It only took a few hunts to realize that I needed to ditch the imitation “fast grass” mats that I bought with my duck boat. They never matched the vegetation in the marsh. I wasted hours before and after each hunt covering them with a canvas tarp to trailer down the highway. And they held water like a plastic jug so they slowly rotted all season long. The stench those mats delivered was something akin to Sasquatch piss. There had to be something better.
I needed a blind cover that I could remove from the frame between hunts. One with enough color variation to vanish in the marsh. Not to mention waterproof, durable and able to handle 30-40 mph wind gusts. The research took months and many, many beers. It was totally worth it.
The new blind system is sweet. It blends well with all types of cover from flooded corn to big water flats. It handles windy conditions like a champ, dries quickly and rolls up into an old over-sized Cabela’s decoy bag for transportation. Plus it’s durable. It’s lasted over 20 hunts from Michigan to North Dakota and still looks great. Here’s how I made this duck slaying contraption.
2 Rolls of plastic Green Garden Fence 40 inches wide x 25 feet long (Home Depot)
1,000 8-inch Zip-ties (Home Depot)
8-10 Spring Clamps and 1 can of brown spray paint (Home Depot)
30 feet of Die-Cut Camo Fabric, Avery KW-1 pattern (Mackspw.com)
3 Avery KillerWeed Duck Boat Camo Blind Kits (Mackspw.com)
I have a 16 foot Lowe Semi-Vee with a Cabela’s Northern Flight, scissor-style blind. Start by removing the blind from the boat and place it on a level section of concrete. My driveway was level enough.
Next, unroll the garden fence and cut two sections to fit the length of the frame. Leave some fencing to overlap either end. This is useful when covering the boat in the marsh or to cover the gap in the front and back if you’re hunting from the boat.
Zip-tie the two sections of fencing together to extend from the top to the bottom of the frame. Pull the fencing tight and Zip-Tie it to a few places on the frame. Make sure the fencing extends past the part of the frame that sits on the gunnel of the boat. In this picture, that’s the crossbeam on the grass. This way when the blind is folded up, the camo extends over the edge of the boat and down into the water. By covering the edge of the boat, it breaks up the outline and makes it disappear to air-born ducks. Trim the “tails” off the zip-ties.
Next, take the fabric and zip-tie it to the fencing ONLY not to the frame of the blind. Note all of the zip-ties along the top of the fencing. I folded the fabric over giving it a camo edge. I slashed a small hole with a knife in either side of the folded over fabric and secured it with a zip-tie every 12-15 inches.
The die-cut leaves in the fabric give you plenty of spots to attach the fabric to the garden fencing. I probably put 200 zip-ties on this side alone to ensure the fabric stuck to the fencing. Make sure the fencing is pulled tight to the frame to get a nice, flat finish when the blind is folded down or set-up for hunting.
The next step is to start attaching grass bundles to the fencing. Making the bundles is a lot like making Raffia bundles for a layout blind, only larger. Start by unwrapping one pack of the Avery KillerWeed boat kit camo. There will be different colored bundles of plastic grass in the pack. To keep the mess to a minimum, I dumped all the colored grass into a plastic tub. Grab a handful of each color and mix them up. Holding the grass vertically, put a zip-tie in the center, to create one bundle.
Start attaching the bundles through the fabric and onto the fencing with more zip-ties. It should like this.
Mix up the colors and layer the bundles on top of one another to give a lot of dimension to the blind. I used 1.5 packs of the KillerWeed boat kit per side of the blind.
Repeat the entire process for the other side of the blind. Then remove the camo covers and put the blind back on the boat. Put any leftover grass bundles on the blind to hide obvious areas that ducks might see.
To keep the bottom edge from flying around in windy conditions, take some 6 oz decoy strap weights and zip-tie them along the bottom of the fencing. They’re lead, so pliable and dense, and have holes drilled on either end making them easy to work with. I put 4 or 5 on each side of the camo sheets.
To hold the camo to the frame of the blind, I use spring clamps that I painted brown with a rattle-can. You can see the clamps in this pic before I painted them sticking up along the top rail of the blind. When you want to remove the camo, pull off the clamps and lay one sheet on top of the other. Roll them up together and toss them in the bottom of the boat, in the back of the truck, or in a big mesh decoy bag. They do get a bit bulky but it beats my old blind hands-down.
Here’s a few pics of the boat in action.
To be fair, I didn’t shoot out of the boat all season. I prefer to put Zeus on a Sport Stand and sit next to him on a marsh seat. But we stashed the boat nearby, sometimes only 50-100 yards away, and the ducks never saw it. This project cost around $275 and I expect it to last for a few seasons without any upgrades.
If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll try to answer as quick as can. If you’re looking for instructions on wiring lights or installing a switch panel on your duck boat then checkout these posts from awhile back.
Duck season is only 6 months and two-weeks away. Not that I’m counting or anything.
Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation or free products from Avery, Mack’s Prairie Wings or the Home Depot for mentioning these products. I purchased all of these products, made a kick-ass duck blind, used it for a full season and wrote a review of my own handy-work. It’s as simple as that.