I woke up early and dressed quickly so that I could get out to the woods before sunrise. It really isn’t necassary to get to your hunting site before first light when hunting fox squirrels, but I love to be in place and set up to watch the woods coming alive as the morning breaks. This morning was cold with a light drizzel falling to earth as I parked my jeep and started the hike to a spot I’d found on an earlier outing. My shoot was nestled in a flat area containing several large mast producing trees, with acorns and hazel nuts strewn about in profusion. There was a small stream to my back, and about 150 yards ahead the woods were broken by a Powerline right of way before continuing for many acres on the other side. It was a great find, and contains a large number of squirrels; unfortunately it’s slated to be plowed under for a new housing development and shops, so this will be my last season here. Making my way down to a space nestled between a falling log and a still standing tree, I settled in as daylight started to filter through the trees. I placed a comouflaged backpacking seat on the ground with the back against the standing tree’s trunk, pulled down my face mask and waited. A few minutes later I heard a branch snap to my right, and slowly looking up saw a doe stepping out from behind a treeRead More →

When, why, and how to use an air powered gun to effectively hunt North American predators. Airgunning for Predators As more hunters are becoming familiar with the use of airguns for small game and varmint hunting, I am frequently asked if they can be used for larger predators. The short answer is yes, but with some qualification. It depends; on the gun, the quarry, and conditions under which they will be used. Many raccoons, fox, bobcats, and coyote have been cleanly taken with airguns. Many animals have also been lost when a guns terminal performance is not up to the task, or the shot is taken at an inappropriate range and the proper shot placement is either not selected or not achieved. In this article I’d like to present my world view on predator hunting with airguns, though you’ll find others with different outlooks. The basis of this discussion for me is that I believe no matter what you hunt the gun and the ammunition used must be able to cleanly kill the quarry. This is especially true with predators, as a poorly hit coyote has more potential to be a problem animal if wounded, and at any rate wounded once he’ll be a lot smarter second time around. So if you are going to use smaller calibers or lower power because the situation mandates it, the hunter has to compensate by being that much more selective about distance and shot placement. Raccoons and Fox Smaller predators such as raccoonsRead More →

This hunt can be seen on American Airgunner broadcast on Pursuit Network and on you tube post season. I was wedged into position so that if I even took a deep breath I’d get poked by a sharp spine. So I carefully held my position and waited, spending my time glassing the distant ridges for traces of pigs moving in for water. This was my next to last day before boarding the plane for the 32 hour trip home, and things didn’t look very good. I always shoot a couple of warthogs when I go out to the Eastern Cape, but they are so plentiful most of the time I’d passed on several opportunities early on. As I dropped my glasses I spotted first one hog that had slipped in from my right side followed by a second. These pigs were identical in size, so of course I dropped the crosshairs on the one standing in the water, which would prove the most difficult to retrieve, The gun I was shooting was a .457 XP Ranger shooting Mr Hollowpoint 250 grain bullets. The gun was charged to 3600 psi and was putting out about 500 fpe. When I pulled the trigger, the gun roared (it is not a quiet airgun) and knocked the pig over in the water. He thrashed and kicked a bit, and while he ended up a bout five feet further out in the water/mud, he didn’t get up again. I’ve take many warthogs, Russian boar andRead More →

I went out with my Chinese air rifles to hunt jackrabbits, taking along the BAM B19 spring piston air rifle, and the BAM XS-B50 precharged pneumatic air rifle. Both guns are chambered in .177, which is a caliber I rather like for this type of hunting. The Dynamite Nobel Superdome is an efficient and effective hunting pellet: and as luck would have it turns out that both of these rifles digest this round particularly well. Hunting the Mojave Desert at one of my hidden hot spots, I had the chance to take a number of these big desert rabbits with both guns over a four day hunt. Shots ranged from 25 to 40 yards with the springer, and 25 to 60 yards with the PCP – however most shots were taken at about 35 – 40 yards with both guns. I usually try for head shots, but on several rabbits I was only presented with a chest or quartering shot. The early fall vegetation in the desert is the reverse of the midwestern forest I’d recently been hunting, it gets thicker in the desert as winter draws near! The stalks were challenging and the shooting lanes offered limited windows of opportunity. I took a total of six rabbits with the B19; three with head shots, two with chest shots, and one a quartering shot from behind the right leg. The head shots were at 30,37, and 45 yards and all were quick one shot kills. The chest shots were atRead More →

Is the .30 the new .25? When I first started airguning many, many years ago, the .25 was considered something of a novelty caliber. It was said to be inaccurate, ineffective, too expensive, limited to too few models of guns, and too expensive.. Today it’s many airgun hunters favorite caliber, and I have to say if not my favorite it’s very high on my list. A favorite topic of airgunners in general, and airgun hunters in particular is what constitutes the best hunting caliber and projectile. Back in the day, the discussion was the benefits of .177 as opposed to .22 caliber, which often came down to flat shooting vs knock down power and such axioms as .177 for feather and .22 for fur. This debate continued on, while the .25 slowly worked its way onto the scene. My initial experience with .25 some thirty years back was that the accuracy I was getting was only OK, and the spring piston guns that shot them well tended to be giant pieces of hardware. But as I started shooting more pcps that were slowly coming to market with .25 caliber options, concurrent with a wider selection of quality pellets, I started to find myself gravitating towards this caliber. I wasn’t the only one noticing these improved results, and I think it’s safe to say that over the least few years the .25 caliber has earned it’s place as the rightful king of the “standard” calibers. In the modern big bore calibers,Read More →

