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Old June 23, 2014, 09:06 AM   #1
Brian Pfleuger
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First Real 'Chuck Hunt In Years

My uncle and I used to hunt woodchucks very often during our short NY summers. It was not unusual for for us to shoot 75, occasionally over 100, each.

Unfortunately, we pretty much ran out of places to go, as they were all leased off to deer hunters. Well, we just found out that our long time favorite (and most productive) spot was available, as the deer lease guys only care about deer and turkey season.

Obviously, we got on it right away.

I was a bit worried because I've been told over and over again that the coyotes had almost eliminated the woodchuck population in that area.

Boy, were those guys wrong!

Within 30 seconds of starting our walk, we were on the ground lining up the first shots. My uncle had not used his gun (Rem700 .22-250 Bushnell Elite 8-32) for precision work in quite some time and had made an adjustment, which proved excess, after shooting a couple shots at home. He shot twice and went over both of them (225-ish yards). No trouble, drop it 1 MOA and we're good.

Many of you have read my stories about my .204 (Ruger M77 MkII, blued, wood, Mueller Eradicator 8.5-25). All I need to say is that it will be a sad, sad day when I burn that barrel out. That gun is *stupid* accurate. I made shots from 75-250 yards, 8 for 8. I only missed one and it was pretty much the definition of a lob shot. We couldn't get a range, only knew that the trees behind him were 585 yards. He was anywhere from 50-100 yards diagonally in front of the trees, so I went with poke and hope. Missed him. I hit one that was about the size of a 20oz Pepsi bottle, at 180 yards from a sitting position. That was a nice shot.

This is my first hunt using 39gr Sierra BKs instead of 32gr V-Max. True to form, my Ruger eats anything I put in it and spits them into holes a quarter will cover at 200 yards. As usual, I didn't even bother looking for an "accuracy load". I just loaded up to max (give or take, unpublished data) and went with that. I swear, I'd have to look for an INaccuracy load with this gun.

Anyhow, these Sierra's are impressive. Anyone who's hunted with the .204 (especially with Hornady V-Max) knows that it quite often looks like you've basically scared a woodchuck to death. You'll find a pin hole and nothing else. This is especially true at close range (50 or so) and long range (over 250). Not so with the BKs. They are De--struc--tive. I hit one at about 75 yards that literally blew to pieces. I've never seen a .204 do anything like that. The front legs and forward were found 15-20 feet from the body.


Anyhow, long story short, it was good to be back out there. Good day, 15 total, 15 for 19 even counting my lob shot.
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Old June 23, 2014, 09:22 AM   #2
Doyle
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That is something I've always wanted to hunt. No huntable populations here to speak of. Supposedly, northern AL has a somewhat huntable population but that would be several hours away.

I've heard they don't taste too bad if you get them young.
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Old June 23, 2014, 01:55 PM   #3
Brian Pfleuger
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First Real 'Chuck Hunt In Years

My dad has eaten them when he was a kid and they were broke. He has 16 brothers and sisters. No TV show to supplement the income back then.
Personally, after seeing all the fleas and ticks and other nasties they have, I wouldn't think of eating one.
They live on the farmer's best alfalfa though, so they'd probably good eating if they weren't so nasty.
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Old June 23, 2014, 01:57 PM   #4
Doyle
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You want to see nasty with parasites - take a look at a Florida hog.
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Old June 24, 2014, 09:02 AM   #5
AllenJ
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Quote:
You want to see nasty with parasites - take a look at a Florida hog.
I was going to say the same thing about California hogs in the spring. Covered with fleas and ticks.

Brian, it sounds like you had a great time and made some nice shots, good job. I wish we still had those critters around here. I moved to Northern CA in 1972 and they had been eradicated by then.
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Old June 24, 2014, 09:31 AM   #6
Doyle
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Allen, funny you should mention California hogs. I watched the game warden show on TV (where the game wardens are trying to catch poachers). I think that California is the only state that would actually have the game wardens waste time and money trying to catch "hog poachers". Every other state recognizes that wild hogs are a very bad thing and actually encourage hunters to kill as many as they can.
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Old June 24, 2014, 10:07 AM   #7
Brian Pfleuger
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Actually, they are now illegal to hunt in NY State too. The official reason?

To ensure the success of eradication efforts.

Yeah, you read that right. We're not allowed to kill them because they want to make sure they're all killed.

