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Afternoon with an old friend

by Ron Stephen

So I decided to pull out an old friend and spend a little time together. Sporting some very nice borrowed glass and a new bi-pod, we did a bit of bench work to get zeroed and reacquainted. It wasn’t very long before we were both getting pretty comfortable at 100 yards, and any rock smaller than a golf-ball was easy game.


I grabbed up my Bog-pod and cool little backpack/stool combo and we went for a little walk around the chicken farm. We strolled through some brush and was keeping an eye out for any Dirt Rats that may be in the area. The new spring pups have been starting to come out in droves on a few of our other permissions, so I figured I should do a little scouting for them on this permission. I did see several off in the distance, but they were moving too fast and would drop into there hole at the slightest sense of danger. I guess they had been watching me and my friend while we were zeroing in on the small rocks, hahaha. We headed towards the spot where the farmer piles up the dead chickens, to see what kind of activity might be going on over there, and to just do a little “Recon” for any possible Coyote action, (for a later hunt).


Yep,… there was definitely some evidence of recent Coyote activity.
They will go pull dead chickens off of the pile, and carry them into the brush for some cover to eat their meal.
This is obviously a favorite spot for them to feed on.


I decide to sit for a little while as the sun was getting low and hang out to see what might wander in.
No,… I wasn’t planning on using a .22 Marauder for Coyote, (as it really doesn’t have the power that I would prefer to use on them), but was just more interested in sitting for a bit to see what might come around for a photo op.
While sitting there, I noticed something strange on the trail a few feet from me.
I thought it kind of odd to find this laying in the middle of the trail, (and not really anywhere near any of our previous Coyote kills),
and it made me wonder if Coyotes would feed on their own dead? I dunno, but maybe they might ?


While sitting there and thinking about it, I noticed some movement a ways down the trail from me. I grab my rangefinder and I see two Cottontails doing a little sparring with each other. So I slowly get up from my seat, figuring they are not paying attention to me, and are more interested in “winning the battle” between themselves, to run each other off. From a standing position, I set my old friend into the Bog-pod yoke and steady myself. I adjust the side focus, and the Hawke Sidewinder is crystal clear, The magazine is filled with JSB 18’s, and I quickly chamber a round. The Rabbits a still challenging each other, constantly moving in and out of the edge of the brush line, jumping and running around each other. I’ve got to wait for the shot, and my friend is telling me to have patience and confidence in it’s ability to accurately deliver. After maybe 30 seconds, one of the rabbits gives up the fight and heads out into the bushes. He’s lost the battle, and is gone. The “Victor of the battle” claims his territory, and settles for a moment to munch on some grass. He’s calm and not moving now, but I can’t see most of him due to a bush and a rock. I still have to wait. Finger goes into trigger guard and makes ready. The rabbit makes a single small hop into a perfect profile view, giving me the view I’ve been waiting for. I squeeze of 2nd stage, and the JSB flies straight and true. I heard that satisfying “catchers mitt ” sound, and the rabbit rolls to his side with little more than a twitch.

He may have “won the battle”,… but he certainly “lost the war” !

Entry … (not too bad of placement I’d say  ???  ;) )

Exit …  (I’m pretty darn sure the fuse-box experienced a “direct short” with this  shot :o  :P  8) )

Satisfied with my friends loyal performance, the sun getting low and darkness coming soon, I decide to head on back to the truck.
I’ve still got to clean up camp, and drive about 50 miles home. As we approach the truck and are no more than 10 feet from it, I see some movement at about 30-35 yards to my right.  I quickly turn to see a very large Skunk just as he is heading into the bushes. All for the better, as I don’t really feel like dealing with that stinky mess , (and probably having to smell it all the way home),… so he gets a pass.
As I’m taking off my backpack and at that same moment I see another movement on another little trail at about 60-65 yards.  I raise the rangefinder to see another rabbit and “Mr. Simmons” says it’s at 67 yards. Good enough for me. The Bog-pod is quickly deployed, and my friend goes back into action, This will be my last possible shot for the day, as I can BARELY see through the scope in the near darkness.  My friend does not disappoint. The JSB leaves at around 850 fps and finds it mark to make Quite the mess !
Wow !, do you think it hit something major ? ? ?


