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Thread: Someone was in my rabbit spot this morning.....

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    Member skagdog's Avatar
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    Default Someone was in my rabbit spot this morning.....

    I went out after rabbits today with my .17hmr. I took rabbits out of this spot as recently as march and april of this year and seen them out there throughout June, before I went TDY. This is my first visit since June: I was there about 15 minutes when I saw a red fox joggin across this field. I took a 200yd shot at the running fox and it dropped!! About 2 seconds later it jumped up and circled violently while nipping at it's hind leg. It then hobbled off into a wood where I spent 2 hours searching for it with no success. When I emerged from the wood there were two coyotes at about the same distance. I watched them for 15 minutes as they chased and snapped at each other, all the while remaining just out of range. They never knew I was there and I watched them til they left. I'd like to go back and try my hand at calling/shooting predators. I've been reluctant to predator hunt in the past just because I like to spend my time afield looking for critters to eat but they're in my spot eating my food!

    I've never been out after predators and the rabbit population in this area was great last year so I didn't think I'd need something bigger with me.

    Sorry about losing the fox, I'll be taking either my .270 or my .223 next time I'm in that area.

    My .270 is a winchester model 70 with an older nikon scope that's right on the money at 200 yards with 150 gr Federal Power shoks.

    My .223 is a bushmaster 16" barrel with open sights that I'm a decent shot with 55 gr remington ammo out to 200 yards on still, larger targets.

    Is the 150 gr too much umph for these types of critters? I'd love to buy a scope for my AR but it's not in the budget right now.
    Thank you, God, for making so many wonderful creatures. Thank you, not only for that, but also for making them out of meat!

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default Imho...

    "Your spot" and "eating your food" and taking a negligent shot at an animal with an inappropriate weapon all gives this post a very bad taste.

    I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would hunt a fox in the first place. They are not apex predators. You can't eat them. They do no harm to the rest of the system; in fact they serve a beneficial purpose being in the middle. And what's the purpose in taking a bad shot at a distance and with a caliber that ain't gonna work, so that you leave a wounded animal to crawl off and die slowly? The clean kill should be the most important goal of a hunter. If you can't guarantee it, don't shoot it.

    Opinions vary widely on this topic. This is just my own gut reaction. Not intended to offend, but trying to share my view as a contrast.
    Winter is Coming...

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    Member skagdog's Avatar
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    Thank you for a response, JOAT. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for but you do have some valid inputs. In my defense I would like to state the following:

    1. I will take responsibility for a mis-placed shot. The 17 HMR still has around 75 lbs of energy at 200 yards which is more than enough for a fox when the trigger actuator, me, puts the shot in the right place. The gun is still a killer at that distance.
    2. I've been rabbit hunting ever since forever and I occasionally tan a hide just for practice in hopes of one day applying what I've learned to some more noteworthy fur bearers like coyotes, wolves, foxes, lynx, etc.
    3. "My spot" and "my food" are general terms. I'm not privy enough to have thousands of acres of my own private land to hunt. "My spot" is common speak, even on this forum, for a place one likes to go regularly to harvest animals for whatever legal reason they choose.
    4. "If you can't guarantee it, don't shoot it." I would say no shot is a guarantee. Maybe your rifle got bumped out of sight on the ride/walk in, maybe there's a small branch you can't see that would affect a long shot; There are a myriad of reasons why no shot is 100% and that's part of hunting. A hunter takes a shot because they have confidence that it will make a clean kill, as I had confidence that my shot would do the trick. I made the shot because I believed I could hit the target as I have shot bunnies at that range. As you can see, I didn't post about shooting at the coyotes. I was not confident, based on previous experience, that I could make a clean kill.

    Your response did not offend me and it also did not do something else; it did not provide any useful feed back to help me make an informed decision on which rifle to use. I would love your input on the two candidates I have that seem to be good choices for this application.

