Type: Pit, 2-person vault with 1-person cylinder.
Pros: Can be a very hot blind on the right day, 50-yard marshy walk from trail to blind can be a challenge.
Cons: Little natural camouflage, weedy marsh not always ideal for conditions, low water early in the season.
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Blind 18 at Ridgefield sits near the southern boundary of the refuge. It has a 2-man vault and 1-man cylinder, facing east. It’s really a small island in the marsh and is, when the water is up, surrounded on all sides. The hike to it is manageable, although the last 50 yards has you crossing a marsh and the trail can be treacherous with slippery mud and nutria holes. A walking stick is helpful.
Bring some brush to help camouflage the blinds. Other hunters have brought in limbs and sticks, which you can use to help build a good hide, but the grass they bring deteriorates quickly.
Shooting from blind 17 to the north and 19 to the southwest often interrupt working birds, especially early, so know the flying lanes, your shooting windows and take your opportunities early as birds may get spooked before they commit.
I’ve hunted this blind twice. The first time we had more water and a lot of action from mallards and pintails, which would frequently come in from the non-hunting area ponds off to the East, or ducks coming off the Columbia River from the Southwest, flying right to left as you’re looking out in the blind. The second time birds really wanted nothing to do with our set-up, preferring the more open water of blind 17.
The marsh around the blind does not have a lot of open pools early in the season when the water is low and is filled with clumps of grasses. These clumps don’t lend themselves to “V” or “X” patterns, but more to natural patterns of ducks feeding and resting in the weeds or on the shore of the blind, allowing the small open pools to be used as landing zones. But I don’t feel I have this blind completely figured out yet so if you have a suggestion let me know in the comments below.
You might get an opportunity during the morning flyovers but watch out for the protected dusky geese, as they like this end of the refuge and fly low. There’s not a lot of room near the blind for land-based goose decoys but floaters and some calling might help for loaners.