In this weeks blog I’ll pick back up on the topic of my favorite regions and location for traveling Airgun hunts. If you want more information on these just post a reply or shoot me an email. We’ll start back up with a look at big game!
4. Deer Hunting: Virginia is another state that should be very high on an airgun hunters bucket list! Though I listed it as a whitetail hunters destination, Virginia is the other state that allows hunters to take a spring time gobbler with their Airgun. Deer and turkey populations are good, license are reasonable, and you can get tags for both species over the counter. I also like to squirrel hunt in these beautiful hardwood covered forest of this state for both fox and gray squirrels. There is pretty good public land access and it’s a great place for putting together a do it yourself hunt.
5. High Density Prairie Dog: S. Dakota. Prairie dogs can be found in several states, but I think some of the best populations I’ve found are in S. Dakota. Shooting prairie dogs with a centerfire is just that …. Shooting. But with an Airgun it becomes a hunt, you get on the ground, stalking, using cover, working for the opportunity. The beauty is, the opportunity just keeps on coming! Going to a place where you can get one stalk after every another in while traversing striking landscapes is what makes this such an exceptional hunt. License are reasonable, there are special low cost licenses for prairie dogs, coyote and other no game species. While there is some public land, these towns get pretty well hammered and can be a challenge for close range airgunners. I’d suggest you set up with an outfitter, it used to be you could find ranchers that would let you pay a small trespass fee but as with most parts of the country, they’ve caught on to the value of this resource and typically lease shooting rights out to an outfitter. My favorite guy to work with is Brett Wiebel at Bad River Birds&Bucks, he’s got great facilities and lots of towns to hunt that are perfect for airgunners.
6. Once in a Life Time: Eastern Cape, South Africa. I think if you are a passionate Airgun Hunter, a trip to the Eastern Cape of South Africa will be the trip that will be the pinnacle of your hunting experience. Beside the adventure of a completely different way of hunting, the variety of big and small game to hunt, and the complete focus you can have on hunting, the place and people make the trip worthwhile on their own. The larger game I normally hunt here are Steinbuck, duiker, Impala, springbok, bushbuck, warthog, kudu, you can hunt predators such as jacket and caracole, and a brilliant selection of small game like Guinea fowl, hyrax, bush hare, springhare. I set up a yearly safari and will be going in August, hunting with my good friends and professional hunters Rob Dell and Andrew Myers at Hounslow Safari’s. Give me a call or email if you’d like to go….. Not cheap but less than a Colorado elk hunt.
7. Jurassic Hunts, Puerto Rico Iguanas; This island has a ecological problem, and a bad one. An estimated nine million iguanas where there should be exactly …. Zero. Some idiots let their pets go, and now the island is on the verge of an environmental meltdown as these lizards exceed the carrying capacity. You need a local with the right permits to hunt, but by hiring the local guide you will also get access to the land. Some of the farms I hunt will allow you to shoot the 3-5 foot long tree dwellers non stop, as you wind through plantations and native jungle bordering the properties. Great shooting, a lot of it, and you’re helping out from both the ecological standpoint along with giving the local economy a boost. Air fare to PR is not bad, it is a US territory so it’s no problem flying in with your airguns. The permits you need for shooting the lizards can be taken care of by the local guides, and if you’re interested in this one let me know.
Using guides: Before I started hunting in further flung destinations I did my own scouting and arranged me own hunts…. These days it’s about half and half. The reason is that if I fly in somewhere and only have a few days available, I don’t have the local knowledge or the time to gain it (initially). A guide is like a hunting buddy that knows the area, it doesn’t diminish the challenge at all, it lets you focus on the hunt where you at least have a chance of encountering game. If I am going to take four days off work and away from my family, pay to fly somewhere, rent a car, pay for a hotel, food, etc, paying a bit more to improve my odds and the quality of the hunt is worth it. When I use a guide that hunts public land, I also use the experience to build the local knowledge. Maybe on my next trip it’s a DIY experience. However another advantage is that a guide often gets you access to private property where there is less pressure, more game, and a better all around experience. Texas is an example of this, you might not need a guide to call in coyote but you won’t find any public land to do it on.
Of course if going to a place to hunt squirrels that I’ve never been I’ll plan it myself. In this case I do a lot of online research, which I blogged about in the past. The destination spots I’ve listed are primarily for larger airgunning quarry (aside from P-dogs) that usually has you under a time constraint (short seasons). Smaller stuff is generally easier to locate for the DIY hunter, and you are not as financially vested or time constrained. As a matter of fact this might be a good entry point to start planning DIY destination hunts, that you can build from. If you want more information about any of these, shoot me an email.