Airguns for Hunting in Mississippi

No matter if it’s a BB gun or pellet rifle, the air gun is a fundamental building block of marksmanship training for hunters of all ages. Not only that, in Mississippi there are worthwhile opportunities for hunters to take their air guns to the woods. With the escalating cost and limited availability of ammunition lately, those nice big tins of pellets are looking more and more attractive with each passing day.

Marksmanship Training

BB guns are low powered but are great for learning the basics of marksmanship (grip, sight alignment, trigger control) cheaply and in the comfort of your own home. Modern air rifles of good quality are by nature far more accurate than most 22LR rimfire rifles. Rimfire rounds are by nature handicapped because of low quality control when firing bulk grade ammunition and the use of a heeled bullet. In comparison even inexpensive cast pellets and BBs are more aerodynamic and coupled with a modern air rifle will deliver consistent performance.

Air guns are so popular for training youth in shooting basics that most of the hunter’s education courses being taught in the state use one for the mandatory live fire section of the course. They are cheap to shoot, accurate, and limited in range.

Pest Control

During the winter especially, there are always issues with mice, rats, and other little creepy crawlies that are classified as pests. A good pellet rifle even in.177 caliber can take care of these without much issue. Be sure that you obey local laws as some cities in the state have town ordinances about shooting an air gun in the city limits, but otherwise feel free. Obey your basic firearms safety rules with pellet guns as they can still inflict bodily harm, shoot out windows, and generally disturb the neighbors. For these types of vermin as well as nuisance birds, a good quality, medium weight, wad-cutter (flat tipped) pellet will minimize the chance of over-penetration.

According to state laws, “all species of blackbirds, cowbirds, starlings, crows, grackles, and English sparrows may be killed without a permit when such birds are committing or about to commit depredations on shade or ornamental trees or agricultural crops.”

It’s best to remember that Mississippi is home to a number of endangered species of bats, turtles and rare snakes they are best to be avoided if you are unsure of the exact species in your sights.

Small Game

It’s legal according to MDFWP regulations to hunt all small game (rabbit, squirrel, bobwhite quail, raccoon, possum, and bobcat) with air rifles during the normal season by a licensed hunter.

While almost any BB gun or pellet rifle will take vermin sized animals (mice, rats) and pest birds such as sparrows, you will need a high-powered air gun that shoots pellets only to go after anything larger.

These hunting level guns start at about $59 and go rapidly up from there. To make sure you have a strong enough air gun, make sure that the FPS (feet per second) rating is 700+ for a.22 caliber, or 950+ for a.177 caliber gun. Benjamin Sheridan pump line and Daisy’s cock-action Powerline series can be had new for about $100. Slightly better rifles such as the Gamo Big Cat and Crosman Vantage are just $30 more expensive but deliver a lot more performance. Moving up the scale are Ruger Air Magnums, German-made RWS guns, Hatsans, Sumatras, and the Benjamin Marauders that go for as much as $400.

For hunting these tree rats and flop ears, look for a good quality, medium weight, domed pellet like the Crosman Premiere Light, RWS Superdome, or the JSB Exact. These can be had extremely cheap, the 7.9 Grain Crosman Premier run about $25 for 1250 pellets for example. Gamo has a new 0.36 gram.177 pellet that can penetrate 1.5mm rolled galvanized steel sheet and keep going. Called the “Lethal,” it’s a two-body design pellet with ultra-high ballistic coefficient, more terminal penetration, a stable flight trajectory, and a polymer skirt. These top of the line pellets cost about $20 per 100. With high-end pellets and a high-powered air rifle, lethal shots as far as 50-yards out are possible.

When going after bobcats, raccoons, and possums, 22 caliber or 25 caliber pellets from high-powered air guns should be the minimum.

With all small game taken with an air gun, it is absolutely required to get good, accurate shots in the small 1-2 inch kill zones of your target to ensure it goes down. Headshots are the rule to live by. Unless you can hit a nickel sized target repeatedly with your air rifle at 25-yards, practice until you can before heading to the woods.

Nuisance Animals

The State of Mississippi by Public Notice LE6-3779 lists beaver, coyote, fox, nutria, skunk, and wild hogs as nuisance animals. As such, the hunting of nuisance animals is allowed during daylight hours on private lands with no caliber restrictions–, which include air guns. While.177/22 caliber guns can take polecats with no issue, going after some of the larger game on this list may be problematic unless you have a big bore air rifle.

Speaking of which deer and turkey hunting with big bore air guns, while practiced in some states, is currently off the board in Mississippi– for now. In 2007, an Alabama man took two deer, including a trophy 9-point with a.50 caliber air rifle and one 200-grain pellet. With precedents such as that one, it’s likely just a matter of time before whitetails are being taken with air guns in this state as well.

Just be sure you don’t shoot your eye out.



