George Block

Column George Block

George Block is a sports columnist who loves the outdoors.

Reminder never a bad thing for July 1

License renewal required soon

June 15, 2013

Most of us realize that, as of July 1, a new license will be required to hunt.

Most of us also know that sometimes we need a reminder of that fact.

July 1 is not that far away. The rules and regulations are pretty much the same as last year, but there are a few changes.

The one that affects local hunters the most is the elimination of the after-Christmas rifle season for antlerless deer here in Washington County.

This year, this late season will only take place in the part of Unit 2 in Allegheny County.

This is an attempt to put pressure on the deer in the more urban areas of the unit.

This is one rule that makes sense, for all too often deer hunters find it easier to find a place to hunt outside Allegheny County. That only increased pressure on the herd, where it was not needed.

I found an interesting paragraph on page 10 of the hunting digest that comes with one’s hunting license.

Maybe I missed something last year, but I see the commission is offering a bear season for seniors and juniors in Unit 2-b in mid-October.

All I have to do is locate a bear near home. I know there are a few in Unit 2-b, so there is a chance.

• I have a rule based on my personal code of ethics, and that is I won’t hunt groundhogs until the first of June, when the young are seen out feeding.

My thoughts are shoot a mother early in the spring, and you leave the young to starve in the den. But now June is here, and it’s time to lower the population of critters creating holes in the pasture, eating Mr. Brown’s alfalfa and clover.

• It’s time to sit watching a hillside with that super accurate rifle that will reach out to the 500-yard mark.

Among today’s shooters – and that’s what groundhog hunters are – the most popular cartridge is probably the .22-250.

I have used this round for many years. In fact, I owned a .22-250 before it became a factory round. This was a wildcat that was easily made by simply necking down a .250 Savage casing to .22 caliber.

While a great round, I have learned over the years that there is a .22 centerfire round that, all things being equal, is just a tad better.

Of course I am talking about the .220 Swift. Most shooters know that the Swift is faster, but what’s rarely mentioned is the fact that it can be a bit more accurate.

Both cartridges require longer barrels for performance. Both are fast and accurate. But a Swift will more often than not exceed the speed of the .22-250 by about 100 fps.

After owning at least 10 rifles in each chambering, I have concluded that the Swift shot better groups. I know other shooters have found the same to be true.

Like the Swift, the 6mm Remington takes a back seat to the .243 when popularity is the only concern, but the 6 is the slightly better round.

Again like the Swift, it is faster and therefore will shoot flatter at long range.

I have heard it said that the .243 is more accurate, but my answer to that is I have a 6 in my room, and I’ll challenge any .243 shooter to a contest to see which groups best.

On a nice, calm day, I’ll choose my Swift. But if the breezes are blowing, give me the 6mm or the other good long range round: the .25-06.

This round is perhaps the best of all the all-around cartridges.

It reaches out to take varmints and is suitable for the biggest of whitetail bucks.

There is little doubt that those are the top five in the varmint field.

George Block writes a Sunday Outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.



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