Best Air Rifles For Hunting – Complete 2021 Round-up

| Last Updated December 22, 2021

Hunting with air rifles is an exciting sport and is widely practiced across the globe.

Most of the hunting done with these rifles is for addressing peculiar problems like pest control or varmint eradication. Plus, air rifles are also great rifles for real firearms since they often don’t require a license to purchase and can be used safely on short ranges and in your backyard.

Let’s look at some of the best air rifles for hunting. 

Comparison of the Best Air Rifles For Hunting

  • Built-in pressure gauge for simple refill
  • Shooting with very little noise
  • 10-Round magazine for quick shot follow-ups
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  • Fiber optics sight for improved accuracy
  • Sturdy featuring rubber recoil pad
  • Shoots at up to 1200fps with alloy pellet
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  • Best for the Money
  • Locks target with adjustable post front sight
  • User-friendly pump for power control
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  • Best 22 Caliber Air Rifle Hunting
  • Custom action trigger for improved adjustability
  • Noiseless using whisper fusion technology
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  • Best Air Rifle For Squirrel Hunting
  • Adjustable trigger for maximum accuracy
  • Factory mounted 4x32 scope for plinking shooting
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  • Best .25 Caliber Air Rifle For Hunting
  • Powerful shots with 4500 psi high-pressure pump
  • Simple target-locking with 8 round rotary magazine
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  • Best Big Game Air Rifle Hunting
  • Two smooth bore-barrels for efficient shooting
  • Enhanced optics with front bead sight
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Why Did These Air Rifles Make Our List? 

All the air rifles on our list have been shortlisted based upon several factors that are apt for hunting. The most common ones are:

Popularity and Positive Feedback

Almost every rifle included on our list is widely used by hunters for recreational hunting, food, or sport. These have been very reliable and trusted rifles in the hunting community and are known to deliver results. Some have been renowned for decades for that matter. 

Ruggedness and Ease Of Handling

Not every air rifle sits on the window of a backyard hunting squirrels. Many air rifles experience the fresh air and damp dirt of the woods and are subject to inclement weather and tossing around in trucks. 

Mixed Calibers, Exceptional Accuracy, Good Range, & Power

The rifles included here cover the most viable hunting calibers for air rifles from .177 to .50 cal. Whether break barrel or PCP, these rifles deliver exceptional accuracy. Some of these air rifles also shoot very fast and deliver hard-hitting power. 

Review of the Best Air Rifles For Hunting

We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the best air rifles for hunting. Some people might ask why this list doesn’t have a bb gun. So to elaborate, bb guns are good for beginners but not hunting beginners. These air rifles have been shortlisted based upon their features and positive customer feedback. 

Best Overall:
Benjamin Marauder Synthetic Stock PCP

Benjamin Marauder BP1764S .177-Caliber Pellet PCP Hunting Air Rifle


  • 10 round rotary magazine
  • Synthetic all-weather stock
  • Almost zero recoil and noise
  • Two stage match grade adjustable trigger
  • Exceptional accuracy with speeds up to 1,000 fps
  • Built-in pressure gauge and quick disconnect fitting


  • Limited shots per fill (if that’s a con)
  • Slightly heavy than other similar guns

What Recent Buyers Report

Users love the accuracy and smooth handling of this rifle. The 10 round magazine eliminates the need for hectic pellet loading. The velocity and power are great, and the in-built mechanism is very easy to handle. The gun is definitely worth its price. Some users, however, mentioned the weight to be a tad extra. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Benjamin Marauder is a very accurate PCP air rifle that comes chambered in three most common hunting calibers. The .177, .22 and .25. Giving you enough choices depending upon your game. The gun fills up easily and can deliver about 30 fast 1,000 fps shots on a full tank. The filling is very easy and gives you enough shots to complete a hunt. 

Noise and recoil are absent so you can also use it in your backyard or with a wary game. The 10 round mag is great and helps with a silent sound print. The all-weather stock doesn’t need too much protection, and the adjustable trigger is a fine addition to the overall design. 

Bottom Line

This PCP rifle is perfect for hunting down small varmints or eradicating pests on your property. It can be filled at high or low pressures depending upon your needs and doesn’t require iterative reloading. Great hunting air rifle for exceptional accuracy and long term use.

