Jul 17, 2009

Country Living

As mentioned previously, we just acquired a house. It's in what may charitably be called "The Boonies". Doing work around the house the other day I heard one of the neighbors up the hill shooting what sounded like a .22.

Today I was cleaning up some stuff from painting and noticed a woodchuck out in the yard... it took me about three seconds to decide that (A) woodchucks are now fair game again, and (B) no one calls in complaints for shooting around here. It took me significantly longer to find a magazine and a few rounds of .22 for the Savage... perhaps 45 seconds.

I chambered a round, opened the bedroom window, and, carefully checking my backstop (shooting down, into dirt, good to go!), squeezed off one shot. Woody flipped, twitched, twitched some more, and expired.

Years of hunting actually made this a less-clean kill than I might have preferred. Animals are shot in the chest cavity - the desired intent to disrupt the function of the heart and/or lungs. It is not necessarily a *quick* kill (as anyone who has blood-trailed a deer will testify), but it is an *effective* kill. A neck or head shot is far more likely to produce an animal with a non-mortal wound, and no ethical hunter wants that.

At this range, particularly with a scoped .22, a headshot should have been quite possible... but the last time I shot this rifle, it was zeroed for 100yd, not the 25yd I normally use. So - instead of a one-inch vital area (head), I took the three-inch vital area, and that was that.

The carcass was heaved over the embankment into the weeds; fodder for the crows and 'yotes.

I finished cleaning up around the house and headed off to work - and there was no parade of police cars and SWAT vans arriving in the meantime.

Ah, gracious country living. :)


GunGeek said...

Back in my living out in the middle of nowhere days, I liked to shoot varmints from the back window of the garage. The biggest problem I had was the dog very quickly learned that if he heard me take a shot he could run around back and get himself a free treat before I could get to it.

Rabbits, woodchucks, squirrels, etc.

Michael said...

I'm dying of envy. :)

Jay G said...

I hate you.

But not for the reason you might think.

It's not that you can shoot in your backyard without a SWAT team arriving. Sure, that's a bonus, but it's not the real reason.

The real reason: Your wife doesn't think groundhogs are "cute" and therefore not target-worthy...

Because the Aguilar primer-only .22LR rounds work well in my Smith & Wesson model 17 and make less noise than a suppressed Walther P22, and yet I haven't killed a single groundhog...

ZerCool said...

Your wife doesn't think groundhogs are "cute" and therefore not target-worthy...

MrsZ won't shoot them herself ... but doesn't complain when I do.

It helps that she's an avid gardener and critters munch crops.