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The Blind Bag
A familiar complaint from Ray Glick

  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 nigh on 4 years now! 

  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.  

   Blind bag manufacturers are the very best marketers. They have learned that no true waterfowler is satisfied with his gear. He is always looking for the newest, best, most cutting edge in gear and stuff. Blind bags are no exception to this rule. 

   Manufacturers 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. These bags 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! (none seeming 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? Which one feels best in my hands, too long, too short!! 

    Oh, there is still more!  Manufacturers 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 process, 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 !!  Coat manufacturers 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, clips and 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 margin.  What’s next? Not 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 secret pockets?). 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 last year's??

Back on point – what other items show up in blind bags? Lets see, ah yes – ball point pen (dry), sunglasses (broken) ,matches (old), flash light (dead batteries), disposable camera with one picture left on it, multitool with 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 coming season. It 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 who 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: 

Ø      can I borrow your  T P?

Ø      got any matches?

Ø      Can I borrow a few shells?

Ø      What’s to eat?

Ø      Any coffee?

Ø      I left my gloves in the truck

Ø      I need a knife  

  Sound familiar Tom? 

  Well enough for today, I see two catalogs have arrived in the mail. Time to see what I ‘need’ for next season. 

   Safe hunting and take care of Mom Nature - my Grandkids intend to enjoy her too.

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