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Airgun Hunting With A Dog

A few people have asked about the dog I use for Jackrabbit hunting, a 3 year old Dachshund/Lab mix named Marley. I have used dogs growing up for hunting rabbits, hares and birds quite often over the years. Marley is very unique as some may consider her breed a house dog, she is simply not the case at all. The standard size dachshund was developed to scent, chase, and flush out badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals, while the miniature dachshund was bred to hunt smaller prey such as rabbits. In the United States, they have also been used to track wounded deer and hunt prairie dogs. Marley is a Lab mix that adds to her hunting ability being fairly larger and too very good at retrieving and swimming if need be. This mixed breed has more of the temperament and strength of a Lab but obviously being so short she has a much easier time getting in under cover more easily and too being so small can stalk better. The downfall of her size as a hunting dog is I need to sometimes keep her close as shes susceptible to birds of prey and other predators. In some areas I will even leash her for these reasons as I have had birds stoop on her in the open plains.

Marley and Dana hunting with the .357 Slayer

I first started Airgun hunting with her about a year ago and found that she was very natural at it, needing very little work making her safe around a gun. She quickly learned what a gun was and too what it was capable of, seeing me take several Cottontails and Jackrabbits excited her. After taking her on several hunts she began to learn that when I aimed the gun and fired it she could hear the “hit” and go that direction finding a kill. I would let her get familiar with the scent of the animal and too familiarize her with the areas they are found. Before I knew it she was spotting them before me and getting really good at it.

Marley with a Cottontail kill

We had spent several months hunting by ourselves before I felt comfortable bringing another hunter along with us. I wanted to make sure that she was 100% safe and followed all commands such as STAY, HERE and GO AHEAD. The first word is STAY and that means I want her to stay where she is and wait for me. The second word is HERE and that means I want her to stay by my side within several feet and sometimes be on a leash if I feel predators may be in the vicinity. The third word is GO AHEAD and that means I want her to seek out animals by scent, sight or by flushing them. After working with her and giving rewards when she follows a command it became much more natural for us both and became almost automatic and in some cases she would just know what to do. We sometimes would just sit and wait with both of us watching the hillsides for activity.

I remember our first successful hunt together and how excited and happy she was to finally get a kill on a very large Jackrabbit that we took down at 85 yards. We were hiking across a dry river bed up into a thick brush-line where we spotted a Jackrabbit running up an embankment. I took my shot leaving a very loud THWACK that was very identifiable sending Marley at full speed up the hill to make sure it was expired and to retrieve.

After several more hunts I ended up feeling comfortable enough to invite Terry to join us and too for Marley to get familiar with being around other hunters. Her safety was my number one concern so I kept her close to my side for the first few minutes just to let her see that we now had “two” guns in use. Pretty soon I was comfortable letting her GO AHEAD and to now be able to assist us both in locating some Jackrabbits. Marley and Terry became friends very quickly and sometimes she would walk with him for awhile.

Marley was soon getting very good at what she does.

 

After awhile she was joining us on several hunts where we ventured deep into the back-country for days at a time camping in some very unforgiving terrain.

One of our hunting trips took us miles from camp where her and I killed several Jackrabbits from over several hundred yards away, some of the retrievals she made were from rocky hillsides and thick brush.

Using an Airgun to hunt with is difficult enough so having some help from a well trained dog like Marley makes hunting a whole lot more enjoyable. The nice part about using an Airgun is the noise levels are much lower than with a traditional firearm, this makes it enjoyable for both me and the dog. Here is a kill we made using a .357 Slayer Big Bore Airgun, she loves this gun as much as I do.

I hope my writing may open some eyes to look towards a dog as a valuable hunting tool, I know Marley has really brought some light into my hunting adventures. She has become a valuable companion and the best hunting buddy I’ve ever known.

 

 

 

 

 

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EARLY MORNING COTTONTAIL HUNT

Left the house early at 3:30 am to meet up with John Cripe from pelletgarden.com for some rabbit (jackrabbits & cottontail) hunting at a new spot we found. The weather was cool at around 38 degrees at 5:30 am, had cold weather gear and snow cap that I haven’t worn in quite some time here in SoCal. We pumped up our rifles and proceeded to the area where we waited till our legal shooting time.

