First Gopher Hunt – 2014
I was able to make it out yesterday for the first gopher hunt of 2014. The technical name for these cute yet destructive little creatures is the Richardson Ground Squirrel but around here everyone just called them a gopher. The extreme cold this winter must have been hard on the gopher population (Thank you polar vortex! I knew you had to be good for something!!!) as they were definitely not as plentiful as last year. While I’m not really complaining about the decrease in numbers it sure is fun to hunt the little creatures.
I was caught up on farm work and rain was in the forecast so I decided to take out my Mossberg MVP Varmint 5.56 /.223 Rem rifle to try and reach out and touch some gophers at long range. While it was a little bit of overkill for a gopher, the bulk Norinco ammo that I bought was almost as cheap as .22LR ammunition and it should make for a fun afternoon.
The advantage of owning a ranch is the amount of prime gopher hunting land that you own. I have a few favorite spots I like to hunt so I started with them. There was a storm brewing on the horizon and my time was going to be limited so I tried to keep close to home.
The first spot was along a fence line by a rock pile. Gophers tend to like this area as they can dig around the rocks and provides an added sense of security from predators. I set the bipod, adjusted the Vortex Diamondback scope to an appropriate magnification, and waited patiently.
The frustrating part of a first hunt is that one year gophers will be thick as thieves in an area, and the next year, nothing… This was the year of nothing in this spot. On the bright side I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and backed up and moved 100 yards east.
This turned out to be not a bad spot. I was able to put down six gophers in about 15 minutes. Good but not good enough. I packed up and moved about 200 yards east along the next coulee.
Jackpot! This will turn out to be the spot of the day. I had twenty gophers taking a dirt nap in five minutes. The Champion traverse/bipod showed its true colors in this type of environment. As fast as you could feed a round into the Mossberg MVP Varmints chamber and pull the trigger I was onto the next target.
After the initial action died down I tried a couple other spots on the way back home with some success. Regardless it was a successful gopher hunt in my mind and I will try to get out again as soon as possible.
*** If you are curious about what a 5.56 / .223 REM round does to a gopher check out the photo gallery here. ***