When constructing and preparing land-based duck blinds in the marsh, we go to great lengths to ensure the hide is both comfortable and functional. But adding a retrieving dog to the mix brings additional considerations and challenges. The dog must be integrated into the hunt, but in a safe way that also hides him from circling birds.
Landing zones – Though creating defined landing zones is often a favorite decoy pattern for hunters, it only takes observing a raft of puddle ducks one time to realize they will plop down just about anywhere — regardless of an available zone. Focus on replicating a relaxed group of loafing and feeding ducks at your favorite hole, and the birds should present plenty of shooting opportunities.
As if finally locating long lost friends, they arrived just as we’d envisioned. The five-pack of gadwall redefined the term ‘fully committed’ from the time they hit the far edge of the pond, and dropped into our spread without hesitation. As the guns let loose, no stragglers escaped to rat us out to the masses yet to come.
Backlit faintly by the early morning glow, they came as we’d hoped. Silhouettes — large and deliberate, and small and acrobatic — bombarded our spread.
We were able to pick up our jaws from the marsh mud just in time to catch that telltale sound as a few feathered bodies splashed down amongst their plastic counterparts.