I have written crow, prairie dog and squirrel hunting stories for the Varmint Hunters Assn. and Fur-Fish-Game Magazine.When it comes to crow hunting, it seems I do it differently than most. First of all, my crow hunting is done with a rifle, a .22 rimfire rifle. I sure do not object to using a centerfire rifle, but in my case a centerfire isn't needed. I could never understand why anyone would want to shoot centerfire rifles at crows 500 yards away when you can shoot them with a .22 long rifle at 50 yards. Time after time you read about cruising back roads looking for crows to shoot at. This may be fine for Wyoming, but not in a state where there are a lot of farms and people.
Let me explain how easy and simple it is. First and foremost, you want crows to come to you and not the other way around. I have never owned a mouth blown call. What I find brings in crows best is a Johnny Stewart "Death Cry of a Crow" tape. I've played that tape hundreds of times. My first tape player was a $23 Panasonic Recorder/Player that was loud enough to bring in a crow from as far away as you could see it. I finally bought a Johnny Stewart 512 machine with the small speaker. But I'm getting away from my story. With a Ruger 10/22 Sporter I killed 1000 crows and then switched to a 77/22R which killed 87 crows. 1,087 crows may not seem like much, but these crows were shot using only two hunting locations. My first location was at the edge of a local landfill where I killed 810 crows before the landfill was sold. I changed to a different location miles from the landfill where I proceeded to kill 277 additional crows.
Building a good crow hunting spot is quite simple. First you must find yourself a dead or partially dead tree. You must be able to get back from the dead tree 50 to 60 yards and have an unobstructed view of the top branches. Obviously you need a blind at your shooting location, so build one as natural looking as possible. In this blind you must build something solid to be used as a shooting rest.
As we now have the perfect crow hunting spot, all we need now are landing crows. I have an electronic tape player with a 100 foot cord on the speaker. I place the horn speaker at the base of the tree with the horn facing up. About this time is where the free advice flows. Some say turn the volume down, use the mouth blown call or a combination of both. What has always worked for me was to turn the volume to full blast and leave it that way. I've had crows land 10 feet above the horn and look down at it. From the time I start until the time I quit I never turn the caller off. I am in the blind before dawn 99% of the time. Crows get up early! When you are ready, turn the caller on. Crows may come in 30 seconds and then again they may not, depending on whether there are any crows in the area. All this talk about roosts and flyways. In all my years of crow hunting I've seen neither. Crows just seem to be there.
I used to carry decoys with me. I soon figured out that if I shoot the first couple of crows, I can use them as decoys. I have not used a decoy for the last 850 crow kills. With the speaker below the dead tree and you in your blind, the incoming crows are looking at the base of the tree trying to figure out what is happening to their pal. While they are looking they are landing and you had better be shooting. There is confusion in crow world. The caller is squawking full blast. Incoming and circling and diving crows are panic calling. Crows do not even notice the light report of the CCI .22 LR hollow point ammo you are using to knock them from their perch.
Now that you know how it is done, how well does it work? My stay averages about two hours per hunting trip. On occasion, I've killed (yes killed is the word, you do not harvest crows) 33, 31, 26, 18, 11, 12 with a lot of 4's, 5's and 6's.
Yes, I love those centerfires that can kill a crow at 300 yards and be heard for another 1000. But, when you can shoot a lot of crows in an hour with a minimum of effort with your favorite Ruger/Leupold combo at 50 yards without waking up the rest of the county, that is real hunting.
Take it from the CrowSniper, "one shot, one kill" still works.
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