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FX Whisper .22 - Goes To Local Park - For Ground Squirrel Hunt


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#1 VarmintAir

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 01:08 PM

Park in the middle of the forest.P5030001

The above picture shows what is known, in the local vernacular, as a park.  Most places would probably just call it a meadow.    

It was a gorgeous day, so I decided to take a trip to the local forest, just to hang out for a few hours, and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.  Of course I took an airgun along, just in case I got the urge to do a little ground squirrel hunting.

On my way out of town, I stopped and grabbed a $5 footlong for lunch.  I didn't really have a lot planned, just basically a kick back kind of day. Not planning to do much hunting, I didn't bother to bring the video camera.

I picked a forest road, and started down it until I found this park area, that looked pretty nice, and decided to spend a few hours there.  I pulled into the shade, under a nice big Ponerosa pine tree, and broke out my collapsable canvas camp chair.

One of the things that I like about hunting ground squirrels and chipmunks in this forest is, it's a great way to hone my shooting skills for fall tree squirrel season.  All three critters share the same forest habitat, so while hunting the first two critters, I'm also scouting the same area for tree squirrel sign.  

The Abert's Tassel Eared tree squirrels build their nests in these pine trees.  They aren't great wanderers, and don't venture to far from their home ground, so once you find sign, you know there is a squirrel not to far away.  Getting a shot at one though, is a whole different issue.  They are true masters of concealment.

As I was just sitting and enjoying my lunch, one of the big furballs decided to drop by and see what I was doing in its neighborhood.  It was only about 30 yards away, so I snapped a quick picture of it for posterity. Come this fall, I will be back.

Abert's tree squirrel keeping an eye on me during lunch.  Look at the size of that bushy tail.P5030010

The Abert's run about two pounds in weight.  The Golden Mantle ground squirrels run about nine ounces, and the chipmunks around here weigh about three ounces.  In other words, both critters are much, much smaller that the Abert's tree squirrels. Hunting the smaller furballs is a great way to practice for hunting the much bigger tree squirrels.

The ranges that you get shots at are the same for all three types of critters.  After successfully hunting the ground squirrels and chipmunks for four or five months, and taking them regularly from 40 to 60 yards, the tree squirrels look like they're the size of house cats, in the scope, when it's finally legal to take them starting in October.  It's almost unfair.

After finishing lunch, I decided to take a short walk along the edge of the park, and back into the trees for maybe 50 yards.  For some reason, both the chipmunks, and ground squirrels like to hang out around the edges of these parks.

I grabbed my .22 cal Whisper to take along.  I had gone a couple of hundred yards, and hadn't really seen any activity, when a chipmunk suddenly jumped up onto an old stump at what lasered to be 47 yards. As I was setting up for the shot, a ground squirrel jumped up onto the same stump from behind.  Decisions, decisions.  I decided to go for the ground squirrel.  Fate works in funny ways.  Today, the chipper caught a break.

Since I'm sighted in a half inch high at 50 yards, I held a little low, and sent the pellet on its way.  At impact, the ground squirrel was blown off the back of the stump, and the chipmunk launched itself off of the front, never to be seen again that day.

Ground squirrel taken at 47 yards with FX Whisper.P5030009

Since I wasn't real intense about hunting, I decided to head back to my vehicle.  When I got there, as I usually do before putting my gun  away, I quickly glassed the area around me.  As happens many times, I spotted a ground squirrel sitting on a stump out at 52 yards, facing to the left, watching me.

I got the rifle set up on my bipod, and since there was almost no wind, held dead on the squirrels ribcage.  When the pellet struck home, the squirrel just dropped in place. It didn't even roll off of the top of the stump.  Instant DRT.

Squirrel taken at 52 yards.P5030006

It turned out to be a fun few hours.  If you can dope the wind, it's darned near impossible to miss at these ranges with the .22 cal Whisper.  The 16 grain JSB's, I shoot in it, are impressive to say the least.

Next time out, I'm going to hunt my .20 cal Logun Mk II.  She's another tack driver.


 


 


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#2 Red

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:10 PM

A nice day. Thanks for sharing.

#3 VarmintAir

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 07:51 AM

A nice day. Thanks for sharing.


You're welcome. It's always fun to get out into the woods with an air rifle. It takes me back to my youth, in the forests of Western Washington, in the 40's and 50's. Two major differences now though, 1) I've got much better equipment today, and 2) at almost 70, I've got a lot less energy to use it. :lol:

Edited by VarmintAir, 09 May 2012 - 07:52 AM.


#4 Sharps45-120

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 06:12 AM

Nice shooting, is you air rifle a 17 or 22 caliber ? What state are you in?

#5 VarmintAir

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 04:13 PM

Nice shooting, is you air rifle a 17 or 22 caliber ? What state are you in?


Thanks. My Whisper is a .22 cal. I'm in Northern Arizona.

#6 Sharps45-120

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 04:40 PM

I figured it had to be somewhre else, other than Oregon. They have protected Chipmunks here. We do have a Gray Squirrel season here but since my Dad passed away back in the 80's I quit shooting them as he was the only one in the family that liked eating them. I used a Savage 22LR, I made head shots & was chewed out every time I did as he prefered the Brains when Mom boiled / stewed the squirrel. Now don't feel badly that they have protected chipmunks here as you can shoot them on you own property if they are becoming a pest problem. I do get in a lot of "Sage Rat" shooting in central & eastern Oregon. I had a blast just a week or so ago & shot up over 500 rounds of 17 Mach II & 17 HMR at the Sage Rats, I killed around 375 or better. Sage Rats are smaller than a regular ground squirrel but are a ground dwelling squirrel. Keep shooting & have fun!

#7 VarmintAir

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 08:04 AM

I figured it had to be somewhre else, other than Oregon. They have protected Chipmunks here. We do have a Gray Squirrel season here but since my Dad passed away back in the 80's I quit shooting them as he was the only one in the family that liked eating them. I used a Savage 22LR, I made head shots & was chewed out every time I did as he prefered the Brains when Mom boiled / stewed the squirrel. Now don't feel badly that they have protected chipmunks here as you can shoot them on you own property if they are becoming a pest problem. I do get in a lot of "Sage Rat" shooting in central & eastern Oregon. I had a blast just a week or so ago & shot up over 500 rounds of 17 Mach II & 17 HMR at the Sage Rats, I killed around 375 or better. Sage Rats are smaller than a regular ground squirrel but are a ground dwelling squirrel. Keep shooting & have fun!


I've hunted those guys up in north central Nevada a few times. That is an entirely different kind of shoot for sure. The first time I went, I could hardly believe my eyes. They were more like lemmings, than the type of ground squirrels I was used to hunting. I put my centerfire guns away after the first few hours, and broke a rimfire handgun, and used it for the rest of the five day hunt. That's some high volume shooting for sure.

Amazing, they have protected chipmunks in Oregon. They are thick as fleas around here. Especially the last couple of years. They seem to have hit a peak in their population cycle up here in the mountains. I hope the huggers, have gotten the word out to the coyotes, bobcats, and hawks, that the chippers are now protected and they can no longer hunt and eat them. :rofl: Those critters, plus gray foxes, and badgers, pig out on them around here.