Crow Hunting

Crows by nimrodcooper
Photo by nimrodcooper (click through to read the fascinating, eerie story behind the picture)


Found poem consisting of excerpts from an article in the Pennsylvania
Game News, June 2009, by James J. Corsetti Jr.

Hunting crows is somewhat of a relic from the past.
Old-times would cruise around the backroads
With a rifle behind the seat
And take out any crows they came across.
Folks would use the .22 Hornet, .220 Swift, .22-250,
And many others to take crows at 100 to 300 yards
Taking a target smaller than your fist.

I don’t know of anyone these days who uses
A rifle for crows.
Crow hunting here is a shotgun game.
Crows can be quite fast
And can spin on a dime in the air
And put themselves out of range in a hurry.
Use either a modified or full choke.

These birds rarely come in real close like doves or ducks,
So you need to reach out and touch them.
One time they kept flying back and forth
Over my stand despite being shot at,
They kept coming back.
I use dead crows as decoys, which works well.
I place the dead crows in trees or in the open.

I have done well with my mouth crow calls,
And no calls sound the same.
I can react to their calling
And be as aggressive as possible
Or a little coy.
It is one of the few animals
You can hunt on Sundays.

No one I know has ever eaten them.
I have used their feathers for fly tying,
I have used them for my trapline.
I breast them out like I do my doves
And use them for bait.
This winter, when you’re sitting next to the fireplace,
Bored out of your mind, think of crows.

Assembled for the Found Poetry group forum at Read Write Poem. I believe this creative re-purposing qualifies as Fair Use under U.S. copyright law. The photo is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

17 Comments


  1. Found Poetry just goes to show that you can find poetry most anywhere if you are looking for it.

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    1. That’s something I firmly believe. Poetry is all in the editing, all in the selection and arrangement of details. (Well, O.K., inspiration does play a role. But it’s highly overrated.)

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      1. “There’s no creativity, there’s just decisions.” — Kenneth Goldsmith, July Podcast, Poetry Foundation

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      2. Which takes time, patience and practice, practice, practice…

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  2. Breathtaking and making, Dave. Incredible the image & its back story. Incredible, your poem. And credible. Love it.

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    1. Thanks, Deb. Wasn’t that story about the Shaker tree amazing? Come to think of it, I should probably submit the link to the Flickr page to the next Festival of the Trees (theme: Secrets).

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  3. Wonderful! I had never heard about crow hunting in Pennsylvania, until recently. I’m going to see if I can get that article.

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    1. Oh, right — this would fit right in with that piece you’re working on about ravens in PA.

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  4. Kia ora Dave,
    I recall hunting crows as a kid in Wisconsin, with a 20 gauge Remington. Even to this day I am not quite sure why we hunted crows. I enjoyed the thought provoking lines very much.
    Cheers,
    Robb

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    1. Kids can be thoughtless and cruel, no doubt about it. What’s scary is when they never grow out of it.

      Thanks for the comment.

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  5. I like this idea very much – I didn’t know there was a genre of found poetry! I was sort of thinking about trying to do something similar from the butterfly and moth guide, but couldn’t think my way round it and gave up.

    I’ve been a bit leery of getting involved in Read Write Poem, fearing it’ll be yet another thing I’ll get started on all enthusiastic and then not have time or motivation to follow through, but you’re doing a good job of persuading me to dip in…

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    1. Well, to be honest, I worry about that for myself, too, but we’ll see how it goes. It is fun to talk about poetry with people who share my enthusiasm for it.

      I’d love to see what you come up with from the butterfly and moth guide! Do blog it.

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  6. Dave, et al–
    I cruise via negativa regularly; actually wake up to it! This morning’s Shaker Tree story (which I pinned to my Facebook page) and the Found poem–and then reading your crow hunting piece–well, it’s all just better than coffee!

    Our farm family had a crow-in-recuperation that lived in our basement for a winter. My brother (this all happened in upstate Pennsylvania) in his late teens at the time, shot a crow and wounded its wing. He couldn’t kill it after that, so brought it to the house for us to nurse it back to health. Which we did. With tongue in cheek, we named ‘him’ ‘Jim’. Jim loved dog food. We would let him up from the basement every day for socializing and our farm brand of bird-watching. A family dog, Lady, smallish but not a terrier, very loving by nature, despised Jim for unknown reasons, but probably because he brazenly stole her food. They would race round the upright freezer, her toenails clicking on the tile, and his jumping, squawking taunting calls still echo as I write this, 40 some years ago. Jim would grab a piece of dog food as he’d hop by, gobble and squawk, Lady would whine and pant and run. Round and around they’d go. This, as ridiculous as it sounds, would suffice for winter entertainment.

    When Jim was tired, he’d head back down the stairs into the basement, and Lady would peer down, but not follow. Then she’d go sleep to prepare for another round.

    We let Jim go the next spring, and he flew away and perched in an elm tree with his cohorts, talking and chatting. No doubt with tales of a dumb dog, and easily entertained humans.

    Thanks for the prompt–and thanks for the always great stories, photos and romping with words.

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    1. Beth — Sorry it’s taken me a while to respond. Thanks for sharing that recollection. What a great story!

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  7. I have it on good authority that rook pie was a regular item on the menu of the Dorchester Hotel during World War 2 when food was rationed.

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    1. Really? I do wonder if crows and rooks are as unappetizing as everyone assumes.

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