by B.B. Pelletier
First, an apology from yesterday. The blog would not accept comments until MajorKonig pointed it out to me. Blogger’s default, which they hide from you in editing, is to not accept comments. This one time I forgot to go in and change that. Blogger software has recently been “upgraded,” which I am sure has made some people very happy. For me, the changes have increased the workload. I work on a Mac platform with a Mac-specific browser and Blogger is apparently PC-dominated. Recent changes have disabled one of my favorite browser from working with the Blogger software.
Are you interested in hunting with an airgun? Do you want to see how big bore airguns perform in the field? Well, if you do, there’s a new hunting video from Bigbore Video Productions that fills both requirements.
Eric Henderson is a big bore airgun hunter who makes videos of hunts so more people can enjoy the sport. He hunts in the U.S. and in South Africa, and he introduces other airgunners to the sport at the same time.
Maybe you own a Big Bore 909 from Sam Yang or a .50 caliber Dragon-Slayer, and you wonder how and where it can be used. Eric takes seven other hunters and himself on several hunts at the Wildlife Ranch in Mason, Texas, where they hunt exotic animals such as Jacob 4-horn sheep, Ibex, Catalina goat, axis deer, fallow deer, Texas dall sheep, aoudad sheep, Black Hawaiian sheep, mouflon sheep, corsicans, elk, red deer and many other species. The ranch is open year-round, so anyone can fit this kind of hunting into their schedule.
Wildlife Ranch has leased 20 different ranches located near the Mason area, so the hunting area is expansive. The game has every advantage. In other words, you really have to hunt!
Each hunter is guided by the ranch, which is included in the fee. Eric goes along with each hunter to record the event both for them and for you.
If you’ve watched hunting shows on television, there are two differences between what you see there and this video. First, Eric usually shows you the entire approach to the game. There’s no cutting to commercials or cutaways to interview celebrities. It’s all just hunting. Oh, he does interview the hunter, but not during the action.
The second difference is one that took me some time to appreciate. I have hunted quite a bit with modern centerfires, and I’m used to one-shot kills that drop the game quickly through hydrostatic shock. Hunting with a big bore airgun isn’t like that. It’s more like bow hunting, where the game takes some time to bleed out and expire. The big bullets move slowly compared to a bullet from a centerfire rifle. But they weigh many times as much as the centerfire bullet does, so when they hit they penetrate very deep. If your aim is good, they’re just as effective as supersonic bullets, but the kill usually takes longer. Bowhunters will be familiar with this kind of hunting; but, for someone used to a small, fast bullet, it takes some time to adjust your thinking.
And, Eric doesn’t edit the time between the shot and the kill, like they do on TV. You watch the entire hunt, just as though you were with the hunters.
The Texas scrub country where they hunt is wide open and strewn with rocky outcroppings, so stalking is possible but tricky. The ground crunches with every step that’s not on rock, so stealth is important, because these animals are very wary.
One thing that surprised me were the number of shots that completely penetrated the animal! Elmer Keith wrote extensively that slow-moving lead bullets or balls would out-penetrate a lightweight .30 caliber bullet from a .30/06, and these hunts seem to bear that out. The shots are taken at 50-90 yards and at least one time Eric slows the motion enough that you can actually see the 405-grain lead slug fly from the rifle to the target.
Besides the hunts, there is footage of the ranch. You become familiar with how they operate, and you get the feeling that this is something you could do. Between hunts, Eric shows you examples of the other exotic game on the ranch, and some of those shots are idyllic. I remember in Europe where a red deer might have cost several thousand dollars (back in he 1970s) and you got only one if your name was drawn from a lottery. Here there are plenty of them!
There are two separate hunts on this video. The second one is a much larger group of hunters, and one hunter, Big Bore Bob, takes his animal with an antique outside lock rifle equipped with open sites. This one shot a round ball, so you don’t need those big slugs to do the job.
If you ever needed motivation to buy a big bore air rifle, here is more than one hour of it in the comfort of your own home.