I recently posted about the importance of practicing different real world shooting positions when heading into the field to hunt. In this post I’m going to discuss getting a gun ready for a hunt. I’d received the Hatsan Hercules and was going to take it with me on a hunt down in Texas, to use as my pig gun. My first activity was to take the rifle to my indoor range and zero it at 20 yards, just to get a feel for it with the JSB .35 cal pellets I intended to feed it. I was happy with the way it grouped on paper at close range, so after mapping a shot string across the chrony to assess the power profile, I took it a friends farm for some field shooting After setting the zero at 50 yards, I was ready to get started. I spent a morning shooting the Herc offhand and off sticks, and also shifted between sitting, kneeling, and standing positions. I knew there wasn’t much chance of a prone shot, so didn’t spend much time on my belly. I figured that I wouldn’t take more than five shots on an outing, so didn’t really worry about dialing in the POI throughout an entire shot string, and topped off after the 5th shot. After putting a tin of pellets through the rifle, I felt pretty comfortable with this Hatsan and was ready to go! When I arrived on-site, I quickly checked zero (set at 50 yards),Read More →

I am often asked what shooting positions I prefer when in the field when hunting. The easy answer is that prone is the most stable, followed by sitting, kneeling, and standing. As you move higher your center of gravity shifts and your anchor points to earth become more tenuous. I’m going to discuss this in terms of offhand shooting, though even if shooting of sticks, this holds true. The more relevant answer is that it depends on the situation. In many of the places I hunt, a prone position is not possible, and you need to pick the best position that will work in the terrain your hunting in. For instance, when hunting prairie dogs on the gently rolling hills of South Dakota in early spring, I’ll often go prone. But as spring progresses, the grass gets too long to see over so I shoot more from a sitting position. When spot and stalk hunting through a prairie dog town, every once in awhile a dog pops up close and offers a shot. Sometimes you might be able to take a knee, but more often it will require an offhand shot. For this reason its good for hunters to practice shots from these field positions, a bench is great for working up a rifle and getting sighted in, and it’s great as an end point if you’re into benchrest competitions, but it can throw you off if that the only way you practice. I frequently see guys that shoot theirRead More →

Hunting the Aberts tree squirrel in the Arizona mountains! I do a lot of squirrel hunting and have done, ever since moving to the Midwest almost 20 years ago. Up until that time, about the only squirrel hunting I had was ground squirrels in California, Arizona. And New Mexico and this is more like prairie dog hunting than being in the woods after tree squirrels. But once I got to Indiana, I really started to focus on this tree dwelling small game species! My first couple years I did alright, but not great……. then I met Randy Mitchel on one of the airgun forums and he invited me to hunt with him in Kentucky. I drove down a few times to hunt with him and picked up quite a few hints that started to improve my game significantly. As a matter of fact, I started to limit out so regularly that I placed self-imposed bag limits because I didn’t know what to do with the quantity of squirrels I was harvesting. It quickly got to the point that I was traveling all over the Midwest and Eastern states to hunt squirrels, fox, grays, and I even started going after specific color phases. On a backpacking trip with my son in Colorado I ran into the Aberts squirrel for the first time, and thought they were an incredible looking little animal, the coloration and tufted ears made them about the coolest squirrel I’d ever seen. A few years later I wasRead More →

I was on a deer hunt earlier this year in Texas, the first season in which game animals could be taken with an airgun. Eventually I ended up taking a buck and a couple does, but one day earlier on I’d passed on a couple small deer when a flock of Rio Grande turkeys walked in. I wanted a Rio Grande with an air rifle, and thought I’d take the opportunity being presented. I was hunting with the AirForce .357 and took the shot at about 35 yards using an archery-oriented shot placement up front and low. The turkey shot up in the air and came down about 30 yards away, piling up where he landed and not moving a twitch after. A couple things to comment on, the shot placement and the gun I used. As far as the shot placement, I’ve taken a lot of turkey with an airgun now, with about half taken with head or neck shots and about half with a body shot. Initially, I only used headshots, and when the bird is close and locked in on a decoy this is a good option. What I found worked better was placing my pellet at the base of the neck, especially when the bird was facing away. A friend down in Virginia, that’s taken more turkey with an airgun than anyone I know, told me he started using body shots with good results. His provision being that this placement worked better using a .25 caliberRead More →

