by: Bob Aronsohn
I have hunted crows for over 49 years starting at age 11 1/2 years old. Seriously since 1974 when I was 26 years old; I'm now 61 years old as of last February. I had the best season of my life last season. My friend Jerry Byroade (from Maryland) and I shot 3,584 crows on the first 16 hunts of the season last year. This was from late October to mid November. Then my friend, Dick Kilbane (from Ohio), and I shot an additional 6,932 crows from November to February. Our largest shoot last season was 543 crows in one day. We had several over 400 and quite a few in the two and three hundred range. The main reason I love to hunt crows so much is because you just don't setup just anywhere and expect to have a good shoot. It takes plenty of scouting in order to line up a good shoot. I don't get good shooting all the time, sometimes I just don't get in the right spot.
For example, last season Jerry and I were in a known feeding area and shot 179 crows from around 8:00 am to 1:00 pm that day. All morning I could see we were not in the right spot. I saw hundreds and hundreds of crows moving from north to south that were roughly one mile west of our position. When we picked up, I found out who farmed that ground and got permission to hunt it the next morning. Jerry and I shot 425 crows the next day from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm I wanted to share this tip with you, just because you are in the wrong spot does not mean you can't take advantage of it! I had a very good observation post in which to watch those crows all morning and into the afternoon!
I want to talk about shot size because most new guys choose a shot size to large for hunting crows. Can you kill them with 4's and 6's? Yes you can, but you will have a much higher shot to kill ratio with 7 1/2's or 8's because they throw a much denser pattern. This is especially true on long shots because a crow sized target can fly right through a pattern of 4's or 6's without ever being hit-and this is if you're dead on! The reason is because you don't have enough shot in 4's and 6's to plug the holes in your pattern beyond 45 to 50 yards and further. In a 12 gauge load you have 251 6's in a 1 1/8th ounce load. In a 1 1/4 ounce load you have 279 pieces of shot to hit the mark. Now with a 1 1/8 th ounce load of 7 1/2's you have 388 pieces of shot as compared to 251 pieces of shot for the same load. In 1 1/8 th ounces of 8's you have 460 pieces of shot to hit the mark! That extra shot plugs a lot of holes in your pattern down range. A crow is not hard to kill at all, they are thin skinned like a quail or dove. They are also smaller than they appear to be when flying. This is why smaller shot sizes will net you way more crows. Some will argue that the smaller shot will not kill a crow at 50 to 60 yards. I have but one reply for this, go to a trap range and see how a 1 1/8 th ounce load performs on clay targets. Watch the guys shoot at the 26 or 27 yard line because they will be breaking targets at 50 to 60 yards that far back from the trap house! A clay target is a lot smaller than a crow and that is why I favor the smaller shot sizes for crows.