As we approached that time we spotted two Jackrabbits at 60 yards away, still a bit dark and hard to see. We both took our shots and missed as we watched them scurry away in literally a flash.  John worked the area up high along a ridge as I stayed low working close to the brush-line. Spotted several off in the distance only to have them run as I approach from 100+yards away, very discouraging. I soon spotted a small cottontail foraging under a nearby sagebrush at around 45 yards, took the shot with a solid hit.

We soon decided to go have breakfast at a nearby grocery store before heading to the next area that was now around 9:30. This next area I spotted a cottontail within the first few minutes and with John’s help was able to corner it to where I could make a shot at about 15 yards.

We zig-zagged our way through and sprung a few jacks from under the brush but they are so dang fast that they are gone before you can even shoulder your gun. Again very frustrating and difficult hunting without a shotgun. I just love rabbit hunting with an Airgun and find it to be very rewarding when something is finally bagged.

Again I am just pleased to be out in the wilderness with a friend and blessed to have gotten at least one. Thanks again John for going and helping me to get some, had a great time.

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.30 POLYMAG TESTING & REVIEW

Very exciting to be one of the first to field test the new .30 Polymags,a new product made by Predator International,inc. I received a box that was sent by Dick via Priority mail that made it to my house late Sunday evening just in time for some testing Monday morning.

Dick was kind enough to provide a very nice zippered pouch that I intend to use on future hunts, too are very handy for keeping the tins together. I set out Monday morning for the American Air Arms facility located in the high desert of Southern California where such guns as the .357 Slayer are built and tested. Myself along with the help of Tom Costan decided to start the day by doing some group therapy with these 44.75g beastly looking .30 pellets.

The gun I used for the testing was a custom Evenix Rainstorm with a .30 Tj enterprises barrel that puts out some good FPE. The pellets were shooting at 910 fps and the height of the shot curve,more than enough power to get them out to the 85 yard target.

The day was a bit cloudy with a very slight breeze from the right but offered some pleasant target conditions. I was very pleased with the groups I was getting even though I by no means am a paper puncher.

 I did several 5 shot groups and was beginning to feel confident in the pellets hunting capabilities,having some serious fun watching the plywood get blown apart too. I wanted to test the expansion of the pellets so I used a batch of mud that I had dumped into a plastic jug,figured this may mimic flesh fairly accurately.

The expansion was very massive and had given me the instant conclusion that these pellets would be absolutely devastating on game such as large Jackrabbits and even Coyotes. At this point of the day I decided to head out for a short hunt near our facility where I soon was able to take a Cottontail at 30 yards. The sound these pellets make when they hit bone and flesh is unreal and unlike any other “pellets” I have used.

I was able to make my shot through the neck,out the skull and actually blew off part of the rabbits ear.

The .30 Polymags are definitely a pellet I would trust to use on larger game such as Coyotes and monster Jackrabbits. By the end of the day I was feeling confident that I would no doubt use them out to 100+yards for hunting. I really enjoyed the opportunity I’ve had to test and hunt with these fine pellets,cant wait to use them on some big stuff in the next few weeks. Thanks to all involved and hope to share some more very soon!

 

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EPIC TWO DAY HIGH DESERT HUNT

I set out with SteveO at 3:30 am Saturday morning to meet Jessi in the high So-Cal desert. We had my truck loaded with water, food and camping gear along with plenty of air and ammo. Our primary purpose was to finish filming a Jackrabbit hunting video and to test out some new pelletguns such as the MrodAir P12 and Cricket.

mrodair-p12

We arrived at our desert hunting area at 6:15 am and proceeded to air up the guns and walk a mile North to the “hotspot.”

The morning was quite warm with a good amount of wind blowing towards the South right into us. As I have hunted the desert quite a bit in wind, and I have found it to be somewhat of an advantage as the Jackrabbits and other creatures cannot hear you over the sound of wind. Within a few minutes of our slow walk we were spotting Jackrabbits moving back and fourth in the distance. Jessi and I hunted while SteveO filmed the action between the both of us, not easy at all. All three of us have been to this location so were quite familiar with the lay of the land and the usual spots the Jackrabbits hide.

