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Woodchuck Hunting Tips

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Why Hunt/Shoot Woodchucks?:
 
Hunters persure woodchucks for a variety of reasons.
 
1.) Many enjoy the pure sport of the woodchuck hunt!  Weather is generally nice during the time of year that I persue woodchucks- Spring and early summer.  The style of hunting is easy and low intensity.
 
2.) I use the hunts as a means of practicing my shooting for other species, such as fox and coyote.  I use the same rifle and shooting accessories whether hunting woodchucks or predators and the extra time afield prepares me.  Boy, It sure is easier to hit a woodchuck in the daylight at 200 yds than a fox in total dark at 100 yds.
 
3.) Hunters feel that they are doing a "service" to the farmers.  I hunt woodchucks on the same farms where I hunt squirrels, deer, turkeys, predators, crows & pigeons.  Through conversations with the farmers, I know that the woodchucks are un-welcome and that my hunting efforts are welcome. 
 
When to Hunt:
 
There are some factors that will come into play when determining when is the most productive time to hunt woodchucks.  As far as the time of year is concerned, woodchucks will venture out from their dens in March.  In fact, on a warm March day, the shooting can be productive.  March and April hunts are best when daily air temperatures are warmest, which generally means in the afternoons.  Keep in mind that females may have pups in the dens during this time and that killing females means killing all the pups as well.  If you are hunting farms where the farmer will be gasing and burning holes, you might as well take advantage of the early season hunts.  On lands where there will be no burning, the hunters would be better off to wait until late June or early July because this practice will allow the pups to grow up and live.  In turn, provide more shooting opportunities for the hunter.  The drawback to late season hunting is that fields are overgrown with grasses or crops and it is impossible to see the woodchucks.  Hunters will have to wait until hay fields are cut to enjoy shooting in late summer months.  When hunting during hot weather periods, try mornings and evenings vs. mid day when temps soar!
 
HOT TIP: Try hunting immediately after a rain!  Woodchucks do not drink water and they get there neccessary water intake by eating vegetation that  is water soaked!
 
Personally, I hunt woodchucks in March/April.  The month of May is turkey time for me and then I get busy with other activities during the summer months.
 
Where to Hunt:
 
I perform all my hunting on farm land that features large fields.  Even though I find numerous dens in wooded areas, I always set up overlooking farm fields.  Look for den holes near hedgerows and on hill sides.  Woodchucks tend to avoid wet and swampy areas.
 
Equipment:
 
Most serious varmint hunters use some sort of centerfire rifle to take care of their shooting needs.  I typically use my Remington Model 700 in .223.  For the bullet, I use a 55 grain vmax ballistic tip.  The .22 - 250 is a great choice for longer distance shooting.
 
Hunting Techniques:
 
I like to begin each hunt by setting up overlooking a field that I know has lots of active den holes.  I try to use some  sort of cover to camoflague me.  I'm not sure if this 100% necessary, but I do it anyhow (I also wear camo clothes).  Set-up no closer than 100 yards to the dens.  I like to set-up on a rise in the landscape so that I can see over knolls and have a nice view of the terrain.  I simply sit and wait for 'chucks to appear.  I constantly use my binoculars to scan the fields. 
 
If I see a woody "way out there", I'll stalk it and take the shot at a comfortable distance.  When stalking, use the terrain to your advantage by approaching behind hills & knolls.  Move slowly and quietly.  When peering over a rise, do so slowly and be prepared for the shot.
 
Equipment:
 
I mentioned earlier that I use my predator equipment for my woodchuck hunts.  This equipment includes....
 
- Small chair w/ a back on it.  Not the full size camp chair, they are too heavy.   The back is vital because it is SO much more comfortable than a stool w/o a back.
 
- Stoney Point Bi-Pod.  A Harris B-Pod (attached to the rifle) my be more secure for woodchucks, but I've gotten used to the Stoney Point.  Plus, I really like to sit up a little higher with the chair.  It helps my field of vision.
 
- Range Finder
- Binoculars
- Full Camo
- Digital Camera - Always take more pix than you think necessary