As I pulled into the hunt area I could see a few dogs out in the vegetation. I got geared up and was hunting fifteen minutes later. Since this was the first time I've hunted prairie dogs with the Monsoon, I gathered up the first three I dropped with it, and grabbed a quick pic. They were taken at 51, 58, and 70 yards.
The 18 grain JSB's really anchor them in place. The days winner of the "Dirt Nap Contest" goes to a youngster that caught an 18 grain JSB pellet at 102 lasered yards. That's the second longest kill with the Monsoon. The longest goes to a California Ground Squirrel that won the original "Dirt Nap Contest" by catching a 16 grain JSB at 107 lasered yards.
I think everyone has heard of "Murphy's Law". That's the one that says, "everything that can go wrong, will go wrong". Most of us have experienced that with something at some point in our lives, and some of us have experienced it many, many, times.
My first hunting experience with "Murphy's Law", was with a powder burner, but the lesson learned certainly applies to hunting with airguns as well, as a friend proved a few weeks ago.
I am occasionally asked how I handle hunting California Ground Squirrels in rattlesnake country. Especially when the grass and other vegetation is tall. The answer is, I'm extra alert, and I hunt with a Stoney Point telescoping bibod. They make several different models. I bought the tallest one. I think it's about six feet long when fully extended. I can always adjust it shorter if need be.
When going through tall grass, I use it in front of me, much like a blind person uses their cane to probe along in front of them. I use the bipod to move vegetation aside while watching for snakes. If I'm going to glass an area in front of me for squirrels, I stop to do it. I never go farther than I have cleared in front of me with the bipod.
Even when hunting in relatively open areas, I automatically, and quickly scan the ground in front of where I'm going, for 15 or 20 feet at a time, to make sure it's clear of snakes. I have been doing this for so long, that I don't even think about doing it. It's just automatic.
Never step over a large rock or log when you cannot see what is on the other side of it either. They will coil up next to and under those things, and when you step down, you may get bitten. It's never a good idea to put your hand down ground squirrel holes, or into old hollow logs and stumps either.
It's not like they are behind every rock and log, but you need to be aware that the possibility is always there. Some years, I only encounter a few rattlesnakes. Other years, like this one, I encounter a lot. The better the years ground squirrel crop, the more rattlesnakes there seem to be. I don't let the possibility of encountering a rattlesnake spoil my hunt. I'm just a bit more aware and cautious while hunting.
If you do come across a snake up close, the bipod is handy for getting the snakes attention off of you by sticking the end of the legs in its face, or even use it to push on the snakes body while you move away. I had a situation this year, where I came around a large boulder and a rattler was coiled and buzzing a few feet away. I immediately stuck the end of the bipod in the middle of the coil and stepped a couple more feet away. The snake did strike at the bipod legs leaving venom on them.
You do not want that stuff on your skin, so wipe it off in the dirt, and when you get back to your vehicle use a handy wipe, or baby wipe folded over several times, to clean off the legs. Do not use a tissue or toilet paper, the stuff will soak right into, and through it, possibly getting on your skin.
They can only strike about half the length of their body, so it's not like they can hit you if you are five or six feet away. It is disconcerting as hell though, when the first indication there is one near you, is the buzzing. Some of them even hiss and buzz at the same
I carry baby wipes in my vehicle to clean my hands with before lunch etc.. Keep a ziplock sandwich bag, or something similar, that you can put the venom contaminated wipe in, and toss it in the trash when you get home.
I just never hunt without my Stoney Point bipod. It's great for probing a path through grass and vegetation, it can also come in handy for dealing with the occasional up close rattlesnake, and best of all, It's a great rifle rest. It makes hitting small targets at a distance a lot easier.