– By Jason Lownds
A recent urge to call some crows into shooting range saw me searching for my old hand held crow caller. Unfortunately, the bad fairies had stolen it from its usual location and hidden it somewhere only known to them. Over the weeks it never appeared despite my countless efforts of muttering “ I don’t believe in fairies”. My only option left was to purchase a new one.
A look through the local shooting supplies store found myself eyeing off one of these “new” electronic calls. I’d always thought that these callers were a bit of a gimmick, but I decided to read the advertising hype and make an un-educated decision then. Unfortunately for my wallet, the marketing department at Cass Creek products has done an excellent job of promoting the virtues of their products. I parted with my semi-hard earned dollars and drove home wondering what sort of rubbish I had wasted my money on this time.
Once in the confines of my gunroom, I wrestled with the childproof packaging and gave the caller a good going over. The unit is very neat and is feature packed. It includes five different calls and a volume control knob. A word of warning, do not be fooled by the relatively small size of the speaker! I turned the volume to maximum and played the “Crow Frenzy” call. My dog screamed out of the room and has since developed and nervous flinch in his left eye that twitches whenever I’m around him. But seriously, the folks at Cass Creek have done a very good job with the output of the calls. There is even an external speaker jack should you wish to call in crows from another continent.
The five different calls are as follows; MacDaddy, Crow Distress, Crow/Owl fight, Crow Frenzy and Hawk Attack. There are suggestions for the use of each call on the packaging and all the calls are actual recordings of live birds. The unit operates on 3 AAA batteries, which can be easily changed in the field with a small Phillips head, if required. One set of batteries is claimed to last hundreds of calls and so far, mine have not needed replacement. A neat feature is the belt clip attachment on the back of the call. I’ve found I could attach it reliably onto my side pocket and then it was always close at hand when needed.
For testing of the unit, I decided to see if I could call a crow in whilst having a break from bowling some bunnies. I could hear some crows off in the distance so I decided to settle in under a thick gum tree and see what the Cass Creek caller could do. I was armed with only my CZ 22lr. If you were serious about getting amongst them, you’d be using a shotgun and sitting over a bait with some decoys. But for the purpose of the test, I was more interested in seeing if I could attract their attention. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting all that much to happen. Certain that I was well hidden, I turned the volume up to maximum and played the Crow Distress call. To my surprise, the results were almost immediate. In the distance at a guessed distance of maybe 500 meters, a murder of crows took to flight and headed straight toward me. As they got closer, I turned the volume down slightly and watched as they frantically made their way over. That’s when I realized I hadn’t really thought the plan out very well. They decided to all land in the tree I was sitting under and of course I had no clear shot. Their behavior was frantic and I couldn’t help but be reminded of an old Alfred Hitchcock movie. I decided to turn the caller off and see if I could get one to move into a shootable position. It worked with three crows shifting to a low hanging branch just thirty odd meters away. I slowly eased the bolt closed on the CZ and lined up on easiest target. With the cross hairs placed squarely on its head, I held my breath and squeezed the trigger. The result was one dead crow and a lot of confusion. Unfortunately the rest left in a real hurry and no more shots presented itself. I tried using a different call to see if I could entice them back, but they were having none of that business and I went on my business of bagging some bunnies.
All up I’m quite impressed with the Cass Creek Crow Caller. I since brought their Boar Caller and I’m looking forward to trying it out in the coming weeks. There’s nothing I can think of that I would change to the unit. The caller works well and has a few bonus features thrown in for good value. I paid $45.00 for my caller, but shop around as I’ve seen them advertised a bit cheaper than that.
Remember to check the legalities of crow hunting in your state as crows may be protected. This hunt was conducted where it was legal to hunt crows.