Mat Manning Summer Magpie and Crow Hunting
Mat Manning is a fulltime field sports journalist, author and broadcaster with more than 30 years’ hunting experience under his belt.A regular contributor to national and international print and digital titles, Mat is recognised as one of the world’s leading authorities on hunting with air rifles. A fieldcraft specialist who shoots mostly for the pot and pest control purposes, Mat relishes hunting opportunities that enable him to get up close and personal with his quarry.
Wary corvids can be easier to outwit when distracted by the promise of a free meal. Mat Manning explains how to set up a fake nest to draw them within range of the air rifle.
Corvid control crops up very frequently on the airgun shooter’s list of duties. Crows, magpies and jackdaws can cause serious problems when they home in on the easy food source around pheasant release pens, and the air rifle’s quiet operation makes it the perfect tool for culling pests in this scenario....our efforts are also very beneficial to songbirds, the nests of which frequently fall victim to scavenging crows and magpies.
Gamekeepers work hard to reduce corvid numbers by shooting and by setting Larsen traps, and any contribution we can make with the air rifle is sure to help. Apart from preventing these pests from munching their way through feed put out for game birds, and from devouring their eggs and chicks, our efforts are also very beneficial to songbirds, the nests of which frequently fall victim to scavenging crows and magpies.
Keeping corvids in check is no easy feat, though, as they will steer clear of anything that appears to pose a threat. Equipped with sharp eyes and a remarkable sense of hearing, these suspicious birds are adept at detecting danger and take to the wing the moment they pick up on an unusual movement or sound. Such highly-evolved survival instincts mean it’s extremely difficult to stalk within range of these wily birds.
Ambush tactics are usually the best option, and although a carefully crafted hide can provide a very effective means of going undetected, natural cover can sometimes work even better because it’s already accepted as a harmless feature of the surrounding landscape. Another advantage of using natural cover is that it does away with the disturbance of constructing a hide, which can attract unwanted attention from your quarry.When a chance arises, it’s important to stay calm and remember those ranges to ensure accurate shot placement.