When the last inlet to Currituck Sound closed in 1828, the water began to change. As rain, rivers, and streams poured in to the sound, the water became less salty and tall-grass marsh and wild celery attracted large flocks of migratory waterfowl in winter. The Currituck Sound became a hunters' paradise.
Due to incredibly good hunting conditions, the Knights, avid waterfowl hunters and conservationist, chose this site for a private residence. Experienced local guides ensured the hunters' success. Trained since childhood to lure waterfowl into shooting range, these guides used shove poles to maneuver skiffs through shallow waters and out to the duck blinds. During the first season of shooting, the Knights and their guests bagged 751 birds from 11 different locations on the property.
Although the days are done when the numbers of birds would be so large they covered the sky like "smoke", hunting traditions continue. Every year the blinds are dressed (camouglaged) for the fall and winter hunting season.
If you look across the water you can see many active duck blinds. Constructed by pushing four to six gum or maple poles into the sound, these small, square structures measure approximately four feet by six feet. Floors made of plywood planks sit about two and a half feet above the water. Planks cover the sides with lathes at the top and bottom. "Dressed" with pine limbs, the blinds are ready for another season.
Hunters used similar methods to construct blinds for their skiffs.
Clockwise from top left:
Dressing (camouflage) on the card for a duck blind. Photograph courtesy of Joyce Gallop Gaus
Hunter with a rig of decoys on Currituck Sound. Photograph courtesy of Joyce Gallop Gaus
Peters High Velocity shotgun shells. Courtesy of the Currituck Wildlife Guild
Hunters with silhouette decoys on a pond.Photograph courtesy of Gin Leinneweber