Small Game Hunting
This ebook deals with small game hunting, a sport which makes a direct contribution to big game hunting skills. The relationship between big and small game hunting is seldom stressed, and when it is stressed, it is seldom that techniques are examined in detail to show how small game hunting improves big game hunting skills. One cannot be a mediocre squirrel hunter and at the same time a skillful deer hunter. The two techniques go together.
Of course, small game hunting is an end in itself. There is no more satisfying hunting than taking squirrel in the autumn hardwoods, cottontail rabbit when the first frost touches the upland pastures with its magic, ruffed grouse in heavy cover and raccoon along the river bottoms and swamps. Truly, one could spend a lifetime in the small game coverts, finding the game always worthy of the best hunting skills. They are our best teachers of woodcraft, rifles, and shotgun field techniques.
Rifles, handguns, and shotguns considered in this ebook are those which I have found well qualified for small game hunting for personal use. I have followed common hunter word usage in calling all auto-loading firearms “automatics.”
FRANCIS E. SELL Riverton, Oregon,
PLINKING WITH A PURPOSE
When Art Richardson dropped us at the starting point of our hunt near Myrtle Creek, Oregon, there were six miles of mountain, meadows, sagebrush, and forest between us and camp.
Art looked up across the mountains where a ravel of morning mist still toyed with a peak. “You know,” he said, “before we hit camp we are going to get mountain goat shooting, some brush shooting like we have on deer each autumn, open mule deer shooting, and some long range elk shooting.”
Sounded like a big order that early June morning, especially with the big game season so far in the future, and no mountain goat shooting within hundreds of miles of our hunting territory. Our game this day was actually ground squirrel and jackrabbit. But the day’s hunting delivered just such shooting, even though the early spring nip to the air still held the ground squirrel close to their burrows, except on the sunny southern slopes where the first tender shoots of grass and elk clover pushed up through the lean shale hillsides.
Art Richardson is a gunsmith and an expert hunter. He makes beautiful myrtle-wood rifle stocks. He hunts deer and elk in season. During off-season periods he hunts jackrabbit and ground squirrel. In his personal huntings arms rack, there are at least ten super dupers-.257 Roberts, .270 Winchester, .30/06-sleekly stocked with myrtle, beautifully scope sighted. This morning, however, he pulled a rifle from its scabbard for squirrel hunting which rocked me back on my heels, a .38/40 lever action Winchester.
I uncased a Mossberg .22 with a scope sight. In my hunting jacket, along with a sandwich and binoculars, there were two hundred rounds of ammunition for it. No ultra high-velocity rifles here!
But wait a minute! Did you ever come to grips with the problem of trajectory and bullet drop? Try playing with one of those old black powder rifles, or a .22 rimfire. They certainly bring the problem of long-range hitting into focus as nothing else will.
Art had this in mind when he selected this beautiful old Winchester lever action for our first small game trip of the season, though I had expected him to show with a .25/20 or a .25/35 when he told me the evening before that he was taking a rifle with plenty of bullet drop. I know I had big game hunting in mind when I selected a Mossberg .22.
Sometimes hunters are prone to forget the basic things of hunting. It is good to go afield occasionally with a rifle shooting a bullet with a rainbow curve, just to sharpen hunting and shooting wits against the day when one is abroad with something more powerful, the big game the quarry.
We eased along the logging road leading toward the divide, our hunting jackets zipped up against the early morning chill. Momentarily, as I looked up those long slopes and rock escarpments, I confess I thought longingly of my .222 Marlin which would reach out and nip a ground squirrel at two hundred yards, for these squirrels are a first cousin to woodchuck inhabit, with the added virtue of seeming more canny and shy. They require a degree of stalking skill equal with that of still hunting deer on the autumn hardwood ridges.
PART I. FIELD SHOOTING AND BASIC HUNTING
- 2 Basic Hunting
- 1 Plinking With A Purpose
- 3 Sight Picture Is Not Enough
- 5 Small Game and Varmint Rifles (The center-fires)
- 4 Small Game Field Shooting Positions
PART II SMALL GAME HUNTING RIFLES
- 6 Small Game And Varmint Rifles (The rim-fires)
PART III SIGHTS AND SIGHTING IN
- 8 Sights With A Purpose (Telescope sights and mounts)
- 7 Sights With A Purpose (The iron sights)
- 9 Sighting In A Small Game Rifle
PART IV SMALL GAME HUNTING WITH HANDGUNS
- Small Game Shooting With Handguns
- Handguns For Small Game Hunting
- PART SHOTGUNS: EQUIPMENT, CARE, AND CLEANING
- The Makings Of A Small Game Hunter
- Shotguns For Small Game Shooting
- Care And Cleaning Of Guns and Equipment
PART VI THE GAME
- Raccoon Hunting
- Rabbit Hunting
- Hunting Ruffed Grouse
- Woodchuck Hunting
- Squirrel Hunting
- Going Deer Hunting?