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Building the "Swiss Army Knife" of Small Boats...Wood Duck Double #4: Why the WDD Will Make a Good Duck Hunting Kayak

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Blog entry by DustyMark posted 06-01-2020 01:26 AM 1221 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Why the WDD Will Make a Good Fishing Kayak Part 4 of Building the "Swiss Army Knife" of Small Boats...Wood Duck Double series Part 5: Why the WDD Will Make a Good Sailing Kayak »

Layout Blind
One approach to hunt ducks is to get as low as possible underneath a blind that matches the local vegetation as closely as possible. Field hunters do this in a layout blind. The same approach can be achieved in a layout boat.

This is my nephew in the layout boat I helped him build in 2015. He’s sitting rather upright in it in this photo because the vegetation is pretty high and he can get away with it. He hadn’t finished the back side of the blind at this point. You can imagine that this would be very hard for a duck to spot.

This is a good photo of my old layout boat all brushed out. The boat was 14’ long, 45” wide, and weighed 160pounds. That low weight made the boat so stable that you could walk around the perimeter of it and not tip! However, the best way to propel it was by rowing and going backwards at night isn’t my favorite thing to do.

You can see the arrangement with the doors open. Copper hunkers down behind my head and he can still mark the birds as I shoot them.

Upright Blinds
Most duck hunters conceal themselves in a more upright blind. This allows for a better 360 degree view of the sky for incoming ducks.

This is the blind I made and brushed with Fast Grass for my old solo canoe. I sat on a bass boat seat mounted on a swivel resting on the floor. It was a pretty good hide if you were backed up against cattails, but the solo canoe wasn’t as stable as a kayak. I sold it this spring to make room for this kayak build.

This is a view of the backside of the blind I built for my Grumman Sportboat. This blind is also brushed with Fast Grass. It’s very deluxe with its roof and is an excellent hide backed up against or in cattails. Twice, I’ve had wary geese land at my feet! I hunt with a friend, Copper, a full load of decoys, and a mud motor on this rig…very nice! Not getting rid of this one…

Layout Kayak
There is a trend for duck hunters to hunt from kayaks instead of layout boats or canoes. These hybrid kayaks typically have a beam of 32” or more. The Wood Duck Double only has a beam of 30”, but I think it will suit me fine. The question is whether it will be stable enough for Copper to launch out of the boat on a retrieve without tipping me over! I can leave him behind and retrieve my own ducks on the type of hunts I’ll do with this kayak, so I’m okay with not knowing until we do some on-the-water tests this summer.

The cockpit is longer on this kayak than my old layout boat, plus my feet can be stowed below the deck as well. There will definitely be enough room to lay down in the layout boat mode in this boat. My goal is to create a blind that I can paddle fully assembled. We found ducks in flooded timber last fall and discovered that they wanted to come back to the same spot shortly after we spooked them. I need the set-up to be fast so that I can flush the birds, throw a half-dozen decoys, and be set in the layout blind in just over a minute. I think it can be done.

I’ll brush the blind with a thin coat of Rafia grass, which is less bulky than Fast Grass. I’ll likely supplement it with natural vegetation to match the area I’m hunting at the time.

I purchased a folding layout board from Four Rivers that has five different recline positions. Here it’s in the full layout position.

Here it’s in the second-most upright position. I needed a seat like this so that it can serve dual purposes. There’s not enough room for a standard kayak seat and a layout board. This also makes for a quicker transition.

I have high hopes for this kayak as an effective layout kayak. I teach a college course that ties me down a bit during duck season. However, once I’m fully retired, this kayak will be great to take to the prairie pothole region of North Dakota!

Update

The boat worked great for duck hunting…I couldn’t be more pleased. While not as stable as my old layout boat, it was about 100 pounds lighter and way easier to drag over beaver dams and other obstructions along the way.

Here’s a photo of it deployed on one of my favorite spots. The ducks cup right in front of me!

Next
Why the WDD will make a good sailing kayak.

-- Mark, Minnesota



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