If you’re going to duck hunt with a retriever, you have to have a hunting retriever stand. There are just too many places you can’t take a dog without one. Most guys who hunt, have some sort of old deer stand they can lock on a tree to use when hunting flooded timber, (if you don’t, e-mail me and I’ll sell you one). Hunting shallow swamps and marshes without timber requires something to keep your dog out of the water when not retrieving. You might say, he’s a retriever, he can suck it up. But, he or she actually can’t physically bear an extended period of time in frigid waters. Their body will shut down and you’ll be in for a whopping vet bill, if you realize it in time. So, keep your dog out of the water when they aren’t retrieving! Some swamp stands or dog platforms can cost upwards of $200. Well, I made my own swamp stand/hunting retriever platform for less than $20, and it folds flat for storage. It does wobble a bit on flat ground, but in the swamp or marsh, stuck in the mud, it’s rock solid with my 85-pound lab on it.
Materials: 4 Casters $1.50-$2.00 each
2 10′ pieces of 1/2″ EMT- $3.50 total
Plywood, at least 1/2″ thick – $Free for me, used scrap wood
2 Hitch pins (available at Home Depot, Lowes, or Tractor Supply) – $2.00 each
1/4″ bolts, washers, lock washers, and nuts
Carpet (if you desire)
Step One: Take a hack saw and cut all the wheel axles and wheels off the casters, you’ll be using bolts as your pivot point.
Step two: Cut the EMT into two 69″ pieces. I say 69″ because I wanted mine to be 23″ tall and 23″ wide, (sorry the height isn’t adjustable on my model). (3 x 23″ = 69″)
Step three: Bend the EMT at 90 degree angles at 23″ from both ends, making what looks like a rounded square missing a side.
Step four: Attach one set of the casters to the appropriate aligning corners of the board. It is best to align them, mark them on the board, then attach them, so they stay aligned.
Step five: Pre-fit one piece of the EMT into the casters (which will act as hinges) and mark with a permanent marker where a hole should be drilled. (I used 1/4″ bolts, so I drilled 1/4″ hole and just expand it out a tad bigger to make the bolts fit well.)
Step six: Attach EMT to casters with nuts, washer, lock washer, and bolts on both casters. (you should now have one hinging leg. You will have to either make the casters for the next leg closer or further apart than this one or the legs will just hit each other and it won’t fold all the way flat. You could adjust the measurements of one side of the bending if you want it to look perfect, but it’s going to be stuck in the mud, so it is a lot of effort for little return. By that I mean, I didn’t feel like going back to the store to get more EMT and re bend it. So I just adjusted my angle a little by hand.)
Step seven: Attach casters and EMT leg to opposite side.
Step eight: Measure from one leg to opposite caster for the brace leg. (DO NOT measure from leg to leg, because both legs hinge, so the stand will just fall down. Notice the extra holes in my legs, I tried it, doesn’t work)
Step nine: Cut your EMT to length and pound one or both ends flat with a hammer and anvil or flat surface. The flatness allows it to fold flat easier with less resistance. Mark and drill holes in brace and legs, do the same for the caster.
Step ten: Bolt on the brace to the leg, and use one of your hitch pins to secure it to the caster, you should now have on secure leg.
Step 11: Do the same for the opposite leg, try to retain the same angle: You know have a dog stand. To fold it flat remove the pins and fold legs flat, it will probably only fold one side first every time. Clip hitch pins back onto legs for safe keeping. You may want to add a piece of string or para cord to permanently attach clips in a sliding position on the legs. This way you don’t lose them in the swamp or water with cold hands wearing gloves. You may also want to add carpet and a handle or strap, but all that is up to you.
Feel free to modify, expand and share this plan or idea with anyone. Make it at your own risk, I am not an engineer, but I feel this might give some brilliant thinkers a good jumping off point.