As a present, some time back, my wife bought me an electric game call. It can be used to call in crows and all types of predators. It can be a valuable tool at times, but completely worthless when it comes to calling large predators like wolves or mountain lions. The fault might not lie in the call but the fact there are no wolves or mountain lions close enough to hear the call.
My son and grandson borrowed the call a couple of weeks ago to go crow hunting. Crow hunting can be a lot of fun as well as very frustrating. Crows are destructive birds, but they are also smart. It is good to thin the population but not an easy job.
Crows generally travel in groups with one or two birds flying ahead to serve as scouts. If the scout runs into trouble, the rest of the group knows to stay away. It is good to have a few crow decoys set up within shotgun range to assure the scout birds it is safe. An owl decoy finishes the setup. For some reason, crows hate owls and will become much less cautious if they have the opportunity to harass an owl. When in the timber, if a person hears a whole flock of crows making a huge and noisy ruckus, they are attacking an owl.
The call is set to mimic the sound of half the crows in the world attacking an owl and a person waits. Before long, one or two scout crows will show up. It is best to wait before shooting. If the scout lands and starts yelling about the owl being there, the group (murder) will show up and the shooting can begin. Yes, for some reason a group of crows is called a murder. Crows have extremely good eyesight, so a person must remain perfectly still until the last second before firing. After the crows have been shot at in one location, they will not be back. The whole setup must be taken down and moved.
Damon and Zane were having some luck and were on their third set. They were about fifty yards apart with the owl decoy between and in front of them. Zane was crouched behind a rose bush while Damon had his back to a large oak tree and a small cedar in front. The call was making all kinds of loud crow noises and had been for several minutes. Damon saw movement out of the corner of his eye just a few feet away. A bob cat was stalking the crow call. Damon and the bob cat saw each other at about the same time. Startled, they both jumped, and the bob cat took off quickly in the direction he had just come. Damon was eventually able to get his heart rate back to normal and concentrate on the hunt. By the end of the day, they had more crows than they wanted to eat.
I have used the electronic call to attempt to call coyotes. On the predator setting, I have been able to attract my dogs and the neighbor's dogs, but no coyotes or bob cats. Perhaps the next time I want to hunt predators with the call, I should put it on the setting for crows.
Walter Scott is a freelance writer from rural central Iowa.