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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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USING A DOT SIGHT ON A BIG BORE AIRGUN

This past Morning I showed up to Johns at 3:00 am to pick him up to hunt but he was feeling under the weather so he gave me the AAA Big Bore .357 along with a 50 round box of his precision made 125 gr pellets. I set out to the high desert on a solo mission to try and get a Jackrabbit, it was 61 degrees and had just rained the day before.

Hunting area

The time of arrival was 4:45 am, I filled the gun to the 3600 psi and loaded the 6 massive pellets along with water and food for the day. The gun was equipped with a very small dot sight that was sighted at 90 yards along with a Magpul forend grip for comfort. I too was carrying my binoculars around my neck as I was going to be glassing the Jackrabbits.

dot sight

The morning was a bit slow as I’m guessing the Jackrabbits may have still been held up from the recent rainstorm. Within about 20 minutes I sprung a young juvenile out from behind a set of Joshua trees and he was gone, making his large 1 mile loop back to the same spot. The hiking was a bit rough and I was tired, by 9:00 am it was already in the mid 80’s and getting hotter by the minute. I had taken a break around that time under some shade hoping to spot some ears in the distance, no such luck even with binoculars.

sitting in shade

The day was just plain slow with action so I hiked some more, my GPS said I had ventured 6 miles by this time. The slayer is very lightweight and at this point was happy it didn’t have the extra weight of a scope. I was a bit skeptical on the use of a dot sight on a gun that’s capable of 300 yard shots. Everything becomes heavy when your hiking in the desert at these distances, my feet were sore and I was frustrated in not seeing anything but Juveniles all day. I started making my way back and soon came into a large valley with Joshua trees on one side, I thought to myself there has to be a Jackrabbit in here. I used my binoculars and sure enough there was, at 100+yards I could barley make out his ears so I stalked in staying very low to the ground. As I slowly made my way into a 60 yard range using the bushes as my cover, making sure he had no view of me.

jackrabbit area

The Jackrabbit was a medium sized one but still the only good opportunity I had seen all day so I went for it in the kneeling position. After a few moments I raised the gun, aligned the dot a bit below his head and squeezed the trigger,”THWACK” instant poof of fur and blood.

jackrabbit kill

To me it looked like I had shot a can of red spray paint is best I can describe. The Jackrabbit actually got flung backwards around 5 feet from the impact.

jackrabbit headshot

The Slayer is just plain devastating and I was shocked by the damage the 125 gr pellet did, the impact went into the neck and came close to decapitating the head completely. I can honestly say its been a long time since I’ve had to put that much work into making a kill but it was well worth it just to see what that guns capable of. The use of a dot sight on a Big Bore such as the Slayer actually surprised me on how well it functioned. Aquisitioning the rifle to target was much faster than with a scope and too was much easier to see in low light conditions along with loosing the weight of the overall rifle. The dot sight is a great system for someone looking to hunt at closer ranges out to 100 yards such as predator hunting and even deer. The obvious downside of a dot sight is lack of magnification and reliance on batteries to function. Anyone looking for a Bull-pup with loads of power in a lightweight, easy handling with reliability and good looks,this is it.

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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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.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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AEROMAGNUM BIG BORE HUNT

Aeromagnum Aeromunition

On Sept 17th Marley and I left the house at 3:00 am and headed 68 miles North to an area we have recently been frequenting. It was a fairly warm morning, enough so that we left the windows down in the Jeep. Marley is a 3yo Dachshund/Lab mix, the perfect little rabbit dog being she’s small enough to get under the brush but yet strong enough to get through the day of hunting. As we turned off the highway onto the long dirt road heading further North we could almost immediately see Cottontail rabbits grazing right next to the road. Marley was sitting up front with me glaring out the windows excited as she knew we were going hunting.

Several days before I had acquired some Aeromagnum .358 128gr HP Devastator’s made by Al Clark over at Aeromagnum  to try and to give some feedback on. The pellets are hand cast and very well packaged, too upon removal were noticeably uniform. These were obviously very well made and loaded very smoothly. These are among the best ammo I have seen in production cast pellets.  I tried the best I could to hurry up getting ready as Marley was very impatient and kept telling me to hurry up.  ;D

After I loaded up my magazine it was barley becoming light out as I stood in front of my jeep having a smoke before venturing through the gate and out into the giant field. As I went through the gate I could see a Jackrabbit moving slowly out to my right at about 90 yards. I walked quietly trying to get up onto a small hill that I thought may give me a better shot over the brush and too for a better vantage point for a follow up shot. I got to the top of the hill and was able to take a kneeling shot that broadsided the Jackrabbit as he was hopping away. I have to say I have never heard a bone crack like that ever while hunting, It was loud. Marley and I  immediately ran over to the kill site only to see a big mess where I had to boot her away because she was trying to carry it as it was being pulled in half. Pretty gross. As the photograph shows these Aeromagnum hollow points do exactly what they were designed for and achieve maximum expansion.

