EDITOR'S NOTE: Gerald Stewart of Waco, Texas, of the Johnny Stewart Call Company family, avid hunter, consultant and member of Hunter's Specialties' Pro Staff, has hunted predators since he was eight-years old. This week, Stewart shares some of his secrets for successfully calling crows.
Concealment with high-quality camouflage is extremely important for crow calling because crows have very keen eyesight. Remaining well hidden when the first crow comes in is crucial for the hunter because often that first crow acts as the sentry. The sentry will come in and sit just outside of gun range and watch for danger. If the sentry sees something he doesn't like, he'll tell all the other crows about it.
When I hunted crows as a kid, the crows on my grandmother's farm became so well-educated to calling that they wouldn't come any closer than about 200 yards. We had to sit in the fields with .22 rifles and pick the crows out of the trees. We couldn't call them to us anymore because they got so smart. And if you don't take that first crow quickly, it'll warn all the other crows about you. To prevent being spotted, you must conceal yourself well. Then the sentry will say to the other crows, "The coast is clear. Come on in."
Too, incorporating some kind of motion in a decoy also helps to bring in crows. Because crows are visually oriented, any kind of decoy movement will help lure them in. Remember that just as easily as crows can see something that scares them, they also can detect something that attracts them.
Some hunters construct decoys out of black material to resemble wings. They'll hang these homemade decoys on a bush so they'll flop in the wind. Also remember that when crows respond to a particular sound and get shot at, they'll fly away when they hear that sound again. However, they'll generally come right back to another sound if you switch over to a crow's death call or a single excited crow call. Don't assume that you can't call in spooked crows. If you encounter some crows that have not been called to very much, you usually can call them back in after you've shot at them.
After the crows leave the first initial barrage of shots, change sounds. I've consecutively called crows back to the same general area four times before just by switching calls and using decoys and movement.