Posts

, ,

FX BOBCAT .30 GROUND SQUIRREL HUNT

I had the great privilege of meeting another Airgunner and getting out to do some Ground Squirrel hunting. Napoleon and I met up early Friday morning at around 6:45 am and proceeded to the hunting area around 7:00. This was my first time getting to shoot with someone who had nicer stuff than I, so I was to say the least a little intimidated by a FX .30 Bobcat with a 6-24 Sidewinder on it.

fx Bobcat .30 and Marauder .22

I have to say right off the bat Napoleon was humble and as a true passionate Airgunner as I. We both walked a short ways from our vehicles towards a large rock that overlooks a canyon with Ground Squirrel holes anywhere from 60 yards out to 144 yards. I have frequented this area for over 30 years and know the area better than most. Years ago the area had been hunted quite heavily and has in the past been visited by well known hunters such as Jim Chapman and Tofazfou. Over the years I have taken a good share of kills on this mountain and find it to be one of my favorite Ground Squirrel areas.

FX .30 Bobcat

The day was quite windy with gust up to 30 mph, which is quite normal for this area this time of year. We set up on the rock and proceeded to locate the best targets that all seemed to be around 95 to 124 yards away. Napoleon used his binoculars and rangefinder to make the appropriate mill-dot adjustments with the help of Chairgun.

Napoleon glassing for ground squirrels

I ended up getting one as he poked his head out of a hole next to a rock outcropping and then Napoleon quickly WALLOPED one soon after. The .30 pellet really is a great choice when it comes to this type of hunting where you have wind and ranges that even a .25 may find difficult.

Bobcat .30 and Marauder .22 ground squirrel kills

You definitely know when you hit something with a .30 as it holds its energy even at long range. We decided to take a break for about 20 minutes to let the Ground Squirrels settle down and forget about us, as we walked back up the hill I took one at around 70 yards.

Dana Webb with his .22 Marauder

After our 20 minute break we sat on the rock and spotted a few at 124 yards, I got another one there and then Napoleon made and amazing head-shot on a juvenile in 30 mph wind at 124 yards.

Napoleon is a great marksman and uses that gun for exactly what its made for. I ended up leaving around 2:00 feeling great, didn’t pump once the whole day either because he was kind enough to let me top off with his tank. I encourage you guys to seek out members near you to hunt or shoot with,great way to learn and make new friends that share your interest.

Thank you Gateway to Airguns for starting the members map.

, , , ,

GROUND SQUIRREL & COTTONTAIL HUNT

 The area we choose for the hunt was in the foothills of the Sequoia forest and offered a very secluded private hunting location with target rich Ground Squirrel and Cottontail habitat. We left to hunt very early Friday morning and arrived in the forest by 7:00 am with the forecast calling for a very hot weekend.

 

The spot we camped was in a huge valley with Oak trees, rocks and rivers flowing on several sides offering a large abundance of animal and plant life. SteveO and I did a big hunt here in the beginning of Spring so we were both very familiar with the hotspots and the lay of the land that stretches for several thousand acres. Most of the area is untouched by hunting pressure as the location is hidden in very rough terrain and during winter almost impossible to reach. After showing Terry, Jessi and Ray a few of the spots we all set out to hunt throughout the area. By this time it was approaching the high 80’s and only getting hotter up over 100 degrees by 1:00 pm.

Within several minutes of hunting I had already killed several Ground Squirrels and too could hear the catcher mit sound in the distance of others having some luck as well. After several hours of hunting we all eventually ended back at camp where we were sheltered from the heat with the canopy of pine trees our campsite was nestled under.

We sat around talking about our shots, drinking loads of water and having our lunch. The hunting was a bit slow and it was much to hot to be wandering around so Terry set up some targets at various ranges for us all to shoot and plink at.

Ray and Jessi had brought several very cool guns for us all to shoot and have some fun with. I was perfectly content sitting in the shade with a nice cold soda and shooting at a bottle I had placed at 137 yards. Was nice to have the time to just have fun with some very cool group of Airgunners.

Around 5:00 pm we decided to head out again and were pleasantly surprised by how many Ground Squirrels were out and about, I managed to get 13 by the days end with the total between all of us being in the high 30’s.

