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Brock/Mason 2020

brock ratcliff

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We stepped up our game a little bit this afternoon. Mason took an air rifle and I took a handgun. He killed one and that was enough. We again saw quite a few and I look forward to chasing the very same rabbits again on Saturday. The dogs had a serious struggle today due to the snow being deeper than they are tall in places. Hopefully some of that will melt away before Saturday.
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at1010

*Supporting Member*
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Something about rabbit hunting is just incredibly nostalgic for me, maybe due to some of my best hunting memories involved chasing bunnies with my grandpa, eating lunch in his old Buick between brush busting or hearing my buddy’s beagle light up all times of the year – running rabbits through the vineyards near his home. Nonetheless, every time I see a guy holding up a rabbit from a hunt, it just brings me back in time and I much enjoy that feeling. Always enjoy the information Brock, freaking awesome thread.


PS – I need to get out more, you all are machines!
 

giles

Village idiot and local whore
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In a bar
Feels more like a friendly bet over biggest fish between friends on a boat. I guess I overlook the end product and just try and take away the fun in it. You guys sure know how to have fun! And do it it with plenty of friends. So you don't need to pay in like I do. Lol
 

Sgt Fury

Sgt. Spellchecker
Nope. Those sort of things just seem “game hoggish” to me. Keep in mind I have formed that opinion having never participated. Just seems wrong to award prizes based on the weight or number of dead game animals.
We used to have a contest for the team (2 man) that killed the most groundhogs. It kinda took the fun out of it as other people wouldn’t want to take you to their spots and you didn’t want to take them to yours. The reason for the trip was to hunt with your friends and do some drinking. You only got to hunt with your team mate and missed out on an opportunity to hunt with your other friends. We stopped doing it after a couple seasons. We had some great times hunting up in Potter county Pennsylvania for a whole week in the summer. Ain’t many groundhogs up there anymore. It was not uncommon to shoot 30 in a day, now you’re lucky to get ten between the entire camp.
 

brock ratcliff

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Mason was ten years old before he ever saw a groundhog. And that one was in New York while on a fishing trip. Over the last several years I’ve started to see a few around here again, along with red fox. Both were seemingly non existent for 15 years or so. I blamed coyotes, so I assume both have figured out how to survive with coyotes around. There are still not enough groundhogs around here to justify shooting one.
 

brock ratcliff

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"There are still not enough groundhogs around here to justify shooting one". As successful as you guys are once there are enough, and you do start after them, they won't be around long.
Lol. When I look at what I post on Facebook, it appears we do kill and catch a lot of stuff. Maybe even more than we should. But in reality, for the amount of time in the woods and the amount of properties we hunt, we really do not do much damage to any population. The line exception being when Jamie and the pups come to town. For whatever reason, by the time he makes it down each season, I’ve developed a healthy dislike of squirrels. Groundhogs, although rodents, have a soft spot in my heart. Makes no logical sense, I know. I shot a bunch of them when I was a kid but seeing them all but disappear from the local landscape gave me a sense of empathy for them. I suppose if they ever come back to the point of being a genuine nuisance I could find some enjoyment sitting alongside a half grown bean field again. 😁
 
Lol. When I look at what I post on Facebook, it appears we do kill and catch a lot of stuff. Maybe even more than we should. But in reality, for the amount of time in the woods and the amount of properties we hunt, we really do not do much damage to any population. The line exception being when Jamie and the pups come to town. For whatever reason, by the time he makes it down each season, I’ve developed a healthy dislike of squirrels. Groundhogs, although rodents, have a soft spot in my heart. Makes no logical sense, I know. I shot a bunch of them when I was a kid but seeing them all but disappear from the local landscape gave me a sense of empathy for them. I suppose if they ever come back to the point of being a genuine nuisance I could find some enjoyment sitting alongside a half grown bean field again. 😁

My uncle put it in perspective for me when I did kill a groundhog that was visiting his garden one year. I thought I was doing a good thing at the time but as a WWII vet and someone who went through the Great Depression his words had meaning. He reflected on when he was younger and the families were struggling they actually survived on the occasional groundhog. He stressed the struggle they had and what that meat meant to their family back then. He then reflected on the groundhog I brought back up to the house, me now wondering if I did a good thing. He said that the groundhog was only doing what he needed to do to survive (raiding his garden), kinda like they had to back in the depression, and the fact that he was shot and not going to be utilized really disappointed him. He had me take it down to where the dogs were so they would at least eat what they wanted and it wouldn't go to complete waste. Kinda hit home for me so I likely won't be killing any unless they become a real nuisance or perhaps I need to one day.
 

brock ratcliff

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Great perspective Chuck!

