John's Journal...

Duck Hunting in the Summer

Jerry Tomlin’s Crow-Hunting Techniques

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 on day 1 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

Jerry Tomlin, of Milledgeville, Georgia, has developed a unique style of crow hunting that harvests numbers of birds. Tomlin also likes the decoy call-and-wait strategy. But, he comments that often hunters overcall to crows. "I depend more on my decoys than I do my calling to bring in crows. I want to call just enough to get the crows' attention and then have them come into the decoys."

Tomlin has found crows travel certain flyways, similar to doves and waterfowl, and have specific types of crops on which tClick to enlargehey prefer to feed. Although hunting crows in the summer keeps your Lab tuned-up for waterfowling season, Tomlin says. "Fall is another productive time to hunt crows and continue training a Lab. Not only are resident flocks of crows present, but also new crows are migrating in to where I live from the North ahead of the cold weather. Pecan orchards, which flourish in the South, seem to be the favorite food of crows. Crows do millions of dollars worth of damage each year to pecan orchards. Landowners with pecan trees call me each season and ask me to come in and take a bunch of their crows. Too, often if you eliminate a fClick to enlargearmer's crow problems, he may open his lands to you for hunting other species of birds and game."

Because of the crows' keen eyesight, when Tomlin sets up, he wears full camouflage and has his blind fully camouflaged. Tomlin bases his crow-calling strategies on the proven characteristic of crows like to socialize. "Aggressive calling will bring in numbers of crows for a short time," Tomlin explains. "However, just using feeding and socializing calls and crow decoys calls in more crows to the same area for a longer time." In 17 hunts one season, Tomlin and his buddies rid pecan orchards and peanut fields of almost 900 crows by starting to shoot at sunrise and hunting until about 11:00 a.m. As Tomlin mentions, "Scouting is a key ingredient to successful crow hunting. I spend a great deal of time trying to pick a place where I can find 100 to 200 crows congregated."

Tomorrow: More Crow-Hunting Ways with Jerry Tomlin


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 3