Ray and his WAR tuned .25 Marauder (below)

Around 6:30 pm we all headed back to set up our tents and to place out our chairs to just relax and enjoy each others company, still hot around 88 degrees. Into the evening it became cooler and too being so far from any light pollution offered an amazing view of the stars. The heat had exhausted me just enough that day to make sleeping in it easier than I thought it would be, by 3:30 am it was a low of 77 degrees. We all got up fairly early and set out to hunt where within minutes Ray made a nice Cottontail kill at around 35 yards.

Everyone by this time was having great luck, Jessi (below) got 4 Ground Squirrels and a Cottontail as well.

We hiked around and each seemed to be finding more and more active areas, Ray and I hiked around and found a very active area where I was able to take 5 of them. Terry was doing well too with a nice kill on several Ground Squirrels and Cottontail with his double tube Prod.

By this time it was getting hot again so we all decided to pack up and make the long journey back up and out of the valley. This was one of the most memorable trips of my life and will never forget the great time we all shared together. Thanks for reading and hope to have some more trips very soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

, ,

FOUR TOUGH GROUND SQUIRREL HUNTERS

Got up at 4:30 Saturday morning and waited for 3 other ground squirrel hunters: Jessi, Napoleon and Baxter. Jessi met me at my house to carpool into the mountains where we planned to meet the other 2 guys. Jessi and I arrived a bit early so we decided to do some scouting for some active Ground Squirrel holes that we could hit once the sun came out.

 

Napoleon and Baxter arrived, and after some fellowship we decided to start our hunt several miles into the forest where I had seen some activity in prior months. We walked around and sat for about an hour before realizing the place had been shot out by other hunters or simply had too small of a population, very disappointing.

Napoleon with his Evanix Rainstorm (above) Baxter with his Hatsan AT44 Tac (below) waiting for some action.

We drove from spot to spot throughout the day, and stopping frequently using all 10 of our eyes looking for Ground Squirrels in the distance sunning themselves. Baxter spotted one approx. 265 yards away up on a rock. He decided to stalk and for that I give him much credit for trying. The location was quite far and not easy to hide well, that Ground Squirrel was gone needless to say leaving Baxter with a few kills on some chipmunks at least.

The last spot we went to was an area I had a few kills on weeks before and felt this would be our last resort to some payoff to our long day of driving and hiking. I was beat and mind you I was the youngest in our group, I give Jessi, Baxter and Napoleon credit for the amount of ground they covered.

We split up in pairs North and South hoping to have more of a chance spotting the squirrels, I had a great feeling about this place as it had active holes and fallen rotting logs along with giant rock outcroppings throughout the hillsides.

Jessi and I soon spotted two Ground Squirrels running in the distance and soon after that 6 more. Never have I seen Ground Squirrel’s act so skittish, an obvious sign this area has put a lot of hunting pressure on them.

I ended up killing three with only one body recovered, I however made a pretty good shot at 60 yards through a hollowed out log and right through the neck of a Ground Squirrel. Jessi made two kills with none recovered although did leave a large blood trail on one heading into a hole.

Baxter and Napoleon found an area near a road where they spotted two very large adult Ground Squirrels where Napoleon made a kill with his Rainstorm at 75 yards.

This area had been very active in the past but just seemed shot out, gets frustrating when you have 4 experienced ground squirrel hunters and only a few kills over a whole day. The best part was to spend it with other Airgunners and too enjoy the scenery of this beautiful location.

 

 

, , , ,

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.

 

 

 

, , ,

Ground Squirrel 3 day hunt

On Friday April 1st, SteveO and I drove North into the Sequoia NF where we met up with several other Airgunners. The weather was a nice cool 79 degrees at 11:30am.

hunting

We met Terry, Jessi, Ron and Tom along with his 10year old son Nick at our camping area where we would spend the next 3 days hunting ground squirrel. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking as far as how lush and green everything was. The rolling hills were covered in flowers and waist high grass.

hunting

Targets out to 300 Yards

Terry and Ron set up a beautiful target area where we spent some time sighting in our guns. Targets were set up anywhere from 25 yards out to 200 yards. After several hours of target shooting it became a bit windy, still not enough to detour us from venturing out to hunt ground squirrel. The area we were hunting had rolling hills with scattered Oak trees and very large rock outcroppings.

