My favourite sort of hunting is long range varmint shooting, I normally get set up with Ghillie suit, range finder, binos and rifle on high ground waiting for the rabbits and foxes to show up. I ususally spend the last 3-4 hours before it gets dark glued to my binos looking along hedgerows and gullies for available targets.
Yesterday had not been very productive and for 3 hours sniping I only had 4 rabbits to show for it. I was on a new patch of land owned by a very good friend that allows me free run over all of his land, in total its about 1000 acres with some woodlands included. He rang me yesterday as he has a 100acre field of barley that is getting whacked by what he assumed was rabbits, so I set up 2 fields away on high ground and whacked every rabbit that poked his head out of the woods on the edge of the field. Considering the amount of damage done to the barley I expected there to be a lot more rabbits about. Then just as I was starting to lose daylight I noticed 2 munties enter the field at the farthest corner. I did not have permission to shoot deer on this particular permission so I thought it best to contact the land owner and make sure he was ok with me shooting them. Not wanting to risk spooking them by talking on the phone I sent a text message and just hoped he answered immediately. As I waited for the ok to shoot them another 2 more came into view from the same direction, now I had 4 munties 2 bucks and 2 does grazing on the barley shoots. I tried to text again and still no response...... As I watched them pass from left to right in front of me I started to plan which one I would shoot and I checked my drop charts to get the ranges right. They were now directly in front of me and i ranged them at 300-325yds which equated to 3.5MOA and with the 6mph cross wind I had to give it 1MOA windage. I also took readings for further along the hedgerow right up to the right corner which was 400yds and 5.5MOA, this was not a good shot though as I would be shooting at the rear quarter of the muntie..... Just then my phone gave out a shrill beep beep beep......AAAAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!!!
I had set the custom setting on my phone for telephone calls but hadn't set the text for vibrate only aswell. As the phone range the munties looked in my direction and the lead female started to trot off towards the farthest corner of the field, I though it was going to be a lost cause and I had lost my chance. I was given the all clear to shoot the munties so dialed in 4.75 MOA.... I was aware that a gate half way across the hedgerow was at 375yds and decided to try and take one of the munties as they passed the gate, the problem was the first 3 were now running too fast to take a safe shot, the last one though a smaller buck seemed to have an injury as he was struggling to keep up and was now about 20yds behind the others and his speed was barely faster than a slow trot.... I kept the windage at 1MOA and I didn't bother giving any lead. I aimed for dead center of its chest and squeezed the trigger.
The 80grain Berger Varmint hit the muntie at 375yds whilst he was trotting off towards the farthest corner of the field, the muntie dropped instantly and I reloaded and quickly got the crosshairs of my 5.5-22 x 56 Nightforce back on him, there was no movement at all.
The other 3 munties were now safely in the next field and out of my line of sight so as the light was diminishing fast I quickly dropped the ghillie suit and went to collect the rabbits and muntie. I had 4 good rabbits all with head/neck wounds and a muntie with no signs of an entry or exit wound.
I have just finished butchering the muntie and the bullet had hit just were I had aimed in the middle of its chest cavity. The bullet had smashed a lower rib, passed through the lungs, hit the ribs on the other side and bounced back into the chest cavity making a real mess of the lungs. This is probably why he has lost so much blood through its mouth on the floor of my boot in the car.When I took a good look over the muntie it became clear why this one had struggled to keep up with the others, it looked as though he had as some point lost the bottom of one of his hind legs.
Anyhow, enough of the Enid Blyton, here are the pictures. It never ceases to amaze me just how many munties there are in and around Leicestershire/Warwickshire/Staffordshire.
My total for this year since 1st January is 9.