QUESTION: In reading the Georgia hunting regulations, I notice that we have a season for hunting crows. This bird offers no redeeming values and actually destroys crops as well as eating bird eggs and baby birds. Crows consistently attack my fruit trees. I consider them in the class with English sparrows and starlings. Why would such a pest be protected at any time?
ANSWER: The United States has a migratory bird treaty with Mexico that involves several species of birds. The Mexicans insisted that the crow be included.
If crows are actually causing you a crop damage problem, there is an exception. You can rely on a document called a Standing Depredation Order. This document declares that one can (all other shooting and hunting laws being abided by) shoot crows that are flying to or from the subject crop. I shoot crows out of season when they start robbing my fruit trees and pecan trees.
I would strongly suggest that you contact your local ranger from the Department of Natural Resources and discuss the problem with him. Whether your shooting of crows out of season is legal or illegal will depend solely on the local rangers interpretation. I doubt you will have a problem, but it is in your best interest to at least make contact with him.
QUESTION: I love to fish for bass, but Im not the best angler in the world. My fishing buddy tells me that the speed of retrieve can be very important. Is he pulling my leg?
ANSWER: You are probably like most bass fishermen. You simply cast the lure out and crank it back in. On some days, this works very well. When bass are in a feeding frenzy, they will attack your lure whether it is going fast or slow. On other days, the speed of retrieve can mean the difference between a lousy day and a successful day.
Just as the savvy bass angler begins to change types of lures, lure colors, types of cover and water depths when the fish are not cooperating, he also plays around with speed of retrieve.
The general rule of thumb is the colder the water, the slower the retrieve. Bass in warm water seem to like a fast retrieve, but not always. You must experiment and let the fish decide.
If you are showing your lure to winter bass that are lethargic and non-chasing, slow is the rule. Even in warm water, fish that are not feeding more likely will strike a slow-moving lure. Conversely, if a school of bass are feeding on a school of shad on a cold January day at Lake Sinclair, you cant reel a shad imitation fast enough to keep it away from the fish. In fact, they are chasing shad that are fleeing for their lives, and a slow-moving lure problem wont interest them.
Emory Josey is a freelance writer who has a weekly column. Send questions for him to The Telegraph, P.O. Box 4167, Macon, Ga., 31208-4167, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org