Annapolis area sportsman Dick Broden joined myself and Wayne Albaugh recently for an afternoon of great crow shooting.
Albaugh and I got the idea of putting together a crow shoot after cruising some familiar central Maryland farms and picking off the distant targets with two .22-250 chambered varmint rifles. The crow is a pest that farmers are glad to see chased from the neighborhood and getting permission to do just that is seldom difficult.
We owed Broden some hunting in return for the regular fishing trips we enjoyed aboard his boat last summer and figured correctly that this hunt would be a welcome break from the mid-winter blues.
Maryland crow hunting regulations are a little wacky to comply with federal law requiring states to set a 124-day crow season. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the only legal hunting days during the Aug. 16 to March 16 season and there is no limit on how many crows you can bag.
The most effective way to hunt these birds is by using a combination of decoys and electronic callers.
We had two farms lined up for hunting and planned on gunning the first until the crows refused to fall for our tricks. The second was about five miles away and would be used after the first spot played out.
We set up shop along a brushy fence-row corner separating a pasture and a winter wheat field. By bending a dozen limber saplings dotting our planned shooting spot, we managed to place plastic crow decoys within sight of any birds that might have approached. When that job was done, Broden and I went left and right of Albaugh, who switched on a recording of a fight between an owl and crows.
We were emptying our 12-gauge autoloading shotguns within five minutes of turning on the electronic caller. Crows by the dozens came from the distant wood lot and surrounding fields. I got off a dozen shots before the birds flew away. Albaugh and Broden got off about the same number of rounds. We had 18 crows down.
Albaugh switched off the recording and about an hour later we repeated the earlier scene. This time we pulled an even dozen crows from the sky.
Two hours later we did a repeat business at our second farm. There, we got one super blind charge by the over-eager birds, but they refused to go for a second round later.
Still, the three of us connected on a total of 14, which earned us an open invitation for another shoot from our farmer host.