As the hunting season starts to wind down in Indiana, the last species left to hunt are coyotes and finally crows. Both of these are great quarry in and of themselves, but I do tend to get caught up in deer, turkey, dove, and upland game, overlooking crows at least until the close of another hunting year. Pretty soon I’ll be heading to Kentucky for the early spring squirrel season, then the groundhogs start coming out, then I’ll head out west for the prairie dogs, but crows are where it at right now!
I headed out this morning for a couple of hours of crow hunting carrying the FX Monsoon semiautomatic .22 caliber precharged pneumatic air rifle, a tin of JSB Exacts, and my FOXPRO Wildfire electronic call. I got to on site at 6:30 to the sound of a few distant crows cawing and the sun starting up. I parked and hiked across a cut corn field and into a stand of trees separating this plot of land from another field. I set the call at the border of the field and tucked myself in to the base of bramble twenty yards down and ten feet into the trees and cranked up the call.
I started with a crow fight sound, and within a few minutes at a murder of crows soaring over head. With my shotgun I’d have been dropping them all around, but armed with my air rifle I sat and waited for one to land. As I waited, I looked overhead and saw a crow perched straight overhead. Branches were in the way of his body, but he had his head stuck out in the open looking into the field. I lined up the crosshairs and squeezed off the shot, and at the muffled discharge (this gun is very quiet) the crow folded, bouncing through the branches and almost falling on my head. The stock on this rifle is very ergonomic, and I find it is comfortable to shoot offhand from just about any position.
I muted the call and spiked the crow in the field to use as a decoy, then sat back and started the fight call again. And again, the crows started circling overhead, but would not land. I let the fight call die down, then switched to a dying crow sound at a lower volume, at which another crow glided in and landed in the tree right next to me. Again shooting almost straight up I pulled the trigger and a second crow dropped.
Gathering up my gear and collecting the birds, I hiked about a mile down the dirt road until I reached a stand of woods of about ten acres, and worked my way through the thorny vines well into cover. Starting up the fight sound for a couple minutes until hearing a response, I then changed up to an injured crow call. Crows started flying in and three approached looking like they would land, but veered off at the last minute. Then one landed and I shot, but this crow spun on the branch hanging upside down while weakly flapping his wings. A second bird landed and started pecking at its dying comrade, where a quick follow up anchored him.
I waited a little longer but no more birds landed, so I packed up and hiked back to the car for the drive home. I got to the house, unloaded my gear, took a quick shower, and was in my office by 9:00 for a day of work. A great thing about airguns is that because they are quiet and have limited range, they let you hunt closer to home. The sounds I used in my FOXPRO worked well, but I am going to extend the call dictionary for more crow sounds, getting the birds to land takes a lot more finesse than shotgunning. The Monsoon is a superb hunting gun that I really enjoy hunting with; it is powerful, accurate, quiet, and fires in semi auto for those fast follow up shots. The last crow I shot would not have been possible without the fast follow up this gun offered. Tomorrow is Saturday and belongs to my family.. but I think I’ll get up while they’re having a sleep in. I can get out for a quick repeat, and be home with my hunting fix taken care of before anybody else crawls out of bed