Layout Blind Concealment Tips

February 13, 2009 by  

By Chris Hustad

Without a doubt, the introduction of layout blinds is one of the biggest assets to field hunters in the past decade. Every year, existing models get makeovers adding better modifications. There are many brands on the market, and many models can be found of each. I’ve hunted out of most of the major brands on the market, and each of them has their pros and cons. But no matter what brand you choose, making the transition from hunting on the ground to hunting out of a blind is an enjoyable one. Not only does it keep you out of the wind, and allow room for storing gear, it also allows the hunter to hide like never before. But in order to hide effectively, you need to be prepared on how to properly conceal your blind. I’ll try to cover all the scenarios that the Nodak Crew runs into during the spring, early, regular and late seasons.

First and foremost, when you first purchase a blind you must “mud it up”. The fabric from the manufacturer tends to be shiny, causing your blind to stick out and flare game. You can easily cover this shine by covering it with mud. An easy way to do this is to fill a bucket with some dirt, than fill with enough water to just cover the dirt, and mix it until it’s in a paste form. From there you can use a standard paint brush and apply the muddy paste all over the blind. Give it plenty of hours to dry, than later you can brush it off. It will sort of dull the camo pattern, but that’s a good thing. From there your blind is ready to hunt.

Keep in mind that layout layout blinds aren’t very effective out of the box. Birds are getting wise to field blinds, and are getting good at spotting them from above. Not only will the camo pattern probably clash with the fields surroundings, you’ll also be dealing with shadows on sunny days. Still try to take advantage of natural cover when available, and know when you’ll be able to effectively hide a blind in the field you’re scouting. Some days we’ll still keep the blinds in the truck when keeping a low profile is a must. With some effort you can hide your blinds effectively in almost every situation.

Here’s some scenario’s where you’ll need to hide your blind:

Mud

The toughest terrain to hide a layout blind in, is in a muddy situation. No matter what camouflage pattern your blind is, or what vegetation you stuff over your blind, it’s still going to stick out from the surrounding dirt. But with a little work you can hide your blind beautifully. Try the mudding procedure that was mentioned earlier. It’s a bit messy and tedious, but it’s necessary if you want to take advantage of your blinds concealment capabilities. It’s also a good idea to use the mud from the area you’ll be hunting to ensure a good color match.

 

Green

Hunting in green colored fields can be very difficult to hide in. In the areas we hunt, it’s uncommon, but we do hunt in green fields at least once a year. I’m assuming that whatever camo pattern you have, it’ll stick out in a green field like a sore thumb. You will need to stuff the camo straps with vegetation, and it will take some time to have it done right. If you try to stuff the blind one handful at a time pulled from the field, you’ll be there all morning. But there are a few tips that can help minimize the time spent concealing the bind. First, we’ll assign a couple of the guys in the crew to collection duty. While we setup the spread, they use rakes to collect vegetation for the blinds. If the vegetation in the field is short in height, you might want to try the surrounding field edges and ditches. That vegetation will be longer and will conceal more of your blind. When you’re finished you will be amazed at how good a blind can look fully stuffed!

Stubble

We do a lot of hunting in various types of grain stubble. When cut low they can be very tricky to hide in, and like the green fields, the vegetation can be quite minimal. Again, we’ll use the same method at collecting vegetation. A good rake can collect the stubble easier than by hand. Use your best judgment to determine how much stuffing is needed. If time is critical in the morning, you might want to try doing your concealment at night.

Plowed Stubble

If you’re hunting a field that’s been plowed, than you’re looking at a mixture of stubble and dirt colors. Whether it’s corn stubble or grain stubble, you’ll need to put in some work. Some blind camo patterns on the market do a pretty good job alone, but the dark hues may not mesh with the field very well. Try a mixture of the mudding procedure, with some added stubble in the straps and you can hide well. How much or how little will depend on your judgment of the field.

Corn

If it’s a plowed field, than you’ll want to try the “plowed stubble” method mentioned previously. If it’s knocked down corn than your dealing with the easiest concealment situation in my experience. You can simply pile up corn stalks around your blind, and stuff the doors. Piling up the corn stalks is much easier than stuffing one strap at a time, and looks even better in my opinion. If you’re moving your blind around a lot, you have to make sure you remember to keep the blind hidden. It can be easy to overlook your blinds concealment, but try not to get too sloppy.