We walked about a mile coming to a very large open field with scattered Joshua trees and small scrub bushes where I spotted a large Jack eating some grass out in the open. I was able to make a nice kill on him at 45 yards or so that was captured on video. (pic enclosed)

We continued and headed more North into a large loop back to the vehicles looking for a good flat location to camp. We found a very nice accessible area that was flat and had some Joshua trees to provide some protection from the wind. By this time it was about 10:30 am and in the mid 90’s, too hot to be wandering around so we set up a shade awning. We sat under the shade awning for a few hours to cool down, eat lunch and talk. I had already made a kill so I took my turn following Jessi and SteveO with the camera filming all the action they encountered.

 

The high desert is also home to a large amount of Golden Mantel Squirrels that were very tiny, fast and difficult to spot from a distance. Jessi must have taken quite a few, some as far as 60 yards with a few impressive head-shots.

We continued into the Sunset with quite a bit captured on film. All three of us were exhausted from hiking and carrying our guns all day.

 

The heat really takes a lot out of you and gallons of water is needed to survive this vast desert. The night came and we BBQ hotdogs and sausages along with the largest bag of chips I have ever seen.

 

I slept great and we all awoke around 6:30am to indications of an even hotter day only with no wind or breeze. SteveO did a little more filming as we set out to the usual spots hoping for one particular Jackrabbit that had been eluding us, all three of us missed, frustrating to say the least.

After about an hour I had the camera and was able to film SteveO hit one of the largest Jacks I have ever seen at 45yrds or so. These two guys made some very impressive shots, Jessie even attempted what I believe was 100 yards on a Jackrabbit shading himself under a Joshua tree. On our way back to camp we even spotted a good size Gopher Snake that was on his way crossing the trail, beautiful camo pattern it carried.

 

As we made our way back to camp we were all so exhausted as the heat really takes a toll on the body, while the sand just radiates even as the sun goes down. We all carried loads of water and I will say there is nothing better than a cooler full of ice waiting for you when you need it.

The next morning we packed up camp and moved on down the bumpy washed out road to another location that we thought might offer some opportunity . Together we had an amazing hunt, even had a very surprising encounter with two Coyotes. I had such a great time and am so grateful for the memories, laughter and some great food with friends.

 

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BACK COUNTRY AIRGUN HUNT

On Friday November 4th Marley and I left the house at 3:00am to make our way North where we would be spending the next three days. We ventured down the long dirt road that seems to head into nowhere for miles. As we arrived to the area in darkness I parked on top of a mountain where I planned to hunt for several hours while waiting for the other members of our group.

The sun was slowly coming up as Marley and I hiked our way high up onto a mountain hoping to have some good views of the fields below. The area was quite dry with very little green vegetation to be seen, yet still very sustainable to Jackrabbit populations. We sat for awhile and didn’t see any movement besides a few birds and the occasional chatter of a ground squirrel. As it was becoming lighter out I could see a dust cloud from a vehicle moving down the road from miles away, It was SteveO making his way right on time. We got up and made our way down the mountain to join him and too ended up making a failed shot on a Jackrabbit on the way down. As soon as SteveO arrived Terry was soon behind with us deciding to move down into an occupied camping area to relax for a bit and also get our gear ready for the few days of hunting.

After several minutes of setting up camp and getting our guns aired up we set out on foot back up into a nearby canyon that is usually loaded with Jackrabbits. We all went off to separate areas throughout the valley with my preferred area working the brush filled hillsides.

As I’m looking down the hill I can see Terry stalking a Jackrabbit just over the other side of the hill from me, I see him waiving me over as I think he thought the Jackrabbit may come my direction. He ended up tagging the Jackrabbit while making full sprint up the hill, not sure of the yardage but still a great shot.

After another hour of marching around I was able to spot two Jackrabbits moving through the brush, the larger one made a much better target and was taken down at 60 yards with Marley making a swift retrieval. I was using the new American Air Arms EVOL .30 carbine tuned to 85 fpe and too the perfect tool for Jackrabbit hunting. The gun is regulated, lightweight and has a shot-count capable of keeping me in the field all day long. This is my dream gun and one I have been waiting for Tom to build for over two years, I’m in LOVE. ;D

After a few more minutes of hiking back to camp we took a much needed break and to have some lunch before heading back out into the remote hills. After lunch SteveO and I headed back out several miles working the rocky hillsides with Marley finding several Jacks and even a Cottontail that was hidden in the dense brush.

