TV's Nuisance Nutter Hunt Report 3/16/10 (reposted from main forum)
As the sun was breaking through the trees on this morning I found myself wending through the rural farms and fields of the Old South, enjoying the scenic route. I was on my way to meet a local landowner with a serious rodent problem. In spite of his best efforts at eradicating the offenders with his shotgun, pockets of well-educated survivors have continued to wreak havoc on his crops and property. My visit today was prompted by the latest outrage, namely, squirrels nesting in one of his tool/work areas. To make matters worse, these brazen buggers had recently gnawed through a hydraulic hose on his front-end loader and put it out-of-commission. Three hundred dollars of damage was done and the guy was really steamed. This sounded like a job for The Verminator, for sure!
I arrived before our pre-arranged meeting time of 9 o'clock and climbed into my new camouflage clothes. I slipped a bunch of .20 Predators into an over-sized pocket and then proceeded to uncase Brownie, my beloved .20 R9. Brownie had just returned from a trip to see Tom Gore at Vortek, Inc. where he used her as a test gun while working up a new high-power kit for the R9 platform. The freshly installed kit is designed to deliver an impressive 16+ FPE of critter-busting power while still exhibiting a very a mild-mannered shot cycle. The kit is also touted as being very quiet. I'll do a full review of this product soon, I promise. For now let me just say this, the kit seems to be a winner!
While I waited for the landowner to join me I took the opportunity to check my scope's zero and take some warm-up shots. I had recently mounted a 6-18x44 Hawke SR on Brownie and wanted to spend more time getting used to the very cool SR12 reticle that this model features. I set up some targets at 30 yards and put the new scope through the paces. I managed to shoot about 30-40 pellets downrange before the landowner arrived. To my great pleasure I found that JSB Predators were printing groups under a dime at 30 yards, and the groups I shot with JSB Exacts were even better. Seeing as the gun isn't yet broken in, I was very happy with this kind of performance. Another pleasant surprise for me was to discover that JSB Exacts can be used interchangeably in this gun with the much more expensive JSB Predators without messing up it's excellent accuracy. Very cool!
When the landowner arrived he directed me to the work area where the squirrels had been doing their business. I surveyed the area and tried to figure out a plan of action. The squirrels have been crossing about 50 yards of open space to get to the shed. The photos below are self-explanatory
The nutters are reputed to be coming from this direction:
But as we were talking I spotted a big red male behind the base of the large oak seen in this picture:
Unfortunately, there was no cover to be found between the shed and the nutter. Fortunately, the landowner had parked his vehicle in an opportune location and I was able to use it for support as I put my scope on the squirrel. The nutter didn't want to sit still at all, and he was moving back and forth as he went about gathering up his breakfast. He finally sat up on his haunches, quartering away, about 50 yards out. I stilled my mind, relaxed my body, let out a breath and a half and then launched a JSB Predator toward his main upper-body mass. POP! The nutter flipped over, kicked twice and expired. The landowner let out a big-*** exclamation of disbelief and trotted out to retrieve the squirrel. He was one happy fellow! (The landowner, I mean, the squirrel was indifferent at this point! Heheheee..)
The pellet had hit just behind the squirrel's right front leg, angled through his heart and lungs and came to rest just under the skin of the neck on the far side. I would say I planned it that way, but the truth is that it has become second nature for me to plot the angles of penetration needed to hit a squirrel's vitals. Every shot may be different, but all paths must lead to either the brain/spine or the heart/lung area for instant-kill results. This is not rocket science!
I spent the rest of the morning in the vicinity of the shed but no more nutters were seen. When the landowner took his lunch break he came by and picked me up. He then took me into town to eat with some of his buddies at a local restaurant. It turns out a couple of them have some pest problems, too. Imagine that! One guy has a couple of feral chickens that are driving him and his family nuts. Another has a small grove of black walnut trees that squirrels have infested. Another has a metal-shop with rats in the rafters. Yes, yes, yes! I can help them all! So they decided that what I need is to take a tour of the properties in question right after lunch. Very cool!
First up, the rat-problem guy. We go to his shop and sure enough, there is plenty of evidence that rats are present. I agree to help him out but he wants to get a video camera set up there first. He wants document my eradication process on You-tube for the world to see. I'll be using my .177 R7 with RWS SHP pellets on that gig.
Next we go looking for those noisy feral chickens. Yep, sure enough, these nasty critters have not only been waking up the neighborhood at all hours of the day and night, they have been tearing up this poor guy's winter garden, too. Chickens scratch around in loose soil looking for grubs and bugs to eat and this pair have been wreaking havoc everywhere they go. Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be found on this day. But I'll be back!
So off we all go to the third location, the small black walnut grove. At the moment these trees are still bare, but the trees that border the property are not. As we arrive I noticed the unmistakable outline of a nutter sitting on a horizontal branch on the edge of the property. I got out of the vehicle and uncased my R9. I then took careful aim, using the vehicle for support, and went through my pre-firing sequence. This was to be an easy 35-yard shot, and everything went just right. POP! The nutter came free-falling back to earth, accompanied by the hoots and hollers of the witnesses. Another Predator, another set of squirrel vitals turned into pudding!
As I went to pick the little male up, a small female (that I had not seen) went flying up one of the tallest trees on the property. She didn't stop until she got almost to the top. I spent about 15 minutes circling this lone tree looking for her before I realized that she was probably playing hide and seek with me. I motioned to the owner of this property to move around to the other side of the tree and he gladly obliged. It's funny how some hand-signals are univerally understood. I guess we all grew up playing "army" and "cowboys-and indians"!
Suddenly the little female emerged about 100 feet up, edging around the trunk, so I motioned to the landowner to stop. The upward angle was at about 75 degrees and it was difficult for me to hold my gun steady enough for a clean shot. I slowly lay down on my back, drew my knees up, crossed my right leg over the left, then used my right knee as a makeshift support for my gun. The squirrel remained motionless the whole time, believing itself to be undetected. I eased off my shot and it hit home. Pop! That sound was followed by the "plop" of a dead nutter hitting the ground and exclamations of disbelief from the onlookers. Boy, I sure do love those sounds! My pellet had entered below the right shoulder and passed through just below the right eye. Another instant kill, no fuss, no muss.
After I gathered up my kills we sat around and chewed the fat about air rifles and our respective childhood experiences with them. It seems every boy in America once owned a Daisy or Crosman pumper, or both. My R9 was passed around and everyone fired a several rounds. These rural fellows may be simple folk, but they aren't stupid. It was agreed that the R9 was in a whole other class than our childhood pellet guns.
During our entire conversation I was, of course, scanning the area constantly for fresh targets. I was rewarded for my efforts when I spotted what looked like a squirrel's head poking over the roof of one the buildings at the far end of the property. Dialing my scope up to 18x magnification verified my suspicion: there was a nutter spying on us at 46 yards out. I again used a vehicle as a support and fine-tuned my focus. I took a deep breath, relaxed, let out half a breath and eased off my shot. Success! Then familiar sound of a fastball hitting leather echoed back to us. More exuberant exaltation rang in my ears as my ego swelled and my chest puffed up! Ah, the simple pleasures
These are the four buggers that fell to Brownie, my mighty .20 caliber R9 Goldfinger that day. May they rest in pieces, er, peace!
As soon as I get a chance I will return to those other pesting sites and lay the all the nasty vermin found there low, I promise. Hehe..