I’ve hunted waterfowl in many different settings throughout my life. Each of them have taught me new strategies, what not to do, and which gear works best for the a given situation. This article pertains to the period of time when my duck hunting buddies and I used marsh seats to chase ducks around the walk-in areas of public lands.
Why we ever tried marsh seats:
When first starting to hunt these walk-in (wade and shoots), we quickly realized we needed some type of sitting platform instead of standing in the water all day. The issue was, we were walking long distances and didn’t have the room to carry a large blind. Even if we were able to take one with us, we wouldn’t be able to set it up in the standing water we’d be hunting in. This was quickly resolved once we started using marsh seats.
Marsh seat pros and cons for duck hunting:
What is a Marsh Seat?
A marsh seat is a collapsible chair used when duck hunting. The hunter sets the seat’s stake in the ground and sits on the chair portion while their feet sit on the ground below the water.
During those years of walk-in hunting (which we still do from time to time), I learned a lot about marsh seats, including what I liked and what I didn’t like about using them.
|Pros of Marsh Seats||Cons of Marsh Seats|
|Quick set up/take down||Unconcealed movement|
|Portable||Dependent on surrounding cover|
|Easy to adjust||No storage|
|Compact size||Ice freezes on stake/seat|
|Low profile||Hard to stick in frozen ground|
|Easy storage||Uncomfortable for long periods|
|Low maintenance||Limited to shallow water|
- Quick set up and take down: A-Frame and other blinds have their advantages, but setting them up can be time consuming and cumbersome. With marsh seats, you just stick them in the mud, pop out the sitting platform, adjust the height, and your marsh seat is good to go.
- Portable: Marsh seats are by far one of the smallest and lightest concealment options for duck hunting. They can be collapsed into a very compact size, and most come with shoulder straps so hunters can carry them hands free. This provides many benefits:
- The ability to walk longer distances without the weight of other portable blinds
- A hunter’s hands are free to carry other gear
- Allow easy movement within hunting areas. If you’re seeing ducks landing/working a different section of the pool, marsh seats make it very easy to pack up your gear and set up on the X
- Simple to adjust: This is very important when hunting different depths of water. The shallower the water, the lower the seat must be in order for the hunter to stay hidden, but in deeper water, the seat needs to be higher to keep your gear dry
- Small size: Marsh seats take up very little space allowing for more room for other gear. This also helps with storage (hey, we only have so much garage/shed space available right?)
- Low profile: Many times when duck hunting from a marsh seat, hunters are surrounded by sparse cover. Keeping a low profile helps avoid being detected by the weary eyes of ducks.
- Low maintenance: After a day of hunting, there’s little cleanup. Just clean out the mud stuck in the “feet”, throw it in the corner, and it’s ready to go for your next hunt.
- Unconcealed movement: Traditional blinds offer fabric, wood, or some other type of material as a visual barrier between the hunter and ducks. Sitting in a marsh seat however leaves the waterfowl hunter out in the open. Any hunter movement not blocked by surrounding vegetation/trees is easily spotted from the air.
- Dependent upon surrounding coverage: It’s essential to set up next to or within vegetation or brush. Not all sections of a hunting area provide this, so concealment areas within a pool can be limited.
- No built in Storage: Marsh seats are designed to be lightweight and portable, so all frills have been stripped away. This challenge is compounded by the fact there is no surface area to set a blind bag on. Everything you want withing arms reach during your hunt will need to be stuffed into your clothing.
- Ice freezes seat/leg stand joints: Locking in the seat and legs are done by “snapping” them open and closed and securing them with a pin. When the joints between these lock-in areas get covered in ice, they can be immovable. This causes them to get stuck until they thaw out.
- Hard to stick into frozen ground: Marsh seats are secured to the ground by shoving their point on the bottom into the ground below the water. When this ground becomes frozen, it becomes extremely challenging to get them to go in.
- Uncomfortable for long periods: Sitting in any one spot for too long can be uncomfortable. Picture doing so for hours on a small platform with limited padding.
If you’re hunting from dry ground and looking for comfort, a layout blind would be a much better option.
- Limited to shallow water: A marsh seat’s ability to adjust it’s height is great, but it only extends to a certain limit. You’ll be out of luck if where you want to set up to hunt on is much deeper than 2 1/2 feet.
My Favorite Marsh Seats
My top choice for a marsh seat would be the the Avery Max5. You can checkout pricing and reviews on Amazon by clicking on the image below:
If you’re interested in an option with a backrest, I would recommend this one made by Alps. Click on the image below to see pricing and reviews on Amazon:
When and where to use a marsh seat
- Marsh seats are best used when hunting areas of shallow standing water that won’t allow for a traditional duck blind to be set up.
- When there’s enough vegetation/brush in or around the pool to hide in.
- When you’re solo hunting and need your hands free to carry all your gear, or for smaller groups of hunters who’ll be walking long distances to their spot.
- When hunting larger pools where you might need to quickly change locations in order to set up on the X.
When not to use a marsh seat:
- When hunting with a dog: Unless you also bring some type of sitting platform for the dog, and it’s trained well enough to not break until the ducks are dead on the water. Any movement by the dog will easily be seen from the air.
- When hunting in temperatures cold enough to freeze the water. Since you’re feet sit in the water, it’s probably obvious that this wouldn’t be a good idea. This is also true because marsh seats offer no blockage from the wind/elements and there’s no where to set a portable heater.
- Wide open water that’s too deep or provides no cover. You either won’t be able to stick the seat in the ground, or you’re silhouette will stick out like a sore thumb.
Tips for Using a Marsh Seat:
- It’s much easier to lock in the seat and adjust the height before sticking it into the ground.
- Clean out the mud that gets stuck in the legs after each hunt. Otherwise it hardens up and becomes tougher to remove.
- Check the shoulder strap length before using it in the field. Try it on with the heavy coat and waders you’ll be wearing while hunting.
- Carry extra clips (that match ones used to lock in the seat and height adjustment) with you, it’s surprisingly easy to drop the them while out hunting.
Are Marsh seats good for duck hunting?
Marsh seats can be transported and relocated quickly. Their low profile allows waterfowls to hide within brush and standing vegetation in the water. This can give waterfowl hunters a chance to get closer to the action than conventional blinds would allow. These attributes make marsh seats a great option for those wanting to travel light and stay mobile.
But this also comes with a few costs. The first of which being limited storage for other hunting items. Remember, there’s not much room for any gear other than what you can fit in your clothing (there’s usually nothing to set a blind bag on). The second of which is the comfort factor. Marsh seats tend to have smaller platforms, which makes sitting in one spot for too long a bit challenging.
FIND THE DUCKS!
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