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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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HUNTING WITH THE .22 SUMATRA CARBINE

The Sam Yang Sumatra 2500 is a powerhouse of an Airrifle in almost any configuration considering it’s ability to generate high muzzle velocity with heavy pellets. The rifle is powerful, but not a real efficient system as it uses a lot of air per shot on high power (it’s better about air use when dialed down) Yes, you can turn this thing down so as to get more shots. The .22 will sling a 43 grain Eun-jin pellet 1000-fps so John had chosen to use some 52 grain custom swaged pellets he had made specifically for this gun. The shot count on low settings is near 50 and on high power near 23 although some tuners such as Will Piatt are getting these to be much more efficient on air consumption.

Johns sumatra 2500

The Sumatra’s total weight with scope was a bit over 10 lbs making it a fairly heavy hunting rifle, especially for hiking around all day. I will say the under-lever design along with the well finished stock really makes the gun look sharp. The magazines are a rotary design, and pellets are loaded from the front (note) they do tend to fall out if you have some loaded in your pocket. This rifle is loud even at the lower power setting, so John contacted  Neil Clague to outfit him with and LDC to quiet the bark down to an appropriate level. With the LDC attached it does increase the overall length of the rifle, but well worth it making the gun nearly silent.

john shooting sumatra 2500

John was able to get very good accuracy with the rifle out to 60 yards being able to continually hit the same target with 1″ groups using his preferred ammo. The Sumatra is a great repeating rifle that’s fairly easy to operate and shoulders nice considering its weight and feels very sturdy and solid. After several days of getting the rifle set up and sighted in we had decided to take it out for some Rabbit hunting in the Mojave desert. John and I set out early that next morning and arrived near 8:30 am to a spot I hadn’t hunted in quite some years, but did offer some good Cottontail populations.

Hunting Mojave

After arriving and filling our guns we set out a ways North where the terrain was quite rocky with low knee high sagebrush that made great habitat for Cottontails and Jackrabbits.

Hunting area in Mojave Desert

It didn’t take long for the both of us to spot a few Jackrabbits, but unfortunately they were at quite a distance away making it difficult to get close enough to present good shots. After walking around for about an hour, spread 50 yards apart, I came around a corner of a rock face and spotted a good size Jackrabbit at near 60 yards that presented me with a good head-shot using my .22 Marauder.

.22 Marauder Jackrabbit kill

After taking a short break I decided to sit up on a rock that overlooked a good portion of our hunting area and too provided me a good view of John’s location.

John hunting in Mojave Desert

I sat for several minutes watching him almost certain he would flush a Cottontail from the nearby rocks and sure enough I heard that distinctive THWACK. John was able to get a great head-shot on a fleeing Cottontail at 30 yards, and it was very exciting to witness from my vantage point.

John's Cottontail kill with Sumatra .22

I soon after made my way down off the rock to congratulate John, and too was able to take some photographs to document his successful kill. Upon inspection of the Cottontail I noticed the large entry and exit holes that made way through the head and out the back of the shoulder, this Sumatra does pack a punch.

Cottontail kill

By this time it was getting later in the day, and we had a good amount of driving ahead to get home so we decided to call it quits. This was just one of many trips I have planned, and can’t wait till the next. Overall I think the Sumatra is an excellent choice for someone looking for versatility, power and accuracy from an Airrifle. I normally am not a fan of Korean guns but after shooting the Sumatra I have to say I was pretty impressed with its function in the field. Anyone looking for an entry level type PCP rifle I think should take a serious look at this rifle and the few unique features it offers. The gun is near ready out of the box but does require a few additions to make it more user friendly such as these enclosed items.

 

 

 

 

 

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TRAPMASTER 1100 COTTONTAIL HUNT

I had a great day getting out yesterday trying my hand at Cottontail hunting with John. We headed out late afternoon and arrived to our location around 5:30 pm, just in time for it to cool down as it’s been very hot. I had brought my trusty .22 Marauder and John brought his vintage “Crosman Trapmaster 1100” loaded with custom swaged .375 pellets.

John with Trapmaster 1100

I was excited to say the least to try this gun as I had never really seen an air powered shotgun before, this little gun is a blast to shoot and had decent power for being a CO2 gun. Soon after a bit of plinking I had spotted a small Cottontail moving off into the distance so John and I moved as quietly as possible towards it trying to keep several yards between us. These Cottontail’s are elusive creatures and even with my good eyes are very difficult to spot among the thick gray brush and thickets. John and I walked in big giant circle and finally decided to head down into a big open flat area with dense bushes about waist high.

John hunting

We saw little activity other than a few birds and too at this point the sun was just beginning to set over the mountaintop, so light was getting less by the minute. Soon out of the corner of my eye I saw John stop, he raised his gun and fired with that distinctive THWAAAP sound. I asked John if he had gotten it and he said “Yes” excitedly, from 30 yards away too. What a great shot considering the light conditions and the fact he was using open sights with no buttstock. The .375 pellets work much better for this application than the standard load of shot that the gun was originally designed to use.

Trapmaster 1100

Trapmaster 1100 pellet

John and I both were very excited as we now felt that long drive had been worth our while, so many trips with nothing to bring home. Over the years I have learned just to enjoy being out hunting with friends and not to expect to bag anything. After a short hike back to the vehicle we were on our way home with the memories of yet another adventure.

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12 YEAR OLDS FIRST HUNT

We left at 4:45 am Saturday morning and drove quite a ways into the mountains to an area known to have monster size Jackrabbits. I had never been to the area so was very excited as well as getting to hunt with a newcomer to the sport. Seeing the excitement of a new hunter was well worth the trip just by itself and was pleased just in getting to take part. Tom had brought his .30 FX Impact and Nick was using a custom 22xx I had built along with myself and the .22 Marauder.

We arrived at the area nearly running over a Jackrabbit as it made it’s way across the dirt fire road, very good sign so far. The time was about 6:45 am with the weather being very pleasant along with no wind. We walked for a bit with me staying behind to take some pics and get bearings on the area that to me looked very prime.

The area was near alpine level altitude with mostly Rolling hills and patches of dense bushy cover. After about 20 min of walking Nick had spotted a Jackrabbit at 100 yards, those young eyes are very helpful. I decided to stalk the Jackrabbit leaving Tom and Nick to circle around where I planned to push it towards them. The plan had worked well and was able to get the Jackrabbit to run right into them leaving Tom with a good 30 yard head-shot that dropped him in his tracks instantly.

Seeing Nick’s enthusiasm of witnessing his father’s humane kill was very cool. We all walked back to the truck and Tom instructed Nick on how to clean and process the Jackrabbit meat.

After all that we headed back out to a bare hillside looking down into a creek bed where we set up a can at 45 yards for Nick to practice his shots, that kid is a great marksman and surprised us both with his skill.

Tom has his hands full now with Nick getting the hunting bug and being so excited about getting more involved in our sport.

After 30 minutes of practice we set out a bit more while seeing a few Jackrabbits but none that offered much of a good shot for Nick or myself. It was nice to just be out hiking around on such a beautiful day but we decided to end our hunt to head down the mountain for lunch.

The day was great fun for all of us and too a memory that will be left forever in the mind.

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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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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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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.

gun28

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.

gun6

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.

gun32
Running shot at approx 75 yards.

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

gun16

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

gun20

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.

gun2

gun10

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

gun11
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.