Source by Chris Eger

How To Properly Make a European Skull Mount With Your Deer

So you’ve just bagged a big 8 point buck and you’re wondering how to have it mounted? Wonder no further because European skull mounts are getting more popular every season. They’re cheaper and arguably better looking than traditional shoulder mounts. Plus, you can even buy the materials to make it yourself for relatively cheap.

Now that you have your deer, use a skill saw and make a clean cut right behind the top of the deer’s head. If you don’t have time to clean the skull then simply place the head in a trash bag and keep it in a freezer until later.

Once you’re ready to get started, get a tall boiling pot and place the deer head inside. Make sure the boiling pot is tall enough where the deer’s nose isn’t touching the bottom. Now fill the pot with water until it’s covering everything but the horns. It’s not good to boil the horns but it won’t hurt if the water is touching a little. Now heat the water to a slow boil. You don’t want a rapid boil because this may cause damage to the skull and possibly cause teeth to fall out. You’ll have to let the skull boil for many hours before it’s fully clean. It’s good practice to check on it every 1.5-3 hours so you can scrape off any big chunks of meat and refill the lost water due to evaporation.

When you’ve removed everything you can by boiling, take the skull out and use a water hose with a wire brush to remove any remaining meat. When nothing but the skull and horns remain, use 40 or 50 volume peroxide to whiten it up. You can buy the peroxide any most beauty salons. When I went in to buy mine, the lady saw my camouflage and asked if I was there for peroxide so you may not even have to ask where it is.

Now put on some latex gloves and grab an old toothbrush. Be careful because this stuff will burn a bit if it comes into contact with your skin. Coat the skull with the peroxide then let it set for a few minutes. Rinse it off and repeat until it’s your desired color of white.

When your skull is done and cleaned, drill a 3/8″ hole in your mounting board and in the very back of the deer skull. Place the toggle bolt through the back of the mounting board and through the back of the deer skull. Make sure the bolt comes unlatched inside the skull and then tighten the screw until everything is secure. Now you’re done!

If you follow these directions, you should have a beautiful European skull mount to display in your living room, office or man cave. They’re a great way to show off your kill and you will have the satisfaction of telling others that you did it yourself. Happy hunting!



Source by Scott B Barnett

Pros and Cons of Bow Hunting vs Rifle Hunting

Most rifle hunters say that bow hunters should rifle hunt while bow hunters say that rifle hunters should pick a bow. In the end do what makes you most happy and most comfortable.

1. Pros-Bow Hunting: Bow hunters definitely don’t have the crowd that rifle hunters have to deal with. Bow hunters rarely see anyone else and being surprised if they do happen upon another bow hunter. Your chances of seeing bigger and more animals increases by 3 times. During the bow season elk and mule deer tend to stay out longer during the morning and come out earlier in the evenings increasing your odds for success. Hunting with a bow requires skill on many levels therefore making it more rewarding in a bow hunters eyes. The weather is better during this season.

2. Cons-Bow Hunting: Bow hunting is difficult. Your percentage for success is much lower than a rifle hunter. Bow equipment is more expensive than a rifle equipment. It can be very frustrating at times, I’ve talked to bow hunters who have spent all day stalking a trophy buck only to get within 70 yards and have the deer catch wind of the hunter and they vanish like a fart in the wind.

1. Pros-Rifle Hunting: Shooting a rifle through a scope at long range is fun and can be challenging especially if you’ve got buck fever. Your success for harvesting an animal increases greatly because of the distance the rifle has that the bow doesn’t. Rifle hunting doesn’t take as much practice as a bow does. It’s cheaper and more people can enjoy and go rifle hunting. The leaves have fallen off the trees making it easier to see the game from longer distances.

2. Cons-Rifle Hunting: Lots of people. Last year I counted 50 trucks coming into the mountain where I was hunting mule deer. Luckily I was already sitting in my position when the rest of the hunters started up the hill. The weather can be horrible and nasty. Many hunters love the cold, snowy, freezing weather because it brings out the deer however some people beg to differ.



Source by James Fackrell

Which Is The Best Deer Blind Urinal For Your Hunt?

A deer blind urinal is a tool that is used mainly by hunters. Deer are very timid creatures, which are capable of picking up the slightest sounds. Therefore, it is important that a hunter does everything he can to remain quiet and unnoticed.

There are a variety of blinds, like duck or deer blinds. Different blinds are used for different situations. Some blinds are easy to construct while others require a little more effort.

These blinds are not allowed in all hunting areas. Therefore, it is important that you find out the rules and regulations of the particular area before you begin your hunting trip. However, it is advisable that you opt for a place that does allow blinds or you will just have to sit under a tree and wait for your prey. Sitting out there in the open could minimize your chance of ever catching anything.

People who have used these deer blind urinals have seen an improvement in their hunting.

Blinds are made up of a number of features, therefore it is essential that you know a bit about them. These devices have very sophisticated structures; it is built in such a way that it conceals the hunter more or less completely.

Blinds are like little tents, but they are spacious enough for two people to fit inside comfortably.

