Varmint Species
The Common Crow

Varmint Species
The Woodchuck
The Common Crow

The Crow

Common Crow

(Corvus brachyrhynchos)

Some Crow Facts
The Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) also known in its larger form as the Raven. The common Crow is widely scattered throughout the continent of North America. It propagates itself from Virginia to California and from the upper regions of Canada to Mexico, and winters north as far as southern Canada. He is a fractional nomad in all areas, and an enduring inhabitant in some areas. The common Crow is omnivorous. His diet consists of wild fruit, salamanders, snail, small birds, eggs, grain, toads, mice, various crops such as corn, wheat, soybeans and any planted seed, and large quantities of insects and carrion. Throughout the coastal regions, crows exhibit behavior comparable to that of seagulls, gripping clams and mussels, flying to a given height, and releasing them from altitude to freefall, fracture the shells, and expose the core. They will then dive down to consume these soft inner recesses. Adult Crows will typically consume their own mass in fare every day, separating the supply between eight to ten full banquets.

The Crow is charcoal black in color. In the most common form, it is in the region of 17-21 inches in length. Two other especially familiar yet less common species within the family Corvidae are the fish Crow and the Raven. The fish Crow tends to be smaller than the common Crow at 17 inches in length, while the Raven tends to be the largest at 20-27 inches in length. Aside from their size, a fan formed tail distinguishes the common Crow, whereas the Raven has a tail more shaped as a wedged.

An interesting and distinguishing feature of the common Crow is its steady and low fluttering flight, which is dissimilar from the high-ceilinged soaring which is typical of the Raven. Another noticeable distinction between the Crow and the Raven is the sound of their call. The common Crow's call is heard as much more of as sharp "kaw-kaw" or "kaa-kaa" sound, while the common raven's call is a wide-ranging, cavernous, throaty croaking "wonk-wonk". The fish Crow's call is also distinct from that of the common Crow and the Raven, and is differentiated by the more nasal "ca-ca" or a snouty two noted "eh-eh."

The Crow as a Varmint Species
Crows are technically a Federally regulated Migratory species, and though we of course observe all federal and state regulations concerning their treatment per such a definition, yet we believe as did our forefathers did, that the Crow (in terms of the damage he causes) would be more properly thought of as a Varmint or Nuisance species, and so he has earned a place of noteriety in our Varmint Species pages.
In an agricultural area the common Crow does considerable damage to all varieties of crops; untold millions of dollars of agricultural damage each year incriminate the Crow as one of our most economically dangerous Varmint Species. In other unpopulated and undeveloped areas, he is also especially destructive to the various avian game species which nest there, and thus is much more detestable than the Woodchuck in terms of his overall negative influence and impact upon a given ecology. Probably the sole beneficial quality of the common Crow is that he is responsible for the ingestion of rather large quantities of insects and carrion.
Hunting the Crow
The Common Crow presents the small bore rifleman or long distance hand gunner with one of the most difficult and exasperating of Varmint hunting pursuits. The Crow is at best a target that appears four times as small as a Woodchuck at any given range, which presents the avid Varminter with a real challeneg to his shooting skills. Though the Crow may be found abundantly in his given range, this should not give rise to the misguided postulation that he is somehow a noteworthy friend or supporter to either man or beast. He is not, and is rather one of the most deserving of species to be placed in the Varmint class.
Though many choose to pursue the Crow with shotgun and electronic caller, this author rather prefers to shoot them from long range with an accurized Thompson Center small bore pistol or carbine.  The use of decoys (where allowed by law) is a particularly useful tactic in bringing the Crow into a specific and favorable shooting area. The Crow is also possessed of an uncanny ability and sense of danger, and he has an intellect to rival the most intelligent of species, making the pursuit of his demise all the more challenging! The Crow hunter who can successfully take the bird in numbers during his season is also possessed of one of the best means by which to train himself up in the necessary skills which will pay profound dividends in other hunting and shooting endeavors.


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Our Virginia Crow Season:

We may hunt Crow from August 18 to March 16 and on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday only.

Licenses Required:

  • State or county hunting license

Additional licenses, stamps or permits that may be required:

Lawful Methods of Taking:

  • Modern firearms
  • Archery tackle
  • Muzzleloading firearms
  • Electronic calls

(See Legal Use of Firearms and Local Firearms Ordinances for details)

Select Bibliography
1. Landis, C.S. "Hunting with the .22" Published 1950, reprinted 1993 R&R Books, 3020 East Lake RD, Livonia NY 14487
2.Goodwin, D. 1976. "Crows of the world." Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca, N.Y.  
3. Imhof, T.A. 1976. "Alabama Birds," 2nd Ed. Univ. Alabama Press. 
4. Wilmore, S.B. 1977. "Crows, jays, ravens and their relatives." Douglas David and Charles Lmtd, British Columbia, Canada.

5. Bull, J., J. Farrand, Jr. 1977. "The Audubon Society field guide to North American birds - eastern region." Alfred A. Knopf Inc., NY.  

6. Ornithology, Virginia Society of. 1979. "Virginia's Birdlife: An Annotated Check-list." Virginia Avifauna No. 2. Virginia Society of Ornithology, Lynchburg, VA. 

7. Wilmore, S.B. 1977. "Crows, jays, ravens and their relatives." Douglas David and Charles Lmtd, British Columbia, Canada.

8. Virginia Dept of game and Inland Fisheries "Hunting and Trapping in Virginia" Richmond Headquarters, 4010 West Broad St. Richmond VA 23230-1104

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