There's not even an appropriate smilie for that.
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Old June 24, 2014, 10:57 AM   #8
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I have got to go prairie dog hunting a few times.
I suspect pretty much the same kind of shooting and fun.
Most shots between 75 - 250 yards.
Hit them with a 65gn 5.56 round and watch them explode.
The buzzards sure loved the carnage - pre-chewed prairie dog
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Old June 24, 2014, 02:34 PM   #9
AllenJ
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Actually, they are now illegal to hunt in NY State too. The official reason?

To ensure the success of eradication efforts.

Yeah, you read that right. We're not allowed to kill them because they want to make sure they're all killed.
I did not know any other states used "California Logic"!
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Old June 24, 2014, 02:48 PM   #10
Brian Pfleuger
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I didn't know other state's used NY Logic.

Yep... right there in writing too...

http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/70843.html

Quote:
Hunting or trapping of Eurasian boars is now illegal in New York State. A new regulation was adopted on April 23, 2014 that prohibits the hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boar statewide. The regulation provides exceptions for law enforcement officers, farmers, and landowners who are authorized by DEC to take Eurasian boar to alleviate nuisance, property damage, or threats to public health or welfare. This regulation is necessary to ensure maximum effectiveness of DEC's statewide eradication efforts.
The supposed "logic" is that if the lead male is killed the group may split into two groups, each with it's own breeding male and the population will increase faster than the single group. Even if that's true, I'm quite sure that "KILL THEM ALL!" would be a better strategy than "Don't kill them so we can make sure we kill them!"
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Old June 24, 2014, 03:14 PM   #11
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Brian, I find it interesting that the statute specifically restricts hunting of Eurasian hogs. Actually, it resticts "boars" so if you only hunt sows I guess you are technically legal. However, where I am going with this is are there no "piney rooter" feral hogs in NY? Piney rooters are the feral descendents of ordinary domestic hogs. They are the principal neusance hog in most states.
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Old June 24, 2014, 03:31 PM   #12
Brian Pfleuger
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The state defines "Eurasian Boar" as essentially any wild pig...

Quote:
Eurasian boar are native to Europe and Asia. Also known as Russian boar, wild boar, wild hog, razorback, or feral swine,...
I've long been confused about the supposed invasion of these pigs in NY State. I always hear that the breed like rabbits but then I've been hearing rumors that "they're just one valley over, they'll be here any day now" for literally YEARS and I've still never laid eyes on one and only know a couple of guys who claim to have ever seen one. If they breed like that, my God, these valleys aren't but a couple hours walk wide. They surely ought to be here by now... by ten years ago, I should think.
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Old June 24, 2014, 06:18 PM   #13
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I was just in your neck of the woods (Owego) spending some time at my fathers. In previous years it had been typical in a week to shoot at least 5 woodchucks in his backyard when I'd be home on leave visiting. I just put together a .17HMR as a "newly divorced better blow some money" gift to myself and was hoping to put it to good use. Didn't see a single chuck, just a few rabbits in the garden, which the .17 made short work of. Good to hear that they aren't all gone, my fondest childhood memories are a split between squirrel hunting and woodchuck shooting.
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Old June 25, 2014, 12:50 AM   #14
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not many

Sorry Doyle,

But there are not many groundhogs left in northwest Alabama, at least in
hunt-able numbers. Oh, you see a few, in and around kudzu usually, and usually around town, where the coyote numbers are down a bit. ( I shot one out of an old timers garden a couple of years ago with my grand dad's .22 short) but you never really see many out in the country in the hayfields, etc where one could hunt. I do believe the coyotes smell them in the den, and wait in ambush till one shows.

I'd hazard that E. TN, and S. Virgina are about where huntable numbers start these days in the south.
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Old June 25, 2014, 10:51 PM   #15
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1. I am truly at a loss for words on NY law about hogs, if it weren't so pathetic it would be funny.

