This classic P.S. Olt crow call from the author’s collection has doubled as both a spring gobbler locator call and for fooling the common crow. Steve Hickoff photo
By Steve Hickoff
Crow opportunities seem to sneak under the radar. A wary target, they can provide wingshooting opportunities that bear some comparisons to waterfowling. Yep, you heard right. Let’s go on a crow hunt, shall we?
Finding crows is as easy as talking to your local farmers. Most will enthusiastically greet your request to hunt these black birds with affirmative responses. Once access is gained, arrive in the pre-dawn (as you would for waterfowl) and watch the early movements of crows. Where are they roosting? Where are they flying to as daytime begins? What food sources are they using? This will set you up for your hunt, seasons providing. Note also that the habits of crows can change on a daily basis, so regular scouting—as with other forms of hunting—is essential. Find their preferred local flyways.
FOOL THEM IN
You can use a dozen black plastic decoys or even bigger spreads to fool your crows (just as we’d increase the size of the spread in duck hunting). Consider putting some in the trees surrounding your setup, as well as on the ground in front of you, in gun range. Place one on a nearby fencepost or two, and try to envision how the decoying birds might see your hunting site from the air. Load and drive your decoys to the field you’ll hunt with your Yamaha ATV or Side-by-Side.
CALL THEM IN
If you’re a turkey hunter, chances are you carry a crow call to locate roosted spring gobblers. That same tool can be used during crow season, um, to call crows in. Some crow callers also employ electronic calls (often legal) to enhance their own mouth calling efforts. Calls work best on calm, still days. Windy gusts and rain dampens crow activity. Use your calls with this in mind. The so-called rallying call is a series of caw-caw-caw notes. The distressful wailing crow call, a kind of painful, pleading effort, will bring them in as well. Listen to crows on their daily patterns—they’ll teach you plenty about varying vocalizations.
As always, check your state’s regulations for special crow seasons. Some opportunities are available in summer, location providing. If anything, it’ll keep you in the wingshooting game until you trade crow dekes for your duck and goose fakes.