PALENVILLE, N.Y. — The Rip Van Winkle Rod and Gun Club in Palenville in Greene County is holding its 6th annual “Crow Down,” a crow-hunting competition scheduled for March 29-30.
The two-day event is a fund-raiser for the club and is open to the public. Tickets will be awarded for every dead crow turned in, which can be applied to door prizes. There will also be “pay-to-play” raffles for firearms and other hunting/fishing gear, said Keith VanRoy, a club spokesman. There is no prize for shooting the most crows.
VanRoy said the area around the rod and gun club is not a crow hot spot, unlike a number of Upstate cities such as Auburn, Rochester, Albany or Watertown which have more than its share of the birds during the winter.
Actually, he said, there are not great numbers of crows around. During the past five years it hasn’t been that unusual for hunters to return empty-handed, or just with one or two birds. He added that crows are wary and not that easy to hunt. He said the event is more about camaraderie, and enjoying the sport and tradition of hunting.
“It’s also a time of year when many of our club members are transitioning into striped bass fishing (on the Hudson River) or spring turkey hunting,” he said.
VanRoy said last year there were only about 30 contestants – a far cry from the club’s annual Squirl Skramble (a squirrel-hunting competition ) held the last weekend in February that drew around 300 participants. VanRoy said that event, which the club has been holding for the past 17 to 18 years, is always scheduled at the end of the small hunting season in the Southern Zone.
He said both events use the same format for prizes and pay-to-play raffles, and hunters are forbidden from putting dead animals in a pile on the club grounds. Any squirrels or crows killed are checked in at the club’s entrance and kept in the hunters’ vehicles.
Teams in the Crow Down must be back to the clubhouse by 4 p.m. that Saturday for have their birds count. Cost to participate is $20 for a two-person team; $15 for an individual participant and $12 for a non-participant. Teams will be charged $30 at the club’s gate. The cost includes a meal and a drink.
Crows are unprotected birds in New York State and can be legally hunted from Sept. 1 to March 31 on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Mondays only. There is no bag limit and they can be hunted sunrise to sunset. A hunting license is needed. Although they are migratory birds, a Federal Migratory Bird Stamp is not required.
Like duck hunting, crow hunting involves the use of camouflage clothes (head to toe), blinds, calling devices and decoys. Read some crow hunting tips from an expert, who professes to eat every crow he shoots.
For more, see the Rip Van Winkle Rod and Gun Club Facebook page.