2. Groundhogs are a hoot! We have a ton of them here in NE OH. It's like live action range shooting with reactive targets. I usually use my .223 bolt gun, and with a 69 grain bullet, seeing them split in 2 is more common than seeing a hole (or chunk missing usually). It is overkill for sure, but I just use my coyote load as it is very accurate and I know my dope by heart for it.
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Old June 26, 2014, 10:14 PM   #16
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Does Chuck Hawks know you're Chuck hunting?
He should advertise with Google!
http://www.chuckhawks.com/
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Old July 3, 2014, 06:39 PM   #17
Kimber84
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First Real 'Chuck Hunt In Years

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Pfleuger View Post
Anyhow, these Sierra's are impressive. Anyone who's hunted with the .204 (especially with Hornady V-Max) knows that it quite often looks like you've basically scared a woodchuck to death. You'll find a pin hole and nothing else. This is especially true at close range (50 or so) and long range (over 250). Not so with the BKs. They are De--struc--tive. I hit one at about 75 yards that literally blew to pieces. I've never seen a .204 do anything like that. The front legs and forward were found 15-20 feet from the body.

Interesting what you say about the v max bullets not doing damage, the last two I've killed all but turned them inside out with the 32 grainers.

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; July 3, 2014 at 07:10 PM.
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Old July 3, 2014, 07:07 PM   #18
Brian Pfleuger
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First Real 'Chuck Hunt In Years

It depends on the distance. Very close range, I think they blow up and don't exit. Long range, I think they either blow up and don't exit or don't have enough energy to blow up and just expand and don't exit. In between ranges, like say 50-250, give it take, they often are quite violent. Nothing like these Sierras though. I've killed literally hundreds with the 32gr v-max at distances from a few feet out to almost 400 yards and never, ever, seen anything like one blown in half with part of it blown several yards away.

I was always perfectly happy with the v-max. I only got the BKs because someone told me they have always found them to be super accurate so I was curious.
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Old July 3, 2014, 07:43 PM   #19
Kimber84
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I should post some pictures of the last couple, but I'm afraid I'd get banned.

Ha.

I agree, a majority of the time damage is minimal, but I see them now and then and it looks like a lapua hit them. Seems to just be a matter of what part of them is hit.

I'm with you though, I've found nothing that .204 won't shoot well. I'm at book max on the charge weight and have zero pressure signs. Makes me wonder what I could push it to. That being said it shoots great and in calm conditions will regularly knock out varmints at 500 yards.
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Old July 3, 2014, 08:47 PM   #20
Brian Pfleuger
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First Real 'Chuck Hunt In Years

No trouble with "dirty" pictures of dead critters. It's best to make it a hotlink and add a graphic warning rather than making them inline images visible without warning.

I have an RSI Pressure Trace and QuickLoad. I ran my loads up to 0.8gr over book max. Got the 32gr v-max up to 4,150. Accuracy was no better (or worse) so I figured no point in wearing out a super accurate gun for next nothing.
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Old July 5, 2014, 07:52 PM   #21
Unlicensed Dremel
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The supposed "logic" is that if the lead male is killed the group may split into two groups, each with it's own breeding male and the population will increase faster than the single group. Even if that's true, I'm quite sure that "KILL THEM ALL!" would be a better strategy than "Don't kill them so we can make sure we kill them!"
Ha, ha, lefty logic.... Lemme guess - they're gonna catch them all and neuter them, then release! Lefties love that - performing spay and castration surgeries on deer - seems like it was NJ or NY back then too - maybe MD - some gun-hating place.
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Old July 7, 2014, 04:53 PM   #22
Brian Pfleuger
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First Real 'Chuck Hunt In Years

Well, it may just be that those explosive result with the BK were just outliers on the randomness scale.



I got 3 more the other day, at ranges from about 75, 150 and exactly 270 yards and the results were about like I expect from the V-Max.



The 150 yard was the most violent. (Warning graphic)
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/07/08/a9ygu2a5.jpg



The 270 yarded looked almost like I scared it to death:
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Old July 9, 2014, 10:11 PM   #23
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Sounds like you had a great day. After moving away from PA, I haven't hunted a chuck since. I miss it. Looked forward to groundhog hunting every year then. June and early July, essentially after the hay is cut and still hadn't grown more than 6-8" is the best time and the little ones are big enough to fend for them selves by then.
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Old July 10, 2014, 11:30 AM   #24
Doyle
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Rimfire, don't you have some chucks in TN?
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Old July 10, 2014, 11:59 AM   #25
Brian Pfleuger
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Originally Posted by 22-rimfire
June and early July, essentially after the hay is cut and still hadn't grown more than 6-8" is the best time and the little ones are big enough to fend for them selves by then.
Yeah, we're just about at the end of the first "season". Grass will be too tall soon and already is in places. They'll cut it again in a couple weeks and we'll be good to go for another month or so.
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