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"Make Your Mistakes Now"
by Staff Advisor Dick Mermon

“Crow shooting secrets” are actually not secrets at all, but Mother Nature’s natural occurrences each season through the year. You as the crow hunter, and to become a “crow shooter” must take note of their actions, flight patterns, groupings, roost flights, but most of all crow language, which is vital during the months from August to mid-March. All sight circumstances can be permanently recorded in a monthly or daily diary so it will form a pattern of remembrance. However, crow language is learned first by hearing and then seeing if the birds respond. This will tell if the hand-calling sounds are in proper utterance and tune.

Learning “crow language” is the most vital implement to a successful crow shoot. You can hide in an excellent blind, set out solid and active-winged decoys, use total camouflage and be a top-notch shooter, but it is the hand calling that really draws their attention into gunning range. Thus, spring and summer months are basically the closed season for hunting, but the best time to learn some crow language with a hand-held caller.

Many times I was ousted from the house, looked at with skepticism from surrounding neighbors, almost bitten by my own dog, but most of all by friends who thought I was some kind of nut. This particular time of year, it really does not hurt to make odd tones or mistakes in calling, or even trying out various calling devices. These birds are by now either nesting, or seeking food for the young, which will be taking flight by June. Hand calling at such time of year will have no effect on educating young birds later during the open season. By that time, you should be pretty well tuned up for really talking to crows that have begun their roost gatherings. Once autumn season begins, migratory birds arrive to form a bigger roosting location and designate the military regime of scouts, sentries, platoon leaders and “kings of the hill” so to speak. These also may not be educated to the hand calling or vocal sounds.

Therefore, spring and early summer months are the times to practice with each hand-caller that will be employed in actual hunting situations. Learn how to hold it properly and acquire a memory of each caller’s tone. During an early season, most often the young newly hatched birds are those which will respond. However, late winter and early spring, which is the tough time of a crow shooting year, these birds have become educated to hazards of all types like gun noise, motion, changes in ground structure and vocal sounds. Hence, do your practicing now and get thrown out of the house or out of the backyard. It will hurt in the beginning of the year, but pay off in the end.

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