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crows, crow hunting season
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Washington state does indeed have a crow hunting season

Sometimes you hear a story about a guy driving around Mountlake Terrace shooting crows with an air pellet gun from his red pickup truck, and react like George Costanza when confronted by his boss: Was that wrong? Should he not be doing that?

We’re talking about crows, right? Now obviously no one should be shooting crows in a residential neighborhood near schools, but I bet some people didn’t have the horrified reaction to that story that KIRO 7 was going for. Because they’ve heard the beautiful sound of a crow during their lifetime, probably just a few minutes ago.

Their cawing sounds like a demon coughing, like a witch falling into a volcano, like an out-of-tune accordion combined with a Lynx caught in a clamp trap. OK, my editor is telling me that’s enough examples.

Everything I’ve learned about crows has come from people vociferously defending them from my crow bigotry. Crow apologists will often highlight how smart they are, including their ability to remember faces and pass on memories. Did you know that some crows have the ability to make little tools? Good for the crows. Dolphins are very intelligent as well, but has a dolphin ever woken me up at 7 in the morning when my alarm wasn’t supposed to go off until 8? No, they keep to themselves. Dolphins are cool that way.

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Crows have also been known to damage crops, rip up lawns while hunting for larvae, and drive lonely men crazy at midnight (sorry, being told that was a raven, not a crow). So the question is this: Is it ever OK to hunt them?

It depends. There are plenty of rules with regards to crow hunting, likely set by the crows themselves. You can only hunt crows with firearms, bow and arrow, and falconry, and not from a car or aircraft (I thought this was America?). You can’t kill crows on your private property unless under special circumstances. And you can only hunt crows in Washington state during established crow hunting season (September to December), but it’s always established crow hunting season at my place. You just have to believe in yourself.

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Now before a crow comes after me with the crow version of Gloria Allred, let me just say that I’ve never actually killed a crow and probably (probably) will never get around to it. That’s a whole thing. I have caught and eaten plenty of fish and once slapped a howler monkey, but that’s about it. Would I meet a hitman in a dark underground garage and hand him a picture of a crow with a wad of cash in an envelope? Maybe.

In lieu of hunting, it may be ideal to first try the deterrence route, including hanging shiny objects in your yard, playing recorded crow distress signals (surely your neighbors won’t mind), removing food and water sources, using motion sensor sprinklers, or placing decoy predators like a fake owl (but how do I get rid of the fake owl?). Writing articles does absolutely nothing.

The best approach is to find one of those people who love defending crows, pay them a few dollars to stand in your yard fondly gazing at the crows, and then watch as the crows get creeped out and never come back.

On Twitter @chasongordon.

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