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Crow Hunting


ALWAYS remember to check state and local laws before participating in any type of hunting/shooting activity, as seasons and restrictions will vary.

Originally, crows were simply classified as varmints and could be shot anytime of the year. However, the U.S. has negotiated a treaty with the Mexican government to protect several species that move back and forth between the two countries. The treaty covers the entire major bird family Corvidae, which includes crows, ravens and jays. So without it necessarily being intended, the crow is now a protected species with limitations on how they can be hunted. The sport season for crows can be for no more than 124 days and can't occur during the peak breeding period in each state.

Crow hunting as a sport has grown significantly over the last two decades and most states offer very liberal seasons and in some cases, no bag limits. Hunting crows is almost as easy as buying a crow call, but to get good at it you have to pay attention to many details. Crows will respond well to hand calls, but you will have to do alot of blowing to achieve consistent success. If you want to shoot crows in any numbers, bite the bullet and buy an electronic call, which is legal in many states. A combination of these calls also works well and seems to be the choice of most avid crow hunters. Decoys and the way they are setup are also a critical factor in a succesful hunt. Setups to look like feeding crows requires "friendly" types of calls, while decoys set up to imitate fighting, whether it be each other, or a nemesis such as an owl, fox, hawk, or cat, requires more aggressive "fighting" type calls. A horned owl on a post is also very popular.

A good concealment plan is critical when targeting these wary birds and full camo similar to what one might wear turkey hunting is in order. Hunting from a blind or natural cover is also a good practice. Locating crows in most rural areas is usually not a problem. One should look for early morning flyways and late evening roosting areas. Having several possible areas to hunt allows you to hop-scotch around through the day to find the most productive areas. Once you get the crows coming in to your setup, the correct calling sequences will keep them coming back again and again, especially in a fighting scenario, as they are “slaves to their own emotions” according to one writer.

The choice of weapons is pretty straight forward. A shotgun capable of multiple follow-up shots is the most desirable. Pumps and autos in 12 ga. fit the bill well, but any shotgun will do. A 20 ga. can be effectively used and is more economical, but the smaller the barrel diameter, the more you will tend to handicap yourself in the field.

From a popular website:

Choke selection is a personal preference and depends on field conditions. However, advancements in modern shotshell manufacturing have changed the way most experienced crow shooters feel about choke selection. The experts generally use a Modified or Improved Cylinder choke for both decoying and pass shooting crows and are experiencing kills out to 60 yards using quality shells. The tendency is for beginners to over-choke their guns and experience disappointing results.

Both high and low brass ammo can be used to hunt crows, but high brass is not necessary. Although #6 shot has been a historically popular choice, a quality load of # 7 1/2's or even #8's is all that it takes to bring down a crow and is dynamite on decoying birds. For best results, stick with the higher quality shells instead of the bargain promotional shells often sold and you will likely experience better patterns.

When there’s a lull in the hunting action, grab the scattergun and head for the meadow with a good setup in mind. Challenging, enjoyable and productive, crow hunting can be a very enjoyable experience for hunters of any skill level.

Chad Buie
CLUB Custom Guns

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