The Portable Pond

No water where you hunt? No Problem

John Rice

Above our heads, the throaty squeals of drake wigeon had our 4-year-old black Lab, Maggie, shaking in anticipation. The knot of 50 birds turned a tight circle out in front of us, then bored straight into our blocks.

We shot, and a pair of drakes dropped into the grass. "One more bunch like that," said my wife, Julie, "and we can roll up the pond and go home."

The "pond" Julie was referring to was actually nothing more than two pieces of lightweight plastic sheeting made to look like a small body of water. It worked perfectly for us that morning and can do the same for you. Here's how we set it up:

First, we determined via scouting that the wigeon were making daily flights to a large short-cropped pasture to feed on the green grass. However, there was no natural feature-such as a pond or sheet water-to concentrate the birds in any one area. So I went out and bought two 250-square-foot rolls of 3 mil clear plastic sheeting, which-not unlike the surface of water-is translucent and reflective.

Before daylight, Julie and I spread the two rolls out on the grass and rounded the corners with scissors. This simulated a pond roughly 15x20 feet in size. We secured the edges with plastic tent stakes. Eighteen wigeon decoys and some strategically placed tufts of grass on top of the plastic sheeting finished the aquatic illusion.

Finally, we set out a pair of low-profile laydown blinds on the upwind edge of the plastic, which apparently looked very much like water to our bag limits of wigeon. Then we rolled up our pond and went home.