Here's what you need to know when you're ready to do some crow hunting.
There's crow hunting and there's eating the obligatory crow after a less than successful deer season. All kidding side, you may be surprised at how a crow or two can take you right back to your beginnings as a hunter; beginnings that you may remember as not all that successful! It's easy to think pursuing crows is easy given how many you probably see over the course of a hunting season.
However, crows are sharp eyed, smart, and wily creatures that don't get fooled easily. They know when they're being targeted, be that by humans or natural predators like coyotes. Getting a few of these crafty critters into shooting range might not be as easy as you think, but we've got you covered with some vital crow hunting tips.
Let's take a look at the gear, the methods, and the end result of a successful crow hunt. If you've ever had a murder of crows screaming in the woods around your treestand like I have, spooking every animal within five miles, then you'll understand why we hunt them.
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Crow Hunting Gear
Maybe the best thing about this type of bird hunting is that you won't have to break the bank getting started as a crow hunter. In fact, you may already own most of the items you will need with the exception of the crow-specific gear. Crow hunting is a great way to control populations of these marauding birds and even better, give hunter a target during the cold months of winter. Often when other seasons have ended, so it's a good way to get your hunting fix.
If that's not enough to motivate you, consider that crows can be tough on other birds. Mostly because they are known to plunder duck nests of their eggs, dig freshly planted seeds out of the ground on farm fields, and even kill young cottontail rabbits in the spring.
Here's what you'll need to put an end to all that:
- 12 Gauge, 20 Gauge, or a good .410
- Crow Call (Mouth or Electronic)
- Motion Crow Decoys
- Owl Decoy
- Full Camo
Having a full body owl decoy can be one of the secrets to getting wary crows into shooting range since they absolutely despise owls. For loads, a 2-3/4 inch shell loaded with 7-1/2 shot is plenty, but if you can find them, number six loads will knock them down even time.
While farmland with forested areas nearby is ideal, crows can be found near suburban parks and homes scavenging for food in garbage cans and other litter. We're not talking about hunting in a park or your next door neighbor's yard, just that these are good areas to notice which way they come from in the morning and where they're going at night. Corn fields are often ideal areas to locate them. Just about anywhere where you will find whitetail deer or turkeys feeding, it's likely these black birds are somewhere nearby too.
If you have an area where you can set up in a blind, hunting in a concealed way near a feeding area for several hours is best. These will be the best uses for your decoys and calls as traveling birds can see and hear them without too much difficulty, but you need to remain concealed until a shot presents itself.
There's really no run and gun tactics for crows since they can and will spot you from a distance. However, traveling through flyway corridors that these birds frequent can give you the time to find concealment. Hopefully you will spot them before they spot you, and if you happen to bag a few squirrels along the way, so much the better.
Electronic calls are the best since they can be used to mimic most of the many sounds that crows make, and they make a lot of specific sounds. There are "come here" sounds, feeding calls, distress calls, and gathering sounds. The best idea is to learn them all, then learn them on a call. A good e-caller or hand call, combined with motion decoys in a location with good food often makes for a deadly combination.
Mouth calling is a great way to get in on the action even more as you will need to learn the proper techniques to have some success. Electronics are great, but they come with extra carrying and set up which is no big deal until you realize that you need to move multiple times. A good lanyard will keep your call handy and it will remain close after each shot once you've let it go.
Putting It All Together
Wait until you are almost ready to hunt before placing your decoys as sharp-eyed crows may bust you in the process. Wear full camo complete with a facemask because these birds had sharp eyes for spotting danger. If you can, set up before sunrise to stay concealed until the moment of truth, if not, simply remain silent in the blind for a while until things have settles back down since crows travel back and forth from these areas at different times.
Decoys can be placed in the trees or on the ground to mimic feeding behavior. On old trick to getting a few decoys up into the treetops is to use some leftover fishing line attached to the it along with some kind of weight to launch it airborne, but the trouble is getting it back down.
The other great thing about crow season is the seasons are usually of decent length and have generous bag limits. The only trouble you'll really ever have shooting crows is that you're going to use a lot of shotgun shells since it's so much fun, so start shopping now for bargain shells!
Please check out my book "The Hunter's Way" from HarperCollins. Be sure to follow my webpage, or on Facebook and YouTube. Go to Rack Hub and use the coupon code Craiger for a new way to display those antler sheds!
NEXT: SQUIRREL HUNTING TACTICS FOR WHEN ALL THE CHIPS ARE DOWN