Tactics

Layout Blinds: Pros and Cons

February 9, 2024

iSportsman Staff

iSportsman Staff

Innovation in the outdoor industry has a unique hurdle — game getting wise to your tactics and making the method virtually ineffective. Layout blinds are a popular example of this, with their popularity surging in the early 2000s and then seeing brief moments in the spotlight every few years since. There are quite a few good arguments for or against layout blinds, as well as a couple of manufacturers that produce blinds agreed to be immune to the tests of time. We’ve investigated both sides so you can make the decision for yourself.  

Layout Blinds

layout blinds

The Cons

Paul Conchatre of Birdtail Waterfowl Inc. operates a waterfowl lodge in Canada, and back in 2016 he shared some of his frustrations and current experiences with layout blind hunting tactics. 2016 marking one of the many resurgences of layout blind popularity, he and his crew set off to test a popular complaint that layout blind hunters have: that birds know the shape of a layout blind intuitively, and naturally avoid them to survive the harvest.  

Paul contributed this to the current migratory population, in which the average life span of a bird class does not surpass the era of the layout blind—making the layout their common fear object since day one. In Paul’s experience, the fix for this is more intuitive spaced layouts and higher quality decoys (which most would agree have become increasingly more realistic in the past few years). 

Beyond this growing belief that waterfowl and other birds are wizening to our tactics, others stress the difference (and sometimes difficulty) in movement associated with hunting from a layout blind. Realtree covered how your position in a layout blind makes it difficult to shoot from your strong side, and furthermore that the body, and foot positioning most sportsmen are familiar with is essentially moot. Even with this said, most agree that getting comfortable with layout blind shooting is an absolute game changer. 

The Pros

Jace Bauserman of Wildfowl Magazine shared how investing in layout blinds made a night-and-day difference for himself and his friends in 2022. His argument for layout blinds is the mobility and landscape variety layout blinds open for the average hunter. The lightweight, and usually easy to set up design of layout blinds aid many outdoors enthusiasts on public lands where permanent or heavy-duty blind resources aren’t accessible or practical.  

With a layout blind, you can gain easy-to-carry coverage in both water in land with many water-bound layout blind options available. The key to avoid being recognized by wiser waterfowl is good cover and brushing. And those who are pro-layout blinds agree that with good decoys, and well-maintained brushing that layout blinds almost guarantee a pile of birds.   

Those who tout the praises of layout blind brands such as Final Approach and Lucky Duck ultimately find themselves on the pro-side of the layout blind debate — agreeing that there is still a place for layouts, it’s all a matter of finding it and preparing properly.

You can also check out the best spots to go duck hunting on iSportsmanUSA.

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