Cedarville Sage Rat Shooting Report

Wino

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I finally have some time to tell you all about how our sage rat shot went over in Cedarville last week. In a nutshell, it was kinda slow. Quite a few guy at the hotel shared the same feeling. They just were not seeing the numbers they normally do. Since this is only my second time I'll defer to their more experienced opinion. I do feel that we saw less this year than last. But that might of been due to the fact that the 2 side by side fields we hunted last year was completely plowed under a few days before we got there and turned into 1 giant field. So the first day we had to settle for a smaller field that was pretty shot over. It also had a limited safe shooting direction. Houses, horses, highway, cars, and cows all around. We gave it a go for a few hours. Still managed to bag quite a few but decided we wanted to go looking for something new. So we head north to Ft. Bidwell. We cruised a few farm roads looking for good fields. On one road I found a sick calf outside the fence. I tried to pick it up and put it back over but it wouldn't stand up and looked to be in bad shape. So I just decided to go to the nearest house and let them know as they will probably know whose calf it is. Well, luck would have it the house we went to owned the calf and most importantly had a lot of fields that they let people shot. They pointed out a couple good fields and we head out. Spent the rest of the day there, all of the next day, and half of our last day as well. We had lots of fun. Lots of long shots and plenty of close shots. We mostly shot 17wsm and 17hmr. But when the wind picked up or I wanted to make a long shot I went with my .223. Longest confirmed kill.....324 yards...but I had to walk it in and finally connected after the 5th round. I spent a lot of time shooting one of my friends Franklin Amory F17 which is chambered in the .17wsm. Very fun rifle. I also got a lot with my pencil barrel bmag. I must say that I think I got one of the goods ones as almost anything I pointed that rifle at under 200 yards died. I loved walking the edges of the fields and resting on a fence post with that rifle. Light and accurate. I did my best shooting my buddies A17 with a Boyd's pro varminter stock on it. It just seemed to call to the rats. Whenever it slowed down I picked it up and suddenly the squirrels appeared. On our second day, as I was helping my son load magazines for the rifle he had been using all day when I spotted one of those plastic ammo boxes that reloaders use sitting on top of a fence post. I went to retrieve it and started laughing when I opened it up and saw the name on the business card taped to the inside. Maybe you'll laugh too when you look at the photo of it next to the gun

Yes, that is a Garrows 17hmr upper and the President of Garro's is the owner of the box. Needless to say, I email Mike and told him I found his box. My friend lives close to his shop and will drop it off.

The weather was perfect for the first 2 days but the 3rd day was blown out by 11:30 and the rain came on soon after that. We had a lot of fun. We got less 100 rats each on our best day as they just seem to be few in numbers but I'd much rather be there than sitting at home watching my kids fight over whose turn it is to play video games and me having to crush their sprites by tell them it is my turn. One thing we saw that was different than the last time were deer. They where everywhere. I counted 22 in one herd alone and saw several herds like that a day. Ok...heres a few more pix.















 

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TheGDog

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I recently did a little of this for the first time on a coyote hunt that was unproductive. (Had non-hunters invade the area later on in day, which ruined it. Including 3 dudes on DirtBikes! Facepalm!) I was soo upset with how those other folks had ruined things. Usually whenever I've gone there before I'm the only living soul for miles. Sniping the sage rats was just what I needed to get me out of the funk it put me in.

And then in the PM I put two of them by the decoy so there would be the scent of blood in the air, together with the calling and motion decoy, but no dice. I wanna go back and try it again with the .17 HMR 93R17 FV.

That day I had my Remington 783 in .223 Rem. with some DRT 55gr deep penetrating frangibles made of compressed copper powder inside an outer copper jacket. Me being a bit of a n00b to any kind of long range stuff I was tinkled pink to make a 92yd shot on one off some ultralight shooting sticks! (Although with that same rifle, I'd previously shot a lone glass bottle out at 200yds [don't worry, I picked up the glass]) That day I shot 12 rounds, took out 6 sage rats. Was a bit windy. About 20mph. There was one at 213yds at one point when the wind had died down a lil bit, but the lil sucker didn't hold still long enough for me to reposition the shooting sticks quick enough to get on him. That rifle has a little 2-7x32mm on it, so that 213yd on such a small target was probably about the most I could ever hope to get out of that scope, with my eyes anyway.
 