The Cottontails out in this area are quite large and unlike in other areas don’t stop at all once flushed. I think this is because of all the pressure they have due to predators such as birds of prey, Coyotes and Foxes. As we were hiking we spotted quite a few small Ground Squirrels that proved to be very difficult targets as they don’t stay still for very long. SteveO spotted a few and was able to take several of them moving around the rocky hillsides at around 45 yards with his .25 Marauder.

We had made several more attempts at finding some Jackrabbits before heading back to camp before dark. The Jackrabbits I think were feeling the pressure of Marley being able to find them even in the most secluded hiding spots. Watching that little dog work is purely magical as she really is amazing at what she does, sometimes its a little unfair.

As the evening met darkness it became quite chilly out with the distant chatter of Coyotes echoing through the canyon. Marley and I slept soundly in the Jeep and awoke early to greet Tom and his son Nicholas to our camp where they would spend the next two days. Tom and Nicholas had hunted here before so they both were very familiar with the area and too the potentially huge Jackrabbits that find home here. After getting they’re gear ready and guns filled with air we set out again, this time 6 of us.

Tom had brought the New EVOL TAC .30 model rifle to test out, what a sharp looking gun it is. Nicholas was using a regulated bottle fed 22xx platform that was shooting at 30 fpe and has enough air for all day hunting. We ended up all meeting in this canyon where we were shooting at 100+ yards at this white rock, amazing what these modern PCPs are capable of.

After some playing around with the guns we headed back to camp where Terry was sighting in his old .20 Sheridan that he just had steroided. He had mounted a scout scope and planned to do some hunting with it that rest of the day. What a workout it was pumping that old fashioned vintage gun, 6 pumps was giving him 630 fps I believe.

Tom had made his way several miles from camp in a close direction from where I was hunting, I had mentioned I had taken 10 ground Squirrels so he made his way to find a few. Tom had managed to find quite a few of them along with bringing back several wild gourds that later would prove good targets.

Very old tree, one of the only ones seen for many miles.

That afternoon Terry left and the rest of us continued on into the evening by ourselves, I think we were all petty beat from the miles of hiking we all had done. I know Marley was very tired as those little legs had gotten quite the workout mashing through brush and rocky hillsides all day. Poor little thing was pooped ;D

That next morning SteveO had to leave us to get back home before traffic got to bad, was great to have him join us even though it was a quick two days. This morning was quite foggy and really didn’t seem like a very good morning for Jackrabbits, figured we would give it a try before heading out ourselves. Tom,Nicholas and myself headed out for a short hunt, several mile loop that would bring us back just in time for breakfast.

I headed us up into an area I suspected may be full of Jacks and too as a last resort had hoped Tom and Nicholas would have some luck. Here is Tom behind me and Nicholas way in back as we ventured up the steep hillsides.

Many of the times when working areas like this you can spot them moving through the brush in the lower areas, I have good success in hunting this way. I would rather shoot down on them than up as usually they make it over a hill leaving them lost from sight. It didn’t take long for all of us to get some shots on running Jacks, Nicholas came very close to hitting one on the run.

Tom was higher up the side of the mountain and Nicholas and I were lower, we were watching Tom shoot at several of them with Marley hot on the trail. For a few minutes we were all shooting as they were getting sprung from all directions. I’m really glad we checked out this area as I will definitely be back in Springtime when the population is higher and they are more active. We went back to camp and did a little bit of shooting with the EVOLs and even brought out the .357 Slayer for some fun.

This sport has given me so much joy over the years, Its great to see young men like Nicholas getting involved early. These kids are the future of our sport, setting examples and passing it on is the most important thing we can do.

Hope you all can enjoy until our next adventure.

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HUNTING WITH THE .308/.357 SLAYERS

On Thursday June 16th Terry and I set out at 4:30am to make our way several hours North to meet Tom and his son Nick for a two day hunt.We had chosen to get out during the week to allow us to beat the heat wave and to avoid people that frequent the area during weekends. As Terry and I drove down the long dirt road I couldn’t help but to imagine we were in the African Plains going on some kind of wild safari. Part of the excitement for me on trips like this is the feeling of being a kid again,problems and worries just slip away and the thought of adventure takes over. We arrived to find our usual camping area quite empty with the only occupant being a very nice old man who was just traveling through.

