Summer Fun - With A Twist
[This is the Enemy! See his look of fear!]
Many of us here enjoy fall/winter hunting forays. I look forward to the crisp air, a morning frost and the lure of small game hunting - knowing deer season is right around the corner. For some it’s elk, antelope or even moose. The latest craze may be shooting half a mile, but I still enjoy trying to get as close as possible for a sure one-shot kill. So why waste summer? What can I do to help ensure success, besides my normal scouting?
[The one that didn't get away.]
One of the things I’ve discovered is hunting groundhogs, but not with a .17HMR or .223. A few years back, during the “Great Ammunition Scare” of 2012, I discovered the joy hunting the elusive little rascals with a flintlock rifle. That’s right, a “flinch”lock, a “rock”lock, a smoke-pole...whatever. A well-timed flintlock has little to no lag between squeeze and bang, but the best with a patched ball and open sights are good to about 75 yards (with my eyes) on a target the size of a Cocker Spaniel. Mr. Woodchuck has good eyes, fast reflexes and a paranoid personality. Stalking close is a must. While I can definitely kill more with a varmint rifle, my stalking skills have improved and hitting one with my .54 (yeah, I know it’s overkill - it’s what I have, OK) is far more satisfying.
[Heritage .22 with red dot is good for close range]
Another thing I tried last summer was sneaking within .22 revolver range. I use a red dot on a 6” Heritage revolver. From a steady rest I can keep most shots in 4-5” circle at 25 yards, but now life gets very interesting. Getting that close to piggy takes patience I don’t usually have. It also takes doping the wind, being silent as possible and HUGE helping of luck. Score so far is Piggy 15 - Dawg 1, but again, it’s a blast and I am getting better. I can’t help wondering what it would be like to try this with Prairie Dogs or ground squirrels out west. I’ve heard those guys are tough to get close also.
[The "Paw"! Last futile gesture of defiance]
Today on the way home from work I saw four of my sworn enemies brazenly roaming the fields near a fence line. I could swear one of them gave me “the Paw” (piggie for the finger). I’m sitting here writing this looking at my newest toy - a 175# recurve crossbow. Bring it on Ground-dweller, eater of crops, destroyer of fields, second cousin to the Mole! Let the summer games begin!
[What the heck!? Some do it with a long bow, I've heard]