OK, so time for a quickie Group Photo,
set up a cleaning table,
and get to work….


Cottontails dress out so clean and easily,
and they are both done in about 15-20 minutes.


As I’m closing up camp, and can barely see in the dark, I look down to see this coming up the toe of my boot, and heading towards my pant leg. Whoa !, don’t think I want to be getting THAT friendly with this Creepy Crawler ! A couple of good STOMPS and the size 10 takes care of it. Whew ! I’m REALLY GLAD I saw that dude before feeling him up my pant leg. now THAT would have freaked me out !



Ok,
Bunnies on ice, and everything loaded into the truck. Time to go home and get the Crock Pot warmed up.
Rabbit Stew tomorrow is sounding pretty darn good right about now. So it took me a couple of days to get the Rabbits cooked up into a stew, but I did get them into the crock pot yesterday.


2 rabbits on bottom covered with 2 chopped potato’s, 1 onion, and of course a few strips of Bacon.
sprinkle in one scoop of H&H Dry Salsa mix, (I Love that stuff ). Makes the BEST salsa I’ve ever had, so why not spice up the stew a bit with it ?  ;DTop that with one more rabbit from a previous hunt, and I had in the freezer. 

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Top that with a can of green beans and a can of sliced carrots,

let it sit on low for about 9 hours, and let it cool in the pot.
This morning I pulled all the veggies and rabbits, de-boned the meat, separated the broth, add a couple of beef bullion cubes to the broth and I am about to reduce the broth to a nice gravy now.
I hope it turns out yummy !

Thank you my “Old Friend”,…. I had a good time.
We’ll do it again soon.
Cheers !

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JACKRABBIT WEEKEND

by Terry Eannetta


Thursday night I pulled an all night-er hauling this junk home.

I got up at 4:30 to go Jack hunting in the desert. Good thing Dana was driving since I was dead to the world. But after downing a strong cup of coffee while riding shotgun, I was ready to go when we got to our desert hunting location.

This area just stinks of jacks really, but the many Joshua trees make it seem like you’re in a jungle instead of the desert. Leading a running jack is tough while they duck behind a tree or sage brush.

We split up after a few minutes and I hear Dana taking a shot with his Marauder. Then a moment later I just barely see a coyote running away from his direction. He had taken a shot at it and missed. Too bad, that would’ve made this report even better.

He then got the first jack of the day.

I had been spotting and getting a few shots off at some running targets with no luck. I even shot at two that had been hiding under the trees to escape the desert heat. Just as Dana described in his Jackrabbit hunting guide, their tall ears can really give them away.

Especially this one.

He had been lying in the shade and sprawled out like a dog on a carpet. They say the big ones don’t get that size without being smart. This one wasn’t, and I gave him a JSB, pronto.

I wanted to keep going but I had to get home to run errands. What a buzzkill I was.

I get a message from Dana Saturday afternoon saying he wants to go back out. “Yeah, I’m in!” This time he packs The Dog.

Marley is a three year old Lab/Dachshund mix. She is too cool. Typical hunting dog that knows when you’re ready to go out and can’t wait to get there.
So we get after it.


After Dana takes one at 50 yards, Marley does her doggy duty. Check the video:

We separated, since I was seeing Jacks running one way while Dana was shooting at them in a different direction. I walked up a dirt road while chasing one for maybe 200 yards. I turned around to head back. I like to walk a bit on the slow side while I’m checking the base of trees. Then I see movement to the right of me and a Jack stops 30 yards away. Big mistake for him.

I run into Dana and Marley, we see more Jacks running. Good Lord this place reeks of Jacks. Same thing, he chased them one way, I chased them another. I get a text from Dana asking my location. After I reply I look up and see a Jack maybe 25 yards staring at me. I almost drop the phone while he hops away. Then he stops at 50 yards, stands up and I get a shot off.

Meanwhile, Dana and Marley are still busy.

Real Busy.

By this time it was getting close to lunchtime. After hitting the ice chest we decide to jump in the truck and check a different location. After walking about 200 yards I think I counted 6 Jacks running away from Dana while he was taking a shot at one. I wanted to keep after them, but the desert heat was starting to bear down a little bit too much. We decided to bail and call it a day.

We have unfinished business out there….