10 Air Rifle Hunting Tips

Here are 10 air rifle hunting tips that will ensure that you are up to the challenge of hunting with an air rifle.  Air rifle hunting can be a great challenge and a great deal of fun.  It does require a lot of practice not only with the air rifle itself, but with hunting the game species in question.  Here are 10 tips to get you started hunting with your airgun.

  1. Before every hunt verify the rifle is properly sighted in.
  2. Verify the gun is in good working order.  For pneumatic guns this means they are holding air pressure and not leaking.  Same goes for CO2 guns.  For spring guns this means verifying the guns cock easily and without binding or interference.  Always make sure the safety is on and working properly.
  3. Spend some time practicing with your gun before taking it to the woods.  Air rifle, unlike firearms have a pronounced "loop" in their trajectory and will require a certain degree of holdover at longer hunting ranges.  For this reason it is very important that the shooter practice to be effective in the field.
  4. Select appropriate ammunition for the quarry and hunting conditions.  Flat headed and hollow point pellets work very well on smaller pests and offer less penetration around buildings, where safety and damage to property may be an issue.  Round head and pointed pellets are great for longer range shooting and often provide the best accuracy and penetration.  Select round or pointed pellets for larger game and in instances where shots may be taken at longer distance.
  5. Camouflage is always important, regardless of the kind of hunting you are doing.  It is even more important when hunting with airguns, as you need to be very close to your quarry before attempting a shot. 
  6. Practice your stalking and still hunting skills,  Go slow and be as quiet as possible while hunting small game.  This will aid you in getting the close shots required in airgun hunting.
  7. Typically adult air rifles have an effective maximum range of 50 yards.  Until you become very familiar with your gun, it is best to keep your distance and shots in the 30 yard range or less.
  8. Shot placement with an air gun is paramount.  Most small pests such as birds and mice can be dispatched easily with shots placed in the chest or head.  But for larger game species such as squirrel, rabbit, rats, etc.  It is best to stay with head shots.
  9. One of the great joys of hunting with an airgun is the relative low power and thus safety of the weapon.  Regardless of the guns limited range it is always important to be aware of pellets trajectory and where it might land if it either passes through the game or if you miss entirely.  Be safe and try to select shots that offer a good back stop for you projectile.
  10.  Always take the time to learn the habits of the game you intend to hunt.  If you are hunting squirrels you need to learn about what types of food they eat, where they stay during the day, and how to stalk and approach them without being seen.  Same is true for other species such as Rabbit, Crow, Rat, Starlings, etc.  Take a little time to research before you hunt.  There is a wealth of information available on the interment on hunting of all types.  Take advantage of it.

Above all be safe, and enjoy the wonderful sport of airgun hunting. 

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