Whether you’re getting warmed up for the arrival of dove and duck season or looking to make up for missed opportunity once waterfowl season wraps up, nothing delivers a more budget-friendly shotgunning opportunity like crow hunting. Disregard the bitterness and angst that often comes with the thought of hunting crow. Pound for pound, nothing else comes close to the endless opportunity that the pursuit of crow hunting provides.
It was many years ago that I discovered that few things can cure an itchy trigger finger like crow hunting. My first trip to the field for crows found me with a shotgun in one hand and an old Johnny Stewart electronic caller that played a medley of crow sounds through a cassette tape in the other hand. I had used the caller a number of times for calling coyotes in close, but this would be my first time for crows. When I pushed the play button on the caller, the response was nearly instant. Crows came from near and far. In less than a minute, I knew I had discovered my newest hunting passion.
Never tried it?
Here’s a look at 5 reasons you should be hunting crows in the off-season.
The Perfect Prep for Hunting Season
Few things will prepare you for the arrival of dove and duck season like crow hunting. Shoot all the clay targets you want, but nothing compares to live targets. Crows will put you in the hunt and prepare you mentally and physically like nothing else. It’ll get your heart and adrenaline pumping in a way you won’t find with clay targets.
Crows will test your ability to swing on diving and darting targets and prepares you for how and when to call the shots. If you want to be more successful during the fall and winter hunting seasons on ducks, dove, and upland birds, you need to spend more time hunting crows in the off-season.
Testing New Gear
Shooting crows in the off-season not only allows you to prepare yourself mentally and physically, but it’s the perfect time to check all the boxes on gear and equipment prep as well. Don’t wait until opening day of dove season to figure out that your shotgun isn’t cycling loads like it should, or how your various chokes perform on approaching birds.
Countless hunters wait until their sitting 20 feet up a tree in a deer stand to realize their camo britches don’t fit like they used to, or the new boots they bought on sale are ridiculously painful. Work out all the kinks ahead of time on a trial run. Crow hunting provides the perfect opportunity to break in new guns, gear, and camo.
Introducing a New Hunter
What’s the perfect way to introduce a non-hunter to hunting and the shooting sports? It just might be crow hunting. Seldom will you have to worry about whether or not the game will show up when crow hunting. The action is typically fast and furious, supplying ample action for the newcomer in search of endless opportunity. And rarely will you find a newbie that hangs up on the idea of shooting a crow.
Put yourself in the non-hunters shoes for a minute. They often think, “Deer and bunnies are beautiful.” They may struggle with the idea of actually shooting them. Crows? Not so much. Crows aren’t necessarily attractive in form. They tend to be annoying, often bully-like, when it comes to their interaction with other critters around the home place. That’s why they make the perfect animal for a new hunter. Give them lots of opportunity on the trigger with crows, and they’ll often be ready to take the next step in their hunting career.
Making Up for Missed Opportunities
The end of waterfowl season tends to arrive long before I’m ready to put away my guns. Some years, the ducks just don’t seem to cooperate. While other years, the weather is just starting to get right when the final days of duck season close in. Either way, I find myself itching for opportunity after hunting season wraps up.
I’ve found that crow hunting can provide at least another month of fast-paced shotgunning action to make up for missed opportunity or extra time on the trigger throughout the month of February. In my home state of Tennessee, crow season wraps up with small game season at the end of February. Seasons vary by state. Be sure to check your local regulations for seasons and dates.
Keep the Local Landowners Happy
More than once, the pursuit of crows has helped me connect with local landowners and open new opportunity for hunting other critters. Crows can wreak havoc on summertime gardens or crops coming up. You’ll typically find an open invitation from the local landowners and farmers to help reduce crow numbers.
Much like with coyotes or other nuisance animals, if you can keep the crow numbers down, you’ll keep your local landowner happy. And a happy landowner is far more likely to welcome you back during deer or turkey season.
Crow hunting is an addicting shotgun sport that’ll keep your shooting skills sharp like no other. The gear required is likely already in your arsenal. The 12 or 20-gauge shotgun with loads in size #6 to 7 ½ or even #8 work great to break down a crow. Crow hunting is a laid back adventure that’ll deliver more shooting opportunity than any other critter you’ll pursue all year long. Don’t miss out on the action this season!