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Another Season Opener Here As Crow Season Arrives
When I brought my duck and goose decoys down out of the loft, I also brought my crow decoys forward so they will be easy to get to when the time comes for me to go after crows. I know that crows are way down on your hunting list right now with everything else going on such as deer seasons and duck seasons. That said crows are not the top of my list right now either, but I think about them all the time as to me they are tougher to fool than waterfowl. They can see what seems like forever and since you are hiding out in the open it puts you even more susceptible to being spotted. For ducks and geese we hunt from blinds and there is no way to be seen. Other than that, waterfowl hunting and crow hunting have a great deal in common.
Some of those things which they share is having decoys placed so the birds will be focused on the decoys and not on seeing you. Speaking of seeing you, I think camouflage and being hidden is even more critical for fooling crows. Two weeks ago, I was in South Dakota sitting on a bank among some sparse cover along a shore of a small lake that we call “The wall of death” just because of the amount of success we have had there. If you place the pocket of decoys so approaching ducks are more focused on that, and you do not move, you will fool ducks. I could never sit in the relative open with so little cover and ever expect to fool a crow. The crows in the wild are not the same crows eating French fries in the Wal-Mart parking lot and digging through trash. Both duck hunting and crow hunting will require calling, although with crows you can use electronic calls.
Crow season opened on November 1st and in the past I have taken the opening day off just to get a crack at young and untested crows. Since retiring, I have all the opening days off and had planned on being out there. Unfortunately, three bad discs in my back have left me walking and looking like a question mark and my left hand has turned into a claw. While surgery is not being called for yet (thank goodness as I didn’t want to miss out on any hunting opportunities) I am drugged up pretty well and spend my days sleeping or trying to get comfortable. The crow season runs through March 3rd, so there will be more opportunities to participate later since I didn’t make opening day.
I understand full well some may have misgivings about crow hunting. But for those who live near or under a roost, I’m sure they are not overly found of the mess caused by these winged varmints. Crows also have no real predators aside from man and they rob the nest of song birds, as well as waterfowl, which puts them on my hit list. They can also carry disease. I cannot tell if we are even making a difference in their population, but if they seem almost unchecked now without hunting it would only be worse. At least those are my thoughts. The United States has a signed treaty with Mexico which allows the hunting of the pests, and I would assume those were the reasons that we signed that agreement.
So if you are thinking about crow hunting, what does it take to get started? The easiest thing you have to do is to get out and find where the birds are roosting. Where I hunt it’s pretty simple as the crows roost in Keokuk, Iowa and across over in the Land of Lincoln . Having found the roost, then watch them as they go out to feed and find a place along that flight path to call from. Having gained permission, be there and set up well before sunrise and then an hour or so before sunset when they return to the roost. You need camouflage clothing as if you were turkey hunting. But even in full camouflage, I like to build some type of blind out of brush so it looks natural and not manmade. I have also settled down in a brush pile to hide from the crows. You’ll need decoys and I would start out with a minimum of a dozen, but you’ll find as you get more into it you begin adding numbers to your decoy spread. As far as putting the decoys out: in a perfect world I would place the decoys behind me so approaching crows would be focused on them and not on me. If the wind dictates it, I will set the decoys downwind of the hunters and we’ll take our shots as the crows pass by heading to the decoys. But it’s far from a perfect world, so most times I am sitting in the middle of the decoy spread.
You can use a mouth caller to bring crows in, but really doing that would be a hit and miss proposition and you also will not have the volume required to pull crows very far. So if you are remotely serious about crow hunting, get an electronic caller. There are many on the market that will meet your needs. You can also use the same call to call in other varmints or even snow geese in the spring. There are literally almost countless sounds that can be purchased and downloaded to your caller depending upon the model and make you purchased. I set the caller in with the decoys and, once again, I try to set the caller behind me or downwind so the approaching crows will present passing shots.
I am sure you already have a shotgun that will work just fine. I’m also just as sure that you have target ammo such as 7 1/2s that will work just fine on taking crows. They are a big bird and sometimes will take a solid hit and not immediately fall. Back in the days when I reloaded a lot, I could get a bag of lead in #6 shot and they seemed to work even better. The best ammo I ever used on crows (and this will show you how old I am) was Winchester Super X Mark 5’s. I bought them at Stevens’ Standard in Alexandria owned by the Stevens family. For some reason, if I remember correctly, Slim Stevens the owner had gotten a deal on the ammo and once again if I remember correctly they had been made to go to Canada. I do remember it was the first time I ever bought a case of shotgun ammo. But I know I shot the case up in one crow season!
For exciting action on a creature that’s tough to fool, think about picking up the sport.