| Black Powder
How would you like to drastically increase your bag limit, hunt a dove field and take 20 to 50 birds in a day without breaking the law? Could you enjoy hunting your Labrador retriever 100 days or more a season?
You may be able to do this if you hunt crows with black powder. Many states have very liberal seasons and bag limits for crows. For instance, Alabama has no closed season and no bag limit on crows, but in Arkansas the season usually is set for September through February. In most states, crow hunters are welcomed with open arms because crows destroy crops and cause havoc in orchards. In many areas if you eliminate a farmer's crow problems, he may open his lands to you for hunting other species.
Although some black-powder crow hunters choose to shoot a double-barreled 12 gauge, I prefer a single shot with a full choke. Often crows will come in high, and I want to shoot a tight pattern to reach up and touch the birds.
Natural Voice Calling And Retrieving Dogs
Bob Walker, of Livingston, Alabama, who has been hunting crows for 14 years, says, "I love to hunt my dog, Bear. But dove and duck season are so short I don't believe Bear gets enough work to keep him tuned-up. So I hunt crows throughout the rest of the year."
Walker has learned to call crows with his natural voice.
"Because I know all the landowners close to my home, I can hunt crows almost anywhere I want," Walker explains. "I do a lot of running and gunning. Usually when I see a crow, I'll hide my car, get out wearing full camouflage, hide under some trees and begin to call. When the crows come in, I shoot the birds. Then I'll get into my car, drive about a mile away and start to call again."
Walker believes the best time to call crows is just after daylight, which is when the birds are bunched-up. As the sun climbs higher in the sky, the birds will begin to disperse. Then pulling in a large flock of crows can be difficult. Although most sportsmen in the South and Midwest generally hunt crows in the fall when the crows migrate, Walker hunts crows all year long.
"I especially like to hunt two or three weeks before dove season or duck season," Walker mentions. "Then I can give Bear the retrieving work he needs to hone his skills before the other bird seasons start."
However, Walker is quick to warn that you not allow a young retriever to begin his retrieving career with crows. "If a crow is just wounded and the dog starts to pick the bird up, the crow can inflict a pretty good peck on the dog's nose, which may spook a young dog," Walker comments. "But Bear likes to tussle with the crows and enjoys going out and retrieving them."