    If you have some ammo recommendations for the 270, a scope for my AR or would like to come up to squarebanks and take a newby out to show him some ropes that would be great!
    Thank you, God, for making so many wonderful creatures. Thank you, not only for that, but also for making them out of meat!

  4. #4

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    Excellent reply skagdog. You make valid points. Unfortunately I am unable to answer your questions pertaining to the 270 or other rifle. Take care and hopefully someone with more experience and expertise will help you out.
    _____________________
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    Member Hoyt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    "Your spot" and "eating your food" and taking a negligent shot at an animal with an inappropriate weapon all gives this post a very bad taste.

    I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would hunt a fox in the first place. They are not apex predators. You can't eat them. They do no harm to the rest of the system; in fact they serve a beneficial purpose being in the middle. And what's the purpose in taking a bad shot at a distance and with a caliber that ain't gonna work, so that you leave a wounded animal to crawl off and die slowly? The clean kill should be the most important goal of a hunter. If you can't guarantee it, don't shoot it.

    Opinions vary widely on this topic. This is just my own gut reaction. Not intended to offend, but trying to share my view as a contrast.
    Why post this garbage? I have taken many many many fox (also Lynx and coyote) with a .17HMR. It is more than appropriate. Don't post if you haven't a clue.

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    Member Hoyt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skagdog View Post
    Thank you for a response, JOAT. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for but you do have some valid inputs. In my defense I would like to state the following:

    1. I will take responsibility for a mis-placed shot. The 17 HMR still has around 75 lbs of energy at 200 yards which is more than enough for a fox when the trigger actuator, me, puts the shot in the right place. The gun is still a killer at that distance.
    2. I've been rabbit hunting ever since forever and I occasionally tan a hide just for practice in hopes of one day applying what I've learned to some more noteworthy fur bearers like coyotes, wolves, foxes, lynx, etc.
    3. "My spot" and "my food" are general terms. I'm not privy enough to have thousands of acres of my own private land to hunt. "My spot" is common speak, even on this forum, for a place one likes to go regularly to harvest animals for whatever legal reason they choose.
    4. "If you can't guarantee it, don't shoot it." I would say no shot is a guarantee. Maybe your rifle got bumped out of sight on the ride/walk in, maybe there's a small branch you can't see that would affect a long shot; There are a myriad of reasons why no shot is 100% and that's part of hunting. A hunter takes a shot because they have confidence that it will make a clean kill, as I had confidence that my shot would do the trick. I made the shot because I believed I could hit the target as I have shot bunnies at that range. As you can see, I didn't post about shooting at the coyotes. I was not confident, based on previous experience, that I could make a clean kill.

    Your response did not offend me and it also did not do something else; it did not provide any useful feed back to help me make an informed decision on which rifle to use. I would love your input on the two candidates I have that seem to be good choices for this application.

    If you have some ammo recommendations for the 270, a scope for my AR or would like to come up to squarebanks and take a newby out to show him some ropes that would be great!
    Great reply. Put a good leupold on that AR. If you're real comfortable out to 200 yards with no scope, go with a fixed power. It is more simple, and you never have to double check the power. maybe a fixed 6. .223 is a great all around round for most predator huting. Although a little heavy for fox, it is perfect for lynx, yotes, and wolf (although a little light for wolf). JOAT hasn't a clue, as fox are huge predators of hares and upland game birds (both of which I enjoy to hunt and eat). Maybe they are not "apex predators," but they do prey on many small game animals. I wouldn't shy away from the .17 either. just make sure she is shooting straight.

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    Member Hoyt's Avatar
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    Ohh I forgot Skagdog. I'm not sure what grain your shooting in the .17, but I know 17 grain is what is usually on the shelf. Hornaday (I get it at Freds in Fairbanks) makes a real nice 20 grain bullet for the .17. I really like it better than the 17 grain. It makes a difference in my opinion.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    I don't post "garbage" Mr Hoyt; I post honest opinion. You'd do a lot for a civilized society to not consider any opinion that varies from your own as "garbage" and thereby feel the need to engage in ad hominem attacks when you don't even know who you're talking to.

