Free-Range Axis With An Air Rifle

Free-Range Axis With An Air Rifle

Story and photography by Tom Claycomb III

The last few years TOJ’s Publisher/Editor Bill L. Olson has been monitoring the discussion and progression of big game hunting with airguns in Texas and emailing me updates. After what seemed like an eternity, the initiative finally worked its way through Texas Parks and Wildlife Department with minimum standards agreed upon and big bore air rifles approved for taking big game. Bill called me right away.

I do a lot with Umarex USA airguns and shortly after visiting with Justin “JB” Biddle, their Director of Marketing he said I ought to check out one of their “big boy” air rifles. I had never seriously considered hunting big game with an air rifle even though the Girardoni air rifle was carried and used on the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 1800s.  But with “JB’s” suggestion something clicked and I said, “let me see what I can get lined up.” I called Bill, told him of the opportunity and he jokingly exclaimed, “what took you so long?”

A few days later he told me to book a flight to San Antonio. He’d pick me up in six days and we’d be hunting free-range axis deer and hogs near Menard, Texas with Adventures Missions Retreats Properties.

Days passed fast as I scrambled to get the last-minute details in place. I needed to get an Air Venturi Nomad II compressor shipped to me, a Professional Boning Knife from Knives of Alaska – I’ve been working with them on developing the ultimate outdoors boning knife, Smith’s Stones, Swab-its cleaning gear, Riton binoculars, plus all my personal gear pulled together.  Additionally, “JB” had to pull some strings to get one of the very first produced Hammers off the production line and ship it plus an air tank.

With Texas and the rest of the country shut down through late spring because of the Covid-19 virus, when Texas reopened in early summer this opportunity quickly started coming together.  Everyone involved was scrambling at warp speed.

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