He had came over and talked to Terry and I being intrigued by the fact we were using airguns to hunt with. He had even brought up the famous “Lewis and Clark” expedition and was very familiar with the use of the  Girardoni air rifle. I really enjoyed talking to him and to spark someone’s interest in our fine sport. By this time it was 7:15 and we were soon joined by Tom and his son Nick who had decided to join us being he had just gotten on Summer break. The weather was nice and clear with a good solid breeze that kept things cool for most of the day. We all aired up our guns and filled our pockets and gear bags with pellets and water to set out for some Jackrabbit hunting. Terry and I were the first ones through the gate and into the fields where we almost immediately started seeing large Jackrabbits,they were simply everywhere so it seemed. I was using the first prototype .357 Slayer loaded with 127gr pellets provided by nielsenspecialtyammo.com along with Terry who was using his .22 Tapian Mutant Bullpup loaded with his custom made 22.5gr slugs. We hiked around the same locations as our last trip over a month ago that proved to still be full of action after taking 14 of them in two days. It didn’t take long to empty my magazine and exhaust my air supply from shooting at so many Jackrabbits, having a gun that has so much range capability makes it difficult to not shoot at something.      ;D

After an hour or so I had made my way back to camp to get something to eat and to cool off in the shade for awhile waiting for the others to return. Soon Tom and Nick made there way back into camp followed 45 minutes later by Terry, all of them with the same story of  how many Jackrabbits they had seen. Tom had taken a fairly hard fall on a rocky hillside that had knocked his .308 Slayer up pretty good along with his hand. Thankfully he was ok and the gun with only a few noticeable scratches with the zero being questionable. After several minutes of rest I had spotted a large Jackrabbit out in a nearby field, Tom had invited me to use his .308 and take it out as I had not really used it much. The first thing I noticed was the weight difference being lighter with the aluminum shroud and the fact it was a right handed model as I had been used to shooting the left handed prototype. The pellets I was using were 111gr provided by Nick over at nielsenspecialtyammo.com I took the gun expecting to be gone for only a few minutes but being it shot so nicely I ended up being gone for close to two hours. The area I was hunting had many hills that offered amazing views and vantage points to sniper style shooting. The gun was zeroed at 85 yards using a Leapers Accushot 30mms scope with etched glass reticle, one of my favorite scopes for hunting being fairly rugged. The first shot I took felt great with little recoil,similar in feeling to a pellet gun but with much more authority and thump. I was amazed at how flat shooting it was and how much more controllable it felt over the big brother .357 Slayer. The first Jackrabbit I was able to hit was at 60 yards moving through some thick sage,nice solid chest shot that made a clean kill.

Jackrabbit kill .308 slayer

Jackrabbit kill .308 slayer

I hiked around a bit more and found a good spot to sit and rest along with having a good vantage point to sniper a few with the first one taken at 115 yards with a solid hard hitting shoulder shot. The second one was very close to the first only he ran several hundred yards up a hill before stopping towards the top at a little over 300 yards. I gave the gun so much holdover that I couldn’t even see the Jackrabbit in my scope,kinda just guessed but ended up hitting solid throwing him into a backflip where he did the death dance.

I headed back to camp dragging these two kangaroos that get very heavy after hiking with them for several miles,Nick was kind enough to come over and help me get everything over the fence. As I walked into camp my presence had awoken Tom from his afternoon siesta under the giant shade tree. He immediately had concluded that the earlier spill had not effected the POI at all apparently. :o
My feet were sore and the sun by this time was taking its toll making relaxing in the shade seem like the best option along with drinking plenty of water. Terry came back into camp exhausted as the rest of us telling of how many Jackrabbits he had encountered and the few that got away. We pretty much stayed in camp until 6:00pm when we all set back out together to try a new area I had found on Google Earth. The area was about a mile hike South from camp and looked to be very good and one of the few places that were still a bit green.

