The Crow Hunters

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The first time I went crow hunting I stepped in dog mess. I was young, somewhere around five of six. The new super highway, Route 3, had just gone through, connecting Boston to Cape Cod. It cut right through the middle our little seaside town in Duxbury, Massachusetts.

The new speedway was one big, long, pile of crap that began the destruction of rural life in our area of coastal New England. One could now make the trip from the city to the Cape in about an hour, instead of taking the back roads used by horse and buggy not too long ago. With the super highway came the one thing my Yankee family despised: Lots of people. “Wash-a-shores” is what we called them. Still do. They blow into town with their money and fancy cars, snatch up some real estate, and then, just like that, figured  now that they lived here they could tell us locals what to do and how to do it. And what they didn’t like about our rural way of life.

My father put the owl decoy up on the pole by the bog like he always did. Only difference was, instead of quiet, country ways, we sat there and listened to cars buzz by behind us at fifty miles an hour. Right where we use to paddle the canoe amongst the lily pads and large mouth bass. Almost over the top of our crow hunting spot. Well, we were not about to let the highway push us Yankees out of our crow hunting spot. Yankees don’t move too well when pushed (you may recall some of that in your history books).

Well, Dad began blowing on the crow call and soon enough, a couple of crows came flying in and then a massive flock of about fifty, all crowing and cawing at the top of their lungs. Every now and then, one of the bolder ones would dive-bomb the owl decoy and smack its head with crow feet. Owl didn’t move. Made them all even madder. It was all so exciting laying there in the pine needles under a clump of white pines with crows all around us going absolutely crazy!

That’s when we smelled it for the first time. It reeked to high heavens. Dad got a stick and showed me how to flick it out of the bottom of my shoe. It smelled like the city.

On our way out, we saw a wash-a-shore walking her dog along the bog road, her fancy car pulled over to the side. She looked at the gun and the owl decoy and thought we had shot an owl and made a disparaging comment that didn’t seem too friendly. I noticed Dad walked a little brisker to get back into the woods on the trail that led to home, and I hurried behind him. He mumbled something to the lady as we walked past, but at six years old, I didn’t understand what it was. But I did learn where a lot of dog mess comes from.

Capt. David Bitters is a writer/photographer and a striped bass/sea duck hunting guide from Massachusetts. His photos and essays have appeared in over one-hundred magazines. Capt. Bitters is currently finishing his first book, "A Sportsman's Fireside Reader – Tales of Hunting, Fishing, and Other Outdoor Pleasures." Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (781) 934-2838. You can also write him at P.O. Box 366 Duxbury, MA 02331.

Capt. David Bitters

Capt. David Bitters is a writer/photographer and a striped bass/sea duck hunting guide from Massachusetts. His photos and essays have appeared in over one-hundred magazines. Capt. Bitters is currently finishing his first book, "A Sportsman's Fireside Reader – Tales of Hunting, Fishing, and Other Outdoor Pleasures." Contact him at captdaveb@baymenoutfitters.com. You can also write him at P.O. Box 366 Duxbury, MA 02331.