Can You Eat Crow In an Emergency? (And What Does it Taste Like?)

You’re hiding out in the woods, hoping whatever danger has driven you from your home will soon pass. Your survival food stockpile is almost depleted, and your foraging efforts have proved, quite literally, fruitless. As your stomach rubbles, you hear the distinctive cry of a crow overhead. An idea pops into your mind, and suddenly, you find yourself wondering, “Can I eat crow?”

Long associated with the dark underworld and evil spirits, most people avoid crows for superstitious reasons.

In reality, crow is perfectly edible and, according to some, as tasty as your average free-range chicken. It’s also low in fat, calories, and cholesterol yet high in protein.

I can understand why you might find eating crow off-putting; after all, they spend a lot of time fighting over roadkill and other dead animals or rummaging through garbage cans. However, crows spend a lot more time and energy eating worms, insects, and small mammals in the wild.

The meat may be a little stringy, but it won’t taste like garbage nor cause any unpleasant side effects.

What Does Crow Meat Taste Like?

Crow is said to taste a little like chicken or turkey, although it is slightly darker and has a gamier flavor. The breast meat is limited and often a little dry, especially in older birds. In terms of texture, crow meat can also be quite tough and stringy.

However, it can’t be all bad as it became quite a craze in Oklahoma back in the Thirties. It wasn’t an easy sell, however.

According to a 1937 issue of The Wisconsin Conservation Bulletin, it took several years to take off but eventually, people were convinced that the so-called “black partridge” made for delicious eating.

Fortunately for both the crow and today’s survivalists, the craze didn’t last.

Can You Legally Hunt Crows in the US?

It is illegal to hunt crows in Hawaii, where the native breed, the Hawaiian Crow, is virtually extinct. In all other states, hunting crows is allowed within certain parameters. Each state has its own specified crow hunting season.

This runs from 1st July to 15th August in Indiana and then reopens again between December and March. It’s more strictly regulated in Massachusetts, where “you may only hunt crows on Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays.”

Considered a nuisance migratory bird, the crow is controlled by different regulations than those affecting the hunting of migratory game birds, like the pheasant and grouse.

Many states require you to have a permit before hunting crows and dictate what methods and weapons you can use when doing so, although this varies from state to state.

In Indiana, for instance, “there are no restrictions on the use of calls or decoys,” and few on weapons so you can hunt a crow with a crossbow, bow and arrow, or firearm. In Minnesota, on the other hand, you can kill a crow however you like and don’t even need a permit to do it.

Three Ways To Catch a Crow

Depending on where you are in the world, you can employ several different methods when hunting crows.

How To Build A Crow Trap

Crows are intelligent birds with good memories and short fuses. They have an uncanny ability to remember and identify people who’ve either harmed or threatened them and will recruit other birds to help them mob their attackers.

Your trap, therefore, needs to be effective and work the first time around, as you may not get a second opportunity.

To build it, you’ll need a box, a mousetrap, a piece of string, and a couple of nails. You can see the details for this design below.


A ladder trap is another option, but whether you’ll find the components or time required to build one in the wilderness is questionable.


A more straightforward solution would be to buy a commercial bird trap from your local hardware store.

How To Hunt Crow With a Shotgun

Depending on your state’s regulations, you can use almost any bug-out gun or weapon, although a 12 or 20 gauge shotgun is best. Shooting from a blind on the edge of a field is ideal.

Set up a few decoys if you have them, which will encourage more crows to the area. You can also use a crow call to lure them in.

Any injured crows should be shot and killed immediately, as they’ll alert others to the danger. Similarly, you should only hunt in the same area once a week or fortnightly. That should give the crows enough time to forget any bad experiences they had there in the past.

Using a Bow and Arrow to Hunt Crows

If you wandered off into the wilderness without a firearm, this might be your most effective way of hunting crow.

You can construct a survival bow and arrow relatively easily. Alternatively, if you’re already equipped with one of the best survival bows, you can simply attach an arrow to the string and start shooting.

Whatever method you choose, try to bag at least a few birds, as there’s not enough meat on a single bird to fill up a hungry survivalist.

How To Prepare Crow for Cooking

There’s little point in plucking a crow as you would a chicken. There’s simply not enough meat on the bird to make this time-consuming process worthwhile. Instead, focus on removing the best meat found on the breast.

To do this, follow these simple instructions:

  • Place the crow on its back in front of you
  • Use your finger to find where the crow’s breast bone meets its upper abdomen.
  • Take a sharp knife and cut across the crow from wing to wing, just below the breast bone
  • Insert your fingers under the skin where you’ve made the cut and pull it open to expose the breast
  • Use your knife to separate each breast from the bone

These two small breasts are what you’re going to prepare. They may not look like much, but they’re a good source of calcium and protein and contain vital nutrients, including vitamin A, phosphorous, and potassium.

To make the breasts more tender, soak them overnight in salt water.

Now they’re ready to cook, let’s look at some simple, field-friendly recipes for you to experiment with.

3 Simple Ways to Cook Crow

When the crow craze in Oklahoma was at its peak, the head chef of Chicago’s Hotel Sherman presented a group of sportsmen with a dish he described as “crow en casserole.” This dish is a little too sophisticated to recreate in the wilderness as the chances of you having either white wine or a “strong veal gravy” available are limited.

The following recipes are most in line with what you might be able to conjure up in a bug-out situation.

Recipe 1: Matthew’s Magic Stew


20-24 crow breast pieces

1 bag of celery

2 onions

2 lb carrots

2 cans of beef soup

1 cup flour


  • Chop up the celery, onions, and carrots and mix them together
  • In a cooking pot, create alternate layers of crow meat and vegetables
  • Add both cans of soup to the pot
  • Cover, and cook for six to 10 hours
  • About half an hour before serving, remove 5 to 6 cups of liquid from the pot and mix with the cup of flour.
  • Return the thickened liquid to the pot, stir, and allow to stand for half an hour.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Recipe 2: Pan-Fried Crow


2 eggs

Flour or breadcrumbs

Cooking oil


  • Tenderize the crow meat using a meat mallet
  • Dip each breast into the egg and then into the flour or breadcrumbs
  • Using a skillet, heat the oil and fry the crow breasts until golden brown and tender.

Recipe 3: Crow in a Bag

My husband often uses this recipe to prepare chicken on camping trips. It’s a simple but delicious method that prevents the meat from drying out.

To cook a crow this way, you’ll want to pluck the entire bird rather than just removing the breasts.

Place the whole bird into a bag with whatever vegetables you have available. Then place the bag into a cooking pot and then place the pot over the fire and wait for mouth-watering aromas to fill the air.


There are lots of reasons why people find the idea of eating crow distasteful. Not only are these birds carrion-eaters, but they also have deep-seated connections to the dark underworld. However, if you can get over your misgivings, crow makes a nutritious and potentially life-saving survival meal.


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