John's Journal...

Duck Hunting in the Summer

Crow-Hunting Tactics with Will Primos

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Summertime duck hunting sounds illegal, and it is. However, simply changing which bird is hunted will leave all the other elements of duck hunting in place. The hunters I told you about yesterday shot crows over water, not ducks. Before deciding there's not much involved in hunting crows, consider that crows have a complex communication system. Ornithologists have identified 50-different expressions crows make. For instance, the sounds "caw-aw, caw-aw, caw-aw" assure the flocks of safety. The "Kawk, kawk, kawk" sound warns crows of danger. Scientists have found that crows, like parrots, can learn to repeat words and long phrases. Crows with their high intelligence and keen eyesight are hard to fool when you hunt them.

Click to enlarge Will Primos, of Flora, Mississippi, the president of Primos Wild Game Calls, has hunted crows for more than 35 years. He enjoys setting up to call crows and uses decoys to bring in the birds. "I try to determine from which direction the crows will come in, and then I'll know where to position myself and my equipment," Primos reports. "Because crows usually like to fly into the wind, I want to make sure I have the wind at my back and be facing the direction from where the birds are coming. I'll use crow decoys and an owl decoy to help lure in the birds. A dozen of these decoys will fit, wadded-up, in the back of a hunting coat, and they don't weigh anything. Setting up the decoys, gives the crows a visual picture of what they're hearing. If I'm calling aggressively and trying to simulate a fight, I'll use the owl decoy. If I'm not calling aggressively and am not attempting to get the crows really excited, then I won't put out an owl decoy."Click to enlarge

To give the set-up a more realistic look, Primos takes rubber bands, black cloth and rocks into his stand site by the water. When he spots a crow, he puts the rubber bands around the black cloth with the rocks inside and throws the rocks and cloth into the air. The rocks carry the cloth high into the air and cause it to fall back to the ground. When the crows see that black image diving to the ground, they assume the cloth is a crow diving in to fight the owl decoy. "When I begin to call, I start by giving three or four 'Hey, I'm over here. You guys come on over,' types of calls," Primos explains. "If I get the crows' attention, I'll give three or four shorter, louder and more-aggressive calls to simulate a fight. Then as the crows begin to come in, I'll make longer calls. Often I'll give six to eight calls in a series, which I cClick to enlargeall a riot call, which tells the crows, 'Hey boys, I have an owl over here, and we need to whip him. You fellows come on right now and let's pound on his head.'"

To successfully utilize Primos' style of crow calling, stay 10- to 20-yards away from the decoys, since that's where the crows will look. Wear camouflage from head to toe, and try to hide in some kind of cover close to the water to keep the crows with their very-keen eyesight from spotting a hunter’s silhouette. Because often crows will fly in and circle to look over a hunter’s set-up, Primos suggests taking the shot as soon as the birds are in range and before they have a chance to see the hunter. Once a hunter has shot an area, Primos advises waiting a couple of months before returning to the same spot and calling crows there again.

Tomorrow: Jerry Tomlin’s Crow-Hunting Techniques

Check back each day this week for more about "Duck Hunting in the Summer"

Day 1: What about Hunting Crows
Day 2: Crow-Hunting Tactics with Will Primos
Day 3: Jerry Tomlin’s Crow-Hunting Techniques
Day 4: More Crow-Hunting Ways with Jerry Tomlin
Day 5: How to Train Your Dogs on Crows for Waterfowl Hunting Later



Entry 407, Day 2