All states in the U.S.A., with the exception of Hawaii, allow crow hunting. There is no limit on the number of crows that a hunter can kill during the "open seasons" of 124 days per year.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which went into effect in 1918 gave federal protection to many birds in America, but some, including crows and various birds of prey, were excluded. In 1972, the treaty was amended to provide protection to 32 additional families of birds. According to a Department of the Interior news release, dated February 4, 1973, “The list included Corvidae, a family involving jays, magpies, and crows, which brought considerable criticism from crow hunters, particularly in the South and Midwest.” Subsequently the Code of Federal Regulations was amended to include the following.
50 CFR § 20.133, Hunting regulations for crows.
(a) Crows may be taken, possessed, transported, exported, or imported, only in accordance with such laws or regulations as may be prescribed by a State pursuant to this section.
(b) Except in the State of Hawaii, where no crows shall be taken, States may by statute or regulation prescribe a hunting season for crows. Such State statutes or regulations may set forth the method of taking, the bag and possession limits, the dates and duration of the hunting season, and such other regulations as may be deemed appropriate, subject to the following limitations for each State:
(1) Crows shall not be hunted from aircraft;
(2) The hunting season or seasons on crows shall not exceed a total of 124 days during a calendar year;
(3) Hunting shall not be permitted during the peak crow nesting period within a State; and
(4) Crows may only be taken by firearms, bow and arrow, and falconry.
We maintain that adding this section to the Code of Federal Regulations at the behest of “crow hunters” 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 50 CFR § 20.133, Hunting regulations for crows, be rescinded and sport hunting of all species of crows be prohibited in the United States of America.
For more information about the initiative to end crow hunting or crows in general, please visit www.crows.net.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Dan Ashe, Director U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Rescind 50 CFR § 20.133, and prohibit the sport hunting of crows.
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