    If you think for a second that a few hunters can even make a dent in the natural rodent populations, then feel free to kill off all the foxes and take over their job. Then watch how nature goes ballistic with her boom and bust cycles when you can't possibly keep up with rodent production. We need "middle management" predators, who primarily feed on much smaller critters such as voles and ermine. Without the fox, your hare populations would crash hard and take much longer to recover. The food chain is a much more complicated system than you give it credit for.

    Taking a 200 yard shot with a rimfire pellet gun is folly. I don't care what the book says the bullet might do when it gets there. If you're going for 200 yard shots, bring a real gun. The .223 would be perfect. Any scope will do. The only limiting factor is price. There is no such thing as "too much gun", so bring the 270 if that suits you. For fox, rabbit, shrews, or whatever, the 270 will work just fine, even out to 200 yards. The bullet is irrelevant for your intended use. Get the cheapest stuff that gives you a solid group. Better yet; homeload. I've taken spruce chickens with a 270 at a distance of nearly 25 yards. Worked just fine. Ate the bird for supper. And I've sat and watched foxes hunt and play for hours while never feeling a need to shoot one of them just for the fun of killing something.
    Winter is Coming...

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    As an Avid predator hunter and it being my passion I will tell you this. A .270 is too big if you want to keep the fur in any way shape or form. A .223 is great for fox. Ultra-max makes a 40grain poly tip bullet that is very fast around 3200fps and very flat shooting that will do literally no fur damage a tiny in hole and a tiny out hole straight through and once you tan the hide the fur will fluff right over it. That round is also great for lynx. I would do as Hoyt suggested with a Fixed power for your AR or a nice 3x9 if you are going to take any longer shots. And Contrary to what JOAT suggests there is such thing as "too much gun" if you are intending to keep the fur to get them tanned to sell or hang. If you want to partner up when the snow starts to fly I will be more than happy to take you with me as its always funner with someone else I have already gotten a wolf and 2 coyotes this since the opener and since I got my moose friday my main focus now is predators.

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    Taking a 200 yard shot with a rimfire pellet gun is folly. I don't care what the book says the bullet might do when it gets there. If you're going for 200 yard shots, bring a real gun. The .223 would be perfect. Any scope will do. The only limiting factor is price. There is no such thing as "too much gun", so bring the 270 if that suits you. For fox, rabbit, shrews, or whatever, the 270 will work just fine, even out to 200 yards. The bullet is irrelevant for your intended use. Get the cheapest stuff that gives you a solid group. Better yet; homeload. I've taken spruce chickens with a 270 at a distance of nearly 25 yards. Worked just fine. Ate the bird for supper. And I've sat and watched foxes hunt and play for hours while never feeling a need to shoot one of them just for the fun of killing something.

    Wow you should read your own post and think before you speak

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    To answer your original question...

    270 is too much for a fox if you intend to keep a hide... and you really should, they're beautiful and warm to boot. The lady in your life will appreciate a fox ruff on her coat- at least if she has any sense.

    I shot my last fox with a .308- pelt damage was minimized by the shot angle but it could have been very ugly.

    .223 is perfect for fox at that range. Any reasonable scope on the AR (hope its a flat top) will yield great results. I'm a fan of the Leupold 4x for such things.

    Not much experience with the .17HMR but i'd say 200 is stretching its legs a bit far for such work.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKguy09 View Post
    Wow you should read your own post and think before you speak
    I did, and I do. Welcome to the forum. Got a more specific point to make about my opinion?
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    I did, and I do. Welcome to the forum. Got a more specific point to make about my opinion?
    You said a .17 HMR is not a real gun- seriously?

    There's no such thing as too much gun- spoken like someone who uses Caliber to make up for lack of marksmanship

    Bullets selection doesnt matter- what about terminal ballistics, weight retention, kinetic energy, they are all relevant to bullet and pelt damage.

