January 31, 2002

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

It is not even February yet and I have already been hit with the winter blues as far as my sporting activities are concerned. Thanks to this darn warm weather I was only able to go ice fishing twice. Bird hunting was once again a total bust and I've only been able to make it out the gym on a few Sunday nights to play basketball. So needless to say when the guys called me to go hunting Sunday morning I was ready to roll. I guess that's why I never asked what we were going hunting for.

Believe me, I never suspected that this column would make mention of crow hunting (I have on a couple times had to write about "eating crow") but when you are desperate like I was, what can you say? To be honest I didn't know people went crow hunting, but apparently it is a blossoming sport. It makes sense, as there are plenty of the nosy black birds around, and they are a natural enemy for farmers. But still, I never expected to get out my hunting magazines and see that one could order crow decoys, tape-recorded crow calls and even an automated "MoJo" crow machine to help attract the birds.

It seems like my two hunting partners are old hands at this game because they had already ordered most of this equipment (except for the MoJo crow - he must have been on back order). Plus as we hit the road to our destination they began talking about good crow hunting spots and past hunts. There was even some talk of creating a crow hunting guide service, but that may be a bit premature.

Anyway we finally made it to the field and set up in a tree line behind some hay bales. Of course we were completely camoflauged from head to toe. We set out the crow decoys and powered up the call. For those who have never heard such a machine, all I can say is it reminded me of something one would hear on a horror movie sound track, and that was just the reveille call. Once the birds started coming in close they switched over to the "Crow death call" which resembled the sound a cat makes when he gets his tail squashed under the rocking chair. Just imagine that sound, non-stop for about 10 minutes, toss in a few scattered gun shots and some cursing under your breath when you missed yet another crow, and you have yourself a crow hunt.

I have to admit, it is a challenging sport of wing shooting that may be more difficult even than dove hunting. It definitely is harder if you factor in the noise level and consider that you have to listen to those squalls for hours upon hours. All in all it was a pretty fun afternoon. So if there are any farmers out there in need of some shotgun toting scarecrows just give me a call and we

can take care of you, at least until fishing or some other outdoor activity comes around.

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