Those that have followed my ramblings know that I really enjoy crow hunting. I like any type of hunting that allows you to call critters in and crows are no exception. Our season runs into early April and provides abundant opportunity in NE to pursue this highly intelligent bird. Like Rodney Dangerfield…the crow “gets no respect!” In fact, I think they are the smartes bird you are likely to hunt. Keen eyes, complex social structure and a wariness to humans makes them tough to lure into shotgun range. When you do, it can be a lot of fun!
Calling crows requires two things: A good mouth call or an electronic caller. I really like the E caller as it allows me to mimic large gatherings of crows which can really fool large groups of crow or individuals.
Decoys are also important. Once they are fooled into investigating the sound…you need something to draw them into range. The standard set up includes several plastic or flocked crows around or mobbing an owl. Crows naturally mob owls and hawks to chase them out of their area.
Finally, if ever you were to use camo to hunt…this would be the time. Crows can spot a mistake a mile away. You’ll need to do your best impression of snow or foliage to fool these guys. Also, when they do come in, don’t shoot the first bird but let several more come into range. This will allow a bit more opportunity.
Good crow loads include a 12 or 20 gauge with 5-7.5 shot. Six is my favorite for crow. You will be surprise how tough they are to hit (unless you shoot like I do then you are used to missing). My brother-in-law Dave and I generally like to fire a warning shot just to be sporting…or so it seems.
Learn different calls by listening to crows. Your set up is most important. Set your decoys about 35 yards away from you and stay out of the crows direct line of sight. Don’t give them any reason to look at YOU! I like the Great Horned Owl decoy set up with decoys around it as this can really get their attention. If using a hand call, avoid the triple Caw-Caw-Caw danger call…but if you draw that out to a longer Caaaawwwww-Caaaawwww-Caaawww that is a rally cry. See…not as simple as you thought. Crows are smart I tell ya! If a single comes in first, let him pass as he is the sentinel and will bring other back if alive to do so. Shoot him and the game could be over before it starts.
When hunting with friends, be sure to honor safe zones of fire as crows can fly in any direction offering multiple shot opportunities that should or maybe should not be taken…
Have fun, be safe and learn about these amazing birds! They offer a lot of late season fun and can get you through winter until the spring turkey season!
Get Em’ Out There