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MEMORABLE JACKRABBIT HUNT

Went out early Saturday morning to jackrabbit hunt with my childhood friend Steve R. We arrived to the area about 5:30 and proceeded to hike to a pre-scouted area to wait for the sun to come up.
Steve had never been  Jackrabbit hunting before so I was excited for him to see what its like and to hopefully get the opportunity to harvest one.
The morning was not as cold as I had expected but still had some chill to it as we sat quietly amongst the Joshua trees. The sun started coming up so we walked slowly away from it hoping to see some Jacks moving in the distance. We walked approx. 1/2 mile when I spotted one moving off several hundred yards away,Steve got to see how fast they move and was excited I think at this point.We walked a bit more keeping about 45 yards between us both. I soon spotted another moving slowly through some ticketed area where I proceeded to stalk it.
Steve had not noticed I had one in my sights and ended up spooking it as he moved closer towards my position…I mind you was trying best I could to get his attention, everything but throwing rocks at him.
These Hares have giant ears for a reason and spook from just the slightest sound or movement so needless to say he was gone in a flash. We did a loop back to the vehicles to grab a snack and take a break from walking and toting our hunting rifles. At this point it was about 8:15 am and the sun was beginning to warm things up enough for not needing a jacket or face mask. We set out again and went in different directions where I soon spotted a medium size Jack at 120+yards out in a large open field up against a Joshua tree. I was confident in my shot as there was no wind and I had lots of recent practice under my belt to make such a shot. Held the gun 2mil-dots over and held my breath as I squeezed the trigger,THWAAAP with a perfect head-shot that dropped it like a rock. WOOOOOWEEE I yelled as Steve came running over to see what all the commotion was all about, I felt like I was on top of the world at this moment. Steve and I stood over my kill both in awe over the distance I shot it over.
Steve took some great photos and I thank him for his company this day. We continued after I took my kill back to the truck as I was now focused on trying to help him stalk his own kill. I was able to spot a few and get him within about 50 yards but they ended up getting spooked and were gone from range in a flash. The day ended with us seeing quite a few Hares and even got a small Golden Mantel squirrel at 25 yards.
It was a beautiful day out and I just felt blessed that I got to spend it with a friend. Hope you all enjoy the pics 8)
                                                                 

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SAN LUIS OBISPO/ MORRO BAY FIELD TARGET AUGUST 20-21, 2016

On Saturday August 20th Lindsey,Marley and I headed two hours North from Ventura to the Beautiful San Luis Obispo small bore range. Our good friend Terry had arrived the day before and was kind enough to send me some photos that prompted us to make our way out. When we arrived to the location we were greeted by a nice little dirt road that took us about a mile off the highway into a secluded nook where the small bore range was. We pulled into what looked like a wild west movie set,complete with bathrooms, showers and a nice little clubhouse.

We were kindly greeted by many familiar faces,one of which was Motorhead. Was so good to see him,one of my favorite Airgunners of all time and someone I have always looked up to. We had made it up to late for me to compete but in still plenty of time to do a little field target shooting and to check out some very cool airguns.

Tapian Mutant Bullpup

As the day went on, Lindsey and I did a little plinking with her Colt replica .177 pellet revolver.

She is quite the Annie Oakley with that thing…..Yeeehaaa

By this time it was getting later and we set up our camp and enjoyed the cooler temperature with a nice ocean breeze. I finally made way to the clubhouse where I had the pleasure of meeting Scotchmo, the man who seemed to be doing everything. Scott was very welcoming and yet i could tell he was overwhelmed with everything that was going on. This man is obviously very dedicated to our sport and was very helpful in getting us set up and comfortable. Big thank you Scott, I really appreciate all you have been doing.

The evening was upon us and I could see the fog rolling in over the mountains bringing the temp down enough to want a jacket.We had a wonderful BBQ dinner followed by some good times around the campfire sharing stories and lots of laughter. I really enjoyed hanging with some of the old-timers that have been shooting airguns longer than I’ve been alive.

The next morning I was slow to wake up by 7:00 as I slept very well that night. I ventured over to Motorheads camp and was greeted kindly with an invitation to use his custom .177 Marauder, a beautiful gun that I had been eyeballing the day before. Scott was so helpful and kind, even providing some pellets and shooting sticks that later I realized I had forgotten to return. I spent a little time shooting the gun but not nearly enough to be comfortable to compete with. I had brought several guns with me but none of which were under 20fpe so i was blessed that Motorhead was kind enough to set me up.