Peas / Beans

Ouch. I don’t like to hide blinds in bean or pea fields. The vegetation isn’t easy to stuff, and the vegetation isn’t high off the ground. If you must use your blinds, use plenty of mud and throw the vegetation on it while the mud is still wet so it’ll stick. When it dries it’ll hold up pretty well, but it can fall off if you’re not careful.

Snow

Depending on where you live, this may or may not be an issue for you. But for us we may spend a good part of the regular and late season hunting over snow, and during some spring seasons. Hiding a blind in the snow can actually be very easy. You can use old white bed sheets to stuff in the blind, and is an inexpensive method. There are blind colors available on the market that are white and made to hide in snow. Be a little weary though of these covers, a lot of the older models have UV problems. The cover will look white up close but from a distance they will have a bluish tint. If you have one of these older models I suggest buying a can of flat white paint and paint over it to hide the tint.

Another great tip for hiding blinds in snow is with snow flocking. It’s the spray that’s used to flock Christmas trees, and costs around $1/can. It will take at least a can to cover a blind, and it’s better to have plenty of extra cans depending on how it looks. Make sure to store the cans in a warm environment, they don’t spray very well when cold. The flocking can be wiped off the blind easily, and in some rare instances you may need to remud your blind if some of the white hue holds.

Finally, bring a shovel. You can throw snow over the foot base and around the sides of the blind. It’s very quick and easy and can save you a lot of work.

There’s three final tips I want to share. First, you can look into blind colors that’ll better match your surroundings. You can get a cover for pretty much every camouflage on the market, and they help as a base over the original when taken out of its matched surroundings. But keep in mind that the cover should still be stuffed with some of the surrounding vegetation to help it look more natural. Second, you can also buy fake grass materials to use as stuffing. This is a quick and easy way to use stuffing, but the stuffing won’t always be a very good match for the field’s vegatation. The final tip I want to share is to use decoys around your blinds to help conceal. Silhouettes work great to break them up 2-dimensionally, but you can also use full bodies. Not only do they work great to conceal, but decoys also help break up the shadow of the blind. On sunny days the shadow can be very difficult to deal with, especially on higher profile blinds.

The methods we use to hide our blinds come from countless hours of testing techniques in the field. Although I feel these methods work great, we’re always coming up with more efficient and effective ways. Use these methods as a base, and don’t be afraid to experiment!


Comments

6 Comments on "Layout Blind Concealment Tips"

  1. dave brown on Wed, 15th Dec 2010 2:21 pm 

    i read your tips on ground blinds and watched the u tube footage i am a new comer to the bird hunt this is my second winter and am now looking for a layout blind i hunt in delaware near dover not far from the delaware river and maryland eastern shore we have corn soy bean winter wheat and a fair amount of snow HERE IS THE QUESTION whats a good quality layout for me to use

  2. admin on Wed, 15th Dec 2010 5:31 pm 

    Right now my favorite blind is the Hunter’s Specialties Hitman Blind.

  3. Andy Warber on Sat, 17th Sep 2011 12:24 pm 

    we’ll be hunting outta layout boats for the first time this year.
    The hunting is tidally affected, the shorelines are lined with switch grass and canary reed grass. we plan to hunt the X and layout in the tall grass. Since most of the grass is dead after the salt water soaks it up, is it a good idea to change out old grass. I have the Avery KW-1 cover for the layouts and have ziptied Aeros blind mesh over the cover. The mesh will serve me better than the stubble straps I believe. Should the grass lay all in one direction or should it be clumped?

  4. admin on Mon, 19th Sep 2011 12:24 am 

    Whatever looks more natural in that environment.

  5. Luke McCoy on Fri, 18th Nov 2011 2:09 pm 

    i just got an avery finisher blind and i only have it because the guy i hunt with just moved and is going to be hunting out of a layout until we can build a permanent blind…what is your advice for using one next to a lakebed?

  6. admin on Mon, 21st Nov 2011 10:13 pm 

    What is the surrounding cover?

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