The material used for these tents are usually fabrics is camouflage print. This allows the tent to blend in well with its surroundings. Animals are smarter than you think. If even a small part of these tents are left unsealed; it may alert the animal of danger and cause it to run away.

Deer blinds are of three types. They are:

* Tree blinds- as the name itself tells us, these are structured to suit trees. Most hunters prefer to sit in trees and wait for their prey. This is so because being so high up gives a hunter an added advantage. Animals least expect to be attacked from a tree top.

* Permanent- these are used very often by hunters. They are built on water and are quite easy to construct. As sounds made on water are hardly ever heard, a hunter using these does not have to worry much about scaring away their prey.

* Portable- as the names suggests these can be carried around and used as and when you require them.

According to what type of hunting you plan to do and the area in which you plan to hunt, you pick your deer blind urinal. Hunting Product Services can supply you with reliable blinds and hunting accessories.



Source by Alice Shown

How To Pick The Best Sniper Paintball Gun

The ultimate paintball sniper can turn the tide of a game by picking off key players with precision shooting. From long ranges and hidden vantage points paintball snipers can thin the ranks of an opposing team with very little ammunition. Unfortunately, average, basic model paintball guns lack the range and accuracy to be effective weapons for the paintball sniper. Proper sniping requires very specific equipment, mainly a sniper paintball rifle.

Take your time shopping for the best sniper paintball rifle however as there are many to choose from. Paintball sniper guns run a wide gamut of pricing, ranging from less than $300 to as high as $1300+. This leaves the novice with many questions as to which sniper tactical marker is better? Unfortunately, the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ does not always apply when it comes to these types of paintball guns; price alone is not the best way of determining which sniper rifle is best for you.

When comparing prices of sniper paintball rifles, most shoppers think the highest priced markers are the most accurate with the farthest range. The fact is amongst snipers, this is not necessarily true. Considering that all paintball guns (sniper rifles or not) shoot the same type of ammo (a round paintball) and use the same type of power source (either CO2 or compressed air), they generally shoot about the same distance. Most paintball guns shoot an accurate distance of 150-200 feet, no matter what kind they are.

There are however upgrades and accessories that can be added to basic model tactical style paintball guns that will help it become more accurate and shoot farther. These items also happen to be the same equipment used on the best sniper paintball rifles that sets them apart from the average marker. Adding a lengthier barrel, sniper scope, sight, laser, bipod or even higher velocity in your paintball gun will definitely add range and precision to any marker; they will also turn your gun into the ultimate paintball sniper rifle!

Comparing sniper paintball guns to regular paintball guns (non-sniper), you will find the snipers shoot considerably farther than basic models. However as long as the sniper rifles have certain specific accessories, they will outperform guns without them, but not necessarily amongst each other. When comparing sniper paintball guns to each other, they perform about the same; not one paintball sniper rifle is more accurate or much better than another, despite the wide differences in price.

When looking for the best scenario sniper paintball rifle, make sure it has specific characteristics for the ultimate performance. While nearly all paintball sniper guns have lengthy barrels 18 inches or longer, barrel length is somewhat controversial. Some nay-sayers feel barrels longer than 8-12 inches cause too much drag on the paintball reducing it’s velocity. While purists are convinced the longer the better, the reality of the matter is paintball barrels 18+ inches may add some distance and accuracy to your shot, however very little.

If you want the best performing sniper paintball gun, choose one with a rifled barrel. Barrel rifling in paintball guns is very much like what’s used on barrels of actual firearms. These are barrels with tiny grooves inside that reduce resistance and act to guide and glide the paintball for a straighter, farther shooting projectile. A sniper paintball rifle (or any paintball gun for that matter) with a rifled barrel is terrifically more accurate than one without.

Another characteristic to look for in the best scenario sniper paintball rifles is a sniper scope. While optical accessories such as scopes and sights are great for helping you dial in your target for better precision shooting; their usefulness is somewhat limited on a paintball gun. Even with a rifled barrel and higher velocity, paintball markers will still lack accuracy after a certain distance making it hard to pinpoint exact precision targeting with highly detailed long range optics.

Beware of the sniper paintball gun with extremely long range hunting scopes! While these accessories may give your sniper rifle a fierce look, their range is often much farther than what the gun can shoot. High magnitude sniper scopes can also be more expensive, driving the cost of your sniper paintball gun up unnecessarily. The best scopes for paintball sniper guns are lower magnitude hunting scopes, sniper scopes or red dot scopes; these are also often cheaper and much easier to use.

Sniper paintball guns that come with accessories that help you stabilize your shot for better accuracy are also a good choice. Bipods are easy to use, fold up when not in use and are terrific for keeping your paintball sniper rifle still while targeting or studying your opponent through your scope. Most tactical paintball markers include a buttstock of some sort, however the adjustable types are best to customize its size for a perfect fit against your shoulder or cheek.

