I had gotten up before daybreak and driven to a local farm where I have permission to hunt for predators and small game. My intention was to spend two hours, then go home shower before heading to my office for a busy day. I arrived at a friends farm after a 20 minute drive, parked the car, shouldered my pack, grabbed my rifle and started off to a 5 acre stand of woods in the back 40. Daylight was breaking as I got into the woods, but it was filtered into a shadowy haze as I got further into the trees. Most of the leaves were off the branches, but there were still enough branches and twigs to provide cover. I slowly walked a couple hundred yards in, but hadn’t seen any squirrels. As I stood sweeping my eyes tree to tree, inspecting each one in turn, I saw a telltale tuft of hair being gently blown on the breeze. The light was getting better, but I still couldn’t make out color in the shadows, was it a red or a gray squirrel the fur belonged to? I moved in closer, straining to see more than the one patch of fur, it looked gray but then I spotted a bit of the striped tail …. a coon! I sat and watched until picking out an approach to get into a shooting position, then got up and started moving around to obtain a better alignment. This actually moved me further away before turning to close the distance, using tree trunks to shield my approach.
The FX Wildcat is a compact and lightweight bullpup, that I found very easy to carry and to move with. I have been shooting and hunting with it a lot; having taken many prairie dogs, rabbits, and other small game with it over the last couple years. I was shooting JSB 25 grain Exacts, which is my default pellet in most guns. I moved in behind a tree at about 35 yards and could see the coon up the tree, but its body and head were shielded by some heavy branches.
I did a kissing squeak that I’ll often use on larger predators when they come in close…. a lot of people don’t realize that raccoons are an aggressive predator of smaller prey, and when this one heard the mouse in distress its head came straight up, providing me with a perfect shot opportunity. Pulling the trigger, and I am always surprised how good the trigger is on this bullpup design, I heard the pellet impact and after a couple seconds the dead coon slid of the branch hitting the ground and moving no more.
The thing I like about a solid hitting .25 caliber PCP is that while it’s perfect for small game such as squirrel, it is also a very solid performer for something as large as this raccoon with a well placed headshot. And the Wildcat is a great platform for the caliber; very accurate, generating an honest 45 fpe, a compact LOA of 35″ with a 23.6″ barrel and weighing about 6.5 lb it offers full sized rifle performance in a package you can carry all day long. It is one of the few bullpups I’ve ever shot that lets me forget that its a bullpup. With respect to shootability I compare it with the best handling rifles I’ve used, not limiting its praise as simply the best shooting bullpup.
I’ll be kicking into full swing on predator hunting this month, and I always do a lot of calling for raccoons. Think I’ll work a bit more with the Wildcat, especially in some of the more noise sensitive areas I shoot in. Hope you’re all getting in a lot of hunting and having a good season thus far. Catch up with you all again next week!