If you’re looking to turn your Jon Boat into a duck hunting boat, camouflage paint is a good start. However, ducks flying overhead will still spot it. That’s why many duck hunters choose to modify their boat with a duck blind.
There’s really two options. You can either purchase a kit or make a DIY Duck Blind. For the latter, it helps if you have access to a welder or know how to weld. Then you can make your own frame.
Duck Blind Kits
A company named “Bust Em” has a really nice duck blind kit. It contains a custom made welded galvanized metal tubular frame that has door hinges in some areas so that the frame can be moved to allow hunters the ability to load gear, enter and exit the boat, and allow dogs to jump in and out.
The frame is painted flat black so that it does not easily rust and does not have areas of glare that waterfowl could see. Wooden camouflaged panels cover the frame. If you desire, you can make your own panels and mount them to your own frame or you can just purchase the “Bust Em” kit.
The next part of the blind is important if you decide to use real vegetation for a more realistic camouflage. Wire mesh can be mounted to the wooden panels. You can then insert vegetation all through the mesh to deceive the smartest waterfowl. The vegetation you should use is the same type of vegetation surrounding your hunting area.
Large Cargo Doors
After the blind is mounted to the boat, you can open the cargo doors and store your decoys and other gear. Because your Jon Boat is now a closed in structure, you don’t have to worry about your gear blowing out of the boat. Bust Em makes these doors large so that you and your dogs can easily climb into and exit the boat.
If your decision is to make the duck blind yourself, it is a good idea to make doors large so that you don’t have trouble getting in and out.
Hinged & Movable Flaps
The last part of this type of Jon Boat duck blind is the middle top flaps. These flaps are similar to the side panels only they are present in the middle of the boat to further enhance camouflage from overhead flying waterfowl. If you make your own duck blind make sure to include flaps that are hinged and moveable.
Scissor-Style Duck Blind
Another type of Jon Boat duck blind is a scissors style duck blind. You can make it yourself or purchase a kit.
To make this type of blind, measure your boat from the rear of the back seat up to the rear of the front seat. This will be the area for your blind frame. For the frame you will need steel piping, electrical conduit, or pvc pipe.
Duck Bling Clamps
To mount the frame to your Jon Boat, you will need duck blind clamps. Sportsman Designs makes a real nice aluminum duck blind clamp that can hold ¾ inch conduit.
You will need two clamps, one for the right front side and one for the right rear side. One of your long side pieces will slide through these clamps and then the clamps are tightened so this section of frame does not move.
Make sure you measure your conduit properly before cutting it. You should have three solid long pieces that stretch from the back of the rear seat all the way up to the rear of the front seat on each side of the boat.
Two of these pieces form the sides of the rectangular frame on both sides of the boat. The other long piece is used for the top of the scissors duck blind frame.
Then you need two pieces of the same length that will serve as your rear cross frame and a middle piece that stands straight up behind your rear seat and connects with the top long piece. A 90 degree elbow is used to form the top and vertical parts of the blind.
To make the front of the frame, you will need a piece that lies across the front of the boat and a piece that stands vertically when the frame is up and connects by a 90 degree elbow to the top frame piece.
All four of these pieces should have holes drilled in them exactly in the middle because what you want to achieve is a scissors style duck blind that will lie flat until needed. You form the scissors by attaching a bolt, washer, and nut in each of the drilled holes.
After your frame is constructed and all hardware is tightened, you should be able to fold the frame down flat. You can now add material of your choosing to cover the frame. You can use either natural or man-made materials or you can combine the two.
Now when the blind is up, the birds will not see you hiding in the middle of your Jon Boat until it is too late!
And finally, you can find a lot of Jon Boat duck blind videos on youtube. This one in particular is very good.