Rockchuck Hunting in the Rimrock

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The Yellow-Bellied Marmot, or Rockchuck, in the rimrock.

The Yellow-Bellied Marmot, or Rockchuck, in the rimrock.

A few months ago, we headed up to NE California to do some varmint hunting.  On day three of our hunt, we decided to head to a private ranch to do some rockchuck hunting in the rimrock.  In the area we hunt, there are many alfalfa fields that are bordered by rimrock.  The rimrock, consists of large, dark, boulders that serve as a perfect home for our quarry.  When the rimrock is adjacent to crops, such as alfalfa and barley, the rockchucks can cause immense damage.

Alfalfa is a favorite of the rockchuck.

Alfalfa is a favorite of the rockchuck.

The Franklin Armory F17 in the rimrock.

The Franklin Armory F17 in the rimrock.

For those who do not know, the yellow-bellied marmot (what we like to call a rockchuck), is a member of the Marmot family and a type of ground squirrel.  Every morning, after they feed, most rockchucks head to the rimrock sun themselves.  They will sit out and soak up the sun, while keeping an eye out for any predators that may be approaching from land, or the air.  We found a spot that was directly across a small canyon from where the rockchuck were ending up after their morning feeding.  This allowed us to set-up our shooting bench from 175 yards to 200 yards away, without spooking all the rockchuck after each shot.  Even with the stiff crosswind and ever increasing thermals rising from the canyon, our shot to kill ratio was still in the 80% range.  As the day heated up the rimrock, the mirage got so bad that we could not see the rockchucks through our rifle scopes, so we called it a day and headed out to hunt some other varmints.

The three rifles/calibers/ammunition used during this hunt were the following:

1)  Franklin Armory F17 in .17WSM, using the Winchester 20 grain VMax ammunition.

2)  Ruger 77/22 in .22 K-Hornet (Connecticut Precision conversion) using 33 grain VMax reloads.

3)  Remington R15 in .223, using COR-BON ammunition, loaded with the Barnes 36 grain Varmint Grenade.

Click Below to Watch the Entire Hunt Video:

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Eric Mayer

Publisher at Varminter Magazine
Eric A. Mayer is the Founder and Publisher of Varminter Magazine. Eric is a 50 year old die-hard hunter residing in Idaho, who has been hunting since age 13. He has hunted Varmints in almost every county in California, as well as in Idaho, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and even parts of Canada!
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