Here is Marley and I waiting for the match to start, Yes I am a hunter.  ;D

I believe the match started about 9:00am but we all gathered around first to hear some rules and to find out who we would be paired to shoot with on the coarse.

I was going to be shooting with John and a 10yo old girl named Annabel, I felt a little out of place as these two obviously had way more experience than me in field target competitive shooting. Both were more than helpful in helping me learn how the scoring works and too was nice to be able to watch the techniques they used.

The first set of targets were standing only, one of my strong points of shooting being a hunter.

As we moved further down I could definitely see this was very challenging as some of the targets had obstacles such as branches and change in distance and elevation.

John shot mostly from the prone position while Annabel and I both preferred shooting sticks. The wind was blowing fairly erratically but in some cases would let up just long enough to make a shot.

John was a very experienced shooter and on a few of the courses made it look easy, very entertaining to watch. Annabel was just the sweetest girl, very smart and polite as well. I had the best time watching her as I felt excited seeing a kid her age having so much fun shooting airguns. She made some shots that were very impressive, and I even learned a few things without her even knowing she taught me.

Some of the targets were very hard to see.

I was having a great time even though I wasn’t doing so great, I did clean out a few lanes that put a smile on my face. Looked as though I was getting better, but still didn’t trust myself being comfortable with the gun. I was doing pretty good considering I had only practiced for 20 min before the match. Honestly I was having a great time just being outside and around so many that love airguns as much as myself. The coarse was as beautiful as a field target shooting range can get, cant imagine how pretty it is in Springtime.

Here is my friend Terry with his Marauder

We all finished our last set of targets and headed back to the clubhouse to eat,I was so hungry that I apparently had forgotten Motorheads shooting sticks somewhere. :(

My first field target match was absolutely one of the best things I have done for upgrading my hunting skills,I can only imagine how much better I will get with some more practice. The group of men and women I met here were some of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I will urge anyone who may be interested in trying Field Target to go to  http://www.slsba.org/  or  http://www.socasa.org/ for more information. Thanks to everyone and hope to see some of you again very soon. 8)

Enclosed are just a few of the photos I was able to get.

 

 

 

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RAT HUNTING CHRONICLES

 by Ron Stephen


As the sun is about to set over the Chicken buildings/Ratting grounds. Time to gear up and get ready for the nightly invasion of fury terrorists…

 The buildings are all connected, covering over 2 acres, of Rat-o-mania.
 That’s a LOT of rats!

The silo’s are full of chicken feed that is automatically mechanically distributed through-out the chicken cages containing 25,000 to 50,000 chickens…

Row, after row, after row, of mechanical driven automatic feeders, providing a “Free-for-All-Feeding”. When the lights go out,… the rats COME out, (in DROVES !)


Rows, and rows, and more rows of chickens with open troughs of feed available 24/7. with this much grain spread through-out the building, it’s easy to see why there are thousands of rats each night

Here is where they will be moving up in the rafters, right over your head, behind you, in front of you, beside you, between your feet, and all around you.

 Yes, several times I have considered taping up my pant legs so they don’t go crawling up my leg! EWWwwwww!


OK, So,… moving on.

Weapons of choice.
Low to medium powered single projectile type guns do work very well. Either Co2 or low pressure HPA/PCP guns do very well,… BUT !,… they do have some disadvantages. Those disadvantages include the fact that you will be shooting in near total darkness, using only a flashlight to hunt them by.
Green lights works OK, and are better than standard white lights, but Red lights seem to work a little better. This is because the anatomy of a rats eye has different “Rods and Cones” as compared to Human eyes. Humans see a color spectrum of Red, Blue, Green.
 Rats see a spectrum of Blue, Green, and low I.R.,… (they do not see Red the same way we do).
 They see red as more of a “Grey shade” (almost like a shadow)… and therefore they do not Alert and Spook as quickly when using a red light for spotting them.
Another disadvantage to using a single projectile type of gun is that the rats are being shot at ranges usually in the 15′ to 45′ range. (we are talking FEET, not Yards here). this means that zeroing a gun with a scope for this short of distances is almost impossible. if you zero a scope for only say 25 FEET,… then the “Line of Sight” vs. the “Line of Flight” is extremely narrow. sometimes as low as only 6 to12 INCHES closer or further than you 25′ zero.
 Seems easy right ?,… but here’s the deal,…
 when you DO spot that rat at the perfect zero distance,… he is RARELY sitting still, AANNNNDDD, he is either moving towards you or away from you.
 Now remember,… It’s almost COMPLETELY DARK, and you are trying to find a MOVING rat, moving through the rafters, using a fairly dim red light. By the time you actually ACQUIRE him as a target, he is no longer at that sweet 25 or 30 feet. SOOoooo,…. that means you catch him stopping at say 15 feet from you,… OR,… maybe its 40 feet from you, and you’ve only got 2 or 3 seconds before he starts moving again.
 So at this same moment, is when you are trying to figure out,…
 “OK, Now do I give it 1 mil-dot Hold under ?”,… “or is that 2 1/2 mild dots Hold over”,…. or,… “oh crap,…. nevermind,… he’s moving again” ! LOL !
Trust me,… it’s not as easy as it may seem to be shooting rats at such close quarters. you basically just have to experience it to understand it.
 It can actually be pretty exciting, AND is SOOoooo Much FUN you won’t believe it!
So SCOPED guns present there own challenges in these conditions, and “Open Sights” or “Iron sights” actually are BETTER than scopes.
 Here’s a couple of scoped guns I’ve used for the job…

