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The Migratory Bird Treaty (Weeks-McLean Migratory Bird Law), passed in 1913-14, ratified between the United States and Great Britain (for Canada) in 1916, went into full effect as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918. This law gave federal protection to most birds in North America, but did not extend protection to crows, and crows continued to be shot as "varmints" over most of their range. In 1936 Mexico was included in the treaty, but still crows were unprotected. In 1972 amendments to the treaty extended protection to 63 families of birds common to both the United States and Mexico, including birds of prey and crows. As a result, at least theoretically, all native birds in the United States are protected by law, but special permits can be obtained to deal with cases of nuisance birds causing damage or annoyances. This act makes it illegal "to possess, transport, or export any migratory bird, or any part, nest, or egg of any such bird." (That means you cannot legally have feathers from any local non-game bird!)
Crows, although not technically "migratory game birds" (like ducks) can be hunted in similar fashion in some states. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations, 50 CFR Chapter 1 20.1 extends regulations to the hunting of "migratory game birds, and crows." The Act allows states the rights to establish hunting seasons on crows, with the exception of Hawaii where the only species present is the severely endangered Hawaiian Crow (Corvus hawaiiensis). 50 CFR 20.133 allows states to set their own seasons, bag limits, and methods of taking crows subject to certain limitations, namely that "1) Crows shall not be hunted from aircraft; 2) The hunting season or seasons on crows shall not exceed a total of 124 days during a calendar year; 3) Hunting shall not be permitted during the peak crow nesting period within a State; and 4) Crows may only be taken by firearms, bow and arrow, and falconry" (so no dynamite, poison, or traps).
Many states that have crow hunting seasons, like New York, allow hunting only 4 days per week. This action stretches the 124 days out so that the season may extend nearly eight months. No state that I have yet seen has a bag limit on crows.
Interestingly, the New York season violated the Federal guidelines for several years. The season for 1997-98 ran 15 September through 14 April. In my study of American Crows in central New York, from 1989-1995 I observed or calculated (based on hatching date or size of nestlings) the start of incubation for 289 nests. The range of incubation-starts in this data set runs from 24 March through 1 June. That means that eggs can be present from 20 March through 20 June (based on an average of four days of laying and 19 days of incubation). Bull (1974, Birds of New York State) gives New York eggs dates for American Crows as 30 March to 14 June, in general agreement with these dates and indicative of the overall generalizability of the data for the state. 80.5% of all nests were being incubated before the end of the New York hunting season on crows, in clear violation of 50 CFR 20.133. Nesting had begun at least a week or two before this time for those nests. Nest building can begin in the first week of March, but usually is concentrated in the last two weeks. I personally don't consider the first few attempts at getting a twig in a tree real nesting, but certainly the laying of eggs and onset of incubation must be. I provided these data to the NYSDEC in April 1997, and they were going to change the season for 1998-99 to end on 31 March (15 September - 31 March; Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays only). The 1998-99 NYSDEC hunting regulations, in fact were printed with a 31 March termination date. (Score one for the age of reason, or so I figured.) Apparently, however, some complaint from a crow hunter resulted in a tabling of the change and DEC personnel were informed not to enforce the printed season closure. The 1999-2000 hunt still extended into the middle of the breeding season! I recently received word that the 2000-2001 dates will be (barring unforeseen changes) 1 September - 31 March. So they finally got the hunt out of the main part of the breeding season, and added the two lost weeks into the fall.
In addition to hunting, crows may be taken (i.e., shot) without a permit in certain circumstances. USFWS 50 CFR 21.43 (Depredation order for blackbirds, cowbirds, grackles, crows and magpies) states that a Federal permit is not required to control these birds "when found committing or about to commit depredations upon ornamental or shade trees, agricultural crops, livestock, or wildlife, or when concentrated in such numbers and manner as to constitute a health hazard or other nuisance " Provided: a) that none of the birds killed or their parts are sold or offered for sale. b) That anyone exercising the privileges granted by this section shall permit any Federal or State game agent free and unrestricted access over the premises where the operations have been or are conducted and will provide them with whatever information required by the officer. c) That nothing in the section authorizes the killing of such birds contrary to any State laws and that the person needs to possess whatever permit as may be required by the State. In New York state landowners or those cultivating lands may take without a permit "common crows when the wildlife is injuring property or becomes a nuisance."