Hello Everyone, sorry it’s been a while since I posted! I’ve been on the road nonstop, and much of it out of the country the last couple months, but managed to get a bit of shooting and hunting in as well. I spent last week down in Puerto Rico working on the serious iguana problem, one in which the importance of airguns cannot be understated. My first trip to PR to shoot iguanas was about 3 1/2 years ago, after being invited on a shoot with writers from several American hunting magazines: Outdoor Life, Petersen’s Hunting, NRA’s American Hunter, Predator Xtreme, and Sports Afield. PR wanted to bring viability to the problem, and one of the solutions they wanted to launch was a commercialized hunting of these tree dwelling pests.
Flash forward a few years, there are a lot of people going to the island for iguana hunts, either specifically to hunt iguanas or fitting a day hunt into a vacation filled with fishing, laying on a beach, or sight seeing. The hunting is making an impact in specific areas, for instance I hunted on the same 300 acre farm visited on the first trip, and this place is getting continued pressure. And the numbers are way down…… don’t get me wrong, three of us removed between 350-400 iguanas in two days of shooting. But where I saw thousands the first trip I saw hundreds on this one. There is no doubt that the hurricane altered the landscape making it harder to access these critters, but numbers were being pushed down before the storm hit.
Why do iguanas need to be culled? The reasons are simple: they are non-indigenous, populating out of control, causing environmental, financial, and infrastructure damage on a significant scale. Why are airguns important to the effort? Because trapping an poison don’t work, firearms can’t be used for legal reasons, and airguns are effective and efficient. Another big plus is that visiting varmint hunters will pay to hunt them, creating a revenue stream for locals at the same time.
The method I employed was to be dropped at a shady area where I could tuck away an airtank (you’ll do a lot of shooting), and ice chest full of water, Gatorade, and diet Coke (it is HOT and HUMID), and my extra shooting and camera gear. I liked to set up in the banana grooves because they are shadey and give off a cool tropical vibe :). I’d go out and shoot for a couple hours, come back to cool down and re-hydrate, then head back out.
I think a powerful .25 or .30 caliber is about perfect, a .22 while effective in most instances, did not anchor a couple of the really big lizards even with a solid head shot. I learned on my earlier visit that headshots were the only sure way to anchor iguanas.
It was a great trip, I’m going back in September for 9 days to hunt with a few different outfitters, and when I get back I’ll post some information on options to do your own hunt! I’ll tell you about flights, transportation, hotels, and outfitters…… I think this is one of the really cool hunting experience for airgun hunters…. and it’s only available for airgun hunters!
Hope you are all having a great summer, getting in some shooting, and loving life! Talk again soon.