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Beginner's Notebook: My Crow Rig

This basic decoy provides a good introductory carving project.

By: Ross Smoker
Photography by Ross Smoker

While waterfowling on Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River and not seeing many ducks this past year, I got thinking to myself. “Self, “ I said, “there has to be something else to hunt with decoys.” Shortly afterwards I saw a murder of crows crossing the river. The light bulb flickered on over my head as I realized I could always hunt crows. When I came off the river empty-handed again, I started researching how to pursue crows. It turns out you can hunt crows with decoys. About the same time, I saw a letter in WILDFOWL CARVING MAGAZINE from a reader who suggested that someone write an article on carving crows. Being a decoy carver, I decided to kill two birds with one stone—by making my own crow rig and writing an article about it.

I started my research. I looked at antique-style decoys, new-fangled decoys, and live birds. Research is very important to all carvers. You can’t make something if you don’t know what it’s supposed to look like. After a while I decided how many birds I would do and what positions they would be in. I wanted two uprights, three feeders, and one with its wing out, as though it were stretching or had been crippled. In this article I’ll demonstrate how to carve feeding crows in cork and white pine, modeled from an antique pattern with my own spin added. I carve using what I call “the Smoker step method.” And away we go . . .

 
Read the complete article in Wildfowl Carving Magazine's Winter 2013 issue.

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