On this day

22 April 1893

Svartkruttets tid i den norske Hærens riflepatroner var offisielt over da Forsvarsdepartementet på denne dag bestemte at Jarmann-patronene fra nå av skulle lades med røyksvakt ballistittkrutt. På samme tid ble det bestemt at den papirviklede... Read more ...

22 April 1893

Svartkruttet ble erstattet i Hærens riflepatroner
Svartkruttets tid i den norske Hærens riflepatroner var offisielt over da Forsvarsdepartementet på denne dag bestemte at Jarmann-patronene fra nå av skulle lades med røyksvakt ballistittkrutt.

På samme tid ble det bestemt at den papirviklede kulen skulle erstattes av en blykule med en 0.5 mm tykk forniklet stålmantel.



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Crow Hunting with Black Powder Shotguns

Category: Hunting
Published: 16 September 2008 by Øyvind Flatnes.
Edited: 16 September 2008.
Views: 12427
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Crows shot with two different black powder firearms. From top to bottom: A Brown Bess flintlock musket and a 16 gauge Husqvarna model 20 underlever shotgun.

Crows are probably not the most sought-after game, but they are an interesting species to hunt. With a muzzleloading or breech-loading shotgun loaded with black powder and shot a hunter is well-equipped for crow hunting. Personally I have hunted crows with everything from Brown Bess muskets to modern shotguns. If you are interested in how to use shot in muzzleloading or load shot shells, see the article 'Shooting the Black Powder Shotgun'. This article applies to crow hunting in general, and is not limited to black powder firearms even though I personally use black powder firearms for hunting crows.

Find out more!
You can learn more about the historical and modern aspects of black powder hunting in the brand new book From Musket to Metallic Cartridge: A Practical History of Black Powder Firearms.

Crows have great eyesight and can spot a hunters movement in an instant. It is therefore important to be camouflaged if you are going to succeed. I hunt non-territorial crows, which means crows that operate in large flocks, and occupy disposal sites and similar. These crows are often described as the surplus of the crow population, and these crows are often young specimens that wander around in search for food. Across the fjord from my hunting grounds there is a large disposal site which attracts numerous crows. Flocks by the hundreds are not uncommon, but they are shy and hard to sneak up on.

Using an Owl Decoy

Crows tend to get extremely excited if the discover birds of prey like owls and eagles, and they gather to chase them if they are approaching their territory. On my hunting ground there are a lot of white-tailed eagles and golden eagles and they are constantly harassed by the crows.

A plastic owl decoy can be bought from hunting stores. The owls are mounted on a stick that is places in an area where crows are common. The hunter positions himself nearby, and should be hidden well. As mentioned, if the crows spot the hunter they escape at once. A common scenario is that a single crow scout discovers the owl and starts a frantic noise to attract its family and friends. If everything goes according to plan the crows will soon swarm around your plastic owl. The greater the number, the more brave they are. They often attack the owl like fearless stuka bombers. Not only crows attack owl decoys. Both seagulls and ravens are attracted to the decoy. Once I experienced a goshawk that attacked the decoy and it actually smashed into the decoy with a bang. The most expensive decoys have movable wings, but these wings are noisy, and I have never used them.


The owl decoy is placed in an open area where it can be easily spotted. However, dead crows that are lying around the decoy tend to scare crows away. Crows will often sit in the nearby tree tops to observe what is going on.

It is not uncommon that the crows land in tree tops where they can be shot with rifles or shotguns. The hunter must be hidden well though, or else the hunt is over before you know it. Notice the dead crown in the claws of the decoy. This excites the crows even more.

I addition to the owl decoy I use a crow call. My version is a combined crow and duck call from 'Hubertus' labelled 'Krahen - Enten', which means 'Crows - Ducks' in German. It is perhaps best as a duck call, but if you learn to use it it may serve like a crow magnet.

Something which has proved efficient is to fasten a dead crow in the claws of the plastic owl. This seems to excite the crows and make them furious and thus more daring. With a little luck you can shoot several with your black powder shotgun. The powder smoke may be a disadvantage, because your position is revealed, but it has often happened that the crows have disappeared and returned after a short while to attack the decoy.

Another thing which is extremely efficient is to use recordings of crow sounds in addition to the plastic owl decoy. In nice weather I bring my 'ghetto blaster' with a cassette (yes, I know about the things called CDs and mp3s) that contains the sounds of crow, raven and a horned owl. This cassette and the owl decoy is a killer combination (pun intended). The pictures in this article are shot right outside the house that I live. I mounted the owl on a stick, started the cassette and waited with the camera. It took about five minutes before the proximity was full of crows. And they were mad! Notice that the crows often position themselves in the tree tops to get an overview of the situation.

Sound recordings

Below you can download the sounds that I have used successfully when hunting crows. You can use them to compose your own CD.

Crow (corvus corone) (wav file, 63,5 KB).
Raven (corvus corax) (wav file, 159 KB).
Horned owl (bubo bubo) (wav file, 63,5 KB).

The picture to the left (mobile camera photo) shows a crow that fell for a 16 gauge Husqvarnas model 20 underlever shotgun loaded with black powder and bismuth shot. Notice the crow call from Hubertus in the bottom left corner of the photo. To the right: Two crows shot with a Pedersoli Brown Bess carbine.