One of the challenges of hunting ducks or geese in open fields is having to hide in plain sight. Sure, you could just lie among the decoys, but using a laydown blind is a better choice for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that you’ll get more birds.
These low-profile, enclosed blinds keep you out of the weather and off the cold, hard ground. Unlike pit blinds, they’re portable and set up quickly. They disguise your movements as you call, and when the birds commit to landing, you just flip open the lid, sit up, and shoot.
Here’s what to look for in a laydown:
Size: Get in, lie down, and see how you fit. Extra-large hunters have a hard time getting comfortable in some models. Make sure there’s room for both you and your gear. Now get out, pack it up, and make sure it folds down to a manageable carrying size.
Weight: These blinds weigh from 11 to 22 pounds, and they become a lot heavier after soaking up water. If you can drive right to most of your spots, you can probably make do with one of the heavier models, which are typically roomier. If you’ll be carrying it a lot, go with one that weighs less than 15 pounds.
Color: Laydowns come in several camouflage patterns intended for waterfowling. Choose one that will blend in with the fields you hunt most often. That said, manufacturers have begun offering models in plain khaki or brown, and once you mud this type (see below), it’ll work almost as well as one with a designer pattern while costing significantly less.
Setup: All laydowns can be set up in just a few minutes, but some go together more easily than others. Test-assemble the blind in the store, and practice setting it up at home before the season starts.
Whether the model you choose is camo or khaki, you should mud the fabric to take the shine off before you use it: Mix a bucket of dirt and water and slosh it all over the blind. When it dries, brush off the loose dirt. Most models have straps to hold stubble or other vegetation. Once in the field, add just enough to break up the outline and you’ll be well hidden, comfortable, and poised for action.
Avery Migrator (800-333-5119; averyoutdoors.com) Dimensions: 84x36x19 inches • Weight: 22 pounds • Price: $329 in Shadow Grass or Max-4 HD • Comments: A roomy blind made with big-and-tall hunters in mind, the Migrator is not as portable as some, but it is very comfortable.
Avery Power Hunter (800-333-5119; averyoutdoors.com) Dimensions: 79x28x22 inches • Weight: 11 pounds • Price: $150-$180 in Shadow Grass, Max-4 HD, or Field Khaki • Comments: A barebones blind that packs small and carries easily, this is the lightest model of the bunch.
Cabela’s Interceptor (800-237-4444; cabelas.com) Dimensions: 82x34x15 inches • Weight: 15 pounds • Price: $169 in Farmland Gold or Cornbelt • Comments: With a low, 15-inch height that helps it disappear in the field, the Interceptor is attractively priced. At 15 pounds, it’s manageable for the mobile hunter.
Final Approach X-Land’r (877-956-5746; kolpin.com) Dimensions: 84x26x14 inches • Weight: 15 pounds • Price: $344 in Shadow Grass or Max-4 HD; $288 in Field Brown • Comments: Made for easy carrying, the X-Land’r doubles as a backpack that can hold four dozen silhouette decoys.
Gooseview Industries X-Terminator (800-399-5034; gooseview.com) Dimensions: 88x32x17 inches • Weight: 12½ pounds • Price: $199 in Farmland Gold, Corn Belt, or Shadow Grass • Comments: The XTerminator is fully featured, yet very lightweight for excellent mobility.