Officials resort to lethal means to help solve Watertown’s crow problems

Crow hazing

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It was not a routine night of crow hazing in Watertown.

Wildlife biologist Cody Baciuska with Loomacres Wildlife Management says the city has authorized the use of lethal force.

"It's a PCP air rifle that's very accurate," he said, "and it allows us to do selective depredation of problem crows."

Or, easier put, shooting crows.

The city contracts Loomacres to do the hazing.

Our cameras weren't allowed to get video of crows being shot.

Interim city manager Ken Mix says the amount of crows downtown this year is the reason for the deadly measures.

"This year, they seem to be persistently hanging out downtown and really making a mess of this section of Washington Street around the library and the Historical Society," Mix said.

Baciuska says they don't expect to kill many.

"When we come out for a night, and we're doing depredation, five to 10."

He says the purpose is only to reinforce their nonlethal measures.

"Eventually they learn that the lights and sound do not cause them any harm, so when you implement the depredation, it reinforces that," he said.

Officials from the city and Loomacres both say the use of lethal force is a last resort.

"We would rather not do it," Mix said.

"We only use depredation as a last resort," Baciuska said.

Baciuska says it's not the first time the method has been used in the city.

"We did depredation last year," he said.

Both Baciuska and Mix say it’s not yet determined if they’ll have to use lethal force again this season.

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