Weihrauch HW97K Air Rifle Hunting
I am fortunate to live in a rural area of far North Queensland. Bird watching and photography are particular passions well catered to in the area where I live. There is a great wealth of Australian birdlife. Unfortunately, there are also a few pest species as well.
Most prominent of these are the introduced Indian Myna birds. An otherwise likeable bird, they are an aggressive invader. Recently while cruising the bottom corner of the acreage I noticed that a nesting hollow previously used by our colorful Lorikeets had been commandeered by Mynas.
It was a situation that needed to be corrected, and a good opportunity to put my Weihrauch HW97K air rifle (see detailed review of this rifle) into hunting mode. I am a keen deer stalker and hunter of other game, large and small, and I had bought the Weihrauch with the express intention of target practice and dealing with any pests about the home property.
While I had centre-fire rifles that I could have used, the Weihrauch HW97K in .22” caliber was both safe and discreet for pest control. I had already taken a number of rabbits, rats, mynahs and other pests from around the sheds of neighboring farms.
One of the first things I did with the new Weihrauch was to test a range of pellets for accuracy and velocity. My choice of pellet quickly narrowed down to the H&N FTT 14.7 grain projectile which I found grouped consistently well and averaged a steady 660 feet per second with 14.2 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
In hunting application I have not been disappointed with these pellets. They consistently deliver emphatic one-shot kills on small game. So, having detected the unwanted presence of the Mynas, I rode my Polaris 550 X2 quad bike back to house and retrieved the Weihrauch from the gun safe.
As the rifle is still quite new, having fired less than a thousand pellets, I have found it prudent to fire 5 shots before a hunting trip. The reason for that is that I have noticed when target shooting the first 2 or 3 shots are sometimes a little off target. I presume that is most likely due to some trace accumulation of lubricant in the piston which can cause the first couple of shots to place up to 10mm from point of aim.
More experienced shooters tell me that with use, this will cease to be a problem. In the meantime, until I have fired a few thousand rounds through it, I will continue to fire 5 pre-hunt shots, just to be sure.
Having dropped half a dozen of the 14.7 grain H&N FTT pellets into my pocket I returned to field and spent some time in trying to get a shot at the pair of Mynas. After perhaps an hour of cat & mouse games it was obvious that the Mynas were way too wary for me to simply walk up to within hunting range. That, by the way, is 30 meters for me.
I returned to the house once more and got out my camo poncho and rifle wrap that I use for my centre-fire hunting. I wrapped the Weihrauch HW97K with my camo cloth, leaving the under-lever free for access. It was not a perfect job, but I figured it would do for this occasion.
I figured I may as well be comfortable, so I added a folding camp chair to the quad and returned once more to the paddock. There was a landscaped garden bed conveniently within 25 meters of the tree where the Mynas were nesting.
Having donned the camo poncho, with face mask and gloves, I made myself comfortable and waited patiently. Remaining perfectly still for lengthy periods of time is a skill I have mastered in my big game hunting, and so I settled into statue mode.
There was a light breeze blowing in my face and I was mostly out of the sun, which was wise, as it was developing into a rather hot summer day. It was quite pleasant sitting there in the garden. Before long there were a wealth of native birds going about their business all about me, and the dried leaves in the garden bed were being constantly rustled by the active small lizards that live there.
The Mynas, having seen me enter the garden bed, were quite wary. They made a number of fly-bys before one briefly landed in the tree. It did not stay long and took off before I could even think about a shot. That happened a few times until they seemed to be satisfied that all was well.
One of the Mynas flew back to the tree with a long piece of coarse grass in its beak, obviously intent on resuming nest building. It landed and sat briefly before scurrying down into the nest hollow. The other Myna kept lookout from about 50 meters away.
An hour passed, with quite a few visits, but no opportunity to shoot. A problem had arisen in that the birds were flying in to land on a branch that was obscured to my vision by intervening foliage. I had to remain patient and wait an opportunity to move, when neither bird could see me.
Eventually that chance came when both birds went into the nesting hollow together. Quickly I stood up and moved a few meters to nearby spot where I would have a clear view of the nesting hole and the roosting branch.
I had only just settled in to my new position when one of the birds popped out and sat on the look-out perch. I was ready and had the satisfaction of seeing the bird drop like a stone to my shot. It hit the ground with a solid thud and did not so much as twitch.
I spent another hour there, waiting motionless, but the other Myna did not give me the chance of a shot at it, despite warily hanging around during that time. I retrieved the fallen bird for a few photos and decided to call it a day.