Duck Hunting in the Summer
What about Hunting Crows
Note: As the hunter wearing lightweight camouflage called
excitedly, he could see the reaction from the birds
when his notes hit them. The birds spotted the hunter’s
decoys and came in over the water as though the caller
had them on a string, although he’d put his blind
on the bank. The birds, less than 40-yards away, couldn't
spot the hunter dressed in full camouflage, including
hat, headnet, gloves, shirt and pants. When he came
up, the hunter took aim on the lead bird and fired.
As two more birds flared, the hunter swung quickly,
fired twice and dropped one of the birds, most of which
landed on the water. The hunter’s friend also
had taken two birds. As the birds flew out of range,
both hunters sent their Labrador retrievers to race
out of the blind, spring like jackrabbits into the water,
swim for the downed birds, pick them up and bring them
back to the blind. Once the dogs returned and dropped
the birds in the blinds, the first hunter looked at
his partner, smiled and asked, "Isn't this the
finest duck hunt you've ever had?" The second hunter
laughed and answered, "This is great. No one would
believe that you could shoot this many birds in one
day in the summertime and have this much duck-hunting
fun, out of duck-hunting season without poaching or
breaking the law." Summertime duck hunting sounds
illegal, and it is. However, by simply changing which
bird is hunted, you’ll leave all the other elements
of duck hunting in place. These hunters shot crows over
water, not ducks.
Before you decide there's not much involved in hunting
crows, consider that crows have a complex communication
system. Ornithologists have identified 50-different
expressions crows make. For instance, the sounds "caw-aw,
caw-aw, caw-aw" assure the flocks of safety. The
"Kawk, kawk, kawk" sound warns crows of danger.
Scientists have found that crows, like parrots, can
learn to repeat words and long phrases. Crows with their
high intelligence and keen eyesight are hard to fool
when you hunt them.
A question recently arose in Hamburg and Berlin, Germany
concerning the findings of thousands of toad corpses
around some ponds. Officials tested the
ponds’ water quality to see if contamination could
be the problem, but the results from all the tests came
back negative. A local scientist suggests that, "Hungry
crows are pecking out the toads' livers." The veterinarian
assisting the investigators, who studied the toad corpses,
said that the toads' chest areas had been opened, and
the livers removed, causing the toads' lungs to puff
up and pop. He also said, "It's not unique- it's
in a city area and that makes it spectacular."
Crows, extremely-smart animals, tend to repeat the actions
of other crows as they see them. Scientists conjecture
that crows have mimicked what their leader crow does
to get food and survive.
History of Crow Hunting:
Crows became such a menace in some Midwestern states
that during the 1930s, game and fish departments actually
dynamited crow roosts at the requests of landowners.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the U.S. government
gave farmers free ammunition to shoot crows. Some towns
had roosts with populations of 75,000 to 100,000 crows
in the mid-1900s.
Common-Sense Crow Hunting:
The federal government dictates that states only can
have a 60-day crow season. Most states have designated
their crow seasons to take place in the fall with specific
beginnings and endings. But crow hunters, just like
rarely if ever hunt all 60 days of the season. If they
do, they'll probably take more ducks than they should.
However, unlike ducks, there's no shortage of crows.
Too, not very many people hunt crows, and in many areas
of the South, the crows create more crop damage than
the ducks do in the Louisiana rice fields. Crows will
walk down corn fields and pick up every grain of corn
in a row and strip a field of peanuts the same way.
But in the South, crows create the most crop damage
in pecan fields – a more than $15-million business
per year in many southern states. A large flock of crows
can go in and destroy an entire pecan crop. Unlike ducks,
crows are not considered welcome visitors.
Alabama's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
(DCNR) has set up one of the most-reasonable crow seasons
in the nation. Allan Andress, chief of enforcement of
Alabama's DCNR, explains, “The federal government
says each state can only have a 60-day crow season because
crows are migratory birds. Alabama's regulation book
states that crows can be hunted all year long, but only
for 60-days. To my knowledge, there's never been a report
of an Alabama crow hunter hunting crows more than 60
days in one year. We've never caught a hunter violating
the 60-day limit, and to my knowledge, we've never issued
a ticket to a crow hunter who's hunted more than 60
days. We dictate that crow hunters in Alabama can't
hunt more than 60 days. We just let them pick whatever
60 days they want to hunt, a system that has worked
very effectively over the years. Some crow hunters have
chosen to have a split season. For instance, they may
hunt crows for two or three days in the fall, a couple
of days in the winter, two or three days in the spring
and once again for several days in the summer. As long
as they don't hunt more than 60 days in a year's time,
crow hunters can split up their seasons in any way they
want. We have no indication that crows in the state
of Alabama are overhunted; or, that crow hunters are
taking too many crows; or, that hunters are violating
the rule of hunting crows more than 60 days in a year.
That's why we can say hunters can hunt all year long,
as long as they don't hunt crows for more than 60 days.”
Be sure to check the rules and regulations of the state
where you hunt before hunting in the summer, since many
states have 60-day crow-hunting seasons between September
1 and January 1.
Tomorrow: Crow-Hunting Tactics with Will Primos