Crow Hunting Tactics

Crow Hunting Tactics

When it comes to a crow shoot, you can take that many or more of these marauders. Here's how to put yourself in the right place for the action!

It's a good bet that you can step outdoors anywhere in the state and before long you hear the tell-tale cawing of a distant crow. These easy-to-identify scavengers can be one of the most challenging of all federally regulated game birds. Hunt crows any way but seriously and you discover just how difficult they are to fool.

With the right calling tactics and some straight shooting, it's possible to down dozens of crows on a single hunt. Photo by Stephen D. Carpenteri.

CROW BEHAVIOR 101
Understand from the start that crows are among the most intelligent, alert and sophisticated of all game birds. They have a language all their own, they understand the power of numbers against their enemies and their senses are finely tuned. A crow that sees a hunter is one that will never be shot, and a crow that has been shot at and missed will alert his brethren for miles around.


To successfully hunt these birds, every outing must be planned and executed to perfection or there will be no shooting. It often requires the stealth of a trophy deer hunter to fool these black-feathered rascals, but skilled hunters routinely kill dozens -- sometimes hundreds -- of crows in a single morning.


CROW-HUNTING BASICS
All one needs to successfully hunt crows is a shotgun, a pocket full of shells and a hand-held crow call. Electronic calls are available as well, but not necessary.

Although crows may be found in back yards and city parks, the best hunting will be found near rural farmland. Enter wooded areas bordering crop fields or pastures as inconspicuously as possible, avoiding open areas. Wear drab clothing because crows can see color, and wear camouflage gloves and a facemask.


Do not call in advance. Doing so simply alerts the birds to your presence and the net result will be a lot of calling back and forth, but no shooting. Wait until you are concealed in a blind, behind a blow down or hidden by trees and brush.


Set a few crow decoys on the ground or in nearby trees for added appeal. Long-furred animal skins or hawk or owl decoys also attract crows. Set your decoys about 15 yards from your position to divert the birds' attention away from you. Only when you are completely set up should you begin calling.

Crows utter a variety of calls, but one calling sequence hunters must never use is a rapid "caw-caw-caw" of three notes in rapid succession. This is the universal danger signal to crows. Instead, utter two, four, five or even six long, languid "caws," which crows interpret as "come look. I've found something interesting!"

The most realistic calls are made with hand-held calls constructed of wood. P. S. Olt, Lohman Game Calls and other manufacturers offer good-quality crow calls for under $10.

To make your call sound more like a real crow, practice uttering a soft groan in the back of your throat as you call. This creates the deep-throated sound of a "boss" crow and will bring more birds to your shooting site. You can simply blow on a call and get by with the high-pitched, anxious call of a young crow, but to get the attention of large flocks it's important to sound like a big, bad boss crow!

In most cases you will get an immediate response from at least one crow "scout," and this is where your hunt will be won or lost. That first bird must be downed or he will fly back to the flock and warn them. Alerted crows will not come to your call no matter how big and bad you may sound!

Call loudly at first and be prepared to shoot when you hear that first bird coming your way. Crows, like most predatory scavengers, are masters at locating the source of sounds. There's no need to continue calling once the initial bird heads your way. That first bird may soar overhead, circle lazily or swoop in from any direction, so be prepared to shoot quickly and accurately.

Crows come in just over the treetops, where No. 6 or 8 shot in a modified barrel will bring them down.

When you have killed that first incomer, continue calling in the same sequence, but never three caws! Just add some urgency. The other crows in the flock saw that first bird go down and will come in as a loosely organized mob (or "murder of crows," according to Webster's) to see what's going on. Stay hidden, keep calling and drop your birds as they come into range. In most cases you'll wish you had brought more ammunition!

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Minn Kota's Brad Henry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that there's much to like in the new Minn Kota Riptide Terrova saltwater trolling motor that comes with I-Pilot and an 87-inch shaft.

Simms

Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor Hoody

John Frazier of Simms Fishing Products helps OSG's Lynn Burkhead understand the new features of the new Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor sun protection hoody.

Mustad

Mustad's Saltwater Jig Lineup

Russ Whisler shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the innovative features and great color schemes in Mustad's voluminous lineup of saltwater jigs introduced at ICAST 2019.

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead gets new product details from Simms Fishing Product's John Frazier about the new waterproof 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some great bass pond fishing. Bass

Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some...

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record. Walleye

Record-Sized Walleye Was Foul-Hooked, Agency Says

G&F Online Staff

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record.

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

Game & Fish Digital Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths. Catfish

5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton - September 16, 2015

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...

See More Trending Articles

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now