TheGDog

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BTW... which .17 HMR rounds did that damage to the Squeeks? I've got the 17gr CCI TNT Greens, and the 15.5gr Hornady NTX's. Was curious which rounds you used.
 

THE ROMAN ARCHER

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Thnx for sharing your sage rat shoot out, I am sure the young ones were enjoying blasting them with some fire power. Great pics!......tra
 

canamrider07

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That is really nice. Great pictures, I have never been in that area, had to look it up to see where it is. Quite the setup you have. thanks for sharing....
 

TheGDog

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Another question... with that AR setup... so do you start with a standard .223/5.56 AR and just what?... swap-in this guys .17 HMR upper? What about magazine? I'd assume then it comes with a special magazine as well yes? Something that happens to fit in the standard .223 mag well? That'd be pretty darn sweet to have a lil .17 HMR AR.
 

Wino

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GDog.....Yeah pretty much. We had 3 AR style rimfires with us. All of them belonging to my friend. 2 Franklin Amory F17 in .17wsm and 1 Garrow Firearms Development. 17hmr. As I understand, the Garrows kit is the upper with a new buffer spring. There is a few little tricks you have to do to install it but it seems pretty simple. And yes it hasa magazines that fit the standard AR mag well. And I guess since it's a rimfire you don't have to worry about all the CA legal crap. Pistol grip, collapsible stock and no registration for your lower. Don't take my word on that but that's what I was told. As for what kind of 17hmr ammo did the explosive damage on those rat. Only that first picture was an 17hmr hit. It was a close shot of about 50 yards. We were using CCI A17 ammo. These rounds are about 100 fps faster then standard 17hmr. These round cycle the Savage A17 and the Garrows. Standard rounds don't. They also shot fine out of my sons 93r17. The second and last photo were hit with the 17wsm. 20grain bullet at 3000 fps really lunches theme into the air. I shot a jackrabbit in the neck with this round and took his head clean off.
I don't know where you hunt but if it's public land yeah you have to deal with other people. It belongs to all of us. Sucks when ATV riders blow your area out. I've had it happen many times. They dont know they're doing it. I usually just wait it out.Confronting them would probably not be in my best interest and we (hunters) dont need to make any less friends out there. But, the coyotes will get use to that noise. I killed a coyote at the Salton sea 10 minutes after 2 buggies came through my stand. Is the area you hunt BLM? I believe you should take a little longer drive to the Mojave. Lots of area to call coyotes and there is no off trail off road activities.
 
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Wino

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Oh...one thing. These type of ground squirrels are smaller than the ground squirrels we have here. So it is easier for the small caliber to do the damage they do.
 

TheGDog

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Yeah, I did a bit of watching reviews about that .17 wsm when I was deciding which to buy. But the HMR seemed to have a much stronger following and much easier to get ammo for... and living in the PRK (Peoples Republik of Kalifornistan) that's always a concern. Plus realistically I figured the .17 HMR was all I needed for the niche I wanted it to fill. I wanted to be able to take 80yds+ shots on Rabbits. Because this one place I tried going to for them... it seemed like the nice sized ones were only exposing themselves a ways out. Was frustrating with the .22LR, so figured I'd get the .17 so I wouldn't have to fuss with holdover. Also want to take a BobCat with it eventually. This year I didn't know it until I stood up from my spot, but there was a BobCat like 10yds away to my extreme right. Long story, but I tried to slowly turn towards him avoiding detection since he was behind a little bush. But it didn't work out. After reviewing the situation in my mind. I figure I should have tried to turn quickly and attempt to shoot him THRU that little bush with the .17 HMR. At the time, I figured THRU the bush was a bad idea since the .17 projectiles are so small and lightweight. But I dunno, now I think it probably would have done the trick.

So you were saying Mojave. So do you mean like off the 40 fwy somewhere still within California borders?
 

Wino

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Like the 15 on the way to Vegas. Past Barstow. If you really want to make a day (or 2) out of it I've been hunting off of Halloran Summit Rd on the BLM side. It's past Baker. I have to work in Vegas often and it one of my favorite spots to stop and rest. And by rest I mean park my car down a dirt road and walk an hour through the desert popping Jackrabbits. There are cottontails there as well. I have also went there, hiked way in off the road and called for predators. I called in a giant Bobcat last year. Thought the think was a coyote. It spot me slowly moving my rifle to my shoulder and it just vanished. As soon as I get my truck I plan on going way in and camping. It's some beautiful desert country out there.
 
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