Last week I had the pleasure of sage rat (ground squirrel) hunting with Tim Titus of Predator and Varmint Hunting Gear Specialist | No Off Season - Guided Hunts
. Nothing quite prepared me, or my son and daughter, for the outrageous number of rats in the field near Crane, OR. We spent the day and the better part of 800 rounds of ammo knock 'em dead from 5 yds out to 300yds. My kids mowed through more than 500 rounds of .17 HMR, while I took my time shooting 200 rounds of .223 Fiocchi's tipped with 40gr Vmax bullets.
The CZ 17 HMR with a Leupold 3-9x proved itself a worthy varmint rig - it's hard to miss with this rifle out to 200 yds. The .223, a heavy barreled Tikka target rifle with a 16x scope, was awesome, and Fiocchi 40gr Vmax rounds dismembered the rats! Fur and guts filled the scope image after nearly every shot - this rounds makes the rats boil on impact. Very impressive!
Tim has a slick shooting set up and for lunch he whipped up a great meal around midday. After a hearty repas and the usual storytelling, it was back to the thundersticks. By now, seagulls and terns had moved in to feed off the hundreds of carcasses littering the field. Interestingly, the birds preferred centerfire kills - I guess the chitlins were easy pickins after the squirrels detonated with the Vmax .223 rounds.
Although Crane, OR is a helluva drive from most metropolitan areas, we were fortunate to find a good spell of weather for general aviation flying. The three of us landed in Burns, OR and then took a complementary airport loaner car out to the Titus Ranch B&B. Flying time was about 2:30 for 360nm. It was a quick getaway trip from northern California. I hope to do it again next year!