Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Mayhem

The action continued in the back yard today. After the twin killing on Saturday, I figured it would be quiet for a while. The rats had other plans.

On Saturday I killed two good-sized rats (over a foot-long each, head to tail), and watched a scrub jay carry off a mouse-sized third. Today I was out watering plants in the back when I spotted a juvenile helping himself to sunflower seeds next to the rail under the feeder. I broke out the R1 and took a seat about 20 yards away. As I was waiting for the rat to come back out, I noticed that the blue jay was also watching from his perch in the tree above. Clearly he was hoping for another steak dinner, but this rat (juvenile though he was) was much larger than the little guy he’d gotten before. So when the rat ran back out for another helping of seeds, the jay hung back. No worries blue jay, I’ll get this one.

The rat was running out of the ivy at the back of the yard towards my position, so my shot was almost exactly head-on. But my line of sight was partially obscured by the intervening grass, so I had to do a little bit of guesswork by aiming slightly low (through the grass in front of him). I squeezed the trigger and let fly the .20 Crow Magnum pellet. There was a thump, and I could see that there was some movement, but the rat was still in roughly the same spot, so I knew I must have hit him with a critical shot. Walking up to the spot, I saw what had happened. The pellet had gone just over his head and hit him through the spine. His hind legs were no longer functioning but he was not yet dead. He had turned around and was very slowly trying to make his way back into cover alongside the rail. He had made it about 6 inches before fading but I could see that he was still breathing. So I loaded up another pellet and put him down like Gene Hackman went down in Unforgiven.

See you in hell, William Munny

After disposing of the carcass and putting the gun away, I went back to finish watering and sure enough there was another juvenile doing the exact same shtick as the first. So I got the gun back out, went back to my shooting position and waited for her next approach. I had to guess again for exact placement, but this time the pellet flew true and the little lass went down without a fuss. In fact, it killed her so quickly, she still had a sunflower seed jammed in her mouth!

Lights out

After that, it was genuinely quiet, and I was able to enjoy the rest of my Memorial Day without further interruption. I had time to smoke a rack of baby back ribs over some applewood chips, and sip a couple of cold ones. I hope everyone else’s holiday was as enjoyable.


JP said...

Question: do you have good luck with .177 Crow Magnums? I had a Daisy 22SG that didn't like them (then again, BB said Different rifles have different tastes). I might try them in a Crosman I got working.
I don't really have rats around my area, but strangely, the mice around my house disappeared about the time I captured and got rid of all of the stray cats that were in the area. Anyway, enjoyed the hunt reading. JP

Kodiak said...

Thanks for leaving the comment.
I've had great luck with the .177 Crow Magnums. My only .177 gun is the Gamo 440, but I can keep pretty tight groups at my backyard ranges (15-20 yards). As BB also says, your effective hunting range is any distance you can keep your shots inside an inch. For my guns, that keeps the CMs on the table as an option. And the damage done by that massive hollow cup is substantial, which is why I usually reach for them first on rats.
So I hope you find a rifle that likes the CMs as much as mine seem to. Then if those mice (or any rats for that matter) ever come around your place again, they'll wish they hadn't. Happy shooting!