The targets now available worldwide run the gamut from prairie dogs and groundhogs in North America to rabbits and small feral animals in New Zealand to jackals in South Africa. Unquestionably, going on a varmint shoot is the best possible practice for shooting at big game animals, as it presents the same problems one encounters when shooting big game - shooting at angles of elevation and depression, wind drift, heat mirage, range estimation and bullet drop. Anyone who can consistently hit prairie dogs at 250 yards can easily hit a mule deer or antelope at 300 yards or an elk at 350 yards. With all that in mind, here's a glance at a high-quality varmint shoot being offered in New Zealand.
Booking agent Dale Hedgpeth of Hedgpeth's Adventures in Hunting has carved out something of a niche for himself as an agent who caters (among other groups) to varmint shooters. His foremost shoot is a mixed-bag program in New Zealand with outfitter Mike Freeman that combines three days of rabbit shooting in the famous McKenzie Basin, which certainly has the highest concentration of rabbits in the world; one day of feral goats; one day of feral hogs and wallabies; and one day of Merriam's turkeys and/or pheasants (the latter two are not considered varmints).
In the McKenzie Basin, shooters can expect to fire at least 500 rounds per day. By day, you shoot sophisticated varmint rifles at long range; by night you shoot 22 semi-automatic rifles with special large-capacity magazines. At times, you can also shoot rabbits with shotguns over pointing dogs - a kind of sport I have never heard of anywhere else. The feral goats, feral hogs and wallabies require a certain amount of stalking,........(continued)