Crow hunting is good filler for the down times and despite what we often think it is still good table-fare.
“Why on earth would anyone want to hunt crows?” I often get asked that question when people learn that I am an avid crow hunter during the whitetail off-season. Many hunters wonder whether or not crow hunting is worth their time and if there is any benefit to it. My short answer to that is “Yes, absolutely!”
But why? How is crow hunting beneficial and why should hunters spend their time in the off-season chasing these pesky black birds?
If you think about it from a conservation standpoint, crow hunting makes all the sense in the world. Just like other predatory animals (think wolves, coyotes, bobcats, etc.), crows need to be managed in order for some game animals that we like to eat to thrive. Crows have been known to steal and eat eggs in nests from game animals including quail, pheasant, turkeys and waterfowl. They have also been known to take and eat eggs from non-game birds’ nests, like robins, cardinals and bluebirds. As if that wasn’t bad enough, if you do a quick search on YouTube you will see plenty of videos of crows attacking, and if they are lucky enough, eating baby ducklings and goslings. That alone is reason enough to take out some crows.
Aside from the fact that crows are predatory birds, they are omnivorous, which means that they eat plants and seeds as well and can be highly destructive to crops. This is especially true when there are large numbers of them, appropriately named a “murder” of crows. Just think of the thousands of crows that may congregate in a field planted with corn, for example, and the amount of damage that they could cause. You can easily see how total crop loss could occur and the amount of money that a farmer would lose as a result.
I have been hunting crows for about four or five years now, and when I first started, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun it was. Seeing and hearing crows respond to your call and fly in to your decoy spread is comparable to the feeling that you get when waterfowl hunting and ducks or geese commit to your decoys. Like with any hunt, crow hunting does have its own unique set of challenges and requires a certain skill set. But all it takes is just getting out there and learning from your experiences. You would be surprised at how easy it really can be.
An added bonus to crow hunting is that it’s a great way to hone your wing-shooting skills and keep them sharp in the off-season. Crows can be a challenge to shoot and they provide real world shooting experience that clay pigeons cannot offer. For example, knowing when to shoot a crow and at what distance — without being detected — can really help improve your shooting skills in the duck blind or in the dove field. I didn’t do much upland bird hunting when I first started crow hunting, and it was an excellent way to help me get more comfortable with handling and shooting a shotgun. Another plus: hunting crows is quite a bit cheaper than hunting most other birds.
Many people enjoy eating crow as well, no pun intended! Field dressing them is pretty simple and comparable to cleaning doves. Their meat is darker, so if you’re wondering how to prepare them, I would start by simply replacing duck with crow in your favorite duck recipes. Get creative and experiment with them in the kitchen and I’m sure you’ll find a way to prepare them that both you and your family will love.
So as odd as it may seem to some, you can see that crow hunting does in fact have some benefits and is well worth a hunter’s time and effort. Like any hunt, crow hunting can be challenging, but you will find that the rewards from both a conservation and an agricultural aspect are great — not to mention how much it will improve your wing-shooting skills. Most states have a dedicated crow season and luckily it usually doesn’t overlap with whitetail or waterfowl seasons, so it’s a great way to extend your time in the field. If you’re not aware of a good crow hunting location, ask some local farmers in your area; most would be more than happy to let you hunt on their property. And who knows, maybe that could even lead to being able to hunt their property in other seasons as well, for deer, turkey, or upland birds!
Give crow hunting a shot and see for yourself all that you’ve been missing out on!