 Also, Red Dot type sights are a bit better than scopes, because they generally are mounted lower to the bore of the gun, but,… they still do suffer somewhat similar issues as a scoped gun, trying to zero at such close range.
 Should I hold over the dot ?, Under the dot ? Where’d he go? how far is he away? Is he moving towards me? Away from me? man it’s so dark, Where’d he go again ? Do you see him yet ? OOHHHH THERE HE IS, right over your Head ! HEY,  Duck Down and Hold Still While I shoot ! … DANG IT ! My flashlight battery just went dead ! Just stay still where you are, and I’ll try not to hit you !
SO, the moral to the story is, if you will be using a “single projectile shooter” for close range,…Then open sights and a good red light are the best choice.
(Of course there are then the guys who have Night Vision set-ups on there guns, which makes shooting the rats at 20-30-50 yards possible), AND THAT MEANS, you no longer have such a short window of usable zero’d distances….
 but that’s an entirely different subject !
OK,…. so what’s a guy to do ? ? ?
Well,…This type of shooting is absolutely perfect for the old vintage Trapmaster’s , with their limited power and range. Add a little creative ingenuity and a custom fitted weaver rail,… a small flashlight in a scope ring,… and Waa-Laaa ! ! !,..
You’ve got yourself one HECK of a “In the Dark at Close Range Ratter Gun” !
Here’s mine…

A Red Headlight, and/or Handheld light can be very helpful in spotting and chasing them too…

So let’s move on to some recent kills.

And of course,  some of the Smelly Rats come visiting for a free meal too,
 so we happily serve them a hot lead injection also !

Hope you enjoy,
Cheers,
Ron
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THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY

On Thursday July 14th Lindsey,Marley and I set out for the Eastern Sierra Mountain range where we had planned to go camping, fish and hunt for close to a week. Our first stop for a rest was Red Rock Canyon,one of the most desolate places in the desert. The temperature in my truck read a scorching 114 degrees,much to hot for us to camp in with no real adequate shade.

 

 

 

 

 

Mojave Desert

Red Rock Canyon

We had a nice snack and some cold drinks and set back out on the road where we headed further into the desert, couldn’t help but to look for Jackrabbit ears in the shade of the Joshua trees. The next major town we came to was Lone Pine where we made a stop for some lunch at a nearby fish hatchery,very beautiful place with nice views of the mountains. The scenery was starting to get less desert and more lush green countryside with even a few streams flowing through the fields on both sides of the highway. We continued for what seemed to be another hour until we came to a town called Big Pine where we pulled into a rest stop before heading up the steep narrow road into the Ancient Bristlecone forest. This area is quite a far drive up the mountain but is home to the “Methuselah” that is known to be the oldest living tree with the germination date being placed at 2832 BC. The area where these ancient trees grow is close to 9,800 ft and has quite the view with several nice foot paths,some being several miles long.

 

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

The views from the top of this mountain were unlike anything I have seen before,simply breathtaking in every way. We had thought about camping here but had decided to travel back down the mountain and find a location that was closer to some water and shade. It was so nice to not be in a hurry and to be able to drive slow and look at all the interesting things along the way. I did notice that the area did not have many animals as I’m guessing it was just to dry. Lindsey and I reached the bottom of the mountain taking a little time looking at Google Earth where we hoped to find a good out of the way place to camp for the night. By this time it was 4:00 and I was getting a bit tired of driving, anxious to settle in and possibly find a spot to fish. The area we drove to was very near the town of Bishop and nestled 16 miles into a nearby canyon.

