Blind 16 at Ridgefield sits in the southern end of the refuge between the non-hunting part of the refuge and Bachelor Slough and the Columbia River. It’s a box blind facing North and is on stilts and enveloped in trees, making for good camouflage and a good vantage point. Once the water levels go up it is surrounded on three sides by fairly open ponds, leaving hunters a lot of good options for decoy sets.
It’s also an easy walk from the parking lot, but beware of the path as water levels rise. It can get deep quickly, chest level, so you might consider staying left or right of the path as you approach the blind. As with most blinds in Ridgefield, a walking stick is helpful as underwater tufts of grass can grab at your boots and nutria holes can trip you.
This blind is a consistent producer at the refuge, often landing among the top 5 blinds, especially as water levels rise. Early in the season it’s slow because Blind 17 usually has a lot more water around it and pulls the most ducks.
This is a really good blind to exercise some patience. If you have favorable winds, leave the water in front of the blind free of decoys and dot the left and right ponds with them. About half the birds approaching this blind will do so from behind it and you won’t see them until they pass over the blind or to the sides going away from you. Hold still and stay in the shadows and it’s possible you will be rewarded with birds swinging around and passing right over the open water in front of the blind, either giving you a good landing shot or a low, slow left-to-right or right-to-left pass. It can be a fun shoot! Beware of dropping birds into the nearby clumps of grass to the east of the blind as downed ducks can disappear there, even if they’re close.
You can get some interference from Blind 14 to the north or Blind 17 to the south, but it’s not nearly as bad as other blinds.
You’ll get a full range of birds here, most often Northern Shovelers, but also Mallards and Pintails traversing the hunting area.
You might get some good goose shots here at low overhead geese, but shooting from other blinds often drives them too high. Still, be prepared as you stand a good chance of getting a low flock or a lone goose that you call in close.
Type: 3-person box blind.
Pros: A consistent top 5 blind, close to parking lot, gets better as the season progresses, water on three sides later in the season.
Cons: Low water early in the season makes for slow hunting, high water (chest) later in the season makes for better hunting but harder walk-in. Box limits visibility from South where incoming birds often originate.