Mat Manning gives his expert advice on shooting crows and magpies while inside a hide
Q. I’ve got access to a new shooting permission where I’m going to be controlling crows and magpies. Can you give some tips for targeting wary corvids from inside a hide?
A. Hide shooting is a vast subject that could fill a book all on its own, but my key piece of advice is to make sure you set up in the right place. Choose an area which you know corvids frequent, then find a spot where you can incorporate your hide into existing cover to help it blend in.
You can use sticks to support a hide net, but purpose-made poles are even better. Go for a set with foot-pegs so you can use your boot to drive them into hard ground, and make sure they have hooks to hold the net securely in place. Once I’ve got my camo screen up, I peg the bottom with sticks to stop it from flapping before dressing it with weeds such as nettles and ivy to enhance concealment.
Crows and magpies are extremely suspicious birds by nature, so your hide really does need to be discreet – and it helps if you’re able to leave it in situ for a few days beforehand, too. Sharp-eyed corvids like these don’t miss a trick, so you’ll probably need to keep your face and hands covered up, even when you’re shooting from the cover of a hide.