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The Wily North American Whistle Pig


I don’t want this to be a Dr. Phil article but have you ever sat down and thought about why you enjoy getting out hunting, fishing and backpacking? There’s something rewarding about getting outdoors, living off the land and feeding your family. But, it’s also a good excuse to get out and enjoy God’s creation.

Then I think another factor is that we live in a high-speed world. I know I do. For the last 2 ½-years I fly out 3-weeks and am home a week. On top of that I have to get in 325 articles/year, just picked up 46 more articles in January and conduct 40-60 seminars per year. And I’m not the only one that lives a high-speed life.

So I think a big reason we like to get out is to clear our heads of all of the worldly bull. When you’re in the mountains you don’t worry about bosses, 401k’s, America’s current situation… you fill in the blanks. You get outdoors and can escape from it all and recharge.

With the above said, I just got back home from an airgun ground squirrel hunt out in the ranch country in SE Oregon. I’d just got home from a 3-week trip and it was nice to get out with not a care in the world.

Umarex Airguns has labeled 2022 as The Year of The Airgun. If you’re not into airguns, you’re missing out on a lot of fun. There’s nothing more relaxing than an airgun hunt. Just by the very nature of airguns you expect it to be a fun kicked back hunt.

It’s a great hunt to take your kids on. They don’t have to be quiet or set still for hours. You’ll have some great daddy/daughter talks. It’s the ultimate parent/kid hunt. Plus, airguns are quiet so you don’t have to wear hearing protection.

If your little girl doesn’t want to kill anything, no biggie (I’m a daddy of all daughters). There’s a ton of cool airgun targets. Spinners, shooting galleries and so forth. Or if you’re on a tight budget take a bagful of tin cans and plastic bottles filled with water. I still like shooting them, don’t you?

I went on this hunt by myself and had a great time. I think the high desert country is beautiful in its own forlorn way. Usually there are thousands of whistle pigs on this ranch but the plague must of swept through which happens periodically in colonies.

Despite the low numbers, I did get enough shooting to make it fun and did make one 83-yard shot. So I’d highly recommend you grab an airgun and get out now that it’s spring. Due to the ammo shortages/exorbitant prices the last couple of years, hunting with airguns is the way to go and almost makes the Umarex slogan “2022, The Year of The Airgun” prophetic!

Airgun Hunting Gear You Should Take

  • On this hunt I took the Umarex .25 cal. Gauntlet and .22 cal. Origin. I’d recommend using a .22 but the .25 is even better. I like PCP airguns but they are more expensive than a break barrel so check out the Ruger Targis Hunter Max. It’s a hard hitting .22 caliber air rifle that will easily do the job.
  • Scope with at least 4-12x magnification since you’ll be shooting small game.
  • A bi-pod to shoot off of. If you’re a kid on a paper-route budget tape two ½-inch dowel rods together 6-inches from one end and spread them out to shoot off of.
  • Take a pad to set on. Or better yet a lightweight backpacking chair so you’re elevated and can see over the brush.
  • All pellets are not created equal. Choose good pellets to get good groups.

If you don’t have ground squirrels where you live, find another quarry. What about pigeons, starlings, farm rats or the wily tin can? After all, it is the Year of The Airgun Hunter so get out and become part of it!

By Tom Claycomb III

Photo Cut Lines:

1658-There were hundreds of white-face ibis out on the prairies.

1691-Farmers and ranchers wil thank you for thinning out the whistle pigs. They are prolific breeders and will destroy a pasture or field if left unmanaged.

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