While most paintball guns have an adjustable velocity, some tactical markers offer a higher range than others. These are preferred if you want a farther shooting sniper paintball gun however higher velocity performance often comes at a price. Realize that paintball guns are designed to shoot within a certain pressure range; when you exceed that pressure (or operate at its highest ranges), it’s much harder on the gun often leading to more frequent maintenance and sooner breakdowns. Shooting higher velocity paintball guns can also limit the amount/types of paintballs you can use; tournament grade paint or paintballs with fragile shells will frequently break in guns with too high a velocity.

In conclusion, don’t choose the most expensive tactical sniper paintball rifle thinking it’s the best because it costs the most. Realize the expensive price tag may be due to more costly accessories that might make the gun look cooler, however do very little to improve its accuracy or range. For the best performing sniper paintball rifle, choose a gun with a rifled barrel, low/moderate range scope or red dot sight, a bipod, adjustable stock and an adjustable velocity you can turn up for the occasional ultimate long range shot.



Source by Dan Levesque

Nikko Stirling Platinum Nighteater 1-Inch 4-16×44 Mil Dot Review And How To Find The Best Deals

If you’re in the market for a high quality rifle scope at a very good price then one well worth having a look at is the Nikko Stirling Platinum Nighteater. It is as at home on a springer air rifle as on a centerfire rifle and, depending on model can suit a wide range of hunting or target shooting needs.

In this article I am going to specifically look at the Nikko Stirling Platinum Nighteater 1 inch 4-16×44 model (mil dot) and tell you how to look for a good deal on one.

Nikko Stirling Platinum Nighteater 1 inch 4-16×44 Review

If you don’t know what those numbers mean by the way then I’ll briefly explain.

The 4-16 bit refers to the magnification. In this case 4-16 means that it can magnify anywhere from 4x to 16x. You d this simply by hand turning a dial on the scope body to change the level of magnification.

On the Nikko the 4-16 variable is nice and wide and will suit you for shooting anywhere from about 8 yards to, well, a lot further than most of us or our rifles can shoot anyway!

On some scopes, especially budget ones with large magnification ranges you may find that the higher magnifications produce a less than perfect image. In the case of the Nikko Platinum range this is not a concern as I explain below.

The Lens

The 44 means the “big end” lens size diameter in millimeters, or, as it’s known technically, the Objective. As a rough rule the bigger the better in terms of light capture, transmission and ability to acquire and track a moving target.

At 44mm this Nikko Platinum has a good all purpose medium to large lens which is ideal for hunting at all common ranges from 8 metres to 800.

Nikko lenses are well known for quality, made as they are in Japan to a very high, grade A, quality level so you know you will get excellent vision.

As one user comments “The scope is VERY clear and lets in plenty of light even when zoomed in all to way” So, as noted above, there is no problem as with cheaper scopes with clarity of vision even at the maximum zoom.

The Nikko 4-16×44 also comes with parallax adjustment by way of an easy to use side-wheel. Parallax, or rather the parallax effect, if you don’t know is where, targets will often “seem” to drift or wobble against their background making locking on them very difficult.

Parallax adjustment solves this by eliminating the wobble meaning you will shoot a lot better. The Nikko has a range of distance settings from 10 metres upward and is very easy to adjust.

Zeroing

Easy to use finger click windage and elevation turrets.

Windage basically where you can adjust the crosshairs left and right and elevation means up and down. So when you are setting the scope up you will take a number of shots at the same target point and depending on where they actually fall adjust the dials so that the shots go where the cross-hair says they will.

Looks Physically, it looks the business. It’s what is known as a full size scope so not one for juniors or small carbine rifles. Is very well packed and presented and also comes with quality flip up caps to protect the lenses.

How to Get a Good Deal on the Nikko Stirling 4-16×44

Prices are very reasonable for what you get with the 4-16×44 Platinum Nighteater. Expect to pay £140-170 for a new one in the UK and a similar Dollar amount in the USA. To find a good deal shop around online. On Google these days shopping results and prices appear very prominently so you will have no problem comparing results.

Just be sure you are buying from a reputable seller, check that they have stock, what their returns and support policy is and how long it will take to arrive. As ever online be sure to pay by credit card or Paypal so that you have maximum protection in the event of a problem.



Source by Nick Moseley

The History Of The Martin Compound Bow

Gail Martin was crazy for archery before he went off to fight in World War II and he was determined to come back and turn his hobby into a business when he returned. That was sixty years ago, and Gail Martin and his wife Eva succeeded in building one of the most successful bow hunting and archery companies in the USA that is still thriving to this day. The Martin compound bow is one of the most popular – and fastest bow available today.

Three generations of Martins have been involved with the Martin Archery Company since 1951 and the bows they have produced over those sixty years are among the finest available. A bow from back then, compared to one of today’s highly innovative Martin Archery bows, is barely recognizable, but Gail took advantage of every new materials innovation that would make his Martin Archery bows perform better than the competition.

