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Farm Pest Hunt: 206 Calif ground squirrels in a day.

 
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rehmk5
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Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 80
City, State: monterey, california

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 11:05 pm    Post subject: Farm Pest Hunt: 206 Calif ground squirrels in a day. Reply with quote

FARM PEST HUNT REPORT: 206 CALIFORNIA GROUND SQUIRRELS IN A DAY.

Hi Folks,

Summer continues here in central California rainless and dry, the range grass of the rolling hills along the Pacific Coast being a dry golden-brown, hiding the similar colored ground squirrels until they give themselves away with movement, or until a keen eye or binoculars picks them out.

WHAT IS THE BEST SPRINGER FOR GROUND SQUIRREL HUNTING?

Steve, an airgun buddy was able to get away and join me on a hunt for the large central California ground squirrels. Being an effective airgun hunter himself, he advised me to be sure to bring the .25 caliber Webley Patriot along, due to prediction of strong winds. A 20 grain .25 caliber Beeman FTS pellet leaving the bore at 795 fps would surely perform better in winds than a 7.9 grain Crosman Premier Light at 900 fps or so.

But I did not follow his advice.

.20 CAL BEEMAN/WEIHRAUCH HW97 VS. .177 CAL AIRARMS TX200 MK3: HW97 WINS.

In any hunt involving a drive from home, it is wise to bring two air rifles, primary and backup. My primary hunting airgun would be my .177 caliber AirArms TX200 Mk3. Topped with a Swift 4-12x 40mm scope@12x on one piece medium BKL mounts. It shoots 7.9 gr CPLites at about 920 fps.

Steve selected his .20 caliber Beeman/Weihrauch HW97 shooting 11.4 or so grain Beeman FTS domes at about 775 fps. He likes the Hawk 4-12x 40mm mil dot scope on medium one piece mounts and unlike me, has learned to use mildots effectively.

I’m just an old fashioned “hold over/hold under” guy. “Mildots? Mildots? I don’t need to use no stinking mildots.”

I thought, “Oh super! What a chance for me to show him the error of his ways in choosing .20 caliber over .177 caliber! And how he erred getting a HW97 instead of a a superior TX200 Mk3!”

Steve’s response was basically something I’ll translate as “Robert, you are so wrong.”

Both of us brought our .177 caliber Beeman/Weihrauch R9’s as backup rifles.

THIS IS GROUND SQUIRREL HUNTING WEATHER?!

Hunt day arrived. We met near the headquarters of the ranch. The ranch was about 2,500 acres of flat to gently sloping range grass flats and oak tree and range grass covered hills.

The rancher had said the interior of the ranch had not been firearm hunted of late, so we hoped to find ground squirrels that would let us openly approach to within airgun range. A reasonable expectation since most of the squirrels would be young, less wary, chipmunk size juveniles.

Weather was not good. Warm, sunny days brings out the ranch lands ground squirrels. This morning was overcast with a chilly wind blowing about 15 mph which soon increased in strength. I was wearing my long sleeved, light brown Orchard Supply Hardware shirt, with matching pants and canvas “cowboy” hat, and wishing I had not left my old, tattered light brown duck hunting coat in the car.

Brrrrrrh! This cold in June?!

A few ground squirrels were here and there, up on top the higher elevation areas of the ranch. Steve drove his car down to the ranch’s biggest cattle pond. Set up hidden inside the tree line overlooking several ground squirrel dens. He was in a lower hollow that was more wind-sheltered.

I parked my car up higher, about a half mile away to hunt the ground squirrels of the high, grassy, treeless, brushless flats. The wind was now blowing about 20 mph, it being mid morning by the time we finally started out hunting.

HW97 SUPERIOR TO TX200 IN THE WIND.

The HW77/HW97 is an older design. The TX200 is a newer design, said to be kind of an improved HW77/97 what with its greater ease of maintenance and greater efficiency due to its centrally ported compression chamber.

But while admittedly the TX200’s central porting of the compression chamber allows more power to be generated than if the air transfer porting was offset ala HW77/HW97 or Beeman R1, R9, HW55, HW50 or R7 break barrels, there is a problem.

The TX200’s central porting resulted in the TX200 being made with a barrel that is lower on the compression tube/receiver. The barrel of the HW97, etc is mounted higher on the compression tube/receiver as the bores of both guns line up with the air transfer port exits.

So, while a medium height scope mount on a HW97 is a medium height mount, a medium height scope mount on a TX200 is actually a high mount which increases the mid-range trajectory rise/hold under..

Why?

Because the medium height mount is on the top of the TX200 compression tube/receiver but due to the dropped barrel of the TX200, the scope height above rifle bore is higher.

SO WHAT?

So, with a 10 yard zero, my TX200 Mk3 with medium mounts has a trajectory that mid range is about +3” high. It would have been about +2” high if the air transfer port design had been the less efficient offset design of the Beeman/Weihrauch springers.

With the strong winds requiring about 5+ inches of wind drift allowance PLUS the greater hold-under of about 3” in the mid-ranges, it was just too difficult to eyeball estimate both wind drift and hold-under for the mid-range, 35 to 50 range shots I would get at the less wary juvenile squirrels. Particularly them being the small targets with small kill zones.

My Beeman R9, with similar Swift and medium height BKL mount setup, and same 10 yard zero, only had a bit over one inch of hold-under in the mid-ranges. The squirrels often allowed a 50 yard shot. My R9 was right on at 50 yds, but the TX200 Mk3 was still a couple inches high.

