Where to put the dog blind?
One challenge of waterfowl hunting with a dog is finding a place for it to sit where it can simultaneously be hidden from incoming birds, but still be able to mark the location of the each fall as they’re shot.
In traditional blinds, the dog often sits in the blind with the concealed hunters. Sometimes a doggie door is provided so the dog can see out, while other times each retrieve is a blind because the dog can’t see the fall. If you have a steady dog, a remote location outside of the hunter’s blind can be used.
With layout blinds, however, the low profile and limited space of the hide makes it difficult to mask the presence of a dog.
Many hunters will put the dog in the small layout blind with them, letting the dog lay between their legs. This completely obscures the dog, and let’s be honest, is a toasty welcome, but it’s a dangerous position for your hunting buddy.
As you sit up to shoot, the dog sits up, too. At best, this puts the dog directly under the muzzle blast as you begin popping back-flapping birds. Worst-case scenario: the dog either hits your shotgun, pushing it off target and potentially toward your hunting partners, or he could potentially take a load of pellets to the back of his skull.
Better positioning for your dog, when hunting from a layout blind, is for him to have his own hide in the field. Several manufacturers’ make specially designed dog blinds that can be brushed out and blended in to your surroundings.
The question becomes: where to put the doggie hideout? Placing it beside your layout is a logical choice. It allows you to shoot freely, without worry of the interfering with your swing or being in the shot blast. If your dog breaks, the location also gives you time to see him through peripheral vision and hold your shot.
As good as the side-by-side remote position is, Avery pro Ben Fujan has one that might be better. He puts the dog behind his layout blind. In this back position, the dog can look over his shoulder and mark off the gun.
The placement also has a psychological effect on the dog that will help to keep him from breaking; you’re in front of him and your location can act as a barrier. It seems like a great place for a dog and one that I’ll be trying.