Gail Martin never stopped designing and thinking of better ways to make bows. He invented the first fall away arrow rest, the first single cam and was the first to use riser vibration damping. Each of his innovations carries a patent, and there are approximately twenty-four, and no other archery company has survived as long under one ownership, in the USA.

The Martin Archery Company’s compound bows claim to be the fastest and most accurate bows on the market today – and there is little doubt that every inch of this bow means business, whether you are hunting big game in Africa or still-hunting deer in the USA, many hunters prefer the Martin Archery compound bow. All 2011 model bows now use the Power Tough Limb system, which are the most durable ever produced. Gail Martin’s patented vibration escape module (VEM) cancels out damper vibration for even greater accuracy. Brand new BCY Trophy material made by Gore, the Hammer Head strings eliminate peep rotation while drawing, which in turn eliminates string stretch so that every ounce of power is transferred to the arrow. Even the arrow shelf offers innovative and patented VEM silencing technology.

Gail Martin has put his name on the best and highest quality archery equipment for 60 years and all that knowledge has gone into designing and producing the Martin Archery compound bow. A compound made with all those years of passion and experience can only be one of the best in the world.

The Pro Series of compound bows consists of two choices of Shadowcat bow, a Firecat and a Crossfire compound bow. The Gold series offers seven different bows made for the most serious archers, with names like The Leopard, The Saber and The Silencer. You know these bows are built for business, and with so many sizes and choices, even the cheapest bow will delight any archer or bow hunter – you’ll soon want to move up to on of the Pro Series bows.

Gail Martin received the Washington State Life Time Achievement Award in 2003, and is a member of the National Bowhunter Hall of Fame. Check out the Martin compound bow that suits you best – you’ll be proud to own one of the finest compound bows on the market today.



Source by Ned D’Agostino

Parts of a Deer Antler – Deer Rack Anatomy 101

Deer antlers are an incredibly fascinating biological phenomenon. The shape of antlers range from very small sharp “spikes” to fantastical typical and non-typical racks. To better understand the parts of a deer antler, we will first examine some basic deer antler terminology, the difference between horns and antler then follow up with the correct name for every part of the deer antler.

Antler Terms

Point: a projection on an antler that is at least one inch long.

Rack: refers to the set of antlers on a particular deer. All racks are divided into two classifications; typical or non-typical.

Typical: typical racks are those antlers that look like a a classic or “normal” rack. On a 10 point buck (a buck with a rack that has a total of ten points,) the buck would show five matched points on each side, and the location of these points would be in typical locations.

Non-typical: non-typical racks, by definition, are racks that do not look normal. They may exhibit unmatched points (for example 3 points on one side and 5 on the other,) they can have points growing off of other points or the points themselves may be abnormaly shaped.

Antlers vs. Horns

Horns are found on mountain goats, bighorn sheep, bison and other game. Horns, unlike antlers, grow all throughout an animals life. If they are lost or damaged for any reason, they cannot be replaced. The surface of horns is made of a keratin, much like human finger nails. They are alive, in that they receive nutrients by blood vessels that are inside the horn.

Deer, like elk and moose, have antlers, not horns. Antlers, are not made of keratin, they are dead bone that grow out of the skull of the animal. Antlers tend to be much longer than horns, and have numerous branches. Deer grow yearly and shed their antlers on a yearly basis. Antler tissue is said to be fastest growing mammal tissue known to man. Even the largest rack on a mature deer is grown in about three to four months!

Parts of a Deer Antler

Pedicle: The base of the deer’s antler, where the antler bone meets the head of the deer.

Beam: The central stem of the antlers, from which all other points arise.

Brow Tine: The first division or point off of the beam.

Bay Antler: The second division (or point above the brow tine).

Royal Antler: The third division on the antlers (or point above the bay antler).

Surroyal Antler: The fourth division or point above the royal antler.

Fork: The end of deer’s antlers, where the central beam divides in two.

Palm: The end of a deer’s antlers where the central beam divides into several points, resembling the human hand.

Crown Tine: A tine growing at the very end of the deer’s antler, the points above the fork or palm.

These terms should help you correctly identify and discuss the different parts of a deer antler.



Source by Nick Moran

What Is a Break Barrel Air Rifle?

You may have heard of a break barrel air rifle, but you may not be aware of what one actually is. There are several types of air rifle but this type is quite unique in both its design and the way in which you use it. In this article we will look at what the break barrel air rifle is, how it differs from other types of air rifles, and we’ll also look at how the rifle is used and what it is used for.

There are so many different types of guns out there, so what exactly is a break barrel? Well it is a type of spring piston rifle, meaning that it uses a coiled steel spring-loaded piston, in a compression chamber. Cocking the gun compresses the spring ready to fire. Some spring piston rifles have cocking levers, compressing the spring by means of a lever on the side or underneath of the rifle. However, many spring piston rifles are operated by means of a break barrel. The name is a good description of what actually happens when you cock one of these weapons as the rifle is hinged in the middle and you ‘break’ the barrel in two to cock it. Break barrels are very popular, are produced in large quantities and so you can get a good break barrel for a decent price. A break barrel rifle can produce power from 600 FPS (feet per second) up to 1500 FPS.