ground squirrel hunting

I had set out across a creek where I had hunted the year before. The first thing I noticed was that the tall grass was obscuring my view from the GS holes. The only way I was able to hunt them was to find high ground as to where I could look downward over the grass. This was the way most all of us hunted throughout the trip. By this time it was late afternoon and we all met back at camp where we shared some food, drinks and some stories around the portable fire pit that Terry had brought.

firepit

The next morning had brought us a beautiful day with no wind and cool temperatures. We spent most of the morning target shooting and plinking with some very nice assortments of Airguns. Ron had brought a good amount of guns, my favorite being a custom 22xx with 40fpe. He had also brought his .30 custom Rainstorm that he let a few of us shoot, first big bore Terry had ever shot.

Custom Rainstorm .30

 

Tom had brought a .308 Slayer along with his son Nick’s custom 22xx bottle fed mini beast.

Custom 22xx Bottle gun

.308 slayer

Tom Costan with .308 Slayer

Jessi was using his Cricket bullpup that he was hitting bottles out to 100+yrds. Guys one of the best marksman I’ve ever met. Terry had brought his Tapian Mutant that proved to be super accurate and quiet, very nice looking gun as well. My choice of guns for the weekend was my regulated MK1 LD pistol carbine that proved great out to 75 yards. SteveO hunted with his trusted .25 Marauder that has taken many GS in the past years.

Around 1:00pm Tom, Nick and myself headed out to hunt together and to find some long range targets for his .308 Slayer that earlier had been hitting eggs at 200 yards. Within about 20 minutes of hiking I found several GS at 120 yards.

120 Yards

Tom was easily able to take one of them as the others never came back out.

By the end of the day we had around 20 kills between all of us, SteveO came out on top with 7 kills. The evening was met with more great food and laughs along with a brilliant night sky.

The last day we had all gotten up early and headed out in different directions by ourselves. I had chosen a spot in some rocks where I had spotted several a ground squirrel near a fallen log. Ron was several yards to my left stalking a few holes, very frustrating with the tall grass obstructing the view. What was happening was you would spot the grass moving but not be able to take a shot unless you got lucky and found a ground squirrel on a rock or poking out of a hole.

hunting

Most of our kills were between 30 to 75 yards

 

Nick had made his way down the hill with Tom where I was able to set him up with a pretty good shot, mind you this kid is an excellent marksman and someone I would hunt with any day. Nick had the perfect shot but unfortunately his bolt had slid open making the shot very weak making a miss. I can say I missed more than ever on this trip but enjoyed time with friends more than ever. My highlight of the trip was the epic scenery and target shooting paired with some of the best hiking I’ve ever encountered. I thank all who came and can’t wait till next year.

, ,

Jackrabbit Hunting Guide

Hello all, I decided to write this guide hoping to encourage other airgunners to get out and try hunting these amazingly elusive animals. Jackrabbit hunting in the open desert with an airgun requires careful stalking (inside of 40-50 yards) and demands precise shot placement. It requires a good amount of skill and patience but can be very exciting.Jackrabbits can be found throughout the United States but my focus is the Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) that is found throughout most inland parts of california.

jackrabbit

The habitat I’m most familiar with hunting them is the high desert and wooded forested areas in the 3000/4000ft elevation range. Black-tailed jackrabbits occupy mixed shrub-grassland terrains. Their breeding depends on the location; it typically peaks in spring.Young are born fully furred with eyes open; they are well camouflaged and are mobile within minutes of birth, thus females do not protect or even stay with the young except during nursing. They do not migrate or hibernate during winter and use the same habitat of 0.4 to 1.2 miles year-round.Where you find one I can guarantee many as the average litter size is around four, but as high as seven.They have many predators such as raptors and carnivorous mammals, such as hawks, owls, coyotes, foxes, and wild cats.On several occasions I have spotted a coyote stalking them. Black-tailed jackrabbit populations are common in sagebrush, creosote-bush and other desert shrub-lands: palouse, shortgrass, and mixed-grass prairies; desert grassland; open-canopy chaparral; oak and pinyon-juniper woodlands; and early seral (succeeding each other), low- to mid-elevation coniferous forests.

jackrabbit hunting

Jackrabbits prefer open areas where they can see predators coming, they are active primarily at night. During the day they lie crouched in a “form” a small indentation they make in the dirt.(below)

jackrabbit form

When they are in the form they usually have ears back and are fairly flat against the ground making them very difficult to see. Active areas will usually always have “forms”and usually always will have droppings and sometimes signs of fresh urine.