Bishop CA

I had found a little dirt road turnoff that went for quite a ways paralleling the river,too had plenty of shade and room for a tent. Lindsey and I pulled into the perfect spot to camp and Marley couldn’t wait to get out to explore. We set up our tent and unloaded a few of our things to make the night a bit more like home. Marley couldn’t wait to explore and I couldn’t wait to set up my fishing reel and see if I could get us some dinner.We headed down to the river that was flowing pretty good for this time of year, runoff from the nearby glacier. After a few minutes finding a good pool to fish in I was able to pull out a small Trout,first one in a good many years for me. Being in places like this is the most relaxing thing I can do and always brings good memories of my father and I.

fishing

By this time it was well into the evening so Lindsey and I set up our chairs and enjoyed the spectacular sunset that almost set the sky on fire.

Sunset in Bishop

We all slept very well with the peaceful roar of the river in the background and the cool night breeze that swept through the canyon. The next morning we awoke and decided we would go for a little hike before it got to hot. The spot we were camping had a few trails that looked very inviting that climbed steep up into a rocky gorge. Lindsey loves geology and as a hobby enjoys looking for rocks and excavating them,this place was full of all sorts.

Found what looked to me to be an old well that someone turned into a plinking target,neat bunch of parts hanging from it.The sun was starting to come down on us pretty hard so we decided to head back to camp and hang by the river before we packed up and left.

Dana Webb Airgunner

Lindsey and I loaded up the truck and headed back down the long mountain road where we met the main highway continuing North up to Lake Crowley. This area gives a very wild west feel to it as far as the trees and rock outcroppings that are scattered throughout this magnificent land. We both were rubbernecking some spots that looked promising but we still ventured further to the lake that my friend had claimed to be a spectacular place to fish.As we got closer to the lakes entrance I could see that the water level had gone down a bit but still looked plentiful for some fishing. The man we encountered at the guard house greeted us and was most helpful with finding us  a good location to camp. I had stated that I was in need of a place as far away from people as possible as I have a phobia of camping next to strangers. He sent us to a really nice spot that overlooked the rivers inlet into the lake.

 

Crowley Lake

Crowley Lake

Lindsey and I set up our camp and soon headed down to the lake where I did a bit more fishing accompanied by Marley. Well Marley loves the water so I soon realized that fishing may be out of the question as she was having a good old time swimming around. We cooked a few steaks and potatoes that filled our stomachs as we enjoyed the crystal clear night sky. I knew that we were going to have to pack up early the next morning because the place we were camping had no shade and was going to be into the 100s again. The next morning we woke up at 8:00am  and slowly started packing the truck up with all our supplies to move on to our next spot. The lake was beautiful but honestly just to hot for us to really enjoy with no shade to shelter us. I had decided to backtrack and head back down near Big Pine area near a glacier where I had been told was beautiful and much cooler camping weather. As we drove another 45min back I noticed my truck was starting to have some vibration,was hoping to get into Bishop to check out the problem. Well not to long after that my transmission was gone,like it had gone into neutral. I ended up coasting onto the shoulder right next to a highway patrolman who was kind enough to call me a tow into Bishop. Today was Sunday and like most small towns everything was closed,we were stuck until Monday morning and most likely longer. :-  The towtruck driver gave us a recommendation to a motel we could stay at that would have no problem with us having a dog and too was very reasonable. We walked a few blocks carrying a few of our bags and some important things I didn’t want to leave in a strange place. I was a bit worried and somewhat embarrassed as this was the first big vacation I had taken my girlfriend on and now this happened. Lindsey was most supportive and handling the whole thing way better than I had anticipated. The next morning I talked to the automotive mechanic and he said indeed I needed a new transmission that would take 4 or 5 days to get to as he was busy. I decided to rent a car and get Lindsey and Marley home as we had already enjoyed a few good days of camping. We drove 300miles home and immediately put my truck on Craigslist and started looking for something new and more accommodating to camping and off-road driving. I spent a few days at home before returning the rental car to Bishop where SteveO was kind enough to pick me up with all the rest of my camping stuff. SteveO arrived and we loaded all my things into his new AWD Subaru where we had planned to finish off the trip with some hunting over the following day. The area we had chosen to camp was about 20 minutes out of town several miles down a rugged dirt road.