This break mechanism makes it very different from other air rifles. What this means is it has a large diameter pivot bearing that acts as the barrels axle when the gun is cocked. The bearing is large to help spread the load. Some people worry that constantly breaking the gun, quickly, out in the field, could put the barrel out of alignment and reduce accuracy, but tests done on guns made by the same manufacturer, with the only difference being that one is a break barrel and one has a fixed barrel with a side lever, and no difference in accuracy was detected. This type of air rifle is often shorter than other types, meaning that they hold fewer rounds. They can also sometimes take longer to cock than those with a side lever and so taking fast consecutive shots can be trickier.

Break barrel air rifles are very common. They are a popular type and are used for many purposes. They are commonly used for hunting small game and birds, and for pest control purposes. You can easily use this particular type for shooting at targets or tin cans. Break barrels are available in a variety of calibers; the most common being the.177 and the.22 The.177 has a higher level of accuracy and a greater range, but the.22 hits harder and so is better for shooting animals of any size. A.177 will take out a bird or a squirrel, but a.22 is more suitable for anything larger than this.

If you are looking for a smaller, lighter and deadly air rifle do not hesitate to get one of these guns. They are the perfect gun for shooting small game, hitting targets with great accuraccy or just to use when you are bored!



Source by Ryan Chwiendacz

Four Essentials of Elk Antler Shed Hunting

Every spring thousands of outdoor enthusiasts head into the mountains in search of bull elk antler sheds. Most folks pick up 2 or 3 every season after spending hours combing the forest and mountains for sheds. I have lived in the eastern White Mountains of Arizona since the early 1990’s and have been hunting antler sheds every spring. I generally pick up 30-50 sheds a season and average one about every 2 1/2 hours. Here are some tips on how you can increase your odds of finding bull elk antler sheds.

OUTERWEAR

Mountain weather can be inclimate and change with very little notice. You will need to prepare yourself in advance by wearing the proper outerwear. First off, you need to be wearing a really good pair of boots. The terrain is steep and the footing is loose. Hiking shoes just won’t do the job. Hiking boots are better, but your best bet is a good leather Gore-Tex hunting boot. I prefer Danner Boots, they are comfortable and sturdy. Next is a regular pair of denim blue jeans. You are constantly going through brush, butt sliding, kneeling and occasionally slipping and falling. Nylon pants get tore up pretty fast. For a top layer, a wick dry tee-shirt along with a technical nylon or fleece top will work very well. You want to stay warm, but allow the sweat to be wicked away. It’s also a good idea to wear a bright color on top especially if you’re shed hunting with a partner, you need to be able to see each other from a distance. Camo is generally not a good idea. A good baseball style hat is also essential to keep the sun out of your eyes. I wear a long bill hat from my wife’s fly fishing guide business. This is mainly because you will not be wearing sunglasses, sunglasses tint the natural surrounding and you will not see the antlers laying on the ground unless they’re old white chalks. Sunglasses also make it difficult to use binoculars effectively.

EQUIPMENT

There are three essential items that you should carry with you at all times when you’re shed hunting. The first is a good pair of binoculars. I use a pair of 12×50’s that can be purchased for around $100-150. You also want to purchase the over the shoulder straps for the bino’s ($15). These will hold the glasses close to your chest and keep them from banging on rocks and hanging up in the brush. Next is a sidearm, if allowed in your state. You will be hiking into prime mountain lion country. I carry a.45 titanium revolver and it has saved my life twice by firing warning shots above charging lions. I have never killed one. (Perhaps a future story?) I simply will not go deep into the mountains without a sidearm and will not allow hunting companions to do so either. Finally you will need a 2000-3000 cu.in. backpack with straps that will clip and unclip the antlers onto the back of the pack. Preferably, also a bladder reservoir with a bite tube for hydration.

Remember, the points always are packed away from you and depending on the size of the antler, the button may point up or down….try not to let the points dig into your butt, or bang against your head. I can carry (3-4) antlers in this manner, then one in each hand if I find a real honey hole. Your pack should include: extra hardshell, in case of inclimate weather, radios, if traveling with more than one person (essential), headlamp, matches, map, GPS (optional) first aid kit, utility tool like a Leatherman, sunscreen, toilet paper, extra liter of water and your lunch. In some areas, such as the Blue Wilderness, I carry a lightweight climbing harness, a couple of carabiners, rappel device and a 100′ length of static rappelling rope for getting myself out of tricky situations.

RESEARCH THE FOUR ESSENTIALS

Now that you’ve assembled all of your outerwear and gear, it’s almost time to go elk antler shed hunting. However, to prevent you from wandering from mountain to canyon without purpose, you will need a good map of the area. The best are USGS topo maps available online – we like to laminate ours. I also like to utilize Google Maps and Google Earth. National Forest maps are also handy for finding roads for access into remote areas, but most the side roads are unmarked. The main thing is to have a “search plan” and stick with the plan. Your plan should reflect the four essentials mentioned below. Always let someone else know where you’re going and when you’ll be back. A note on the kitchen counter to my wife usually works for me. You also may want to carry a GPS and mark the location of your vehicle before you go trotting into a remote area.

