When is the best time of year and the best time of day to shoot corvids?
Q: Most of my shooting seems to be on ground with limited crops and mainly grassland grazed by sheep and cattle. What do you think is the best time of year to shoot corvids?
A: We have an abundance of crows all year round on the estate, however they are very challenging to catch up with at certain times of the year. We typically have a good few cracks at them. One is roost shooting at the end of the pheasant season. This is the first real bash we get at them outside of the summer months as I choose not to shoot the crows during the season to create less disturbance to the shoot. The next big hit I usually have will be on the cover crop drillings in the height of the summer months when the young birds have fledged the nest, followed by the stubbles as the few crops are taken off the ground. There are opportunities throughout the year that can prove to be very eventful so do try to make the most of these when they arise.
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Decoying crows from a hide
Q: Can you tell me the best way to decoy crows from a hide?
A: All the rules of pigeon decoying apply to corvids, except that crows are much quicker to react to danger. This means your hide must conceal you completely when you turn your head or move to shoot.
Corvids respond very well to rotary machines carrying a couple of dead crows instead of pigeons and it sometimes pays to put a plastic owl out in full view because, given the chance, crows will mob it.
UK Shootwarehouse sells Hypa-Flap crow decoys. These are based on the ultra lightweight pigeon versions that have been so successful.
However, corvids do differ from woodpigeon in that the best time to decoy them is at very first light. So you’re looking at some early starts.