I’ve been living and hunting in Indiana for about ten years now, and have spent a lot of time in the field not only hunting, but fishing, mountain biking, kyaking, and generally rambling around. But not only have I never seen a ground squirrel here, I never heard anybody mention them. So when my frequent hunting buddy Brian Beck called and asked if I wanted to do a pest control shoot for ground squirrels I was all over it. The gun I selected for the day was the .25 caliber Benjamin Marauder with a Niko Sterling scope, using JSB King round-nose pellets. I opted for this gun because it was one of the quieter rifles I had and it was dialed in and ready to go. Next time I’ll probably take a .177 for the flatter shooting characteristics. These animals are much smaller than prairie dogs, but the shots were usually closer as well, in the 30-60 yard range. These are strikingly marked ground squirrels when compared to the gray digger I grew up hunting in California, but it’s amazing how well they blend in. They are very hard to spot when holding still. We were shooting from whatever position was available, standing, sitting, prone, and using whatever support was handy. I didn’t have a bipod on my gun but will next time. ing all over the field. There were a few mounds with squirrels sitting on their haunches prairie dog style, but for the most part the holes wereRead More →

The History of Big Bore Airgun Hunting Looking back to about ten years ago, there were very few places to get a bog bore airgun, fewer people hunting with them, and fewer places you could hunt them. Within that handful of places, most hunting was restricted to predators …… nothing wrong with that, but my small cluster of big bore airgun shooting buddies back at that point wanted to stretch it out a bit …. see what else we could do at the other end of the game size spectrum. We found that while Texas has some fairly restrictive regulations in place when it came to game animals, non-game and exotics were on the hit list for airguns. It was a little strange that in most of the state we couldn’t shoot a squirrel; but hogs, rams, fallow and axis deer, aoudad and other exotic game were all available to us. A lot of these animals are free range, however Texas has virtually no public land, which forced us towards and restricted us to hunting game ranches in the early years. Still, the opportunity presented with the exotics made Texas ground zero for the development of the sport. While I’m not a huge fan of the high fence operations, I also don’t have a problem with them; they provide an opportunity for hunters that want to hunt a particular type of game, can be hunted any time of the year, and in our case allowed a variety of methods ofRead More →

These days it’s easy to get caught up in all the talk about high powered precharged pnuematics, or mid and big bore airguns. But springers have been the mainstay of airgunners for most of the history of the modern airgun, and there are still many compelling reasons to use them: they are relatively inexpensive, they are accurate and powerful enough for small game hunting, they are moderately quiet, they are fully self contained, they provide a great platform for learning or improving marksman ship …. and they are a lot of fun to shoot! Hunting Airguns I was recently speaking with an acquaintance that works for one of the big airgun companies, and he remarked that there has been a sustained growth in the North American airgun market over the last few years. He attributed this to the growing popularity of airguns for small game hunting and pest control. Airguns are used extensively for hunting in many parts of the world, especially in regions where private gun ownership is prohibited or where population densities are such that firearms aren’t an option. Many North American hunters are beginning to appreciate that airguns are quiet, inexpensive to shoot, and are capable of delivering tack driving accuracy with enough power to be very effective in the field. The prospective airgun hunter has a couple options when considering an airgun; either a spring piston or a pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) power plant being the most widely used. Pre-charged pneumatics are filled from a high pressureRead More →

I’ve been living in the Midwest for about ten years now, and have become a serious squirrel hunting enthusiast in that time. Every year I wait for the second or third week in August to roll around, for the opening of the season. And while I now have several farms to hunt where the woods are full of these bushy tailed rodents, it has become a tradition that my first hunt of the year is on public land near Mississinewa lake where I did my first squirrel hunt on moving to Indiana. It took me two or three trips before I finally started scoring, with the primary species being the big fox squirrels. I only had a couple hours free to hunt, so I woke up at 4:30 and made the one and a half hour drive getting onsite just as the red glow of the Eastern sky made its appearance. I grabbed my daypack, camo gloves and face mask, and the Evanix Rainstorm .22 I’d chosen for the days outing, then headed off to a stand of mast producing trees about a quarter mile in. I started off sitting at the base of a tree in an area that had produced for me in the past. I heard movement in the canopy above, but besides the fact that it was still fairly dark, the foliage was so thick that I couldn’t see anything. I sat and listened, then as daylight started to creep up, started walking around the tree.Read More →

I just got back from my first trip to South Dakota, where I had a few days of hunting prairie dogs, viewing wildlife, and enjoying the wide open spaces. I took along a wide range of airguns, optics, and pellets to see how they performed in what I expected to be a high volume shooting situation. My host on this trip was well known outfitter/guide Willie Dvorak, who hunts everything from deer and antelope to brown bear in South Dakota and Alaska. He also guides hunts for prairie dogs, pheasant, and predators The shots on this trip was expected to include a lot of longer range opportunities out to 150 yards, and I brought several guns that I either knew or believed to be good candidates for this type of shooting. I brought along the Benjamin Marauder in .22 and .25, the Airforce Taloin in .22, the Air Arms TWICE, the Rainstorm .22, and the Benjamin Rogue (which I expected to use for coyote). The first thing I did on arriving was to head out for a session of checking the zero on my guns and getting used to the gun/pellet/scope combination at longer ranges. There are thousands of acres of public grasslands where I could shoot, and I had but to drive out and find a convenient spot to set up and shoot. The pictures to the left and below shows some of the guns and gear I had set up for this outing. For air I brought alongRead More →