As you plan your elk antler shed hunting adventure you should be thinking about four essential items: Security, Access, Conditions and Terrain. Any successful shed hunting trip will require all four of these items to be present. If only one essential element is missing, you will have very little luck finding sheds and likely be skunked. All we are doing is increasing the probability of finding an elk antler shed in a given area.

SECURITY

I believe that elk antlers are painful before they fall off. There is no scientific evidence that I am aware of to support my belief, but nonetheless I firmly believe this to be a true fact. The level of pain may be different for each bull elk, from a minor toothache to an abscessed tooth. The level of pain may also vary with age. So, take a minute and consider how you personally feel when you’re sick with a toothache, say maybe a root canal. Generally, you want to relax as much as possible, stay warm and comfortable, very little social contact, have water and food close-by, maybe sleep a little more than usual. Most of all, you really don’t want to be bothered. You just want to get this over with and get on with your life. My contention is that is exactly how a bull elk feels when those big antlers start to loosen up. They want to be safe and secure.

So, where would a bull elk feel safe and secure? The question is probably better asked where they wouldn’t feel safe and secure. Well, to be honest, definitely not around their girl friends, the cow elk. If I see loads and loads of fresh cow elk scat, I’m probably not in a good area for finding sheds. The bulls sometimes gather into smaller groups of 4-8 when they are about to drop, but most of the time this is a solitary event when it actually happens. They also do not want to be cold, they generally like to be as warm and comfortable as possible. I generally do not find elk sheds on north facing slopes unless I’m working a large mountain with deep backbone type ridges…even then, odds are far greater on the sunny sided slopes. This next one is very important, they also tend to avoid deep thick brushy areas, which are prevalent on north facing mountains. Remember, if you buy into my belief, these antlers hurt. They do not want them to be knocking against trees and bushes…kinda like stubbing a toe that you’ve already stubbed. However, the areas may be short and brushy, like a live oak forest with the height of the oak around 5′. This allows them to move around and carry the antlers above the brush, but have the ability to lie down in between them to seek protection.

The astute shed hunter would probably say, “Yea okay, but I’ve found a few sheds in wide open meadows”. My answer would be, “Sure, they are traveling to and from their water source and feeding area from a secure area”. Elk do not get delivered pizza when they are sick. In addition, you will typically find only one side in a meadow…they’ve already dropped the other one in their secure area. Finally, there is one last important point to be made about security – mountain lions. When a bull elk beds down, it’s usually not in a place where it can be easily attacked. They like to have good field of vision, which means quite often they like it higher up on the mountain. Overhanging rock ledges that they can tuck under are also places that always need to be searched. Think about when you were young and about to go to bed, but you have a tooth coming lose, you can’t sleep. Your parents would come into your bedroom and pull the loose tooth out – I always howled after the doorknob and the string trick! If a bull elk is bedding down and those antlers are hurting just enough that they cannot sleep, they will knock both of them off where they are bedding down. A matched bull elk antler set is almost the best possible find…next to a winterkill.

Good examples of secure areas are drainages and just below ridgelines. Please keep in mind, these areas can be quite large, sometimes a square mile.

CONDITIONS

This is the easiest of the essential elements and the one in which I see the most mistakes. Environmental conditions have a tremendous effect on where a bull elk may drop an antler shed. The main condition is weather and the other is the time of the year. I am going to make another bold assumption that is not based on scientific fact, but I know this to be true. A bull elk will not drop antlers in snow. However, they actually like being close to snow, specifically the snow line on a mountain. If you can determine where the snow line is on a mountain at the time of year when the antler dropped, you have saved yourself a tremendous amount of hunting in the wrong places (most common error). Typically, when I find a fresh brown antler shed the first thing I look at is my wristwatch altimeter and determine the elevation in which I picked up the shed. (A good reason to carry a GPS as well) Most of the time, there is no snow where I picked up the shed. I am attempting to determine the snow line on the mountain at the time of the drop. From that point forward, the highest probability of finding another shed is either 150′ above or below where you found the first shed. This means you are zig-zagging up and down the mountain. However, when you find your second shed on the same mountain, you are now adding to your database of knowledge to further refine your elevation search area. In the eastern White Mountains of Arizona and west Central New Mexico almost all of my sheds are found between 8300-9500.’ You will need to determine the average in your area in accordance with the snow line.

The other half of the equation is time of year. Bull elk generally drop their antlers over a 6-8 week period. In our region this is early March to late April. However, there is always a 10 day or so period when the majority drop their antlers. Large elk drop their antlers first. I consider a large elk anything over a 50″ main beam – usually a 6X. The medium-sized ones are next, around 36″ main beam and then the small 3X are last. Many shed hunters make the mistake of going out too early. Our area is packed with shed hunters early in the season, few are found. My early season adventures are usually on a sunny ridge line with 12×50 binoculars and a lunch. I’m watching the migration patterns and by the way, picking out the biggest racks.

