Solving Waterfowl Season Withdrawals with Crow Hunting

Waterfowl Season Withdrawals | Scratch the Itch with Crow Hunting By: Hard Core Pro-Staffer Sean Beeke It’s Late February, and like many other hunters I’ve been going through waterfowl withdrawals. Many states have an answer to the need to hunt birds and can be challenging and rewarding. Crow Hunting is the thing I go to after the waterfowl seasons have closed. Here in Michigan our crow season in late winter runs Feb 1-March 31. You can use much of the same gear you would use on a field goose hunt and we do with the addition of a few more items that can be incorporate into your field goose spread next season. For my go to crow rig I use Hard Core Man Cave Layout Blinds, Hard Core Crow Decoys (a dozen), Max 5 Realtree Camo head to toe, and an electronic and hand held crow call. I may also use pop up blinds, bale blinds, and even a sheet of blind grass depending on the hunt’s location. Choice of gun is a Semi Auto 12 with 6 shot steel or lead. Crows inhabit many different types of terrain and in late winter will yard up or flock up to hundreds, if not thousands. Crows need water just like other animals and will stay relatively close to open water during cold months. I generally set up within a few yards of a tree line on a field that has some cover and some crop grains left that the crows will feed on. I set the blinds up wind of the decoys close around 10 yards or less, and set the dozen decoys focusing on one center bird on its side, with a couple decoys behind on the lower limbs of the trees behind the blinds. Crow Decoy | Hard Core Brands For calling I use a frantic crow distress and a crow flock call on the electronic caller (if your area allows) with the speaker set in the center of the decoys. Many times within a minute or two you are shooting. This is where having a couple friends or other hunters along is very useful. More often than not many crows will come in together and will move in and out of range very quickly. Crows become wise to hunters pretty quick as well, so try to make every shot opportunity count. There may only be one opportunity to shoot at a flock of crows before they no longer respond to your calls. Giving a down time of 10 minutes or so between calling/vollies may improve your success as the educated birds move through and fresh birds move in. Just as in predator hunting, have several places to set up miles apart. Keep the hunts short, around 1 hour at each location and it will improve your success. As a hunting guide, I use the crow season as a “thank you” invite to those that hunted with me in the previous season. They really enjoy that time in the field and look forward to that as much as waterfowl hunting. For those who are adventurous and would like to eat their take, there are many recipes for wild crow. I know many who have tried and enjoyed it prepared several ways. Crow hunting is a great way to introduce a youngster, hunt with friends or manage a predator on your hunting property. With little investment beyond your waterfowl gear you already have, you can make the waterfowl withdrawals a little easier.