Marley and I had one in the bag and continued to make our way up into a canyon crevice where I suspected many Jackrabbits were going to be heading through. I have found that crevices like in this photo make great hunting, especially when the sun is to your back.

We sat and  waited till the sun was just up over the hill behind us and soon Marley spotted a fairly large Jackrabbit moving down through the crevice just like I had imagined they would. This one was fairly close around 45 yards. I lined up for a headshot but he had moved behind a bush as I pulled the trigger sprinting his way up the hillside finally slowing down over 100 yards up near some rocks where I was able to connect. I’m still not sure if I hit him or if the shot ricochet off the rocks into him, either way he was down and Marley made sure of it.

By this time it was coming near 9:00 as we ventured up over the mountaintop and down over the other side where the brush was a little more scattered and in some cases easier to see movement. We sat and waited being shaded by a rather small bush but still better than nothing as it was getting hot.

We sat and waited near 30 minutes before I spotted a Jackrabbit hopping down a hillside at 85 yards, he was moving pretty slow and ended up stopping right behind a bush. It gets frustrating because when a Jackrabbit moves you never really know what direction. I had just hoped that he would move out and away from the bush just long enough to make a shot, usually it takes flushing them out that unfortunately leaves you with only a running shot.

I finally saw the top of his head that allowed me enough to take a shot,it looked as though I missed as it quickly moved behind a bush as Marley ran towards to retrieve. I guess its a good thing I had my little bunny Slayer to finish it off. She brought it back and it was clear that I had barley skimmed its shoulder.

By this time it was getting much hotter so I had decided we should head back as it was several hours home. The day turned out pretty good and I’m very pleased with how well we did considering its late Summer and this area is usually not very active for this time of year. I really want to thank Al from Aeromagnum for allowing me some pellets to do some hunting with and giving me something to post about. I would have posted much sooner but have been so busy with work and preparation for the Extreme Benchrest 2016.

Hope to have more soon. 8)

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2016 EXTREME BENCHREST

On Wednesday October 5th 2016 Doug Noble, myself and Tom Costan left the American Air Arms facility in Acton California to head out 7 hours into the Arizona desert. Our trip had not started as soon as we would have liked as our rifles had literally been just finished that morning setting us back more than 6 hours. I was very excited as this was my first widely followed Airgun event where I was sure to meet some very familiar faces. My goal was to do well in the Big Bore event and to hopefully place well in the small bore 75yard benchrest that was to be very challenging. We arrived in Arizona early that evening where we settled in and made sure we had all necessary components to compete the following morning. The next morning we piled into the van and made our way for some coffee before our arrival to the 2016 Extreme Benchrest event.

We pulled into the beautiful  Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club by 7:30 am where we were greeted by banners and an army of Airguns Of Arizona staff diligently getting the event ready.

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We made our way into the registration area where we were kindly greeted and given our time schedule that included a small bag of goodies along with an 2016 Extreme Benchrest T-shirt. Tom, Doug and I were excited to get some practice in before our 1st afternoon Big Bore event. We unloaded our guns, tanks and pounds of other shooting equipment to the nicely shaded shooting benches.

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We were greeted by AoA’s own Kip Perow who later I found to be quite a great shooter in the Big Bore event. The man sitting was Ron from High Arc Hunting shooting the new Bushbuck .45 monster Big Bore rifle. Doug Noble set up his custom built .338 that he has spent many months preparing to shoot here.

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Other well known names such as Rossi Morreale (below) from the show American Airgunner were practicing for the event. Tom and myself had a great talk with Rossi and were impressed with his love for the sport and his sincerity in trying to make it grow.

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As Tom and I set up our new guns for testing we had Micheal Wendt (below) the new owner of Airgun Nation forum come by to say hello and to check out our new guns. Micheal is a very friendly guy that had some very positive energy behind him and one I was glad to meet.