    You called taking a .17 HMR a pellet gun and taking it to shoot a 15 pound fox a folly. What you suggest for fox maybe 300 win mag, since theres no such thing a "too much gun" come off your soap box

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    I dont agree with any of you..

    .17HMR is certainly enough gun to kill a fox, but 200 yds is a loooooong way for a 17. Thats like the equivalent of an ear "flick", painful but survivable....Heck, thats a long way for a 22mag. What is that, like 16" of bullet drop??

    Actually, I like using a .0625 caliber....as in 1/16" cable snare. Taken in winter when fur is prime. I don't judge anyone for legally harvesting (or trying to harvest) a critter, but to me it's a shame to take a fur bearer when the fur is not prime...

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    The intent of my original post was not to cause bickering or anything like that. I gave an honest account of a morning walk in the woods. I was admitting that I wounded an animal that I could not recover and that I didn't shoot at a couple other critters because I had already wounded something that is probably now dead.
    I could have just said "Hey I have a scoped out winchester 270 for which I can get 90 grain bullets, is that overkill for predator hunting or should I just take my 16" 223 with open sights. I am comfortable shooting the 223 at 200 yds and the 270 is sighted in on the money at 200 yds."
    I just thought I share an honest mistake and the reason why I was asking.


    BSJ-Thanks for the ammo recommendation, I'm gonna look in to it.

    I'm also gonna look in to what I have around the house that I can liquidate for some scope money.

    All-I do think the 17hmr has what it takes at that range but I have other rifles that would do the job better. It's like buying a 30watt guitar amp (17hmr) and cranking it to 10 when you already have a 150 watt amp (270 or 223) that you don't have to crank it up to be as loud.

    "Can't we all just get along?"
    Thank you, God, for making so many wonderful creatures. Thank you, not only for that, but also for making them out of meat!

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKguy09 View Post
    You said a .17 HMR is not a real gun- seriously?

    There's no such thing as too much gun- spoken like someone who uses Caliber to make up for lack of marksmanship

    Bullets selection doesnt matter- what about terminal ballistics, weight retention, kinetic energy, they are all relevant to bullet and pelt damage.

    You called taking a .17 HMR a pellet gun and taking it to shoot a 15 pound fox a folly. What you suggest for fox maybe 300 win mag, since theres no such thing a "too much gun" come off your soap box
    Perhaps you should calm down and re-read my opinion post as you've clearly missed most of it. Being the new guy and all, it's poor form to walk into a room and throw punches without so much as a hello.

    I have an air gun with more bullet than the .17 rimfire. Making 200 yard shots with a rimfire on a fox sized animal is inappropriate. It's simply not the right tool for the job. I stand by that. I think you'll find most will agree. The 17 will work just fine at closer ranges. It's simply the distance that I took issue with. Since he hit the animal and the bullet didn't do what it was supposed to (kill), clearly I was correct in my assessment.

    I suggested the 223 as the best choice and it seems to be the consensus 'round here. What do you make of that? Oh wait, perhaps you forgot to read that part of my post.

    The OP asked if a 270 would work. It will. It will work just fine for random animal killing. The OP didn't mention anything about saving a pelt. He was walking around looking for food hares. He saw a fox and attempted to kill it just cuz it was there and might eat "his" bunnies. He asked if a 270 would take a fox. Any bullet you can load in 270 will kill a fox. That's a fact. My post was a 100% accurate response to that question.

    As for your incorrect assertion that I "use caliber to make up for lack of marksmanship", you couldn't be further from the truth. Since you don't know me (and have made no attempt to find out anything about my skills before attacking me), I'll let your babble slide this one time as a sign of your ignorance.

    The reality is, I don't own "big guns" and prefer "little" accurate ones to do my work. I even do my moose hunting with a 270, which a lot of knuckleheads claim ain't enough gun for moose. I know through repeated personal experience that such claims are wrong.
    Winter is Coming...

