, sledge, and wire cutters for this project.
Step 1 – First you will need to take your ax and sharpen one end of each of the fence posts. You can also choose to use metal fence posts if you like.
Drive the first three fence posts in a straight line with four feet of spacing in between each post. This will represent the front of your blind.
Then do the same with the other three posts, but place your line exactly four feet behind your first line of posts. This gives you a rectangle outlined by your posts and sized at eight feet long and four feet wide. Be sure to drive your posts deep enough that there is no wiggle to them. If the posts come loose, the whole blind will collapse.
Step 2 – Next, you will want to cut the posts to the proper height. For sitting on a bucket in the blind, I suggest cutting the posts to four feet tall. Use the saw for your cuts. Then, stretch the hog wire around three sides of the structure leaving one four foot section open as an entrance.
You ideally want your entrance to be to the rear of the duck blind. Use the nails to attach the hog wire securely to each of the posts. You will need the wire to be tight and secure as it will have to hold some additional weight. You have now completed the structure and frame of your blind.
Step 3 – Next, you will need to cut some small trees or other brush to lean up against the structure on all sides. You want the debris to be thick at the top, but coming down to a single trunk at the base so you can shoot between the trunks.
Lean all of these trees around the structure to completely conceal your blind, and then use the cable ties to secure them to the wire. If you need to, you can sharpen the bottom of the trunk and drive them into the ground for additional support. The intermeshing limbs of the trees will create a dense cover above your duck blind so you are completely concealed as the ducks approach.
Step 4 – Last, you will want to cut the plywood in half. Then, simply place it on the ground inside your structure. This will serve as your makeshift floor. You can still expect it to get wet and muddy around your feet, so be sure to wear waterproof boots. This floor just gives you a stable base for standing and for setting on a bucket or stool.
Without a real roof, you can expect to get wet. You may also want to drive a couple nails into the wooden posts so you can hang up any gear that needs to stay out of the mud. This would include a pack, binoculars, or anything else with a strap.
This simple setup only costs about $70 in supplies, and it can be assembled in about an hour if you have some help. You will need to wear full camouflage, but the shadows of the overhead branches will hide you well.
Building a Floating Duck Blind
A floating blind is perfect for areas that flood regularly. It will rise and fall with the water level, so you do not have to worry about finding your ground blind underwater. You can also realign the blind if you find the ducks coming in from the wrong direction.
The design we are going to cover is again very simple. This design is ideal to have one end resting on the shore for stability. If you want to be able to free float, you would need to attach an arm reaching out to the rear with more floats for stability.
The foundation of this design is the dock floats that are perfect for attaching a frame. They are 24 by 48 by 12, and each has 434 pounds of buoyancy. They cost about $75 per float. Here are the materials you will need:
- Two to four floats depending on this duck blind being free floating or one end resting on shore
- Eight galvanized ½ x 4 1/2-inch carriage bolts w/washers and nuts
- Galvanized 3-inch woodscrews
- Pressure treated lumber:
- Four 2x6s, 4 feet
- Eight 2x6s, 8 feet
- Six 2x4s, 4 feet
- Two 2x4s, 8 feet
- Four 2x4s, 5 feet
- Six 2x4s, 2.5 feet
- Four 2x4s, 2 feet
- One 1×2, 8 feet
- One 2×8, 8 feet
- Eight metal framing supports
- Spool of chicken wire
- Avery RealGrass (optional)
- Rope, 50 feet
- Eyehook, ¼-inch
You will also need a wood saw, a drill with ¼-inch drill bit and screwdriver attachment, a tape measure, a pencil, two adjustable wrenches, metal-cutting shears, a staple gun, and some spray paint.
Step 1 – Place two floats with the outside edges measuring eight feet apart. Next, cut four two by sixes in half so you have four foot boards. Place them across each float width-wise. Mark all of the attachment points on the boards and drill holes at those points. Bolt them down using the lag bolts with washers on both ends.
Step 2 – If over eight feet long, cut your remaining two by sixes down to eight foot boards. Then, screw each one to the crossbeams we created in step one. Make sure you use eight wood screws for each board to securely hold each one in place.
Step 3 – Cut down four of the two by fours into four foot boards. Using the metal brackets or angled wooden supports, attach each board to the floor at the front edge of the blind. You should have one at each of the front corners and also two in between them. Attach one two by four across the top of these boards to act as a gun rest.
Step 4 – Cut down four of the two by fours into five foot boards and repeat the process used in step two across the back edge of the duck blind. Attach one eight foot two by four across the back of these boards and then a four foot two by four across each side. Then measure and cut two by fours to fit around the posts on the outside edge of the floor to ensure nothing rolls off of the edge.
Step 5 – Cut four two by fours and attach them to the top of each rear wall most using metal brackets. Cut one eight foot piece of wood or molding and attach it to the end of all the roof joists.
Step 6 – Use the shears to cut squares of chicken wire and staple it to the frame. Leave at least one section open to serve as a door. You can also cut a small square out of the wire for a dog door if you like. You can use natural materials to provide cover on the sides and top, or you can bring something artificial. Burlap that is spray painted works well, or you can use a camo tarp. RealGrass from Avery can be attached with zip ties for camouflage. You will want to attach the eyehook and rope to tie off the floating blind and anchor it in place.
Additional Duck Blind Features
No matter which type of blind you are building, you can keep it simple or go all out. Adding features like shelves and benches and make a big difference in the convenience of your blind. You can also dig a pit for a ground blind to reduce the amount of camouflage needed, or add a roof to keep out the rain.
If you want to, you can get really fancy with blinds. I have seen people install flush toilets, and add space heaters for maximum comfort. I have even seen large blinds equipped with televisions, or boat house blinds designed for spending weeks on the water. However, none of that improves your odds of bagging ducks. A simple frame and some camouflage will do just fine.
Let’s Get Building that Duck Blind
I realize that this project can seem like it will take forever. Once you get out there and get building, it goes by quickly. Just be sure to have a plan in place before you get started. If your finished product can withstand the weather and keep you hidden, consider it a job well done.