A Boat-Mounted Ladder-Stand For Inspecting Duck Nest Boxes

A boat-mounted ladder-stand was constructed to facilitate inspection of duck nest boxes that were mounted on poles between six and eight feet above water. This device allowed a large number of boxes to be inspected in a short period of time without having to set up and take down a ladder at each box. The ladderstand was constructed from materials readily available. The need to inspect nest boxes, which must be mounted high over water to protect them from floods, often involves a considerable amount of effort. A boat is usually used to transport an extension ladder to each box; the ladder is then set in the water and supported against the tree or pole holding the box. After inspection, the ladder must be extracted from the mud, placed back in the boat, and the procedure repeated at each box. This situation was encountered at the Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge, located near Manila, Arkansas, where all nest boxes erected for Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) are mounted 6 to 8 feet above water. To facilitate the inspection of these boxes, a stand was constructed of l'h by 1/4 inch angle-iron, which would slip over the gunwales of an aluminum boat. The stand held an eight foot aluminum stepladder at the beam of the boat. The boat had a 56 inch beam and was 16 feet long. The stand holds itself in place on the boat without bolts or clamps, yet can be slid on or off easily. The ladder can be folded up for travelling by simply pUlling a single pin from the front set of legs. A spring-steel bar, placed on the side of the stand, is used to lock the boat to the box-pole and prevents the boat, or ladder, from tipping while the ladder is being climbed.

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