Crow hunting is legal in Connecticut and the regulations of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection reflect the traditional belief among “sportsmen” that crows are “varmints” and may be treated as such by hunters. The crow is considered in the Connecticut hunting regulations to be an “upland game bird”, but unlike other birds in this category, there is no limit on the number of crows that a hunter can kill, either on a day or for the season. Crow hunting season is also longer than for the other upland game birds and, unlike all other birds in any category, electronic calling devices may be used to lure crows to hunters, and rifles, handguns, and shotguns holding more than three shells may be used to kill them.
Open season on crows in Connecticut is January 1 through February 28 and October 19 through December 31.
Apparently no one knows how many persons in Connecticut hunt crows or how many of the birds they kill, individually or collectively. There are no reporting requirements and it appears that no records or statistics are kept. Recent studies including one produced by the Outdoor Industry Association, however, have shown that hunting in America as a whole has declined tremendously in popularity compared to other forms of outdoor recreation, being rated lowest in spending, jobs created, popularity and all other categories considered when compared with nine other activities. Other statistics show that in Connecticut only one percent of the population hunts any species of mammal or bird. Anecdotal evidence indicates that there are few, if any, persons in Connecticut who would consider themselves primarily as crow hunters and that crows are shot for target practice because they are considered intelligent and challenging, during times when no other hunting season is open, or if one just happens to be in an area where a hunter is shooting. Some “sportsmen” hate and/or fear crows and will shoot them on sight, in or out of season. It is doubtful if anyone has ever been prosecuted for killing crows out of season.
For all of the above reasons, the economic impact of ending crow hunting in Connecticut would be virtually nonexistent, limited to the price of the shells actually fired at the birds. No special license fees are involved and it is doubtful if anyone buys guns or other equipment, other than possibly calling devices, specifically for hunting crows. It is probable that the total yearly amount expended specifically on crow hunting in Connecticut is no more than $50,000.00 and probably much less, out of an outdoor recreation economy valued at $6,900,000,000.00 for the state in consumer spending alone.
We maintain that allowing crow hunting in Connecticut was a serious mistake which must be corrected. There is increasing scientific evidence that the crows are highly-intelligent animals, possessing a complex language and culture, capable of making and using tools, and possessing sophisticated problem solving abilities. Studies have also demonstrated that crows provide great benefits to agriculture and public health through their predation on numerous pest species and consumption of carrion. The recent great mortality among crows, estimated to be as much as 50% of the continental population, caused by the West Nile virus clearly indicated that even a numerous and adaptable species is at risk in this era of climate change and worldwide spread of diseases and should not be wantonly slaughtered for sport.
There is no real justification for allowing the practice of killing crows to continue, and we believe that killing of any living creature for no reason other than personal enjoyment should always be strongly discouraged. We therefore petition that the hunting regulations of the State of Connecticut be amended to prohibit the sport hunting of crows within the State, to eliminate the open seasons for crows, and to remove all references to crow hunting from all regulations and publications of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.
For more information about the initiative to end crow hunting or crows in general, please visit www.crows.net.