Favored shot size for crows?


February 9, 2003, 10:11 AM
I had a somewhat disappointing "group shoot" earlier this week when about a dozen crows were making their racket and doing thier droppings in a big oak tree over our picnic table out back. From around 30 yards, I took good aim with little 20 gauge with modified choke loaded with high brass 4s. Centered pattern on 3 of 'em close together, but only dropped one.

Back in college days, I recall some buddys and I frequently dropping many of 'em, usually flying toward roosts, on Sunday afternoons near the end of or after quail season. I think we were probably using whatever shotgun and shells we had handy at the time, but probably 12 gauge with 7 1/2s or 8s.

While I recall seeing "recommended shot sizes" for taking various game animals on some boxes of ammo, I can't recall seeing such for the lowly crow. Your experience/opinions? 4s, 6s, 8s ?

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February 9, 2003, 11:24 AM
#6 inside of 40 yards and a full choke. #5 shot for shots outside of 40 but inside of 55 yards. Crows are darn tough birds, as hard to kill as a mallard duck in his full winter plumage. IME it takes 4 -#6 pellets or 3 -#5 pellets to drop a crow. I shoot full chokes on them exclusively and shoot one at a time, flock shooting or trying to get more than one at a time is really hard to be successfull at. #2 steel shot in a high velocity loading works well on them too.

#7 1/2 shot works great at 25 yards or so. #4 shot unless in 3" loadings leaves patterns pretty thin without a turkey choke.

Kill every crow you can. It is also some great late winter hunting.

February 9, 2003, 12:26 PM
i agree with hsmith,i got into crow hunting a few years back,for me my hunting season go's like this,dove,duck,rabbit than crow i got a game caller crow decoys a owl decoy and a hand call,i put the decoys in a tree about 45-50yrd away using #6 12ga full shoke and find cover under a pine tree and wait for the fun:evil:

February 9, 2003, 03:51 PM
I still use my old Browning A5 with a new Hastings WadLock II barrel, and X full choke, for crows. I like the high brass #6 Federals. If I plan shots past 40 yards, I take the rifle.

February 9, 2003, 07:47 PM
i call crows so i don't have a need to stretch the distance. typically i use 6 shot; i'll use hi-or low- brass, whatever i happen to have in the gun at the time. as far as choke, i like a mod choke...

set out a crow deke, hit the tape...no need for long shots, unless you like popping 'em w/ a rifle... i keep my 7 mag in the truck for when a long distance crow affords me an opportunity... for rifle shooting crows, i highly reccomend 162 grain hornady interlocks propelled to 3100 f/s...

in sum: 6's through a mod for the shotgun, accurate bullets through the barrel for a rifle.

February 10, 2003, 12:05 AM
Just curious if anyone eats the crows. I used to work with a guy who hunted/fished/trapped everything under the sun, and that was a big part of how he fed his family. I asked him once what was the worst thing he ever ate, and he thought for a minute, wrinkled his nose, and said "crow." And this was a guy who liked snow geese. I'm thinking crow has to be seriously bad.

February 10, 2003, 04:19 AM
I like 5's. Three crows = Three shots... Never had any luck "group shooting" anything.

Dave McCracken
February 10, 2003, 05:18 AM
7.5s within 30 yards, 6s for longer. Both hard shot, premium trap/hunting loads with Modified to Full chokes...

February 10, 2003, 08:20 AM
Thanks for replies, guys. It sounds like I best break out 12 gauge for any serious dispatching with shotgun. And leave the case of poor-boy dove loads on the shelf ...

Quote: "Crows are darn tough birds, ... " Agreed. Hit two on the ground recently COM with .22 Rem. subsonics from around 50 yards. First promptly flew about 35 yards before going down in heavy cover. When I went looking for it about 30 minutes later, I scared off a big ol' hawk that had him about 2/3 eaten ... Hit another one Friday in left side of chest that flew about 10 yards, at which point our "range cat", Bud, promptly bounded through the brush and chomped down on the back of crow's neck. Then just walked away ... So I guess there are more than just us two-legged critters that dislike crows ... ;)

February 23, 2003, 12:21 PM
Just curious if anyone eats the crows

Yup, and if you stay away from the old ones they taste real good.

