I have had some people ask me about my preferred setup for terminating whistle pigs, so today I am going to discuss just that. What, exactly, is a whistle pig? Good question. For those of you who aren’t from the Northwest, a whistle pig is a relative of the prairie dog but smaller. And, fortunately, also dumber.
While you generally shoot prairie dogs from a distance, no such need with whistle pigs. You can shoot them from inside 50 meters and they typically won’t run and hide. In case the PETA spies are on the site today, they are a real pest. Whistle Pigs procreate prolifically and the holes they dig are treacherous to cows and wild horses. Also, they are decimating the grub worm population. #SaveAGrubWormKillAWhistlePig.
On to the gear you will need. Because of the size and bold nature of the whistle pig, you can approach shooting them many ways. Long range, medium range and up close and personal.
We have some local clubs in Idaho that prefer to blast them from 1,000-yards out. Other folks like to take ’em down at 400 yards with reliable varmint rounds like .223. I tend to fall into the last camp, the rimfire crew.
I like rimfire because it isn’t uncommon to fire 300 to 500 shots in a day. That might sound unbelievable, but it is true. These things breed like bacteria. I have seen so many at once it looked like the ground was moving. And if you are cheap, which I am, that would add up fast in a centerfire caliber.
As a recent convert to .17 HMR as my preferred rimfire round, I am using a Savage Arms B-17 these days. The .17 HMR has plenty of reach and it turns the target inside out upon impact. Generally, there’s no need for a follow-up shot.
I feed my B-17 CCI’s VNT ammo and could not be happier. It is extremely accurate, and the terminal ballistics are there in spades. The polymer tip and very thin jacket are a perfect combination for squirrel-sized rodents.
Up top, I prefer the Bushnell SMRS 1-6.5x24mm. In a day of shooting, targets can easily range from contact distance to 300 meters. The one power red dot is perfect for the walk up and the max 6.5 magnification is plenty for the range of .17 HMR. Not even close to what the optic was designed for but it works out very well.
The last thing that is a must-have for me is the Camelbak Rubicon. Ever since I did a review on this pack last year, it’s been at my side. I absolutely love it.
While it’s not the most popular technique, I prefer to walk between whistle pig dens so I get some exercise. With 30 pounds of misc. stuff in the Rubicon, including the water reservoir, it makes for a good workout. Toss in a brick of ammo and you are set for hours of entertainment.