airgun hunting

We all stayed close together and Tom was the first to make a shot on a Jackrabbit that was foraging in a small clearing,we all stalked the Jackrabbit and eventually all missed him as he disappeared in the thick sagebrush. A few more minutes went by and Tom spotted another running through the sage only to run several hundred yards with Tom and I taking turns trying to hit him. These big bores are simply amazing able to come several feet from hitting a running Jackrabbit at out to 400 yards. The loop we took was several miles through fields and mountains where we ended back at camp by 8:15pm. The night was lit by a full moon and offered us a nice relaxing evening being nice enough to even sleep outside. Later in the night I could hear Coyotes chattering in the distance and a hoot owl perching in the tree above our camp. The next morning had started later than I hoped as we had all slept a bit later than expected being so tired from the day before hunting. Terry and I aired up our guns and set out in close to the same loop as the evening before but ended up going much further. I had spotted a Jackrabbit sitting up in the sagebrush at 25 yards,shot a bit to high only to see a puff of fur from my pellet skimming the top of his head. These Hares are so fast and hard to spot that hunting them can get very frustrating. I can’t tell you how many shots I experience that’s like “How in the heck did I miss?” I followed Terry for a bit as I enjoyed taking pics and to be careful with my air supply and ammo,not having very good luck with any good shots. Terry spotted a good size Jackrabbit at around 30 yards where he was able to connect his shot,from the sound he had hit him hard. The Jackrabbit slowly ran away into some thick sagebrush making it very difficult to find and when you did it wouldn’t stay still long enough to make a shot. We both spent a good amount of time scouring the area to find him with no luck. A few hundred more yards on our hike I spotted a good size Ground Squirrel sitting on a rock that Terry was able to take at 35 yards.

Terry and I kept hiking higher and higher up into the mountains and by this time I had used up all my shots barely missing several Jackrabbits I had encountered on the rocky hillsides. We found a good saddle where we took a rest before we climbed even higher where we had to make it up over the next mountain and back towards our camp. The mountain we were climbing proved difficult with it being near vertical at some points. We too were running low on water that’s never a good thing in the blazing desert sun.

American airgunner

After making it to the top of the mountain we were both exhausted and had decided to take the easiest straight route back to camp that was thankfully mostly downhill. I was the first to stagger into camp where I found Tom and Nick as exhausted as we were relaxing in the shade. The first thing on my mind was to get some water and to cut open a watermelon that had been on ice. What a hunt,ended with 4 hard earned kills and legs that felt like jello. We all packed up our things and set out down the road till the next time. The best part of every hunt like this is the time spent with good friends and the adventure of exploring nature. Hope to share more soon but until then “Best Wishes” 8)

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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)

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Jackrabbit Safari

On Friday morning the 13th of May Terry and I set out several hours North to meet up with Jessi where we would be spending three days hunting Jackrabbits. The area we were hunting is very close to resembling East Africa, it’s home to animals such as Pronghorn Antelope, Tule elk, Fox, Coyote, Mountain Lions, Wild Pigs and a wide variety of birds. The area is vast and consist of approx 38,900 acres of huntable area, one of the more remote locations I frequent.

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The drive in was very pleasant with the weather being nice and cool with a slight breeze, perfect temp for hiking around. We arrived to find Jessi waiting excitedly to tell us how busy he had been already bagging three Jackrabbits. After hearing of his success we all had that excited Christmas morning feeling. We set up camp and headed out of the campground on foot heading towards previously scouted areas that later proved to be exploding with Jackrabbit populations. Jessi had brought several guns but he had chosen his S200AA .177 tuned to 14fpe, beautiful gun it is.

hunting jackrabbits

He had taken this shot from 65 yards.

We all were jackrabbit hunting fairly close together in amazement of how many Jackrabbits were running around, almost had to choose which one you wanted.

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I had brought several guns but had decided to take the Slayer out as some of the brush was very thick and I thought it may be nice to have something that could punch through it.

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Running shot at approx 75 yards.

The area had many hills that made great vantage points to hunt from, offering good long range shots.

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After some time hunting we had all made our way back to camp where we had lunch, talked airguns and relaxed in the shade.

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By this time it was late afternoon and we all set out again to hike around hoping to get some more action. Terry had brought his Tapian Mutant Bullpup .22, beautiful gun that’s made in the Ukraine with a CZ S200 barrel and 12 shot Magazine.

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I had brought my trusted .22 Marauder and had managed to bag several with that.

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65 yard shot to the neck.

Terry had found a nice vantage point to look down onto a field where we had found quite a few.

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Jessi was back at the camp playing with Terry’s HW97 FT rifle, one of the nicest underlever springers I’ve ever shot.

Jackrabbit hunting day two started out early for us as we set out at sunrise to look for the elusive amber ears.