February 23, 2003, 02:23 PM
Nope, I never have.
Crowbusters or somethin like that has a website (can't remember the URL) and they gave a bunch of recipes. You just cut the breast out and throw the rest away, they had all sorts of different stuff they put it in.
I think I'll pass.

February 24, 2003, 10:36 AM
Big ditto on "pass". Especially when even the cat here won't eat 'em. :eek: Leaves more for the hawks, buzzards and coyotes ...

Those "tactical black" bad boys have been real skittish tho here lately. Every time I pull in the driveway in little white truck, they go elsewhere quickly. I guess it's way too "untactical" for 'em. :D

Matt G
February 26, 2003, 07:17 AM
Greybeard, I know where you work, and I would tend to think the best medicine would be .22 LR w/subsonics. If you see no crows, pop a squirrel or rabbit first, and set it out. You're as likely to draw in a murder of crows as any buzzards. This puts 'em on the ground, where you can do all the good with your rifle, in the quiet. ;)

For shotgun, I've always felt that #5 or #6 shot were the ideal crow loads. I tend toward #6, because it can be pressed into service as a quail or even dove load.

February 26, 2003, 11:32 AM
Yea Matt, ya probably right about the subsonics vs. shotgun. Gotta be real disiplined with zones of fire with either out there. Guess ya may have seen the deer blind moved over behind backstop. Got bench and sandbag riggin' that keeps rifle muzzle(s) inside for 50 yard shots to centerfield.

Despite lots of opportunities, only popped one squirrel in 7 years. (He had a serious disliking of the resident cat.) Cottontails pretty much pets. They give the cat some exercise - and me an excuse for toys to ambush coyotes.

Having been abused ;) by crows as a 5-year old, I just could not resist the recent opportunity for a "group shoot" at their ancestors. :D

The wife said that I must be needin' to go hunting BAD to be focusing on crows. Had quail hunting trip scheduled for the last two weekends, but Mother Nature did not cooperate. Getting too old to want to chase 'em in cold temps. and 30 mph north winds.

March 4, 2003, 05:18 PM
I hunt squirrels, ducks, geese, deer, turkeys, pheasants...guess you get the idea

crows are one of my favorites. I have a Lohman Cd caller. Here the winter gets cold, and the crows "feather up". First I tried trap loads. I could knock 'em back but got just a few kills.

Upped it to high brass 6's. Still had a lot of fly-off's.

Now I use (get ready) #5 or 6 Federal Turkey Loads. Sounds extreme, but if they're flying high, that's what it takes (at least here). Warmer areas and summer time may take less. I guess you could use regular 3" 12 gauge, but I got a lot of the turkey loads on sale so that's what I use.

Get a caller (you can use a boom-box tape player) and a few decoys plus an owl decoy.

They're REAL smart. If one sees you setting up, you're wasting your time. He'll warn the others. Camo head to toe, especially your face. Don't move... They'll always come in from down-wind. And don't set up under tall trees or they'll circle too high and out of range.

March 4, 2003, 07:39 PM
Redneck, that is exactly what I have found too, and why I recommended #6's and 5's in my response. I have had great results out of the Winchester Supreme Turkey 3.5" with 2 oz of #4 shot @1300 FPS too, but they are a little pricey and kick like a mule. With a Turkey choke 75 yards is just getting to the limit of the range crows can be killed cleanly.

Good advise on the setup and technique also, that is what works for us too.

March 7, 2003, 06:02 PM
All my crow-killin' experience is with rifles. Fun, but not quite as quick as a shotgun.

The father-in-law uses #6 in one of those 36" barreled Marlin Goose Guns. Don't know if I've ever seen him drop more than three per shot though.

March 9, 2003, 01:45 PM
.223 .:D

March 10, 2003, 11:33 AM
#6 in one of those 36" barreled Marlin Goose Guns

That is the way to do it, but it is not much left if you get a good hit at under 30m.

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