Sorry I’ve fallen behind in posting, it’s been a hectic couple of months, and I am trying my best to get caught up and back on track. Thanks for all the emails and support for this blog, it’s great appreciated!
A couple weeks back I was in Scotland then dropped down to London for a few days…. and do you know what sits in-between? Daystate….. more or less. I was visiting my bro-in-law, he lives a half hour drive from this great British airgun manufacturer, so we drove down to meet with Tony Belas and get a tour of the factory. Tucked away in an industrial estate, the Daystate facilities is a modest sized hive of activity. We started by looking at a collection of airguns that spanned the history of the company, from the beginnings building tranquilizer guns for the veterinary segment, to becoming arguably the premier maker of fine hunting rifles. There was a wall full of these early Daystate rifles, and a couple nice examples of the Huntsman, which was my first PCP rifle.
But then we got to tour through and see their current line in various stages of manufacture, Huntsman Regals, Air Wolf, AirRanger, and Pulsars. Whay I saw was a great deal of handfitting of precision machined components, and quality testing being performed along the way. We saw the test range, equiped with vices used for precision testing. Two others things I was interested in seeing was the large number of older rifles owners had sent in for updates or routine service, these guys earmark resources to support their existing customers. Secondly, they were picking up the manufacture of Brocock guns and I had the chance to handle this brands soon to be released Compatto PCP, which looks like a nice little compact rifle, which many of you know is a particular fondness of mine. This was a great little side trip, and Tony and his team were very hospitable, and for me it was very interesting seeing some of the finest airguns in the world being built.
On other fronts:
Squirrel season is open in many if not moststates right now. This is the most hunted quarry in airgunning I think, and as often stated one of my favorite. Because they are everywhere and generally in healthy populations. On the 30 minute drive to my office this morning (I drive along some farms and trees bordering a river) I say well over a dozen grays without looking too hard. We don’t get a lot of fox squirrels up this way, I see them now and again, but nowehere near as often as used to in Indiana.
Fall hunting is more of a challange as there is a lot of folliage up in the trees, the advantage is it shields your approach, the downside is that it hides the squirrel. Sometimes you can hear them as soon as you walk into the woods, but it can take a long tome to spot them up above. My favorite time to hunt them is in winter with snow on the ground, when they come down to eat. I love sitting in a warm camo overall, tucked away at the base of a tree watching a hillside.
The gun I am really looking forward to hunting is the FX Wildcat .25, been loving this bullpup on prairie dogs, rabbits, and pigeons. Very accurate and hits hard… also likes a lot of different pellets so it’s a great platform for testing projectiles.
Another species I’m getting ready to hunt are crows. The thing I like with this quarry is using calls to pull them in from seemingly nowhere, and getting around their wary nature to get them to land……. completely different game than taking them on the wing! I’ve been sitting in a hide or camo’d with not a sign of a bird, hit the mob call and within minutes have thirty birds wheeling overhead. Using dying bird calls a couple of those may land, which is when I go to work with my air rifle. No matter what I’m after, the combination of airguns and an electronic call elevates the game.
Haven’t been getting a lot of shooting (outside of my basement range) the last couple weeks. My wife is away visiting family in S. Africa, so it’s me and my daughter (who is a non-shooter / hunter) on our own. Next weekend we’re doing a daddy/daughter trip to Seattle to sightsee, shop, be foodies, and hang for a few days. When I get back I’m doing a predator hunt in N. Dakota, heading off to Japan on business (again….) BUT, then the real hunting season kicks in for me and I’ll have a lot of exciting trips and cool guns to share with you all.
I’ll be leaving for Japan directly from Phoenix and the Extreme Benchrest (EBR) competition, in it’s new venue, and hope I have a chance to meet a lot of you there. If you get a chance, look me up and introduce yourself, always enjoy meeting the airgunners that make the trip to this fantastic event.