"The Late Great Boyd C. Robeson"
Boyd C. Robeson was my hunting partner for 21 years before he died back in December of 2001. Boyd was born in Sioux City, Iowa in 1927 and was raised as a farm boy. By the time he was 18 years old he knew he wasn't cut out to be a farmer. He got into the gunsmithing trade and made a good living at it throughout the 1950's through the 1980's.
I met Boyd C. Robeson on the north side of Red Lake, South Dakota for the first time in October of 1965 while hunting crows alone one day. I was 17 years old and Boyd was 38 years old at the time. I was shipped out to South Dakota from Long Island, New York due to major girlfriend problems at the time! My Dad sent me to live with a good friend of his who lived in Chamberlain, SD. back in those days. His friend was also in the gun trade and had a shop right in Chamberlain.
I started hunting crows in Kansas in 1968 while on leave from the US. Navy. When I got out of the service I kept coming back to Kansas to hunt crows. The more I got acquainted with the farmers the more I kept hearing about "this guy from Iowa" who would come down once a month and just slaughter the crows! After hearing this for well over 5 years, as luck would have it, Boyd just happened to roll into the farmers yard at the time. Boyd was with his son Dale, so Boyd and I struck up a conversation in the farmyard that lasted for about half an hour. When Boyd and I came to comparing notes we found out that we had met 8 years ago in South Dakota. Boyd gave me his business card and told me to look him up on my next trip to Kansas, "only if I was alone" and so I did, on the next trip. That was in 1973 just before I moved to Kansas in 1974.
Bob and Boyd in Argentina, 1991
Boyd moved to Kansas in 1973 from Sioux City and I moved from Long Island to Kansas in 1974. The stage was now set for 21 of the most incredible years imaginable in the annals of crow shooting history. There were two huge roosts 40 miles apart from each other back in those days. One was 15 minutes from my house in Hutchinson, Kansas. This roost held over one million crows and was just west of the little town of Medora, Kansas. The other roost was west of the town of St. John, Kansas that also had a roost of one million plus crows to work on. We would rotate the shooting areas so as not to over shoot any one area.
I can remember how Boyd and I would be giggling as we would see ten's of thousands of crows sitting all over the fields within the last 5 to 7 miles of the roost at St. John. Boyd was a great strategist and always seemed to get us in the right spot, well, most of the time anyway! He would tell me "Bob I think they are gonna come right down this valley in this breeze today" and so we would get to work unloading the pickup. Guns, ammo, decoys, decoy poles, e-caller & hand calls, plus the blind.
I remember so many shoots, but there are a few that stand out from all the rest. One was during an afternoon shoot at St. John, Kansas. We were set up a little over a mile southwest of the roost. We had some shooting from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm that was steady, but on the nice and easy side. Then from 6:00 pm to 7:15 pm it was as fast as you could keep the guns loaded! We rolled 542 crows that afternoon and the bulk of them killed were in that 6:00 pm to 7:15 pm time period! What a blood bath!
Another shoot was an all day affair. We started shooting at around 8:30 am and shot until 4:30 to 4:45 pm. We killed 859 crows from one blind location. Boyd shot 467 crows and I shot 392 crows that day. All 20 gauge with # 9 shot for both of us. We both used a pair of Model 12 (20 gauges) in those days. This was back in 1982 in Kansas. That record has never been broken since that day in crow shooting history.
I will never forget the really great times Boyd and I shared together. Boyd would always want to shoot the very first crow of each season. After he would smoke the crow in mid air he would yell out "Welcome to the United States" because all the crows we get were out of Canada.
Well that's my story on the Late Great Boyd C. Robeson. I hope you enjoy reading it just as much as I do writing about those most memorable times.
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