Sage rats, whistle pigs (Western), and ammo...


May 14, 2009, 07:19 PM
Okay, I just took stock of my .22LR ammo, and it's great for match shooting. Lots of premium 40 grain solids.

I'm almost out of hollowpoints, though, and I just discovered a great place to shoot the little varmints, a few minutes down the road from my house. It's even legal.:D

Any thoughts about using solids on small varmints?

Any reason not to? (I want clean kills.)

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May 14, 2009, 08:49 PM
Forgive me - what's a whistle pig, other than the referance from the book, "A Small Colonial War."

May 14, 2009, 08:58 PM
im pretty sure its a woodchuck
i like the lead round nose cci mini mags for just about everything

May 14, 2009, 09:08 PM
Whistle pigs, I'd want a hollow point, but I actually prefer .22 short solids for shooting tree rats and sage rats don't sound like they're much bigger, but then, I guess y'all don't eat them critters, either, so meat damage is probably a non-issue. I know I anchor a cotton tail a lot faster with a hollow point and they REALLY work better on jacks, though, so I figure the whistle pig deserves the expansion. I've never even seen one of the danged things. I'm just extrapolating from what I know.

Oh, I've shot Coons, possums, and armadillos with the .22, also, and the hollowpoint is much better and works fine on those critters.

May 14, 2009, 09:09 PM
Forgive me - what's a whistle pig
We call them groundhogs here on the East Coast.

May 14, 2009, 09:32 PM
These things look like groundhogs, but they're much smaller. They're some sort of ground squirrel that looks and acts like a mini prairie dog. Only a few inches high when they stand.

"Whistle pigs" here in SW Idaho are probably what stoned hippies Oregonians call "sage rats."

Idaho whistle pig is to groundhog/woodchuck as jackrabbit is to deer.

I knew someone in Ohio who went to buckshot at close range to kill groundhogs in the vegetables because .22LR would just wound them. These things aren't like that.:)

May 14, 2009, 10:07 PM
They will work, but those CCI Velocitors makes for mo fun if your rifle will shot them good.

May 14, 2009, 11:54 PM
I dont think you need more than a .22 lr to take down any woodchuck (groundhog). They can put up a vicious fight with a dog or cat that doesnt know how to handle them, but Ive known 2 cats that killed them (couldnt drag the big heavy things anywhere).
In fact you can kill one with a brick, or a rock, or a shovel very easily if you have to.
My dogs love groundhogs, it only takes a single bite to kill them, thats all.
If you get a younger groundhog, and prepare it correctly it tastes ok, Im sure if slow cooked they can be very tender. Those Ive eaten were most of the time just grilled and barbequed.
Coyotes love to hunt groundhogs on golf courses sometimes.

May 15, 2009, 12:09 PM
Dang, you guys got some weird critters up there. :what:

Stoned THAT'S funny right there, don't care who ya are. :D

May 15, 2009, 02:30 PM
ohio here
ground hogs here are called whisle pigs, they whisle and stand up before holeing. very convient.:)

they do get big, very ,very big. but dumb as a rock. get set up and whisle real loud and every pig around will stand up for a look. pow and wait 15 min and they forget all about it and come up for more.:neener:

.22 works fine but after years creeping acrost the farm i got old and found the joy of the 22-250. 2-500 yd and they explode.:evil:

dagger dog
May 15, 2009, 03:20 PM
Us Hoosiers have whistle pig AKA woodchuck AKA groundhog.

ghosters got the ticket on the whistle to make 'em sit up, but they will whistle too, when startled and trying to figure out what the heck that is crawling along the fence row (you with your cammo and rifle).

I was rased up in jack rabbit country and you can make them stop dead stride with a loud whistle too.!

I like the old 22 Hornet that is the grandaddy of ground hog rounds.

May 15, 2009, 09:31 PM

Is this what you are talking about? Notably smaller than even a prairie dog.

If so, solids will kill them easily. I have seen more than a few killed with BB guns.

May 15, 2009, 09:42 PM
Notably smaller than even a prairie dog.

Oh, yeah. Their burrows are shockingly large, though -- big enough to stick your whole leg and boot all the way in while walking -- and they desertify big patches of ground.