Try to limit your search to areas a couple hundred feet below the snowline, using a zig-zag pattern during the time of year when they are actually shedding their antlers.

ACCESS

I have to include access as an essential element since this is a somewhat competitive adventure. If there are a lot of folks in the area in which you intend to hunt for sheds, you will likely not be successful. This is a major violation of the essential security element. However, it is important enough to warrant its own category. You may see bull elk in areas populated by humans, but they really do not like to shed their antlers unless they are traveling to and from a secure area. Think about it this way…if an ATV can get into your area, it’s not a good place to hunt for sheds. Bull elk do not like roaring ATV engines or diesel trucks for that matter. They like it secure, comfortable and quiet.

I sometimes utilize an ATV to get close to an area that I’ll be hunting sheds. But that ATV is typically parked at least a mile away from my target area. You do not want to spook them away if they haven’t dropped yet. You really do need to go in on foot, disturb as little of the area as possible and leave with your bounty. I have witnessed prime areas ruined by careless individuals.

This is a competitive adventure. If there are a lot of folks going into your area. It may be picked clean every year. If the access is easy, the masses will show up to hunt antlers. If the access is difficult, you probably have your own private hunting ground. Here’s another general rule of thumb, if a rancher is grazing cattle in your area, it’s probably not a good place to hunt sheds. Cowboys ride fence lines every spring once the snow is gone, they know their cattle allotment section like the back of their hand. Basically, you’ve had experts in your area for years picking up sheds.

The more remote and inaccessible by any type of vehicle including horses, the higher the probability of finding elk antler sheds.

TERRAIN

Elk can drop their antlers almost anywhere, we are only interested in the areas in which there is the highest probability of a “drop zone”. Quite often, this is where a bull elk will bed down. It also may be where they travel too and from a secure area. However, it is always an area in which they are familiar. When I go into a new area to “develop” I am looking for a specific type of terrain to match my other essential elements. I’m also looking for bull elk scat and tree rubs. Hey, wait a minute!! Bull elk rub the velvet off their antlers well after they shed. I agree, but they also tend to gravitate towards areas of familiarity. So, as I look at the ground and the rubbings on the trees, I’m also scanning the horizons with my binoculars…because I’m always looking for a specific type of terrain.

The best possible terrain is directional and prioritized in this order, south, southwest, west, southeast and east facing slopes. North facing slopes as mentioned earlier are almost always a no go, unless it is a large mountain with steep ridgelines that have sun-washed side canyons. As yet another general rule of thumb, grassy slopes are better than rocky slopes. If the slope is all rock, it’s probably not a good area. It has to have some grass with the rock…all grass with a few rocks is best.

Some of my friends kid me about have legs like a T-Rex. This is probably due to the fact that most of the sheds that I find are located on slopes between 30 and 50 degrees. If you’re unfamiliar with degrees of slope angle, a 12/12 pitch roof is 45 degrees. A lot of churches have steep roof lines similar to the terrain in which elk antler sheds are found. Obviously it takes a lot of determination to work your way up a steep slope hunting an antler shed. However, this is generally a secure area, with lots of visibility and often near a water source below in a canyon. The good news is, you get to stop every 50′ or so, take a break and scan the area with your binoculars.

A typical search pattern on a steep south-facing grassy slope would go something like this…First pass is the ridgeline itself, taking your time to look down into the slope and then back just off the ridgeline. The next pass may be 20-40′ below the ridgeline and usually at least one or two more passes even lower. However, if you’re just going to make one pass, you need to utilize a zig-zag pattern to cover as much area as possible. The whole time, your thinking about security issues for the elk, environmental conditions in the area during the time the snow line was present and access in regards to the remoteness of the area.

LAST WORDS

Please do not get discouraged if you read all of this information and do not immediately find an elk antler shed although all four essential elements are present. This is meant to be a fun guide to increase your chances of finding shed antlers. From the outset, you should consider your mission to develop areas where you know that they will be dropping. I have found hundreds and hundreds of elk sheds, 70% of them come from a dozen areas that took me years to explore and develop. I go into those areas three times each – early, mid and late season.

I do not sell any of my antler sheds. They are either gifts to family and friends or they end up in my workshop becoming lamps, end tables or candle holders. A hundred or so adorn the gateway to our mountain home.

AUTHOR’S NOTE

The eastern White Mountains of Arizona include the communities of Alpine, Nutrioso and Greer. The 538,000 acre Wallow Fire (Summer 2010) burned over 850 square miles of this beautiful area. We lost our home for 15 years along with two businesses due to the irresponsibility and negligence of the Apache National Forest Management Team. We presently reside 300 miles away at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.



Source by Eric Krueger