I was looking back over some older files, and came across a pickup rabbit hunt I did in Michigan a few years back. I’d just received a new rifle to test out, the Roehm Huntmaster, I’d been sent botht he rifle and carbine version. I’d really lioked the prototype of this gun when I’d seen it at the SHOT Show, and their marketing group had told me that if I paid the import duties (of a couple hundred bucks) I could keep the guns….. sounded like a no-brainer to me. When I went to the airport in Indianapolis the amount due was closer to $500, but I still felt like I was getting a great deal. The guns have a nicely shaped and checkered hardwood stock, an outstanding trigger, and could be used as either a single shot (tray included) or a multishot. In multishot mode the carbine (and rifle) used a 5 shot linear shuttle magazine
I took the gun out to sight in and run through its paces; the carbine was putting out around 20 fpe and was dead accurate. I’d spent a couple hours shooting spinners and other reactive targets, finding that between the inherent accuracy, great stock design, light crisp trigger it was consistantly hitting everything I was shooting at out to 60 yards. This is one of those guns I shot really well offhand, again a tribute to the stock design. As I was getting ready toi pack up, I noticed that cottontail rabbits were starting to come out of the brush surrounding the field I was using as my outdoor plinking range.
The rabbits had come out while I was shooting and making all types of noise, plus walking back and forth between targets, and didn’t seem too worried about me. But as soon as I decided to try to close the 200 yard distance and took a step towards them, they all fled. I think game can often read your intentions by the manner of your approach, deciding my mistake was looking and walking directly towards their location, even at a slow speed.
I continued to a spot about 50 yards from where I’d seen them first come out, and then beat a hastey retreat on my approach, before sitting myself down to wait. I was not in camo, as a matter of fact was wearing a bright bluse shirt, so tucked myself as far back into the brush as possible. After about a half hour, a big rabbit came out and started feeding about 55 yards away. After a few minutes he started to move away and I muttered a curse to myself, but then he turned and started slowly hopping back towards me. I had the gun rested on my knee, and lined up the shot right on his head in profile. Squeezing the trigger, the pellet flew down range impacting right where I was aiming dropping him like a brick.
So I took away a few thoughts from this impromptu rabbit hunt; 1) even when the quarry is used to people and seems desensitized to your presence, be careful on approach…. they can sense your intention, 2) you can do without camo, but when uyou do use the shadows and surrounding vegetation for effective cover, and 3) Always be prepared, you never know when opportunity may present itself, which is especially true with airguns!
So for the last two weeks I have traveled hundreds, actually thousands of miles, hunting in Virginia, Texas, and Minnesota. I’m back at work now but will be heading out on more hunts in the next few weeks. Last week I was on a ranch 15 miles from the Mexican border, and tonight I look out my hotel window and see downtown Chicago spread before me. I love this city, but can’t wait to get back in the field. Knowing it will be a couple of weeks before I’m back on a major hunt, is OK knowing that I can get out for several short small game and predator hunts close to home before then…. another big advantage of airguns!
Back with more soon!