Hunting Season

You don’t just run out there and gun down the wary crow. Take time setting up. He has his blind spots. Learn to use them.

A pair of crows, their big mouths spieling out raucous threats, was tearing in from our right. “Take the front one,” I whispered to Gordie Pleiss, my hunting partner. Blamity blamm! echoed over the field. The pair collapsed in midair, thumping to the ground.

“They never saw us,” chuckled Gordie, stuffing in a new shell to replace the spent one.

“That just shows you how wrong you can be,” I laughed.

The crows were retrieved. They were the first of many to fall for the setup we’d thought impossible. By the time the sun was 10 o’clock high, a sizable stack of black marauders would be piled next to our blind. This first barrage was only the beginning.

Crow blinds are the most important part of successful crow shooting. They are equally as important as a duck blind or a goose blind, in my book – my theory being, the smaller and lower the better. Even if it means waiting and shooting from an uncomfortable position.

In 18 years of trying to outsmart crows, this one thing has been proved over and over. Shooting will be only as good as your preparation in building a blind.

Unfortunately, the best place to shoot crows is usually where there is a scarce amount of available cover. At least this is true in my part of Michigan, were farm fields offer little concealment. Gordie and I had run into this knotty problem on an early spring day last year.

The north-bound crows were just filtering into Michigan after spending their winter vacations south of the Mason-Dixon line. This particular spot was a cut over cornfield.

The crows were using it to supplement their meager spring rations. They were picking up corn left over from a mechanical picker. It was t a five-acre field, with nothing but an old barbed-wire fence and a few trees running through the center. We’d cased the place on numerous occasions; each time we’d given up. At times we’d shot a few crows by drawing them to the far edge, where sufficient cover offered concealment for a gunner.

When we’d arrived on Saturday morning there were about 150 crows frolicking around. Singles and doubles were dropping in quite regularly. Finally I couldn’t stand it any longer. In the back of the station wagon was a brand-new 20-gauge shotgun. I’d gotten delivery on it on Wednesday and was bustin’ to try it out. We just had to figure on a way to get at this noisy outfit.

Lookouts in trees are a must in crow shooting. Sentries give incoming crows the assurance all is well. They also can be seen a long way off.

“To heck with it,” I finally said, putting down the binocular. “Let’s try to make a blind with the camou flaged netting, right next to that tree. That way we’ll be protected from the right, and if we keep it low, we can pull up some grass to give it a natural look.”

“What can we lose?” agreed my partner.

I slung the carrying case over my shoulder, and after Gordie grabbed the guns, we set out across the field.

Crows lifted in a screaming mass, hollering about being disturbed from their morning breakfast. Dig ging out two rotten fence posts, we propped them up, stringing the 20-foot piece of camouflaged netting around them. With two six-foot pieces of light metal tubing, carried for just this purpose, we made enough room to shoot from a kneeling position.

A made-over mosquito-netting tent is the most important part of an effective crow rig, it can be used anywhere as a base to build from.