Dissecting the Myth Behind Crows and Deer

crow by river

So here’s one that blows me away. The problem is that I can’t find very much information on the relationship between crows and deer, but there is something going on. It has been fairly well known that using a crow call works for locating turkey, and considering that crows and ravens are pretty much the forest troublemakers, it makes sense.

At the end of my last hunt, I had something occur that has happened before to me, and surprisingly happens more often than we think. It all goes back to awareness and knowing the alarm calls and movements of the creatures in the woods.

It was an uneventful opening week of archery season. It was hot and dry and nothing seemed to be working as far as locating good bucks. I pretty much decided it was those factors and, like a dedicated hunter, I would try again next time. As I was packing up camp at around noon, I heard a crow making a fuss down by the creek. I have trained myself to really listen to everything going on in the woods. I know alarm calls from feeding calls. I know that the darn Douglas squirrels will bark at you every time you sit by a tree to scope out the landscape. And, usually, if you take the time, you can discover something interesting if you follow the call of the crows.

So, being me, I walked down to the creek. And, also like me, I forgot to take my bow. A second before I could see the creek, I heard a giant splash. Low and behold, I caught the tail-end of a large buck as he bolted away. I only saw a couple all week (usually at first light) and here was a nice one within 100 yards of my camp. I laughed really hard—before I sat down and cried.

I am blessed to know a Maidu elder and he has taught me a lot about hunting and how his people used to hunt for a variety of animals. One thing he would always say to me when I told him I was going deer hunting was to “Listen for the crows.” He said his people relied on the crow for a lot of information when they were hunting. I never doubted what he said, I just always seemed to forget.

Two nights ago, I was hunting a local spot near my home. I was walking back to the truck after not having any luck in my spot. I heard the darn crow again and this time I payed attention. I put the sneak on as I got closer to where all the racket was going on—I waited. Suddenly, what was clearly a deer, crashed down the hill into the darkness. I never saw it but it certainly was a deer.

I’m not sure whether or not there is any validity to finding deer when you hear the crow squawking but it’s happened to me on several occasions (usually when I wasn’t ready) and there are a few weathered old hunters out there who’ll swear it’s true.