Over the past few decades I have had the good fortune of hunting waterfowl in dozens of states and many locations.

I have studied the layouts, observed the techniques, and learned what it takes to build a high quality duck hunting haven.

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It takes much planning and preparation to pile up mallards in the fall.

The basic principles to creating such a spot are pretty obvious in retrospect. However, there are very few waterfowl setups that incorporate all of these factors.

And that is the key. Build all of the following pieces into your project and it will be successful.

• FOOD AND WATER: Most waterfowl hunters will agree that a top duck blind must be built on water. This theory is very relevant but water is NOT the most important part of attracting ducks and geese. Food is.

I have been in some incredible duck blinds on lakes, rivers, ponds, sloughs and potholes. These places looked to be perfect but no ducks used them. The fact is that no amount of water will make up for a lack of available food. A food source is the key to success in attracting waterfowl.

I have personal, local experience of what happens when all the grain fields in the bottom get chisel-plowed before duck season opens. Our pothole is virtually perfect in its construction and concealment. This makes little difference when no ducks get close enough to see our decoys.

From the altitude that ducks fly they can see thousands of acres. They are looking for what I call “yellow ground.” Harvested grain fields appear yellow from the air.

I have flown in the fall and I have seen exactly what the ducks see. Yellow fields attract their attention to fly low to see if food is available there. If your setup is in or near these fields, you have a chance to get them to work your spread.

If your spot is surrounded by tilled, plowed or cultivated fields, your chances drop off significantly. Waterfowl just do not spend time in “black ground” areas. Black ground will not attract ducks or geese. Do your best to have fall plowing delayed as long as possible around our blind.

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