Follow these tips for better small game hunting with your favorite air gun.
Fall means small game seasons. Early September trips start with squirrels, and the November trips start off with rabbits. Choosing an air gun puts another skill set to use, as air guns are a shorter range weapon of choice. The payoffs are quieter hunting, less spooked game and a closer interaction with nature. Here are some tips to be successful with a pellet gun.
Practice with your air gun. This is especially important as many hunting air guns are single shot, and single load. There is a lot of movement for game to see to reload an air gun so the first shot must connect accurately. Pellets are cheap to buy, so practice a lot. A backyard range or basement range safely set up can be a great all year long marksmanship practice. Or a local farmer may have pigeons, rats, groundhogs or starlings that have become a problem and be willing to let you practice on them.
Try to connect with head shots only. A miss is a clean miss, and a hit is a solid hit. Air rifles generally have less power than a firearm, so killing with head shots are a must.
What caliber? My pick is .22 caliber pellets. While calibers range from the fast but small .177 caliber bb sized pellet, to a large .50 caliber capable of taking down deer, .22 caliber has a good knock-down power ratio to its velocity also for small game. Small is fast, and big is slower but with more knock-down power. Also, .22 caliber pellets can be found easier at discount or sporting goods stores over calibers such as .20 or .25 so keep that in mind.
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Full concealment with camouflage. Cover all exposed skin, including face and hands. Remember you want to stalk in close to take that one, humane, lethal shot.
Find a good place to sit for squirrels and rabbits that move slowly through the thickets and keep your eyes and ears open. The rabbits will try to circle away from you and then back to their territories. The shots will be quick so be ready because they are only momentarily stationary.
As you move into the fall season, remember these tips when hunting small game with your air rifle. Using a pellet gun can be fun and is challenging to any hunter and you can bring home some small game for supper.