One of the best blinds to use for observing wildlife is a waterway such as a
small river or a slow stream. The water camouflages much of the body and most
animals do not expect danger to come from the water. Many times I have used a
modified duck island to bring me within touching distance of a watering deer.
One time in particular, a duck tried to climb up on my head, probably thinking
it was a good nesting site.
When you do decide to try a float down a stream, there are a few things to
keep in mind to ensure your safety and minimize the noise. As you float, be sure
you float feet first, feeling everything to make sure you don't impale yourself
on an object just below the surface. Move with the current, floating not
swimming, to keep from making splashes or gurgling noises. It is a good idea to
camouflage your head for stalking into touching range of animals. If the water
is too deep or cold, get an old inner tube, tie in a seat and camouflage the
rest with grasses and other debris so that you appear as a floating island. Keep
your arms close to the sides for steering.
Do not go into water that will chill you or cast you into hypothermia within
a few minutes. If you have nothing else than cold water, use a wet suit or
camouflaged inner tube. Be careful of snakes, snapping turtles, and alligators
A variation of this technique I love to do is to float along with a dive mask
and snorkel on. This way there is no swimming effort but you get a gorgeous view
of the bottom with all its wildlife and plants. Once you're hooked on the
streams and rivers as an easy stalking aid, you'll always use them. They're
great for survival hunting, too.