It’s the essential
piece of gear for most waterfowlers, except my partner Tom, who
somehow has conned me into being the sole carrier of this item for
on 4 years
They come in small, big, bigger, biggest and huge.
Selection of the proper size is a direct function of just how much
junk, er, stuff, the individual waterfowler feels is absolutely
necessary to be able to survive in comfort, and hunt with confidence
for at least 4 hours
at a stretch.
are the very best marketers. They have learned that no true
waterfowler is satisfied with
gear. He is
always looking for the newest, best, most cutting edge in gear and
Blind bags are no
exception to this rule.
of blind bags, in their genius, have decided to keep waterfowlers in
a constant state of confusion as they discover the newest iteration
in blind bag style and format.
come, not only in multiple sizes, but an explosion of camo formats,
be it brown, wetlands, marsh grass, fall flight, natural, shadow
grass, yada, yada, yada!
to match last years “camo of the year” )
But wait , there is
still more to consider. Add to this now a host of closure styles.
Shall I go with zipper, Velcro, snaps or clips, (darn, the size and
camo style of bag I like does not have the type of closure I like!).
Oh look , there’s
more – pockets and more pockets. Inside, outside, on top, on ends,
on sides, in the flaps. How many pockets and secret places do I need
to slip stuff into so
that can never be
found in the heat of the hunt?
On boy, even
more! What type
handles do I need? A shoulder strap, yes or no?
one feels best in my hands, too long, too short!!
Oh, there is
have been very devilish in recent years. They have added clips,
loops, snaps and hooks – now the decision is what style of these,
how many and where on the bag?
(never where “I” think they should be!).
Be honest now. Have you ever found a bag that
really fit all your needs? Mine have always been not quite right. Be
it the size, the camo style, handles are too short or too long,
material too stiff, too limp, not waterproof, on and on!! All of
this has forced me to create a secret place in my house to store my
“collection “ so my wife can never discover how many times I have
bought that “perfect “ bag. ( well, it seemed so at the time !!)
Added to this I have tried an over the shoulder model, a belt model
and a butt model. None of which passed field use testing after being
worn at least twice!
Now the fun begins
for real. What goes into the blind bag?
What does one
really need to survive at least 300 yards from the cabin?
To add to the decision-making
where one must decide what goes in the bag, what goes in one’s coat,
in one’s pants, in one’s shirt or one’s vest?
Oh yes, I almost forgot we are waterfowlers so we have another spot
to fill – around our necks!!
Now required are
decisions as to where to carry
all this stuff.
These decisions are so easy and of course one never forgets where
every “ necessity” is tucked away !!
are no help when it comes to stuff carrying decisions. My coats,
note plural, all have a zillion pockets, slashes and hidden places
plus an assortment of hooks,
snaps. Notice how the blind bags are all made by coat manufacturers.
I’ve often suspected that last year's
outdated camo material becomes this years version of blind bags!!
What IS essential
to have in one's
bag? Top of the list at our camp is TP.
(Note for British readers - TP =
BR). Ha, you
thought it would be shells or coffee I bet! Nope it’s TP by a large
in any logical order mind you. AH yes shells, duck calls, dog gear,
one’s license (or did I put that in my coat's
Next comes a scarf, extra gloves, camo mask, more calls, the
mandatory field knife, duck carrier, and of course candy, cookies
and other teeth friendly foods.
Finding my license
is the biggest challenge. It seems every year I select a new
perfect, won’t forget where, won’t lose it place – which I promptly
forget when the game warden asks for it . I often wonder how much
time they spend each season watching hunters empty dozens of pockets
looking for their license. Then why is it when I find it its always
Back on point – what
other items show up in blind bags?
see, ah yes – ball point pen (dry), sunglasses (broken) ,matches
disposable camera with one picture left on it,
one broken plier jaw, dried out camo paint stick, and oh, yes what’s
this, my Boy Scout compass!
What, for me, has made the blind bag game even more fun in recent
years is deciding what to hang off the various straps, loops, hooks
and clips where they can dangle, snag and be lost.
Blind bags and their
care and feeding is a critical pastime in the off season and in
camp. The stuff one had in it last year is just not right for the
never has in it what one needs
- that was
left on the cabin table last night as it was repacked for the 13th
time this season!
For those of us
do carry a blind bag I need to share with you what you will face in
the blind dealing with those too smart to lug such a thing to begin
with. They will begin to ask you questions, such as:
can I borrow your T P?
got any matches?
Can I borrow a few
What’s to eat?
I left my gloves in the truck
I need a knife
Sound familiar Tom?
Well enough for
today, I see two catalogs have arrived in the mail.
to see what I ‘need’ for next season.
Safe hunting and take care of
- my Grandkids
intend to enjoy her too.