Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of this blind design that is growing in popularity among waterfowl hunters
Duck blinds are both simple and complicated. They represent a combination of utility and magic, providing function in the field while also facilitating tradition among duck hunters. At its core, a duck blind is a tool made to hide the duck hunter, the duck dog, and the tools of waterfowlers during the hunt. First and foremost, concealment from the wary eyes of passing ducks is absolutely critical to the success of any duck hunt. Beyond its usefulness as a hunting tool, duck blinds also offer a place of solace, a place of spirituality, and their own kind of enchantment. We witness sunrises, take part in fellowship, and develop our hunter’s hearts all from within the confines of a duck blind.
In recent years, portable, A-frame style blinds have grown quickly in popularity as well as availability. What is an A-frame blind and why is it so popular? Let’s take a look.
What is an A-Frame blind?
A-frame duck blinds consist of a metal frame that pins together in the shape of an “A” from end to end. Cloth blind material stretches across the frame, providing an effective hide for the hunter.
Waterfowl hunters hide within the cloth-covered metal frame, seemingly hiding in plain sight. In order to increase the blind’s effectiveness and put wary birds at ease, it’s recommended to coat your blind’s fabric with mud to help eliminate shine. Adding piles of grass, brush, weeds, and cattails to your A-frame blind is a must.
Why are A-Frame duck blinds so popular?
Convenience, portability, comfort, effectiveness, and elbow room are all terrific aspects of A-frame hunting that hunters have come to appreciate.
Convenience: A-frame blinds offer the versatility to quickly put together an effective duck blind where hiding from ducks would otherwise be impossible. This type of blind is self-contained and ready to set up quickly.
Hunting from an A-frame blind provides the convenience of knowing that you have an effective duck blind at the ready, in your toolkit, and at your disposal whenever hunting conditions call for it.
Portability: Successful duck hunters learn to adapt, to be creative, and to be portable. Setting up right where the ducks want to be and considering the prevailing wind direction is critical to working ducks to within ethical shotgun range.
Using an A-frame duck blind offers you the ability to be mobile and create a hide where no hide is otherwise possible. A-frame blinds can successfully be used to hide in plain sight, along a flooded field terrace or on a mudflat where no other cover is available.
Comfort: Duck hunting lends itself to a certain amount of creature comforts that other hunting disciplines may not. Fellowship, snacks, and hot coffee are all welcome in the duck blind. Hunting ducks from an A-frame blind is no exception.
Refuge within the cloth walls and rigid frame of an A-frame blind offers the ability to incorporate extra creature comforts during your duck hunt. Blind chairs or stools will get you up off the ground and help to extend your hunt. Incorporating a portable heater can provide welcome comfort on late season, deep freeze duck hunts.
Effectiveness: Concealment from all angles—front, back, left, and right—is important when hiding from circling ducks. Camouflage from above can be accomplished by utilizing long pieces of grass and brush across the top of the blind, allowing for shooter holes through the top.
A-frame blinds work well along undercut lake, pond, or river embankments. Setting your blind next to natural cover of at least the same height is an effective tactic to help break up your outline. When cut crops or bare shores offer little or no cover to blend in, an A-frame blind grassed well to resemble a brushy knob or hay bale will often not worry ducks as they work your decoy spread. This tactic is a form of hiding in plain sight.
Room To Breathe: A-frame blind hunting is a fantastic way to pursue ducks for a group of hunters, young hunters, and hunters with a dog. Hunters will find that most A-frame blinds have plenty of room for 3 or 4 hunters, blind chairs or stools, and even a portable blind heater.
Things can sometimes get crowded when you’re trying to make multiple hunters, their gear, and a dog disappear. Utilizing a portable A-frame can be the answer to your duck blind troubles with extra room to spare. Two A-frames set together end-to-end is an amazing opportunity to start a family hunting tradition.
A-Frame blind considerations
While an A-frame hunting blind may check a lot of boxes when it comes to duck hunting, it does have its limitations. Let’s look at some limiting factors to consider when it comes to hunting from an A-frame duck blind.
Cost: Hunting equipment investments can add up pretty quickly. If you’re just getting started with duck hunting, pulling the trigger on a brand new A-frame blind might not be first on your list of things to do.
There is a lot to an A-frame hunting blind, from the metal frame to the fabric cover, making them expensive to fabricate. Blinds generally run between $300-$500. Sharing an A-frame investment with a hunting buddy can make sense to help spread out the cost per hunt.
Weight and bulk: As far as portable, temporary duck blinds go, A-frames are the camper trailer of duck hunting. Although manufacturers work to reduce weight and bulk, it can still be an issue.
Blinds with aluminum tubing have some weight savings over steel tubing models for obvious reasons. However, the recommended practice of grassing the blind fabric for the hunt can add considerable weight to the blind.
When it comes to transportation and storage, A-frame duck blinds are on the bulky side. Generally, the tubing pieces are laid on top of the blind fabric and the whole thing is rolled up and secured with flat nylon strapping. This big bundle can be transported in a canoe, boat, ATV, or on a two wheel cart, but it’s by far the easiest when there is driving access directly to your hunting spot.
Whether or not A-frame duck blinds are right for you, duck season is upon us, and it’s time to get out there. I hope this season finds you well, and the birds find your decoys. Enjoy some time in the field this season!
Raised on the prairie lands of Kansas, Rob McDonald is an outdoor writer, blogger, and photographer who finds his home on the tallgrass prairie of the Flint Hills. November and December sunrises often find Rob, shotgun in hand, wearing leather off of a pair of hunting boots behind a hunting Labrador in pursuit of bobwhite quail, cackling rooster pheasants, and prairie chickens.