Crows can offer a great extension to the normal hunters’ opportunities. In many states, one can hunt crows every day all year with the exception of a month or two. They also can offer the wing shooter a different type of practice that clay pigeons can’t offer — unpredictable flying patterns. Although crows are plentiful and feed on dead animals, they are actually very intelligent and have excellent vision, but mastering these animals is not too difficult. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Crows are social animals, which means they are always talking to each other and traveling together. However, in my experience, when crows respond to call, normally, one bird responds first to survey the situation. I call this bird the ‘scout’. It is very important not to allow the scout to be suspicious that anything is out of the norm. If you are 100% positive that you can take the scout when he comes in, you may do so, but if there is any doubt, it is wisest to let the scout make a few passes and return to his buddies to let them know that everything is normal. If you shoot and miss the scout or spook it in some way, then the other crows will not respond to your call. If he does bring his friends with him on his next response, then you and your hunting companions should all get some quick shooting.
As previously mentioned, crows have excellent vision. This is why it is imperative that you dress in full camouflage and set up next to some type of cover. You also must remain completely motionless until it is time to take the shot. Obviously, you will be using a shotgun. I recommend using 5 or 6 shot, since these birds can sometimes be tough to take down, especially at extended ranges.
As for calls, crows respond readily to a wide variety of calls. Generally, crow sounds such as Fox Pro’s Crow Gathering, Crow Fight, or Crow party. You can also use crow sounds mixed with owl or hawk sounds to entice crows to respond.
Finally, crow decoys also work well to ensure these animals that your set up is safe for them to arrive. Plastic decoys that stick in the ground or trees can be purchased for less than $ 10, or you can make your own with black cardboard cut into the shape of a crow silhouette.
If crows do not respond within 5 or 10 minutes, or if I take a few shots, I will relocate to a new area and repeat the process. Just remember, always hunt safely.
Jared L. Goss