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  17. #17
    Member Hoyt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    I don't post "garbage" Mr Hoyt; I post honest opinion. You'd do a lot for a civilized society to not consider any opinion that varies from your own as "garbage" and thereby feel the need to engage in ad hominem attacks when you don't even know who you're talking to.

    If you think for a second that a few hunters can even make a dent in the natural rodent populations, then feel free to kill off all the foxes and take over their job. Then watch how nature goes ballistic with her boom and bust cycles when you can't possibly keep up with rodent production. We need "middle management" predators, who primarily feed on much smaller critters such as voles and ermine. Without the fox, your hare populations would crash hard and take much longer to recover. The food chain is a much more complicated system than you give it credit for.

    Taking a 200 yard shot with a rimfire pellet gun is folly. I don't care what the book says the bullet might do when it gets there. If you're going for 200 yard shots, bring a real gun. The .223 would be perfect. Any scope will do. The only limiting factor is price. There is no such thing as "too much gun", so bring the 270 if that suits you. For fox, rabbit, shrews, or whatever, the 270 will work just fine, even out to 200 yards. The bullet is irrelevant for your intended use. Get the cheapest stuff that gives you a solid group. Better yet; homeload. I've taken spruce chickens with a 270 at a distance of nearly 25 yards. Worked just fine. Ate the bird for supper. And I've sat and watched foxes hunt and play for hours while never feeling a need to shoot one of them just for the fun of killing something.
    Who said anything about killing off all of the foxes? No one wants to kill off ALL of anything. Predator hunters take very little fox compared to the thousands taken annually by trappers. Why aren’t you ripping them? The way you attempt to talk down to me about the biology of the matter is hilarious. I understand its complexities very well. Do you own and shoot a .17? I do. I have taken a number of fox with it. It works very well even out to 200 yards on fox (which is my limit). I have years of field experience sir, not book experience. Maybe you should take your own advice (about not knowing the person you're talking to), and restructure your passive aggressive manner. You're right I don't know you, and with your pompous attitude, I care not to. I've spent thousands of hours watching animals, including the almighty apex predators, without feeling the need to harvest them. At the same time I'm not going to rip another hunter for legally hunting an animal. As I’ve said too many others on this forum……….to each his own.

  18. #18
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I would not think 2x about shooting a fox with my 17hmr out to about 100 yard. It is a tack driver at that range and would certainly be plenty for fox at that or even a little more. I prefer my AR with cheap FMJ's, low cost and just punch a neat little .22 hole through whatever I shoot with it. I use it on bunnies all the time. I also like the quick followup shots that it affords. A quick followup may have changed the outcome of this story quite a bit.That said in the "close to town" area that I tool around on many evenings the 17 is prefered with frangible type "varmint grenade" bullets that tend to resist ricochet.

  19. #19
    Member Hoyt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    I dont agree with any of you..

    .17HMR is certainly enough gun to kill a fox, but 200 yds is a loooooong way for a 17. Thats like the equivalent of an ear "flick", painful but survivable....Heck, thats a long way for a 22mag. What is that, like 16" of bullet drop??

    Actually, I like using a .0625 caliber....as in 1/16" cable snare. Taken in winter when fur is prime. I don't judge anyone for legally harvesting (or trying to harvest) a critter, but to me it's a shame to take a fur bearer when the fur is not prime...
    I agree. I have my snares ready to go! I usually don't start pred hunting until December. A buddy took a nice coyote a few years ago around Thanksgiving, and it wasnt quite prime yet. I decided then, I would always wait till December, just to be sure. 200 yards is a long shot for a .17, but it is very doable (I've confidently done it). Although I've taken lynx and yotes with it as well, they were much closer.

  20. #20
    Member Hoyt's Avatar
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    Skagdog: Simply put......put a nice fixed power on the AR. It is the best all around gun for preds. .17 will get the job done, but the .223 is better.

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