SALT LAKE CITY — Starting this fall, hunters can help control a growing population of American crows in Utah. The state wildlife board approved a crow hunt on Thursday.
The 2014 crow hunt runs Sept. 1-30 and Dec. 1-Feb. 28.
Blair Stringham, migratory game bird coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, said crow populations "especially along much of the Wasatch Front" have grown steadily since 1990.
For example, every winter, a Christmas Bird Count survey is conducted in Utah. During the survey, the number of crows spotted between Logan and Salt Lake City increased from about 400 in 1990 to more than 2,400 in 2011.
Stringham said holding a hunt may actually help other birds as well as fruit growers and people who live in urban areas that crows visit.
Stringham said crows are damaging fruit, corn and grain crops in some parts of Utah. Crows also raid nests and steal eggs from other birds. And crows carry avian cholera and other diseases that affect birds. "And they damage trees and cause lots of other disturbances in urban areas," he says.
More information about the hunt will be available in the 2014-15 Utah Upland Game and Turkey Guidebook. The free guidebook should be available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks by mid-July.
Bird hunters in Utah have a long track record of correctly identifying birds in flight, Stringham said. "We'll work actively with hunters to help them tell the difference between crows and ravens," he said.