Summer Fun - With A Twist
by "histed"

Plant community Ecoregion Vertebrate Plant Carnivore

[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?

Plant community Plant Wood Groundcover Grass

[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.

Air gun Trigger Gun barrel Gun accessory Recreation

[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.

Carnivore Gopher Rodent Whiskers Terrestrial animal

[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!

Sports equipment Sculpture Event Metal Bicycle part

[What the heck!? Some do it with a long bow, I've heard]​