Small Game Hunting by Shane Hurkmans
Remember when you would take off small game hunting on a cool October morning and all you had was a 22 long rifle? I vividly remember hunting squirrels, rabbets and other small game, just this way. I carried an old Remington Target Master with open sights and nothing more than a box of shells in my pocket. Before that, however, I had a pellet rifle that I took a lot of game with.
About a year ago, I picked up that old rifle to teach some kids about firearm safety. While letting the kids shoot a few targets, I took my turn throwing a few rounds down range, only to find out that my skills were not exactly up to par.
On the way home that day, I thought about that old gun and how I remembered doing much better with it. The next morning I took it in the shop, gave the old gun a good once over, and found that the pressure seals were out of it. Well it was too old to get parts for anymore, so I retired the old gun to the wall and headed to the computer to do some research into what some of the new air rifles looked like.
In my search, I found that today air rifles and pistols are better and stronger than in years past. From BB guns, to the high powered pellet rifle, the choices were so numerous I could not decide on what to buy. I jumped in the truck and took off into town to do some in-person research. On the way I stopped and talked the matter over with a few guys that I trust and regularly shoot with. I had a few different rifles and pistols in mind but was not sure which ones to really consider. They gave me a few guys’ names and told me how to contact them. After talking with them and a few other reliable people, I finally bought a pellet rifle that shoots around 1000 feet per second (fps) in .22 caliber, and a pellet pistol that shoots a around 600 fps.
When I got the rifle and pistol home I took a few weeks just shooting targets and getting used to the guns. I then stared shooting a few chipmunks and squirrels not far from the house. Later that Fall, when other small game seasons opened, I took the rifle and pistol on my walks scouting for deer. I found out that I had to get closer to what I was trying to hunt (that always helps make us better hunters) and was actually seeing a lot more game without the loud report of the old .22 round.
Overall, there are a lot of new air guns out there for you to choose from. I recommend you pick a gun that fits your needs, and that you don’t have to spend a fortune to practice and hunt with. Pellet guns are not expensive to shoot and you can even practice indoors in the winter time by using a shoe box for a backstop, if you have a safe area to work with that is.
I think you will find that with this inexpensive way to practice, that you have become a better shooter and hunter when you head out into the field next fall. Give it a try, It is not only fun, but you will likely find it bringing you back to your childhood.
Remember to take a child to the woods and show them what hunting and fishing is about. Maybe you will have a buddy to share the memories of your adventures with.