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The views from the mountaintops were truly amazing, picture perfect. I was enjoying just being away from work and being out with my friends in the place I love. Next to having a large abundance of animals this place also had a wide variety of very beautiful plant-life.
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The area was so vast that you can easily get lost in walking the mountains and grasslands, most of the Jackrabbits we had found were in the thick brush. What was happening was I would walk trying to spot one in the shadows only to spring one several feet away. It would take off only to stop on a hillside giving only seconds to make a shot. I had a good amount of luck hunting from the hillsides catching them in the valleys between hills.

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80 yards across a canyon.

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Got this one running up a hillside at 30 yards

We met back at camp for a late lunch where after we did some exploring of a nearby building that had been part of a cattle ranch in the late 1800s. Very neat and well preserved stall that is still in use today by equestrians that sometimes pass through for a rest.

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After lunch I had set out again, this time heading further out of the valley where I had seen some dog size Jackrabbits. I hiked several miles North up into some unexplored hillsides where I was able to take several very large Jackrabbits, possibly the largest I’ve ever seen up close. The one I took was by pure luck as he wandered in front of me at 60 yards on a hillside, second one I spotted running at around 45 yards through some thick brush. Made my way back to camp with something to show and a big smile on my face, what a rush it is to have some success.

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While I was out tromping around I had noticed a few larger Jackrabbits, problem was they were far out of reach for the Marauder. It was by this time late afternoon but the perfect time to take the Slayer out. I had been shooting it quite a bit so only had several rounds left I had been saving for long range kills. I hiked up a trail near the camp that offered a great view of the entire valley, my plan was to sit and wait for movement below. The past few weeks I had been practicing at 300/400 yards so had become very comfortable at those ranges and proficient with doping for wind. After only a few minutes of waiting I had spotted several large Jackrabbits at over 500 yards away. Having no experience at that range I decided to wait for one to come closer,didn’t take long for the both of them to make there way in. The first shot I took was a bit under 400 yards, landing several inches under his feet causing him to sprint away to the right. The second Jackrabbit ran behind a bush that was impossible to see through or over even at the elevation I was at. After waiting a few minutes I decided I had to move position to the opposite mountain to see behind the bush. This proved to be quite the workout as around the valley was several miles. 😛

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The sun was still putting out heat by 4:00pm

I made my way around to the opposing mountain and sat above looking down on my prey at 275 yards, lined up on little over 3 milldots and fired, hitting about an inch or two over his head sending him into a sprint away. The second shot made its way right behind the neck sending him tumbling to a dead stop at 330 yards.

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Great way to end the day.

Day three of jackrabbit hunting started very early as we had been awoken by animal noises and the sounds of critters scurrying around the camp,even found a Jackrabbit leg lying in the camp that morning. Terry was the first in the field with Jessi and I following soon after, this morning was a bit cold and had some clouds coming in from the distance.

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I sat up on a hill looking down into the brush trying to find some to flush out into Terry’s way. He had been standing in an open field where we had seen quite a few hopping around.
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As I looked down I could see Terry had spotted one at 40 yards or so, the Jackrabbit kept getting closer and closer. My first thought was, “Is he calling it in?” The Jack didn’t even see him and at this point was running right at him, couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Terry knelled down and took a shot that I could see went right over the top of the Jackrabbits head, wow a miss and this thing was still coming in. The Jackrabbit got as close as 10yrds and I think in all the excitement Terry had forgotten to give hold under, a mistake I make quite often. Well the Jackrabbit was gone but I have to say it was quite the spectacle from my angle, amazing to watch. We took a break gathering our thoughts over the whole ordeal realizing his poi was off due to using some lighter weight ammo that was causing him to shoot way high.
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We all continued the hunt combing a new area where I had spotted a group of monster Jackrabbits, all three of us were able to get some shots on a few of them.
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This area has some of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen along with being one of my most special areas to hunting jackrabbits. Spending time with good friends as always is the highlight of any trip such as this along with enjoying the beauty of nature and learning a thing or two along the way. A few people were missing from this trip. If your reading this you know who you are and I hope you can make it out for the next adventure. Enclosed are a few other photos in no particular order I hope you all can enjoy 8)

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Jessi with his .22 Huntsman
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Terry looking all serious
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Me examining three holes from one shot 😮
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Looking down on our camp,the only trees for miles.