There was a young teacher that lived down the road from my parents when I was in high school. His name was Gary. Bachelor and complete redneck. I had him for Mechanical Arts and other shop classes. We became friends and spent a good bit of time doing redneck things together. He had a stuffed beaver mounted and proudly displayed on his coffee table. He was a refreshing alternative to my rigid home life. 😁
One day Gary said to save him a young groundhog if I ever happened to kill one. He shot a bunch of them off his back porch but he always used a 300 win mag and they tended to be heavily damaged. One day while the farmer behind mom and dads place was burning off a field a young groundhog made a mad dash across our back yard. I happened to be out there hitting rocks with a baseball bat since there was no one around to throw batting practice. I chased him down and clubbed him... perfect table fare.
I took the beast down to Gary’s place and handed him off. A short while later Gary called and my mom answered. I’ll never forget the look on her face when she announced that Gary had barbecue groundhog prepared for my dinner. I went down to Gary’s and plopped down at the backyard picnic table. He proudly produced the meat, flopped it on a paper plate and we commenced eating like a couple of mountain men. I enjoyed the first piece and was halfway through my second hunk, feeling savage, when my eyes happened to drift to a large oak tree where the poor groundhogs feet were still firmly attached. I have no idea why, but I lost my appetite for the otherwise delicious groundhog. 😁
 

Sgt Fury

Sgt. Spellchecker
The farmers in Pennsylvania loved when we would ask permission to hunt their fields....since the mid 80’s I’ve only been turned down once. The dairy industry is big up there and the last thing a farmer wanted was for one of his milk cows to step in a chuck hole and break a leg, or do damage to a tractor by running over a larger hole that was covered by tall grass. They’d smile when we told them we would remove every dead chuck from the field, as we know they don’t want the carcass to end up in the hay bales for the cows to chew on....it was a win-win for everyone except the woodchucks.😂👍
 

Hedgelj

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Mohicanish
The farmers in Pennsylvania loved when we would ask permission to hunt their fields....since the mid 80’s I’ve only been turned down once. The dairy industry is big up there and the last thing a farmer wanted was for one of his milk cows to step in a chuck hole and break a leg, or do damage to a tractor by running over a larger hole that was covered by tall grass. They’d smile when we told them we would remove every dead chuck from the field, as we know they don’t want the carcass to end up in the hay bales for the cows to chew on....it was a win-win for everyone except the woodchucks.😂👍
That's the viewpoint of my inlaws with their beef farm. Between breaking equipment in the fields and the damage to the buildings they want them taken care of. About 15 years ago there were a bunch on the farm and I did my best with a .243 to thin them out and I would get 20-30 a year. Then the coyote population boomed and the groundhogs all but disappeared for a few years. We actually had a trailcam photo of a coyote with a groundhog in its mouth. In the last few years the groundhogs have been making a comeback. I got 10 or so last year, most around a few of the buildings. There are a few fields with some known holes that I'm gonna sit with my son this spring/early summer and hopefully get him on a couple.
 

Isaacorps

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Columbus
My grandpa used to take my dad groundhog hunting when he was a kid out in Kansas. My grandpa would shoot them with a scoped rifle hundreds of yards away out and cut wheatfields and make my dad run out and retrieve them. I have no clue what they did with the groundhogs but, understandably, my dad never developed an affinity for groundhog hunting 🤣
 

brock ratcliff

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The dogs were useless today. So we did little rabbit drives. We worked our tales off. Only saw four or five and killed three. I bagged one right off with a 410, Steve killed two others with a shotgun he purchased just last night. It was fun though not at all action packed. My guess is if we had waited until this afternoon to get out we would have done far better. Found one heck of a scrape too.
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