A Low Stress Hunt

A Low Stress Hunt

A Low Stress Hunt

I love hunting but some of our hunts are high stress, aren’t they? For instance, let’s take an elk hunt. 

It takes scouting, buying supplies which takes a couple of afternoons after work, packing, which takes quite a few afternoons, repairing equipment before you head up, and sighting in your rifle. 

I love elk hunting but sometimes I enjoy a good low-key hunt. You know, just grab the air rifle, snacks, bottle of water and you’re good to go.

I had an opportunity at a hunt like that yesterday. A buddy had given me a landowner cow tag last week right over the northern border of Nevada so I needed to go down to the ranch to see him and get him to designate on the map where I could hunt.

While down there why not dove and pigeon hunt in the feedlot?

In case I got into a herd of doves congregating before they head south I figured I ought to throw in my Mossberg auto. But for the bulk of the shooting I planned on using my Benjamin Marauder .22 cal. airgun.

I took care of my elk tag business, shot the bull and caught up with a few old friends and then hit the feedlot. 

Whoa, it looked like a nuclear testing zone. No sign of doves or pigeons. I then hit a draw where we always get a lot of shots at doves. Nada! Nothing. Not looking good.

There is a big set of silos where I always get a lot of pigeons so I hit it and did not see one single bird. I then met up with a buddy and he told me he’d get one of the cowboys to go with me. 

The cowboy told me all the pigeons had been congregating on the south side of the feedlot and the doves had been in the trees on the fence line.

We headed down there but still weren’t seeing much. Then, we found some doves in the trees. I got a couple of shots and if I remember right I knocked down two. Then we found a big flock of about 150 pigeons.

They were either spooking before we could get a shot or in the middle of a bunch of cattle so we never could get many shots. The cowboy finally had to go back to work so I went back and checked the silos.

I don’t know if they had finished feeding or we had spooked them and had them moving around but whatever the deal, about every 2-4 minutes a small flock would fly up and land on top of the silos and I had steady shooting for a while.

Wow, I love my Benjamin Marauder. It is super accurate. I’ve got a Leupold airgun scope on it that is crystal clear and it is a tack driver. To class it up a little I put a Boyds Stock on it. Then of course it’s important to use good pellets if you want to get any degree of accuracy. 

I couldn’t tell on one shot if I hit the pigeon or not so let’s say I missed. But regardless, the Marauder hit 23 of the first 24 shots. It was fast shooting. I was only going to stay for ½ a day since I had a lot of articles due but I ended up shooting until after 3 p.m.

I wanted some birds to make jalapeno poppers with. I just got a new Case knife, their Trapper model and it worked great for boning out the breast. 

I think I’ll use it from now on whenever I’m cleaning birds. (You can check out the Trapper knife on an upcoming Product Review on AmmolandShootingSportsNews).

I got home before everyone else so I whipped out a pile of fajitas and made some poppers. Of course, how can poppers not be a hit? They were wrapped with pepper bacon. An airgun pigeon hunt is a great hunt to take your kids on.

Tom Claycomb is an outdoor enthusiast and writes a monthly column for the Humboldt Sun.