Crows, a member of the Corvid family are recognized as a pest species within the UK and are therefore legal quarry on pest control grounds. The act of taking Crows, or other pest bird species are covered by the General License. It is important, and a legal requirement that you are familiar with the General License and any specific conditions related to your particular quarry.
Mike Freeman has kindly given us his permission to reproduce his Crow Shooting Tips from the Pest Control UK Facebook group.
I was asked for some tips on shooting crows, I can only advise on the way that I shoot crows, some of you may benefit, some will have different methods and ideas on this topic.
1. Use a decent cartridge, I use mainly 5’s or 6’s if I have no 5’s. A crow can carry a bit of lead and its not fair to use too lighter load on them and send em off pricked.
2. Location, Find where the crows are feeding on the crop, normally on tram lines or laid areas, I will try to watch the feeding birds the evening before I shoot if its late in the day. Get there and set up before first light, the first visitors are the most confident.
3. Hides. Make a good hide, crows are very wary and will pick up on anything out of the ordinary, I put a partial cover on the top of the hide to give cover from birds looking in. keep movement down to a minimum and be aware of barrel glint on bright days. Look through your hide and not over it.
4.Decoys. I just use 4 plastic deeks, I wipe them with gun oil or WD40 before I use them, yea I know but look in a field of feeding crows, they shine!! I set these about 20-25 m out and slightly to one side of the hide, not a too open pattern. Replace deeks with dead birds as you shoot them, use cradles or props to make em look right. Add to your pattern as you shoot but don’t crowd it.
5. Shooting, Don’t be tempted by the rangey birds wait for em to come to the pattern, same for the high circlers that don’t feel safe, Let em come right in as they can veer off pretty quick if you shoot too early and you wont get the second barrel off if needed. Watch for the ‘stealth crows’ they come in with no sound when you ain’t looking , and enjoy the ones that are committed and come in like jets on an aircraft carrier.
6. Finishing up, clear up ya empties, spread out dead birds on their back wings spread on damaged crop, I spray with diesel to stop foxes buzzards etc from taking them. This will stop them returning. Go to next farm!
The above tips are based on a shotgun approach, for information on tackling crows with a rifle; Shooting Times has an article from April 2010 which covers this topic.