|Come On Virginia, Don't Make Me Wait ......|
|Jim Chapman and Eric Henderson meet up in Virginia with Chip Sayre for a great airgun hunting experience. I've added this state along with Missouri, Texas, and California as destination trips for airgun hunters after small game, turkey, predators, and big game. Great regulations on the books, and a great place to hunt!|
|By Jim Chapman 01/11/10|
|We were lucky enough to hunt private land on this trip, but there are several large tracts of National Forest land available.
Accomodation: I saw several nice areas to camp, and there were a number of small lodges and motels in the back country.
$86.00 Small Game
$86.00 Bear, Turkey, Deer
|The land is something to see here, rolling hills to small mountains, hardwood forest rich in game, I really enjoyed my time here|
|I got a call from hunting buddy Eric Henderson a couple months ago in which he told me he’d been invited to Virginia to hunt with an air gunner named Chip Sayre after the Roanoke Show, and said I was invited to join if I liked. The season was opened for squirrel, turkey, and deer and I had some time off from work, so it sounded like a plan!
I decided to drive down on the Sunday after the show and stay until the following Saturday; which would allow me to hunt for squirrel and turkey (which we needed for a DVD in production) and let me hunt opening morning for deer before heading home. So as the departure date rolled up, I loaded the car and hit the road. The drive to Virginia took me through Indiana to Ohio, down to Kentucky, through West Virgina and into Virginia for a 9.5 hour drive. The trip down was great, beautiful fall colors lighting up the hillsides, not much traffic, and the promise of hunting with a new group of enthusiastic airgun hunters.
I met Eric at Chips house, where we talked and sighted in our guns for a couple hours. Chip had arranged for us to stay at a Turkey hunting lodge which is owned by his friend John, and hunt with local turkey hunting guide / legend Danny Ayers. The lodge was great, they don’t usually do the fall turkey season so Eric and I had the place to ourselves, and it was really nice with private rooms, a common meeting room with large flat screen for reviewing our daily video taping, a kitchen, and an invitation to the main house for fantastic dinners every night.
We hunted hard for three days putting in the miles up and down hill punctuated by sets in which Danny worked his repetoir of calls, but only managed to bust one gang of turkeys which we couldn’t call back in. We were warned up front that fall conditions are tough and success low, but we worked for it. You couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a squirrel, but we didn’t want to interfere with the gobbler hunting so held our shots.
On that last day as we walked out I decided to call for coyote before leaving the field. We sat along a fence row looking down a clearing, with me up front calling, Danny sitting to my right, and Eric behind me on videocam. As I blasted the call a few times I was watching along the fence row where I expected the coyote to approach, I heard Eric in a stage whisper saying “Jim, left! Left! LEFT!”. Looking to my left I say a beautiful gray fox staring at us 25 yards away. I had to twist in an odd position to shot off hand before he bolted. The fox stayed put but I rushed my shot and hit high, and we lost him in a very thick briar patch that couldn’t be entered. This was the most beautiful canine predator I’ve ever seen, and I’ll be sick about this shot for a while …… but Eric got some absolutely fantastic video of the whole thing.
|I used several guns on this trip, one of my favorites was my Linthicum stocked Crosman Discovery .22, love the C1 type stock and this one is a beauty. My main guns were the Trail NP, Discovery (both .22) and the Marauder .25|
|So we decided to turn our attention to squirrel for a couple days and headed back to Chips house. He has a really nice property on 65 hilly, wooded acres and surrounded by farm lands. We went out on an evening hunt and Chip carried his Marauder .22 and I carried the Trail NP in .22 as we wanted to get footage with these guns We saw a few gray squirrels moving in the trees, but could not get into range, then right before dusk I managed to stalk up on one feeding on the ground and bag him, then got another in the trees. The NP is a big gas piston springer that has two attributes I like; I am able to shoot it rested on shooting sticks (unlike traditional mechanical spring piston guns), and I can leave it cocked for long periods. We called it quits early and headed back to the house.
The next morning we got up early and traveled about an hour south to another one of Chips friends by the name of Charles Peebles. Charles had a few hundred acres of prime hunting territory, and came out to hunt with us. We headed down where he’d seen turkeys roosting and tried calling them as the came off roost.. As we sat waiting there were literally dozens of gray squirrels running around, but we didn’t shoot as we were waiting on the turkey to come down. None did. We headed back for an early lunch, then headed back in the field to shoot in the afternoon. We split up, with Eric and I heading out on our own to film, Charles and Chip going their separate way to hunt. This time I was using the Marauder .25, Chip was using an AA s 410 FAC, and Charles a Marauder .25
|Eric and I filmed several squirrels being taken with my Marauder, the .25 whacked these tree going rodents out to 65 yards and hammered them out of the trees. I’ve got to say that while the NP the day before had been effective enough, the Marauder let me reach out with great confidence. Chip was a squirrel killing machine with his AirArms, and was stacking them up.
Charles on the other hand had set up in his blind, and after a while heard turkey scratching though the woods. He started calling and they started responding while moving in. At 55 yards a jake came into view and stretched his neck out while looking around. Charles lined up and smacked him with a 27 grain Crosman Dome pellet, which flopped the bird on his head. A great shot and a great trophy under the conditions we encountered. I shot more squirrels but never did get a chance at a gobbler…. I’ll have to wait until spring.
Virginia is a great place for air gunners to plan a hunt, airguns are allowed for small game, turkey, predators, and big game. The out of state license fees are reasonable, the people friendly, and the country beautiful…… I am looking forward to my next trip back!
|The three Crosman guns lined up on a tree between shoots, all are strong medicine for squirrel, but the Marauder .25 I used below, had you loaded for turkey and coyote as well.|