I just got back from another ground squirrel hunt with my Marauder PCP pistol/carbine. What a hoot. The gun, in and of itself is fantastic, but I have to give credit to a few other pieces of gear, that allow me to use the P-Rod to its full potential.
First up, are my binoculars. They are the Leica 8x32 BA model. I've had these things for more years than I can remember. The clarity is superb. They're compact and light enough, that I can wear them around my neck all day without any strain, but more importantly to me, they do not cause me any eye strain either.
When hunting, I spend a tremendous amount of time looking through my binoculars, hunting for ground squirrels that are hiding back in the shadows, and nooks and crannies where they build their dens and dig their burrows. Many times all you will see is a head, or just a part of a head sneaking a peek over the edge of a burrow, or over the back of a log or stump.
At 40/50/60+ yards, you need a good pair of binoculars to pick them out. Especially when the squirrels are tucked back in the shadows. I can spend hours looking through these binoculars, without feeling like my eyeballs are being sucked out of my head.
I've had my Leica Rangemaster 1200 range finder, since they first came on the market. The things I really like about it are, it's very accurate, it is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, the optics are crystal clear, and the reticle is lit.
I had a model from a different manufacturer for awhile, and the problem I was having with it, was the fact that the reticle wasn't lit, and in some lighting situations, like when a squirrel was tucked back in deep shadows, my tired old eyes were having a hard time seeing the reticle. On the Leica's, the reticle is a brightly lit red box. Even these old eyes can see that.
For me, the other indispensable piece of gear is my Stoney Point bipod. Without the use of my binoculars, to dig the squirrels out of their hidey holes, I wouldn't get half the number of shots that I do, and without the use of my bipod, I wouldn't make half the kill shots that I do. Hitting small targets, at range, in the wind, is very challenging. I can use all of the help I can get, and my bipod makes all of the difference in the world.
Depending upon what, and where I'm hunting, the gun changes, but the other three pieces of gear stay the same, and are a huge part of my hunting success.
I shot a bunch of video during this hunt, so I'll have some more stories and video to share soon. It was an awesome time to be in the field. This years crop of mini vermin have come above ground, and were everywhere. I saw multiple dozens of them, just in the area that I was hunting in.
When they first emerge from below ground, they are about one third, to one fourth the size of the adults, with heads about the size of a quarter. Talk about challenging shooting.
Here's a picture looking across a field of wildflowers, that shows the type of terrain that I was hunting in. When I took this picture, I was four wheeling my way up the side of a mountain, headed for a canyon that is very steep, but always produces good numbers of ground squirrels. I hunt the spot and stalk method, and because the area is so steep, I hunt up the side of the mountain in a zig zagging traverse fashion.