A blog by Bob Rich. Squirrel Hunting, Henry Rifles, Reloading, Range Shooting and More!

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

A good early 2012 woodchuck harvest w/ the Stag Arms AR-15

Chuck season started out with a bang this year. In recent years I have walked the swamps rarely seeing a single woodchuck during an entire summer. For some reason which I can't explain, this year has been different. The first day out I saw 4 chucks, and the next hunt a few more. That's more than I usually see in an entire year in this location! Both days I bagged one within minutes of beginning the hunt.

The first chuck popped out of the brush and onto the path, and ran full out away from me. I took a shot and missed... and stove-piped! I kept on its tail and managed to clear the rifle while on the run. For some reason this chuck didn't decided to break right or left for cover, but instead kept running straight down the path. That gave me a second shot which rolled it.

The next chuck was hit about 30 yards away. I saw it about 75 yards out and froze. It started running right towards me, and when it got a decent distance away, I pulled the trigger and it went down. Both days I had numerous chuck sightings, but most were momentary. I'd come around the corner, the chuck would spot me, take a few steps and break off into the tall grass. When that happens it's gone. Both days I also got a shot at another chuck, both standing still at a distance.

Stag Arms AR-15 w/ .22 rimfire bolt carrier conversion kit

One was a miss and the other appeared to be a hit, but it made it back into its hole. That's something I really hate to see happen. I go for a clean kill and extremely dislike wounding an animal and letting it escape. Woodchucks are strong, and I'll repeat what my older brother taught me when I was 12. "Shoot for the head or neck so you roll them away from the hole. If not, you'll wound them and they'll make it back into their den." It looks like that's exactly what happened this time. When I was a kid I used to hunt wide open fields, which would give me shots of chucks standing up outside their den. These days I hunt the swamps. Rarely do the chucks stand here, and most are far away from their dens, walking the paths for food. They are usually on high alert and ready to run and hide. And that's what makes chuck hunting so fun and difficult.

The summer has turned so hot that the swamps have been infested with mosquitoes and other bugs, making it just miserable to hunt. West Niles Virus has been discovered and the state is not longer spraying, so hunting has become a health risk as well. For that reason I'll only go into the swamps when the night temp goes down into the 60's. That means I'm hunting at 6am and out of the woods by 7:30 or so as soon as everything comes alive.

Squirrel hunting begins and once the squirrels begin being hunted I rarely see a chuck. Maybe it's because my eyes are looking up and not focused as much on the ground. For whatever reason, I'm looking forward to squirrel hunting September 1st and 2nd. The 1st is a holiday and the 2nd a vacation day from work. I hope you guys make it out, have good luck and a lot of fun. Keep me posted and I'll do the same.



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