Simplicity is reliability so for 50 yards shooting, using the R9, all I had to do was to hold to the side for wind drift.

So the TX200 went back into the gun case and I used the R9 for the rest of the day, conceding to that Steve’s HW97 was the better choice for windy day mid-range pest shooting, despite my TX200 generating about 14.5 ft/lbs M.E. vs. about 14.3 ft/lbs muzzle energy for his HW97.

HW97 TAKES THE LONG RANGE WIN.

I was missing frequently on the 50 through 60 yard ground squirrel shots up on the range cattle-trimmed dry, wild grasses of the high flats. But Steve wasn’t hitting every shot either.

The difference was that I was happy to get solid hits on 50 to 60 yard shots. My longest squirrel shot for the day being a 62 yard shot. But Steve, with his mildot skill was taking squirrels in excess of my best, such as his squirrel kills at 95, 121, 90, 101, 98 and 88 yards.

WIND DRIVES ME OFF THE UPPER FLATS.

Around noon the sun broke through the cloud cover and I stopped feeling cold. But the winds grew stronger, gusting to est. 25 mph. I was guessing wrong on wind drift about 4 shots out of 5. I dropped down into a hollow and even there, at 60 yards, I was getting about 6” of drift with the R9 (CPLites at 875 fps). So I hiked back to the car and drove down, out of the hills to hunt the wind-protected grassy cattle flats on the lee side of the hill range. Still no ways calm, but winds only about half what the winds were up on top the hills.

For the hours spent up on the windy, upper elevation flats, I had tallied about 28 ground squirrels. Steve when I left, had taken about 30.

LOWER FLATS.

In the wind sheltered lower flats, I hunted along an old, dry irrigation ditch that transversed the low country cattle pastures that ran along for about a half mile. Some places the range grass was over a foot tall and hard to hunt, but enough was cattle grazed down that I got over 100 ground squirrels, mostly juveniles, by 5:30PM when it was time to quit, despite squirrels still being out and about and the sun still in the sky.

Steve had come down to join me, in the last hour of hunting and picked up some more squirrels with the .20 HW97.

HUNT TOTAL:

By quitting time, between us, we had gotten 206 ground squirrels. Steve with 54 kills and me with 152. I also had dropped a couple starlings sitting on the fences around the cattle corrals near the old windmill. I may have gotten more squirrels with the .177 R9, but Steve and his .20 HW97 beat me soundly on our informal bets for the longest shots.

I reported our 206 squirrel kill tally to the rancher and he was well pleased.

Pre-hunt, my .177 Beeman R9 with Maccari spring kit chronied 7.9 CPLites, fingertip seated, at 875 fps. I shot about 350 to 400 shots on the hunt and post hunt, the R9 was shooting at 861 fps.

Good hunting,

Robert Hamilton, Calif
June 2009
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Daryl12
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Joined: 10 Feb 2007
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City, State: So Cal

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well now that is 339 ground squirrels in on two outings. I can only imagine your numbers when the weather is warm and there is no wind. Thanks for the update.

D12
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AngliaUSA
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Joined: 01 May 2009
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City, State: Valencia,CA 91355

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:38 pm    Post subject: What no photos ? Reply with quote

PLEASE PLEASE PRETTY PLEASE ....

I love your stories but I NEED some pics ....

Location / Quarry / Guns .....



Laughing
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ShooterJohn
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Joined: 02 Apr 2008
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City, State: Sacramento, CA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great hunt Robert. I know it's been said before. "If you've seen one dead ground squirrel you've seen them all!" Who has the time to take pictures of dead animals when you could be shooting more and enjoying your outing. There aren't enough hours in the day as it is. Thanks for sharing the details it's almost as good as being there.
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dirtdawg2
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Joined: 08 Jun 2008
Posts: 1636
City, State: Ex-Sunnyvale

PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you ever need someone to carry your rifle...

Very Happy
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shooterdude99
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Joined: 24 Nov 2008
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City, State: Oregon

PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:14 pm    Post subject: Re: What no photos ? Reply with quote

AngliaUSA wrote:
PLEASE PLEASE PRETTY PLEASE ....

I love your stories but I NEED some pics ....

Location / Quarry / Guns .....



Laughing


They all look the same:

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rehmk5
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Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 80
City, State: monterey, california

PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:11 am    Post subject: pics Reply with quote

Sorry for no pics.
Just too busy when the shooting is good and nothing much to take pics of when there is nothing to shoot...and I'm using the time to move locations to try to find more pests.
RH
p.s. FYI....I think I know who "Shooter John" is and if I'm right, he has bagged more pests in a year than I have in my lifetime. I'm a complete novice by comparison.
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TKM
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Joined: 20 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks robert

Last edited by TKM on Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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rehmk5
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Joined: 09 Dec 2007
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City, State: monterey, california

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:42 pm    Post subject: hunting Reply with quote

Hi Nan,
I only hunt, have yet to attend a formal event.
You in East Bay?
Probably you should consider scouting to the east then.
The area towards Sacramento and Modesto...the "Valley".
Look for farms/ranches with livestock.
Something about places with livestock, attracts pests.
Whereas veggie farms around my area are wildlife and pest absent, due to huge clean farmed fields and heavy poisoning.
Finding good hunt places in the Monterey area is only slightly easier than finding needles in haystacks.
Plan on spending a lot of time in scouting, just like job hunting, lots of time, miles and patience is needed.
Look for places with ground squirrels and barns with pigeons as small bird pests (blackbirds and starlings continue to be really low numbers).
RH
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