Was out squirrel hunting today with the Brocock Specialist, love this little gun but more about this later. So far this year has been great for squirrel hunting up here in my new home of Minnesota, as I mentioned in the last post I’ve found a lot of public land to hunt, bushytail populations are high, weather hasn’t gotten terrible yet, and I have a ton of cool guns and gear to get out in the field with. Besides the public land I’ve found, we live in a suburban area about 20 miles out of the city that has a lot of new housing developments going up in what until recently had been farmland. Lots of 5-20 acre woods that are being bulldozed (price of progress I suppose) that I’ve been going to early in the morning before construction work starts or late afternoon after it ends.
I reckon that most the trees and wildlife are going to be gone from these area soon, but I scout, get an idea of the squirrel populations, then give myself a limit. The one 10 acre stand of woods by my house has a lot of mast producing trees a few den trees, and I estimated probably 20 squirrels…. it’s pretty thick and probably more when counting both grays and fox squirrels, definitely more the former. Based on this I decided that I’d take eight, then shut it down …. I think I’m the only one hunting there. Well, I’ve shot seven over the last couple weeks so decided this afternoon would be my last hunting visit, though I will go back with my camera for photo work. I’ve shot these seven over 5 trips, the first was a scouting run and the next four I gave myself 2hours or 2 squirrels, which ever came first, Three times it was two squirrels, and once it was two hours that came first …… it’s a great way to hunt while conserving the limited resource on these small wooded areas.
Today was a bit colder and I was busy until late afternoon, so bundled in a jacked I rolled into the dark and overcast woods at about 4:00. Less than ten minutes in, I spotted two grays running around, coming in my direction. I slowly sank down to wait for them to move into shooting range…… and I sat………. and I sat….. but they had vanished into thin air. So I hoisted my messenger style pack and rifle and started back further into the woods. The area is a mix of mast producing trees; walnuts, hazelnuts, and acorns, with the whole north border up against cornfields. There is a fair mix of evergreens all of which covers some hills with a deep ravine running right through the middle of it.
The gun I choose today was the Brocock Specialist with a 6 shot rotary magazine. Mine is in .22 caliber and is generating about 21 fpe. This model is not shrouded and a bit on the loud side, though the muzzle is threaded and I do have accessories for it, though in this case I wasn’t worried about a little noise. The gun is accurate, and the cut-a-way stock with a well formed pistol grip comes very quickly to shoulder. I’ve found on previous hunts using this gun I shot well with it offhand, and as a matter of fact didn’t even bother with my usual (Primos Trigger) sticks. The rifles stock is black out of the box, though min is wrapped in a vinyl camo treatment. With the sling I’ve mounted, I throw the lightweight little compact over my shoulder and I am good to go. In this particular area I always have some climbing to do so really appreciate how compact the Specialist is.
A while later I spotted three squirrels chasing each other around and started a slow stalk, but part was there I was busted and two of them took of like a flame had been lit under their tails. But the third one was no where to be seen, so I sat down to wait. But after 20 minutes I decided it was time to go, but first decided to sweep the are with my little compact binos …… and there in a big oak forty yards away and about 25 feet up sitting in a fork and hidden in shadows, was squirrel number three sitting on hi haunches, chewing a nut, and watching me! I leaned back against a small tree trunk, put my pack on my knee to get some elevation, and slowly squeezed the trigger. The bushy tail crumpled ……… but didn’t fall out of the tree! I spent the next half hour trying to throw a branch to knock him down, I tried shooting him down, all without success….. so I guess some owl will get dinner on me tonight. Anyways, that was how I closed out my experience at this location. With only a few self imposed rules it gave me several short hunts close to home, and at the risk of repeating myself ad nauseum, you can only do this with an airgun…… ya gotta love them!
Brocock Gun News
I’ve got some new guns coming in, and we’ll take a closer look at Brocock. Airguns of Arizona is the US importer and distributor of Brocock products and as you may have heard, Brocock was acquired by Diana (not the airgunning Diana) which is the parent company of Daystate. Brocock has new management, new production facilities, and of more importance to us ……. new products. I think Brocock is one of the underrated airgunning gems, and my hope is these changes will increase their visability and make more people aware of these hot little hunting rigs!
Looking forward to the EBR down in Tucson in November; this is one of my favorite events of the year. Great venue, great shooters, and a great chance to see lots of friends from the States and the UK. I’ve already made my flight reservtions, registered to shoot all three of the competitions (haven’t decided on guns yet), it’s a LOT of fun. Registrations to compete have just about reached capacity, but even if you’re not going to compete it is worth the trip …. hope to meet a lot of the blog readers there!