Patagioenas picazuro and the Cricket
Meanwhile, in an undisclosed South American country, I was reacquainted with the joys and challenges of long range air gun hunting.
My friend Aluísio took young Gustavo and me on a brief late afternoon outing for one of my favorite game animals in the world, Patagioenas picazuro, also known as White Winged Pigeon, in an almost urban environment.
We parked the car under a shade tree to avoid detection from the ever watchful eyes of the incoming pigeons and we started scouting to find a suitable bird concentration that would soon provide us with some outstanding memories.
The pigeons were in the center of a large field, clearly visible over the short grass, but keeping quite a safe distance from any potentially dangerous predators, including us. We started walking on a more or less parallel path in order to avoid spooking our prey, and assumed a prone position almost without cover, but about seventy meters from the group of pigeons.
Resting the forearm of the Kalibr Cricket Tactical 22 on the edge of a wooden plank and ranging the target at 75 meters I selected the first target and put the proper Mil-Dot where the wing joins the body. The shot departed almost noiseless and after flapping the wings for a couple times the pigeon rested not to move again. The surrounding birds showed almost no reaction and continued to pick in the recently watered grass.
In the next several minutes we had unstoppable action and the downed birds acted as decoys attracting other passing pigeons.
Gustavo was then introduced to the gorgeous Cricket and on his first shot connected with a pigeon at around sixty meters. Quite a feat!
But pigeons exist in large numbers because they are not fools and apart from the downed birds, no other would come in range. But eventually I located one lonely bird almost across the field, quartering away from us, form right to left, at a pigeon's pace.
I adjusted the scope to have a sharp view of the unsuspecting pigeon and picked the lowest Mil-Dot to give maximum elevation, and put it just ahead of the top of the breast and gently pressed the trigger. After what I felt was half of an eternity, the 18 grains JSB pellet struck home, and the pigeon was quiet with no more an a flap.
Aluísio and Gustavo walked to pick up this last pigeon and using a laser range finder clicked me from my shooting position at exact one hundred and thirty meters!
The following photo session helped us preserve the memories of a fantastic afternoon, the first blood bath of a new hunter, and celebration of friendship and the love of the chase.