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 →

Airgun hunting for one of the largest North American pest species is a challange. Unlike hunting them at 200 – 300 yards with a centerfire, the airgunner needs to work his way inside 50 -75 yards and achieve perfect shot placement to anchor this member of the marmot family. In this article, Jim Chapman will present his experience and views on hunting ground hogs in the midwest. These animals are found all over North America in one form or another; groundhogs, woodchucks, rockchucks are members of the marmot clan. They are a large rodent that can cause a fairly substantial degree of damage in farmlands, undermining roads, buildings, and damaging crops. In agricultural areas or family gardens, the animal will destroy great quantities of forage and vegetables, and its burrows are also dangerous to both horses and cattle. There is a definite need for control of the woodchuck in such places. The woodchuck has a coat of silver gray and brown with underparts of a lighter hue. The head is dark brown and the feet are so brown as to be nearly black. His chunky body is carried on squat, sturdy legs. The animal has small economic value because of the low quality of its furs. However they are very wary and a lot of fun to hunt, creeping inside of 50 yards to get a clean shot is quite a challange, especially if they have experienced any hunting pressure. I typically do my woodchuck shooting in the border areasRead More →

As the hunting season starts to wind down in Indiana, the last species left to hunt are coyotes and finally crows. Both of these are great quarry in and of themselves, but I do tend to get caught up in deer, turkey, dove, and upland game, overlooking crows at least until the close of another hunting year. Pretty soon I’ll be heading to Kentucky for the early spring squirrel season, then the groundhogs start coming out, then I’ll head out west for the prairie dogs, but crows are where it at right now! I headed out this morning for a couple of hours of crow hunting carrying the FX Monsoon semiautomatic .22 caliber precharged pneumatic air rifle, a tin of JSB Exacts, and my FOXPRO Wildfire electronic call. I got to on site at 6:30 to the sound of a few distant crows cawing and the sun starting up. I parked and hiked across a cut corn field and into a stand of trees separating this plot of land from another field. I set the call at the border of the field and tucked myself in to the base of bramble twenty yards down and ten feet into the trees and cranked up the call. I started with a crow fight sound, and within a few minutes at a murder of crows soaring over head. With my shotgun I’d have been dropping them all around, but armed with my air rifle I sat and waited for one to land. AsRead More →

I was talking to my hunting buddy Eric Henderson a few weeks ago, and he told me he was going to hunt deer in Missouri again. He’d hunted the year before on a farm property owned by airgunner and big bore airgun builder Brian Cook, and having no shame I asked if he could hook me up. A couple of days later I got a call back saying â €œcome on downâ€�. We scheduled to meet at the Cook family’s property on November 15th, the second day of the MO rifle season and the day after Eric’s airgun event LASSO 2009. I had business that unfortunately kept me away from LASSO, but could get away to meet the guys in West Missouri, me driving from Indianapolis and they from Dallas. Without going into the minutiae of the trip, I got on the road early and they got going late which resulted in my arrival at Brian’s parents several hours before they did. Now mind you, I had never met Brian in person (we missed each other on a hunt in Texas when I had to pull out last minute) so I certainly had never met his family. But when I arrived I was warmly greeted by his parents Barbara and Dwayne, his wife, and son Nathan. They had made a room ready for me in their comfortable home, and after getting to know these good folks I settled in and arranged my gear. I was talking to Eric and BrianRead More →

I’d had the chance to use the 2540 with a modified conventional valve on a rabbit hunt a few weeks ago, and a couple of dozen rabbits over a few days of hunting attested to the efficacy of this gun as a hunting arm. On returning home I found the new Biohazard valve which is described elsewhere on my site, which was used to modify the 2540 further into the 2550 configuration. I gained a couple hundred feet per second with this valve, and couldn’t wait to get it in the field. I was invited over to a friends farm the other day to help thin out an over-abundant squirrel population, and decided that this was just the venue to try out my newly tuned pistol as I’d be hunting at closer range around his shed and out buildings. I removed a few squirrels that day, but the first one was most telling. I had a fresh CO2 cartridge inserted, and saw a squirrel running around on the ground feeding at about 35 yards. I stalked in as close as I could, moving slowly and stopping often. At about 25 yards the squirrel towards and up a tree to a fork about 4 feet up where he stopped and looked around. When he presented me with a profile headshot I squeezed the trigger and tumbled him off his low lying perch. Squirrels can be tough to kill, but the 2550 DAQ / Biohazard was more than up to it. TheRead More →

Hunting Deer with a Muzzle Loading .50 Caliber Quackenbush Airgun One of my favorite hunting buddies is Randy Mitchell, but this year we’d not even had the opportunity to do a squirrel hunt. So I was really happy when I got the invite to come down for the muzzle loader season in Kentucky. Not only because we’d get to hunt together again, but also because I’d missed my opportunity on a couple of Indiana bucks and the season was over. If I was going to get a deer this year, it had to happen here. I had been on business up in Michigan, but hurried home to Carmel, kissed the wife and kid’s hello and goodbye, then took off on the three hour drive to Kentucky. When I’d left Ann Arbor there was a lot of snow on the ground, and a howling blizzard blowing …. However three hundred miles south I’d left the bitter cold and snow behind. I met up with Randy the following morning at 6: 00 am, it was dark and raining with a temperature in the twenties. We drove out to the clubhouse on his lease and signed in, then drove out to the eastern side of the property where Randy had set up a buddy blind. We hiked a couple hundred yards from the truck to his stand. If you’ve followed the hunting adventures on his website, it is the same spot where he’d taken a doe a few weeks earlier (the story isRead More →