The animals are tiny, but they walk around eating, and they stand in front of their burrows looking around just like prairie dogs.

They do the same whistling thing as groundhogs do, but they're MUCH smaller.

Dang, you guys got some weird critters up there.

Yeah, I guess you're right. Size of a chipmunk, acts like a prairie dog, whistles like a groundhog. It's cheaper to shoot .22LR at 10-50 yards from a stock Marlin than it is to shoot anal-retentive handloaded .22-250 or .204 Ruger at 100-500 yards from a custom boltie, though. Something you can do after work, instead of making it a big deal.:)

I'm sure a .17HMR would be a blast (pun intended) but I don't have one since I hadn't discovered this little pleasure before. It's hard to explain to some people how and why it's fun to stroll around the sage country, blasting cute little critters. I really don't understand it myself, when I think about it from a distance -- but it's sure fun...:)

May 15, 2009, 10:03 PM
Use a hollow point if it still has penetration through the whole body. other wise you need a solid slug with a head shot when you deal with garden varmints that weigh a normal 10 pounds.

May 15, 2009, 11:04 PM
Well, I have the gun, Remington 597 Magnum in .22 Mag. It's VERY accurate and has a 3x9 Bushnell Trophy on it. I traded a guy out of this thing for a little XR70 I had for sale. Figured I could sell the gun as easy as the XR and it was pretty even up value wise. Actually, I think I kinda skinned him a bit, LOL! I kept it cause it shoots so good, 1.5 MOA, and is fun at the range, but I have absolutely NO hunting use for the thing down here. We don't have any neato critters like that to put a population dent in after work.:( Ain't gonna hunt hogs with it, illegal for deer, be a might hard to hit a dove or duck on the wing with it even if it were legal, and, well, it's a bit much for squirrels. We don't even have jacks this far east. If I still had my lease out in Art's part of the world, I could thin the jacks with the thing.

May 16, 2009, 06:46 PM

I do believe the "whistle pig" is actually either a Richardson's, or Cascade, ground squirrel. Here in Montana, they're known as "gophers", but are not at all closely related to the cute little stripey boogers that are truly gophers.

A .22 rimfire works very well on them out to about 110 yards. I prefer a hollowpoint, but will acknowledge that a solid can get the job done. However, solids don't give as sure a kill & many disappear down the hole to die out of sight. For 100 yards to 300 or so, the .223 is the round to use in my opinion, although several others will do.


June 7, 2009, 01:51 PM
what we call whistle pigs are more commonly called gound squirrels or "pot guts" over in the tenessee area. Right now, with the exception of the last few days, its been real dry so all the green vegatation they eat during the spring is now tuning brown.

You guys mught not believe me, but these animals are very cannibals by nature. Even when they have green vegetation to eat, they will still eat dead ones of roads and drag the dead ones you shot back to their burrows.

Even still, as cannibalistic and disease ridden(they can carry/transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, rat bite fever, Tularemia, Chagas’ disease, adiospiromycosis and encephalomycarditis and the Bubonic plague to humans, if dead ones are handled) as they are, i dont like using .22lr even with HP's, because more often then not, they suffer. There have been countless times ive hit them in the side and they run around and go down a hole to die probably 1/2 hour later. Head shots will do fine, but it takes a good shot to hit a head the size of a quarter at 40yds while standing.

Personally, i would use any round that has a ballistic tipped bullet. I used to use my marlin model 60 .22mag with CCI ballistic tips and they work very well. Now i reload for my Savage model 10 FP and use 110gr. Hornady Vmax's in my .308. The .22mag would tear them up, unlike hp .22lr's, and my .308 will throw chunks of them 20ft in the air.

June 7, 2009, 04:07 PM

Yup, they are cannibals & will indeed eat their own dead. They also breed at an amazingly fast rate.

My preferred .22 HP to use, if the gun likes it, is the Winchester PowerPoint. It's a 40 grain HP that's at an advertised 1280 fps. It's also outstandingly accurate in a couple of my .22's & when it hits you can tell the difference between it & a common 38 gr HP from anybody else.


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