Atomic Rat Control
Last week I made a visit to one of my larger commercial permissions for two days of hunting both Ground Squirrels and rats. This is one of many trips I’ve paid to this large property but turned out to be one of the most productive trips I’ve encountered with the rats infestation of epic proportions. For this trip I was loaded with both the New Brocock Atomic and the Daystate Delta Wolf, both great tools for this job. Marley and I arrived to this property late afternoon around 4:30, perfect time to start our trip off with some ground squirrel hunting.
This large several hundred acre poultry farm has an abundance of these furry terrorist that have caused a ton of damage around the buildings, equipment and trees. The ground squirrels burrow holes that cause erosion, carry disease and chew through wiring that is very expensive to repair. I brought the New Brocock Atomic chambered in .22 caliber and shooting just under 20 fpe using the 18gr JSB’s. This is a choice gun for this type of work where liability is a factor in and around buildings with enough power to reach out to reasonable ranges with confidence. This gun is lightweight, compact and extremely accurate and adjustable as far as power. When working around a farm it’s important for me to be safe, to many things can go horribly wrong with some of the larger calibers but we will get into more of that later on.
Marley and I moved down through the row of large buildings that containing 25,000 to 50,000 egg laying chickens, a huge facility to say the least.
At the end of the row of buildings is a large embankment that’s covered in ground squirrel burrows, late afternoon after the heat has died down is usually the best time of day to spot them moving around outside the holes.
Marley and I sat on top of a literal pile of chicken $h*t, sometimes we have to make sacrifices to get the best shot possible hahaha
I was able to take several of these ground squirrels within a few minutes with the ranges between 35 and 60 yards, perfect range for the Atomic to make some ethical kills.
After spending about an hour with a few good kills under our belt Marley and I headed back to the Jeep for a much needed water break. After our break I took some time to configure the Atomic XR for going into the buildings for some nighttime ratting.
I first turned the Atomic down to 12 fpe and re-zeroed it to 15 yards as well as mounting a Tactacam 5.0 Wide angle camera to the side of the scope. This configuration would allow me to film in more of a first person perspective and the power level would allow me to more safely shoot indoors. Beyond that I added a high end gun light manufactured by Olight, this was the Odin model that gives a nice wide beam that would help with capturing some good footage with the camera. This light is rechargeable and has a runtime of about 45 minutes. As the sun is about to set over the Chicken buildings/Ratting grounds. Time to gear up and get ready for the nightly invasion of fury terrorists…
Row, after row, after row, of mechanical driven automatic feeders, providing a “Free-for-All-Feeding”. When the lights go out,… the rats COME out, (in DROVES !)
Here is where they will be moving up in the rafters, right over your head, behind you, in front of you, beside you, between your feet, and all around you. Yes, several times I have considered taping up my pant legs so they don’t go crawling up my leg!
I like using lower powered magazine fed guns for this type of work due to the water pipes, mechanical components to the feeders and the roof. When working indoors being safe is of absolute importance, we have to pick each shot carefully to make sure NOT to cause damage. Marley and I worked the rows concentrating mostly on the rafters, floor and the walls, keeping shots out of the caged areas.
This building had thousands of rats that sound like a waterfall on the metal roof, hoards of them scurrying away from the light running each other over to make through the many hiding spots. So many rats that they would get stuck, trip over each other and fall from the rafters….some of the shots were point blank and others were no more than a few feet away. One of the best tools is the Misenheimer pellet pouch that easily holds an entire two tins of .22 caliber JSB’s
Those 11 shots went really quick and the first few minutes were as action packed as one could ever hope for, incredible amount of rats. I had brought in my large movie light to have somewhat of a base to stop, take breaks and reload. The first hour went really quick with easily 100 rats taken down, Marley was as busy as I was killing every one she saw.
As we approached close to 200+ rats I decided to head down one of the rows and out the back door of the building. As I headed down the row I spotted a large Owl perched on in the rafters, we weren’t the only ones hunting tonight.
Pretty neat to be able to get that close, beautiful looking Owl and certainly a well few one. As we moved down the row towards the back door we took down another drove of rats that were collected in one area for some reason.
Most of the shots were only about 8′ away, not as easy as the ones at 10 to 15 yards where I had a much wider field of view. I really think a dot site would be good but using a scope offers much more precision shots. As we moved out the back door I turned to my right where I spotted around 30 rats scurrying about on the roof of the next building.
I emptied two magazines killing close to 18 rats in a matter of seconds, was pretty exciting and fulfilling watching them roll off the roof and bounce around. I reloaded the Atomic, turned around and spotted another one sitting inside the building on an empty cage rack. THWAAACK!!!!
By this time it was 12:00 midnight and Marley and I were both exhausted from a long afternoon and evening of marching around killing hoards of pest. We headed back to the Jeep where I made some coffee and filmed for a few segments for the enclosed video.
Our total count by the end of the night was up to over 250+ rats down, I’ve never encountered a place so infested in my life….it was simply incredible! The plan was to get up early and get out with the Daystate Delta Wolf for some long range action on the few ground squirrels left on the hillsides.
Marley and I slept really good, my feet were killing me though from the long night of walking around. I made my morning cup of coffee, some breakfast and set the Delta Wolf up with the Tactacam FTS to capture some action.
Marley and I headed out around 7:30 am to hopefully take down some ground squirrels before it started getting way to hot to be out in the sun.
We set ourselves up in a similar spot as the day before with a few ground squirrels moving about at 100 yards, easy pickings for the Delta Wolf.
I had the Delta Wolf conservatively tuned to shoot the 44gr JSB’s at 880 giving just around 75 fpe and offering a good shot count. I could have set the gun up to shoot slugs at a much higher power level but to be honest it’s just to much liability for me to do that on this farm. Marley and I moved up higher onto a hill where I was able to get a nice panoramic view of the surrounding area, with holes out to around 130 yards.
I spotted a large adult ground squirrel at 155 yards that was sitting just in front of some old chicken cages, perfect range for opening up the Delta Wolf’s potential.
This was one of the further kills I’ve gotten with the Delta Wolf and to be honest about as far as I’m comfortable with as far as using pellets. Beyond those ranges with the wind it can sometimes become a big guessing game and not something I prefer to do on a permission due to extreme liability. These large caliber airguns have immense power and are capable of great harm if not used carefully. This is one reason I generally like shooting from a higher ground and not up into the air, the potential for disaster is far to great just for killing a pest. Moving down the hill I spotted one more that I was able to connect with at 100 just as it was moving back into the burrow.
This two day adventure is defiantly one for the books and one that I will remember for a long time, really action packed few days. Marley and I will be back, I learned a lot about the best tools for the job and gained some good experience for filming at night. I really want to thank Airguns Of Arizona for providing all the gear I used on this trip, without them I wouldn’t be able to do any of these big excursions. Enclosed is our adventure that I documented the best I could through video, hope some may enjoy.
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