Crows are suspicious birds! They see everything, and it can be difficult to get them close enough to shoot them. Crows are usually hunted in the morning as they fly out to their foraging areas.

 

To be successful at crow hunting, it is important to monitor their flying habits for several days beforehand. It is a good idea to use decoys. Either crow decoys or a plastic owl. Using a crow call is also effective.

With a little practice, you can draw the crows’ attention to the decoys using the call. It is necessary to be well camouflaged, and remember that they see the hunter from above, so a hide is not always enough.

After being successful in one area, you should expect the local crows to avoid this for some time. You will therefore need to observe the crows’ new flying habits. It is a very exciting and challenging form of hunting, and often quite cheap, as most landowners want their crow populations reduced to protect the other fauna.


Crow shooting

Challenges of crow shooting

The biggest challenge of crow hunting is camouflage. Crows have good vision, and if they see the slightest change in the environment they will choose a different route.

Bear in mind that the crows have used this route every day over a very long period, so they know the surroundings better than you do. Crow hunting can also take place over much of the year, so different forms of camouflage will be required depending on the season and temperatures.

Only skilled hunters are successful at crow hunting, as it requires insight and persistence. Crow hunting is an exciting and challenging form of hunting, as it isn’t something you can just do.

It requires thorough preparation – especially the hide and the clothing.

If you are interested in duck shooting, you can read more about it here.

 

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Hunting stories from a hunter

Black birds and an old dog

As you fly into Denmark, you can clearly see through the small plane windows that Denmark is an agricultural country. The countryside looks like it is made up of small squares of yellow, green and brown fields. These fields belong to farms, and there is no farm in Denmark which does not have its own population of local and visiting crows. I once did a little crow hunting on one of these farms. Crows like to seek out the manure yard on such properties. If they are not sitting there they are foraging in the fields or in the nests of smaller birds in the trees or on the ground.

Crows are a cunning adversary! They are not easy prey that can be outwitted by cheap tricks or a quick walk through a random hedgerow with a shotgun. You shouldn’t feel superior to a worthy crow. It demands a lot from a hunter to bag a crow. You often feel inferior in the battle, but you are also only a poor intrusion into its daily surroundings, where nothing is left to chance!

A week before the planned hunt date, I set up a hide made of a camouflage net covered with branches and leaves from nearby trees and bushes. It was at a beautiful old yellow-painted farmhouse, which had been passed on from generation to generation over centuries. The farmer was also a hunter, and wanted to protect his wild partridges.

A friend and I were therefore given permission to sit in the meadow behind the farmhouse and try to outwit the crows. It was a rewarding day, we each bagged a good handful of birds.

Crow shooting - Hunter story

I had my old dog with me in the hide – as this was no hunt for a young dog, learning to retrieve. An injured crow is a feisty beast, not slow to snap with its beak. If it is the young dog’s first encounter with the bird world, it will quickly lose confidence in itself and avoid all feathered creatures in the future. It takes an old dog to deal with a cunning, hot-tempered crow, which bitterly recognises its defeat.

I returned to the site a few days later, but this time it was the crows that were the crafty ones. I didn’t bag a single one. They stayed at a safe distance – they weren’t about to be enticed! They had heard a rumour that there was danger in that corner of the meadow! You could hear them passing on the message in the treetops. Deep crow caws resounded in the valley, tattling on my presence and my purpose. There is a kind of charming arrogance about a bird that does not flee but remains sitting at an untouchable distance. A gossipy, noisy bird which muscles in on other’s territories itself. You sit there in the hide totally exposed – caught red-handed, feeling like a boy who has been discovered stealing cookies. They all stare at you as the shame spreads. That’s how it is with these black birds. Hunters and dogs have to be cunning! It is only when we arise, crestfallen, to return home that the birds take flight in a farewell salute.

 

Troels Pedersen

Troels Pedersen
40 year old hunter, musician and author from Denmark
Started hunting in 1999
Favourite quarry: Woodcock
Choice of weapon: Henry Atkin 12/70

Best hunting trip:
On 2 November 2016, as I walked with two good friends in undulating terrain among tall pine trees. My dog was searching energetically among the small mossy rises when two woodcocks suddenly took flight together. I still remember the breath catching in my chest when woodcock number two also collapsed in the air. It was as if they both hung there a moment after they were hit before they dropped majestically in a clearing. My dog retrieved them both.

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