How we started: We’d like to tell you, why we put so much emphasis on well concealed crow blinds. “When I started hunting crows I was highly motivated. In addition to many unnecessary purchases, I made the mistake to follow the “experts” of the time and put up my blind (or hide) out in the open fields. The reason being good visibility and good range for shooting.
I met a hunter who at the time had been hunting crows in his area for one or two years who said that this kind of blind does not work
for him anymore. He now had to hide in hedges to have any success at all. “The less you see of any camo netting the better.”
In my arrogance I told him of my successes and suspected other causes for his problems. But on the first day of my third crow season my day had come….
In a part of my hunting area that had not seen and crow hunting for a year, most of the crows started to avoid my decoys and veered off at 60 - 80 meters distance. The decoy spread and my (free standing) blind had no visible flaws.
Even more puzzling: Three crows shot at long distance were clearly only young birds, less than a year old!
I put my thinking hat on and the next day put my blind in the hedge 100 Meters away. And would you believe it, the crows came in
familiar and unsuspecting as usual.
After that experience the free standing blind was a thing of the past – if there was any chance of hiding in any kind of cover. Conversations with other crow hunters all over Europe confirmed “my” experiences:
Even in areas that were not hunted, all free standing blinds were avoided by the crows. It became obvious, that crows do not have to make any mistake themselves but they can pass it on to other crows and new generations.
After shooting several thousand crows I dare say that my friend was right and I should have listened to him from the start. Avoid the free standing blind like the plague. Ever since I am doing my best to convince other hunters not to make the mistake that I have made. Even if I know full well, that there will be those who will insist on making the mistake first before they’ll believe it.
We’re in the unlucky position that there are many hunters who make crow hunting in coverless areas – especially in the winter –
near impossible by unnecessaryly educating the birds . This might be the reason why they reap quite harsh replies when posting sub standard blinds or simply careless behaviour when out crow hunting. Because by publicating such obvious mistakes, other newbies can pick them up as valid tips and multiply the damage. And small game and the farmers have to pick up the bill for that.
Now, you don’t have to accept our opinions and the guidelines we are trying to give – but if you do, you will have more success in
the long run. You’ll be able to help your small game and farmers and will ultimatively help bio diversity in your hunting area!
Our “Ten Commandments” of crow hunting are our main cornerstones. Even if there are certainly a dozen (or so) more things to look out for.
Once our website is finished you will find a chapter on every Commandment which will explain in more detail. Usually with pictures.
The more you hunt, the more important it is to use natural camouflage for your hide/ blind. The best choice is actually to hide your blind if you want the birds to approach as unsuspecting and familiar as possible. Be aware that you might not be the only one who hunts in that area. Maybe another hunter has already educated “your” birds. Don’t use hides out in the open. The crows will otherwise start veering off out of range. Be smart, hide the hide.
Excellent Camouflage is one of the most important rule of hunting crows sucessfully. Be it clothing or the blind. Try to choose your clothing after the your blind. “Melt” into your blind.
When buying decoys, make sure that they are flocked. Alternatively pull a sock over them. Shiny decoys will scare the crows off. If dirty, clean them. If icy, clean them. If dewy, clean them. And try not to shoot your decoys... just shoot flying crows and your decoys will survive longer. It’s also less dangerous to shoot upwards.
Adding movement to the decoys? There is a lot to consider here. The ads promise miracles. Of course you need the latest doodah and wingdoodle… Clear message: NO YOU DON’T! After only a few uses of the crow magnet, the crows started to avoid our decoys. Why? They have learned very fast that this (always the in the same motion) moving thingy means trouble. Now some shops say: Use 1-5 magnets at the same time! Well, if we tried to sell them, we probably would say the same... Therefore: No gadgets and gizmos in the decoy spread that are easily recognizeable. Better spend your money on confidence decoys, more camo netting or some shooting lessons!
It is important to know that crows are extremely adaptive. Cars, clothes and faces will be remembered! If they watch you put up your blind they’ll eventually put 1 and 1 together! Because of this, building the blind in the dark is of utmost importance. No whitnesses. We try to have everything finished 20 minutes before dawn. Blind built. Decoys out. Car put out of sight. Personal camo applied. Guns loaded. Second coffee in hand. Ready to go.
Only those who know their area know where the crows are. Scouting of the flight routes, sleeping trees, rally points etc. is a crucial part of proper preparation. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail! Those who take this task seriously will find that they are far more successful than others! Where are the murders at which times? Where do they come from, where are they going to? This has got to be clear to us. If you hunt in the morning – scout in the morning!
If you watch a murder of crows in a field when they are feeding you will almost always see sentinels. We take advantage of this behavior by adding sentinels to our decoy spread. To the crows the sentinel means safety: “My buddy is watching!” To us a sentinel means the crows decoy better. Also the sentinel up in the tree adds to the visibility because in can be seen from every direction and from further away. AND: You can influence the direction the crows come into the decoys from.
Crow hunting is active hunting. However: Crows have good eye sight. If you have a fidgeter in the blind, they’ll see it and flee. Simples. Just hold still, be patient, be ready. Especially when you think you are not being watched.
When you’re finished, try and get the decoys in as fast as you can. After the decoys are gone, you may relax – a bit. Do not take trophy pictures with the dead crows in your decoy spread! Best take those pictures somewhere different all together. Oh, and bring in every single dead crow ASAP. Your do will love it. Dead crows usually mean trouble.
Birds can see colours and in the UV range. Deer etc. can not. But birds can. As a result, clothes washed with regular washing powder will light up like a beacon! Use special washing liquids or none. Also: The camouflage pattern of your clothes should match the inside of your blind.