Now that we have learned a bit about Jackrabbits lets take some time to discuss gear needed to head out and find them.
Enclosed is just a basic list of items I usually carry that can change with the area, time of year and the amount of time I will be in the field.

-Backpack capable of carrying items(camo prefered)
-A good accurate gun,not recommending under 24 fpe
-More water than you think you need
-Food/snacks
-Knife
-Lighter/matches
-Plastic bag
-Rangfinder/binoculars
-Multitool
-Spare magazines
-Pellets
-Sun hat
-Camera
-Longer hunts may require buddy bottle if using PCP gun
-Shooting sticks although I rarely use them
-Cooler & ice for the meat
*(NOTE)Always let someone know where you are on a
map and when you will return.

I also use a good amount of camo, sometimes even covering my face in the colder months. Footwear is critical as I’m usually doing a lot of hiking. For myself It took me a longtime to learn how to walk while hunting, this was my biggest learning curve other than knowing where to look for Jackrabbits. I found myself time and time again going to fast having the Jackrabbits hear or see me well before I could even get a shot. Slow down with light steps and don’t be afraid to stop for a moment to look around, sometimes you can spot them several yards in front of you if your lucky. If you find one they are usually EVERYWHERE but are amazing in they’re ability to blend in. In the morning hours as the sun comes up you can sometimes spot the luminous peachy glow of their ears when they’ve been back-lit by the sun. This in my opinion is the easiest way to hunt them.

amber ears

I usually like to start my hunts 30 minutes before sunrise and have found Jackrabbits to be most active till approx 10:00 am, after that they are usually back in a form against a tree or thicket. Another option for jackrabbit hunting is to find an area they are active and simply still hunt waiting for one to pass in front of your line of sight. When I hunt this way I usually like to try and find high ground if possible. During the middle of the day I find that Jackrabbits all tend to stay in the shade or thick parts of cover, usually always near an open field. Here is just a small example of where I would be looking for them,this is a prime desert habitat.

woodland jackrabbit

desert hunt

Many times when hiking I will spring one from a bush or area they are hiding, usually they will stop to freeze for several seconds allowing just enough time to make a shot.Jackrabbits usually always will run in a circle, eventually always ending back where you saw them. Some say that whistling can get them to stop but I have never had luck the many times I have tried. They run approx 1 to 2 miles so it may take an hour or so for them to return, again this is only my experience and may not always be the case. Most of the time I park and then make a 1 mile wide circle around my truck, ending up back at the truck. You can also walk a long ridge looking downhill and then back on the adjacent ridge to the vehicle. You have to be able to spot them sitting (usually under a tree) at 30-100 yards and set up for a shot. Sometimes you only have seconds to spot and take a shot, with an Airgun it can be frustrating. You can hunt effectively with groups of 1-3 people that walk parallel to each other 50-75 yards apart. Everyone must be in sight of each other at all times and be aware of their safe shooting lanes (no shots at all on the side where the other person is). Walking a large loop around, staying even with each other gives good opportunity to flush more Jackrabbits and can get very exciting. In the event you are able to make a kill its a good idea to dress your jackrabbits at the first opportunity and put them on ice. Even though you cleaned your Jackrabbit in the field, you still need to give the meat a good second cleaning at home to get it ready for the table or the freezer. Use cold water to wash off any blood or dirt from the meat. Trim away any damaged meat & discard all bruised and bloodshot pieces. Trim and discard the major tendons and tough connective tissues. Jackrabbit hunting is very rewarding and some of the most fun I’ve had using an air rifle. Some Jackrabbits can get very large, some resembling small dogs.

Hope the assortment of info provided may give enjoyment and to help someone get started in jackrabbit hunting.

Happy Hunting 8)