Avery® Ruff Stand: A Field-Test Review
By: Sean Sutherland
Avery's Ruff Stand retriever platform gives dogs and hunters the edge both require when hunting shallow water.
Keeping a retriever up and out of the water not only helps him or her mark birds better; it also keeps the dog safe in cold conditions.
I picked up a Ruff Stand for the start of Nebraska's 2009 duck season. Opener was October 11, and what an opener it was snow and bitter-cold morning temperatures greeted us at the marsh.
Overnight, our pre-scouted hotspot turned into slush. Single-digit morning temperatures froze everything above the water too. What usually would be a relaxing, mild-temperature opener became a frosty experience for two hunters and a dog.
As we searched for a spot to set decoys about an hour before sunrise, the dog migrated to dry ground and stayed there. He wanted nothing to do with the margarita-like marsh water. I couldn't blame him.
While my hunting partner chiseled in our small floater spread, I pulled the Ruff Stand off my shoulder and set it up. The Ruff Stand doesn't weigh much on the shoulder, though its generous size does make it cumbersome when busting though thick cattails, reeds and brush. I especially like its low profile when folded perfect for transport in the bottom or against the gunwale of a duck boat.
On its lowest setting, the stand was just above knee level. This height perfectly matched our depth, keeping the platform just above the surface. I found the leg-securing pins to be a bit clumsy in gloved hands, a 1/8" coating of ice not helping matters. A little downward pressure on the platform helped me slide the pins into position with minimal hassle.
Once the stand was up, it made a rock-solid perch for the dog. It put him just at the tops of the cattails, allowing him to get a good mark on the first two greenheads we dropped shortly after shooting time. Several ducks later, a white layer of frost coated the dog. Thank goodness for the Ruff Stand! Without it, our hunt would have been cut short, as we would have kept the dog's safety foremost in mind.
I strongly believe the Ruff Stand is a sound investment for any walk-in waterfowl hunter with a retriever. After a full two months of heavy use, my Ruff Stand looks as solid as the day I bought it. Plus, having a safe, reliable perch for your favorite four-legged hunting partner is not only courteous it's in the best interest of his or her well-being when hunting in cold water!
The Avery Ruff stand's reasonable portability, rugged construction and versatile height adjustment make it a great addition to the waterfowler's arsenal. Your retriever will thank you for it too!