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Still Some Woodchucks Around


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Years ago I bought a Savage Model 12 varmint rifle in 223 Rem to hunt woodchucks on the farm. A teacher came around here and there to hunt them. He peaked my interest and got me into it. We had piles of them and they were making a mess of the farm that's mostly hay fields. Numbers dropped off pretty hard after shooting 80+ each year. I still get a small number though. Yesterday I got the first one of the season. A couple more active holes with young ones I think but might have to put a trail cam on the hole to see what their feeding pattern is. Don't seem to be out when I'm there. Gun still shoots lazer beams with Black Hills loaded 60gr Hornady Vmax ammo.

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Nice rifle, woodchucks are a lot of fun to hunt. I kill A pile of them each year on our farms. Killed three already this year. I mostly use a .22 mag due to close proximity to buildings. They are tough buggers, i have hit them center mass at 50 yards and had them crawl to the hole. 

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Posted (edited)

Good to see you still have some Chucks to hunt, the Savage model 12 setup you have is a dandy. Of the many species there are to hunt Woodchucks are at or near the top of the list for me. There was a time when they had huge numbers and they provided me with more varied hunting opportunities than any other game. I have hunted them with Archery equipment, Handguns, Rimfires and long range Varmint rifles and even a few with my big game rifles. Between Chucks and Squirrel there is nothing that provides and teaches in the field-hunting marksmanship like those two animals. Some great times were had hunting Woodchuck habitat, today it is rare to see any up my way and any I see here on the farm get a pass now.

Al 

Edited by airedale
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1 hour ago, airedale said:

Good to see you still have some Chucks to hunt, the Savage model 12 setup you have is a dandy. Of the many species there are to hunt Woodchucks are at or near the top of the list for me. There was a time when they had huge numbers and they provided me with more varied hunting opportunities than any other game. I have hunted them with Archery equipment, Handguns, Rimfires and long range Varmint rifles and even a few with my big game rifles. Between Chucks and Squirrel there is nothing that provides and teaches in the field-hunting marksmanship like those two animals. Some great times were had hunting Woodchuck habitat, today it is rare to see any up my way and any I see here on the farm get a pass now.

Al 

Same here. I used to love to shoot them at long range. Now, very few around and the few I do see get a pass. Especially in the spring.

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longest shot ?
For chucks with this gun.... head shot was like 310 yards. Longest that wasn't a head shot was I think 426 yards across a valley. I haven't bothered to keep track but do use a range finder almost all the time if I'm past my 200 yard zero.
I've shot other static targets that aren't animals out further. 60gr Vmax bullets anchor them pretty good even that far out. They don't move a deer vital size steel plate at 500 yards much at all though.

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47 minutes ago, Waterfowler said:

Same here. I used to love to shoot them at long range. Now, very few around and the few I do see get a pass. Especially in the spring.

If they were digging up the floor in your barn you wouldn’t be passing any! 

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If they were digging up the floor in your barn you wouldn’t be passing any! 
They love places they really have no business being under. I don't seek them out unless they're under things in the barn yard or in an ag field.

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Nice. When I was a young kid I would shoot almost once a week at woodchucks on a farm in dutchess county. My Dad knew a guy who wanted them dead. We had a .224 Weatherby Magnum. Most shots were 200-400 yards slightly uphill into the farm fields. It was great practice. I also learned to drive a Nissan Pathfinder in those fields when I turned 12. 

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How do they taste? 
No idea. people who eat them swear they're delicious. I can't imagine they'd be that bad only probably eating alfalfa and hay grasses. When I shoot them I typically toss them into cover so ground dwelling predators like fox, yote, etc can find them. Figure it's one less meal they're hunting fawns for. Often they have flies around them, have shit themselves on impact, and often stink a little. I've always passed.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Belo said:

I've never had the patience but they're digging holes all over my orchard right now. Do you guys just setup on a hill and glass? Time of day?

mornings or evenings. if it's super hot they stay in their holes.

Edited by BizCT
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I've never had the patience but they're digging holes all over my orchard right now. Do you guys just setup on a hill and glass? Time of day?
They eat in cycles just like deer and other stuff. First thing in AM, around noon, and later evening before sunset. All depends on if something scares them back to the hole or inclement weather. If they bust you and run back into the hole, move to a different spot and sit there for half hour. They'll come back out but unless you can pick off with a head shot be patient and they work back out away from the hole. Standing up is best shot. Otherwise they stretch out and hug pretty tight to the ground.

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Typically hill over looking them or keep to the edge of cover. Nothing fancy. Bring a thermocell for the possible wait. I typically just walk and peak at certain spots glassing on the move. If youre on a knoll silhouetted then keep the sun at your back.

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We don't use traps. They cost money and one would eventually get misplaced and left with hay grown up around it. One hit from the discbine would be bad for both.

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