Blind 9 sits in the middle of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. It faces east-northeast and sits in the southwest corner of a pretty large pond. It’s a box blind with a deck built around it. When we last visited it in 2018 it had a lot of brush on it.
The walk-in is on a fairly easy path, expect for the last 30-40 yards, which is through a pretty slimy trench that tangle your feet pretty easily. I found that if you walk past the sign and get onto the walking trail you can approach the blind through the flooded grass. It’s about the same distance, but it feels less treacherous. However, once you get close to the blind beware of deeper water, especially right in front of the blind. Also watch out for a submerged stump and its roots on the right side of the blind. It nearly dunked our hunting party on a couple of occasions even though we knew it was there. There are steps up to the blind as well. The deck can be slippery.
Bring a large walking stick. The main pool is pretty easy to navigate but the bottom can be a bit soft. The flooded grass on the sides are pocked with submerged holes and clumps of grass. Go slow and know every step can be a gamble.
If you have mobility issues and no dog, this is a blind to avoid.
I’ve hunted this blind twice. The first time was very frustrating because the blind and its surroundings were even more treacherous. It became the namesake of this site. I don’t remember much about that hunt, but I know we brought in a good bag. The second time, in 2018, was a highlight for the season. We caught the blind in nearly ideal conditions and had a really fun hunt.
The blind sits in the southwest corner of the pool, giving you a lot of options for setting up. Our best luck came when we set up the decoys on the upwind shore and left a 10-yard open lane between the decoys and the blind. This gave the ducks a large landing zone but also an option to bail out and keep flying through that lane instead of flaring and turning away. We got plenty of shots of both landing ducks and close, quality passing shots. Shovelers, pintails and gadwall seem to love this middle part of the refuge.
On some days you may want to bring enough decoys to deny some water farther away from the blind. We had a few groups land beyond our decoys.
There’s not really an area close enough to the blind to set up any goose decoys and if you did they would get shot at by the blinds surrounding this one. If you’ve got a southeast wind you should get some opportunities at flyovers from the morning goose exodus about 9 a.m. Put out some goose floaters, too, as you might bring in a single or a pair.
Type: 3-person box blind
Pros: Good water with pond that birds seem to like. Blind is well camouflaged.
Cons: Beware of submerged holes, grass clumps and one nasty stump. Surrounded by other blinds so shooting from them can disrupt the hunt.