Ten years ago I wrote a booklet for Crosman on hunting small game in South Africa with the Marauder. At the time the company was going through some changes, and they ended up never moving forward with it. My relationship with Crosman broke down, and I ended up scraping the project. Those days are over, the people I disliked dealing with are no longer at Crosman, and I came across this PDF as I was cleaning up my hard drive. Its a bit out of date, but still (I hope) interesting. Feel free to peruse or download!Read More →

When most of us think about airguns, we think about those built to shoot .177 or .22 caliber pellets. And as a point of fact, the vast majority of guns sold around the world are one of the two, though there are a couple of other ‘standard’ calibers to choose from. The .20, which possesses many of the attributes of both the small calibers it sits between, and the .25 which is the ‘major caliber’ of the standard airgun lineup. Historically, mainstream acceptance of the .25 has been limited by several factors; lack of guns designed and chambered for the caliber, lack of ammunition and limited availability, and often times less than stellar accuracy depending on the gun / pellet pairing. In countries with severe restrictions on the power an airgun is permitted to generate, the .25 caliber might not be a viable option. In the UK for instance, keeping the power under 12 fpe would require such a low velocity, at thirty yards the trajectory would look more like a shot put than an airgun projectile. But in countries without these Draconian restrictions on their citizens, this has been changing over the last few years. There is an ever expanding selection of .25 caliber spring piston and PCP hunting rifles and a wider selection of .25 projectiles becoming available. In this article I’ll take a look at the state of affairs related to the big twenty five, at least from my perspective. As an airgun hunter the first questionRead More →

As I finished working on the second edition of The Practical Guide to Airgun Hunting, I thought back to why I sat down to write the book in the first place. My primary motivation was to help increase the awareness of the sport, and to provide some guidance for those that would like to give it a try. While the books have met with some degree of success, I wanted to reach a broader audience. And with this goal in mind, I decided to make the book available to all that want it, free of charge. If you’d like to get information on the guns, gear, game, and techniques used to hunt with airguns, this book will put you on the right path. The contents cover everything you need to get started, and if you’re already an experienced airgunner or hunter, there may still be some hints that will be useful. We’re very lucky in the USA, we don’t have many restrictions on airguns, we have a lot of species to hunt, and a lot of opportunities to take to the field. To make the download a bit more manageable the book has been split into two parts; the first focuses on general airgun information and the second part on field applications of this gear. This book will discuss pest control, small game hunting, predator hunting, and big game hunting with many different spring piston and precharged pneumatic airguns. Pass this link around, share it with your friends, and getRead More →

I’m a jerky fanatic, but I like biltong even more. If I had any idea how easy it is to produce, I’d have been making it years ago. The box cost $50 to make and gives us a continuous supply! I’ve lived all over the world and have spent almost as much of my adult life outside of the States as inside our borders. But my wife is South African, that’s where we married, it’s where I hunt every year, it’s been one of the constants in my life and there is a lot I love about the country. And on the food front, the thing I hold above all others is Biltong. Biltong fills the niche inhabited by jerky in the Americas and served the same purpose. In the past it was a way of preserving meat without refrigeration, and in present times it’s a snack to accompany a cold drink while watching football (rugby, soccer, or the real thing). Unlike jerky, which is smoked, biltong is treated with spices and air dried. The final product is similar, but even though I am a true jerky aficionado (a connoisseur even), must admit I like biltong even more. Every year when visiting family or out on safari we consume mass quantities of the stuff. The problem is that you can’t bring it back into the country and we haven’t found a place to buy it locally. The result is we have to go through a biltong drought eleven months ofRead More →