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I was having a great time trying out my new wood stock EVOL .30 while Tom was using the .30 TAC version. We were practicing with both of the American Air Arms .357 Slayers as well. For me it was quite the adjustment to switch between two completely different power levels. I was sighting in my .30 for the 75 yard event and my .357 Slayer for 200 yards.

img_6924-copy-copyimg_6908-copy-copyMy first event was the Big Bore 200 yard event where we were shooting at 4 military style targets, we had to make 5 shots onto each target. I was shooting horrible not only due to the wind but I had chosen the wrong scope for the application being a fixed parallax. After that disastrous event I headed over to have my Airtank filled where I was kindly greeted by Todd DeOrio (below) Airguns Of Arizona’s fill station expert. He was most helpful and very on his game as I had to visit him quite often over the next few days,never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a fill. Thank you

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The rest of the day we practiced some more and walked around in between checking out some cool guns and even spotting a few more well known shooters such as my friend Tim McMurray of Mac1 Airguns and former winner of the EBR.

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Food and refreshments were available all day long with a great shaded area with plenty of room to sit and chat. Precision Airgun was on hand with its mobile repair center as well as the onsite gunsmith.

img_6964  Day two for us was to practice till about 3:00 where we were to shoot our first 75 yard card.

img_6925-copy-2 I had still been dialing in my gun and practicing the best I could in the wind that didn’t seem too bad as of yet. Tom was shooting the best out of the three of us with his gun, ending with him doing fairly well on his card. I had made the mistake of not using my sighters as often as I should of, ending with me doing very poorly. (no need to post pic)

Day 3 we had or 2nd 75 yard card to shoot, all three of us were in the 3rd relay so we had a good portion of the day to practice. As I walked up to practice I saw another more familiar face such as Ted Bier.

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As the time approached I was feeling confident in my gun and my ability to shoot it well. We all headed down to our lanes to set our bench and to start the 75 yard event. I thankfully used a rear lead bag that proved to work much better for me, good to learn for future competitions. The wind was not as bad as the previous day but was still a bit unpredictable for me. This time I used my sights as needed and filled my gun along with using sorted pellets. For me this was my personal best and was very pleased regardless of how I placed.

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img_6983As you can see, these are very small targets and very humbling when missed. Unfortunately as good as I had done this day my previous card had killed my chance to qualify for the 3rd card at 100 yards.

Day 4 started early for us as our Big Bore event started at around 8:00 where we would be shooting at 85 yards and 200 yards. I was pretty confident with shooting 200 yards but was a bit nervous of the 85 yards as I’m not used to having to hold under. Doug, Kip, Ron and Tom were all shooting great. That Bushbuck is a pretty amazing gun, Doug’s .338 is just plain radical.

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I had a bit of confusion with my 85 yard targets but in the end was very happy with a 2nd.

After the event we had nothing more to do till the banquet so we spent our time plinking with our guns and visiting friends. I was having fun offhand shooting the 200 yard silhouette while Doug was visiting the 550 yard silhouette with his custom .338. My good friend Jim Walton (below) from “Fun Birds Hunting” came by to visit and to do a bit of shooting with us.

img_6947-copyHad some more visitors from Chile “Patagonia Airguns” So nice to see people from all over the world, bringing some very nice airguns to compete with.

img_6958 img_6957My friend Steve Marsh (above) who lives in Arizona and came to keep us company and to show us some killer places to eat throughout the area. I cant wait to come back and do some hunting when time allows. The day was just about to and end with a few Thunderheads in the distance.

img_6991We headed down the road several minutes to a very upscale banquet hall that was overlooking a beautiful golf coarse. This is where we would have dinner, announce the winners and to draw for the raffle prizes.

img_7006Some very nice raffle prizes this year.

ham-raffleThe dinner was excellent along with coffee and dessert, and followed by the awards.

img_7007 Big Congrats to Ted for winning the $5000

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This year had so many amazing competitors,some that traveled from far away places. I see this event only growing stronger and I will say the future is in the young shooters. We all as airgunners need to focus on the progression and to try sharing this wonderful pastime. I want to especially thank the AOA crew for doing such a wonderful job and being so welcoming to me as this was my first year competing. I feel it was well worth the trip and can only help to do better next year. The 2016 Extreme Benchrest has many events that can fit just about any shooters needs. Next year I plan to compete in the American Field Target and Big Bore events. Anyone that’s wanting a fun,family friendly event,this is a winner. Thanks to all who participated. Results can be found here: 2016 Extreme Benchrest

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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)