Finding the right firearm for your small game hunting needs can be a timely task. Once you’ve found the one that’s right for you, there are plenty of firearm accessories on the market to fine-tune it to make it perfect for the small game you’re chasing.
The following accessories can help make your hunt more enjoyable, comfortable, and successful.
Often the window of opportunity is very narrow when it comes to shooting opportunities at small animals like squirrels and rabbits. Since you won’t always have time to find a good resting position, and since you’ll often shoot at upward angles when looking for squirrels, a shooting stick can be invaluable.
It can be a commercially produced shooting stick, like the monopods made by Stony Point, or simply a forked stick that you cut on the spot with the saw on your multi-tool. Just make sure the stick is sturdy and thick enough for your hand to grip comfortably.
Protect your scope. For one thing, scopes are expensive and you don’t want the lens to get scratched. On the other hand, it’s nearly impossible to aim when your lenses are obscured by snow or excessive moisture. When conditions warrant use, keep the scope covered until you are ready to shoot.
Neoprene “visor socks” are a great bet, because they are inexpensive, durable, and provide a bit of impact protection to the body of the visor. Oilcloth “bikini-style” covers are great at keeping moisture out, but they tend to fall apart. Same with flip-top viewfinder caps. If you’re sitting on a blind, these are fine. Hunters who put a few miles on their boots often find that flip tops are easy to demolish.
A sling allows you to carry the weight of your rifle or shotgun on your shoulder, freeing up your hands for sighting, dodging limbs, and other tasks. Since .22 rifles are generally lighter and smaller than high powered centerfires, you can get away with using a thinner and therefore less obtrusive sling than you might need to use on your deer rifle. .
A sling made from 1” strip of leather or nylon webbing is usually sufficient. However, insist on quality hardware for all of your rifle slings. You don’t want to risk the integrity of your tuned double two just to save a few bucks on a slingshot.
A good travel case protects against bumps and scratches from travel. As well as cosmetics, this ensures that your range doesn’t go out of scratch. I prefer Boyt and Pelican hard cases, but these might be considered overkill for a .22.
Soft cases are also a good option, but they don’t offer enough protection for air travel. Airlines require firearms to be stored in a lockable hard case.