There has been a lot of good discussion on the forums over the last two or three years about shooting crows with a rifle. There seems to be a lot of interest in this method, so I thought I would get another post going. This may be a bit lengthy, but explains how I go about it. Feel free to jump in with your photos and stories.
Currently I am having a lot of fun putting together a video of crow sniping. What I have found is that being a one-man-show with camera and rifle is difficult, so I have had to change my methods somewhat from what I usually do. The camera has made things much more difficult.
I've been crow sniping for a number of years and I thoroughly enjoy it. It's not as successful as calling and shotgunning, but the ones that I do get with a rifle are a lot of fun. Some people might say I spend too much time and go to a lot of effort for one or two shots at nothing more than a crow, and perhaps they are right. But hey, since I enjoy the heck out of it, it's not really wasted time. I've hunted crows by calling and shotgunning for over 40 years, but taking one or two here and there with a rifle is just pure enjoyment, and just one more way of doing it.
My methods have been simple over the years - drive around the old farms and back roads off the beaten path, and find where crows are sitting up on cold winter days. They tend to sit for just a bit longer when the temperature is cold, thereby giving the rifleman a few seconds more time to take a shot.
Working with the video camera this winter has been challenging. I have found that I just can't make it happen before the crows fly off. Getting the camera into position takes time and I've lost many shot opportunities that I could have otherwise taken. So, I resorted to another method. I have been setting up a blind over areas where I find crows are feeding.
Crows leave the roost in early morning, hungry, and will immediately go to a known food source. Finding where they are feeding and then setting up at that location in early morning is proving successful. I have also set up with a combination of blind, Foxpro and decoys. That too seems to be working. The main thing needed when using the call and decoys is to get the crows to perch nearby.
I mainly use a .17 HMR for crow sniping, but have used a variety of rifles including .22 magnum, .223 and my 6x45 AR. The 17 HMR seems to be ideally suited for crow sniping. It is a very accurate cartridge and flat shooting as well. Taking crows at 100 yards with it is a piece of cake.
Shooting crows from tree tops requires a lot of caution. Where I live in the mountains of Virginia, there are many places where shots can be safely taken at crows in tree tops. In some directions we have nothing but miles and miles of rough, steep, and uninhabited mountains. Knowledge of the terrain and what lies beyond the target is imperative. I deliberately setup / choose my shots so that I know the direction and what lies beyond. Not everyone will have the opportunity to shoot crows safely as I do with a rifle, but for those of you that can hunt safely, crow sniping is a great time. Many of you already know the excitement of it as much as I do.
Here are some photos from this winter's hunts, though I'm still in the process of getting more, especially on video.
Some images were taken from video
The blind offers concealment for camera operation. It is not needed if you aren't filming,
but does give a better opportunity for a shot.
Notice the Hawk in the tree at the lower right. The crow was taken with a 17 HMR.
There are many miles of nothing but mountains in the distance.
17 HMR, CCI 20 gr. Game Point
The Ameristep Outhouse Blind is great for crow sniping. It packs up easy and is light weight.
I carry a Thermos of coffee with me and some snacks. Makes for a good morning.
The blind has been necessary for taking video. As they say in the military, improvise,
adapt and overcome.