Archive for the ‘Winter Hunting’ Tag

THE WINTER CHALLENGE OF CROW HUNTING   Leave a comment

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The familiar sound of a crow in winter is a caw, caw, caw.  The often annoying communication between birds is a sure sign of the flocking birds’ presence.  Hunting season is winding down but crows still offer some fine wing shooting.  Crow hunting can be an interesting a challenging end to the hunting dog days of winter.  They, like ducks, come to a call.  Crows are a challenging target like quail, and hunting them lessens the withdrawal for the hunting addict.

Any weapon used for upland birds or ducks will work on crows. It is sometimes illegal to hunt crows with air guns, rifles or handguns.  Shotguns are the most popular choice with loads of 7 1/2s or eight’s being preferred.  As with dove hunting, it is a good idea to take extra ammo as hitting these rascals can get tricky.

Aside from the weapon, an additional investment of about $35 will put you in business.  This is for an owl decoy and a couple of crow decoys and a single reed crow call.  A pair of painter’s coveralls works as camo clothing in the snow.  A stocking cap or ski mask and the rest of the equipment is found in most homes.

A blind can be made of old sheets and a pillowcase stretched over your head with holes cut for eyes and mouth.  Construct a blind out of natural materials found in the area.  Gloves can be black or dark brown, as they will help decoy birds.

The call of a crow in distress is a sure way to sucker birds into range.  Commercial call on the market all work well and contain easy to follow instructions.  With a little practice, almost anyone can call crows.  A crow call is probably the easiest game call of all to learn how to use effectively.

Once in the field, the owl decoy draws in crows because the owl is the main nemesis of the crow.  The crow decoys help to lend a little reality to the situation.  An incoming crow assumes that some of his brothers have already begun harassment of the owl.

Place the decoys in the open.  The hunter remains in his blind or just sits motionless in his camo in any cover available.  He blows on the call and continues until winded or crows respond.  The longer the hunter remains concealed, the longer the birds remain in the area.  You can entice them back, even after shooting begins.

Crow hunting sounds simple, and it is, but crows are sharp‑eyed and intelligent.  To illustrate just how intelligent these birds are, think about all the hunting of them that goes on and how their populations continue to enlarge.  One expert has said that a crow can distinguish between a man with a gun and a man with a walking stick from a distance of one half mile.  One represents danger and the other does not.  To a crow, that is an important difference.

Give crow hunting a chance this year.

BEST WAY TO FOOL COYOTES IS WITH SCENT CONTROL   1 comment

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One of the best and least used tools in hunting coyotes is scent.  Volumes are available on the subject of scent as it relates to deer hunting.  The following is an attempt to clarify the picture as it relates to late season coyote hunting in Illinois.

Predators rely heavily on their sense of smell to lead them to food as well as to keep them out of harms way.

There are two basic types of scents: cover scents and attractant scents.  Cover scents conceal the natural odor of man and the odors his body can absorb.  Cover scents divided into mild and strong scents.  Examples of mild scents are the scent wafers that generally smell like acorn, pine or cedar.  Such scents are for use in areas where such scents occur naturally.

Strong scents come from the urine of other mammals, such as deer, fox, skunk or bobcat.  As the name implies, the odor from such scents is strong.  Never place it directly upon the hunter or his clothing.  To do so may cost you your happy home.

Apply strong scents to cotton, cloth or a pipe cleaner and place downwind of the hunter.  Dip the absorbent fabric into the scent and place downwind because coyotes tend to approach their prey from that direction.  They rely on their nose to tell them exactly where the prey is located and if some other animal is in the area.  The strong scent blends with and camouflages the scent of the hunter.

Hunters should also attempt to make themselves as human scent free as possible.  The best way to keep a coyote from becoming alarmed due to human scent is to eliminate the human scent before ever entering the field.  But, it requires dedication, commitment and extra time.

The first step is to wash all hunting clothing with a scent‑free laundry detergent.  One such product is Scent‑A‑Way by Hunter’s Specialities.  Dry the clean clothing without using any scented fabric softener.  Using those scented sheets in the drier add fragrance which defeats the purpose of using the scent‑free detergent.

The clothing must then be stored in a bag that will keep them from absorbing other odors.  Early attempts usually involved placing them in plastic garbage bags with such things as dirt, leaves and other assorted items that smelled like the hunting area.  Today, you can use the commercial bags and include with earth scent wafers.  It keeps the clothing odor free and still clean.

Just being scent free or just using an attractant alone is not enough.  Combine the two to produce a certain effect.  Coyotes are opportunistic feeders and will prey upon young deer.  Using a doe urine product can fool them into believing that there is an easy meal in the area.  The attractant scent of doe urine, combined with a fawn bleat can fool ole wily coyote even though the does are not dropping fawns at that particular time of the year.

The hunter himself should also take care to avoid absorbing odors.  Natural body odor comes from bacteria release by the body in perspiration.  It is a good idea to take a shower just before going into the field.  It helps to use an unscented soap such as Ivory or any of the other commercial products on the market.  Some of the odors we absorb from our environment are cigarette smoke, gasoline fumes, after shave, hair spray or oil, and cooked foods such as bacon or other animal products.

To avoid the food and other odors, there is just no other way to go than to avoid them.  Do not smoke prior to going into the field and once there definitely do not smoke while calling.

The combination of lack of human scent, addition of attractant scents or cover scents; coupled with an effective predator or fawn call, can fool coyotes.  They have fantastic senses you can be fool.

 

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