Ruger Blackhawk Combo

Umarex unisex adult Ruger Blackhawk .177 Caliber Pellet Gun with 4x32mm Scope Air Rifle, Black, Large US


  • Scope has parallax adjustment
  • Light 3.3 lbs adjustable trigger pull
  • 0.177 air rifle shoots up to 1,200 fps
  • Ruger product. Features great quality
  • Comes with a 4x32 scope & 1-year warranty
  • Fiber optic front and adjustable rear iron sights


  • May feel a bit heavy at 8.3 lbs
  • Cocking effort will be heavy for some users

What Recent Buyers Report

The Ruger Blackhawk has been purchased a lot. With most buyers utterly happy with the performance of the gun. The included scope requires too many adjustments to hit the right spot. The rifle shoots fast and hits hard. Great for birds and squirrels. Maybe even a coon at short range. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Designed and manufactured by Ruger, the Blackhawk rifle is a reliable and simple tool for hunting in your backyard or out in the woods. The gun shoots up to 1,200 fps with lead pellets and shoots accurately out to 100 feet despite being a springer. The iron sights are great and the scope offers parallax adjustment. Which is somewhat good at this price. 

The trigger pull is light and can be adjusted. The stock and grip are very ergonomic and resist weather and tough treatment very well. 

Bottom Line

This break barrel rifle is a worthwhile purchase looking at its low price tag. To speak about its quality, the rifle is from Ruger and is also covered by a one year warranty. The accuracy is unbelievable for a springer and the overall design is very ergonomic. The pull weight isn’t great for kids though.

Best for the Money:
Crosman M4-177


  • Adjustable between 350 to 625 fps
  • Works with .177 pellets or steel BB’s
  • Top & bottom accessory rails for attachments
  • Shoots pellets up to 600 FPS and BBs 625 FPS
  • Removable mag with pellet clip & sight adjustment tool
  • M4 style design with adjustable stock, sling loops & dual-aperture sight


  • Not quiet when loading
  • Only suitable for small pests

What Recent Buyers Report

This M4 style replica has gained a lot of attention among farm owners who shoot pests. The rifle looks very realistic and offers almost every feature like a real-life tactical rifle. The build quality is great and the pump is not tiring. The barrel is rifled and makes the gun super accurate. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The M4-177 Crossman air rifle has every feature you can wish for in an airgun. It’s the king of .177 rifles when it comes to aesthetics, customizability, versatility, and accurate shooting performance. The gun shoots one pellet per pump at low velocity. Pumping isn’t at all tiring like some other air rifles that have to be pumped 6-10 times for a single shot. 

The accessory rails, dual-aperture iron sights, pellet clip & BB magazine, and a fully adjustable stock make handling and performance great. The groups it delivers are exceptional and it has the power to bring down any small game suitable for a .177. 

Bottom Line

This rifle is as exciting to use for kids as it is useful for adults. From teaching the basics of shooting, to mounting extra accessories and fending off or even killing pests on your property. It’s the closest an air rifle can imitate a real rifle. 

Best 22 Caliber Air Rifle Hunting:
Gamo Whisper Fusion Mach 1

Gamo Whisper Fusion Mach 1 Air Rifle, CAT air Rifle


  • Covered by a 5-year warranty
  • Gas piston for smooth operation & less velocity
  • Muzzle equipped with noise reduction technology
  • 1st and 2nd stage independently adjustable trigger
  • Among the fastest & most powerful .22 air rifles today
  • Gamo 3-9x40 scope with RRR (Recoil Reducing Rail)


  • Heavy cocking effort
  • Slightly bulky than normal air rifles

What Recent Buyers Report

Users love the power, silence, and smooth operation of this air rifle. It is a great air rifle for hunting. There’s even a video on the internet where you can see an experienced hunter bringing down two hogs with it. The air rifle is quite silent and handles very well even on rough terrain. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Gamo Whisper is a powerful air rifle that can be used to bring down any game suitable for a .22 pellet, and sometimes even more. The air rifle has a two stage adjustable trigger, ergonomic all-weather checkered stock, muzzle mounted suppressor system, and a good pair of iron sights. It even comes with a scope that is quite decent for the price. 

The gas piston operation is very smooth and shoots pellets above 1,000 fps. It is a break barrel action, but the accuracy and handling are top notches. 

Bottom Line

This air rifle is for folks who want a balanced .22 caliber pellet air rifle that is powerful enough to tackle varmints and also doesn’t rely upon any external air pressure devices. A rugged, reliable, and accurate air rifle for hunting.

Best Air Rifle For Squirrel Hunting:
Ruger Air Hawk .177 Caliber Air Rifle Combo


  • Fitted with a 4x32 scope
  • Fiber optic front and rear sights
  • Adjustable trigger and automatic safety
  • Ambidextrous wooden stock and muzzle brake


  • Scope is hard to sight in
  • Takes some time to break-in

What Recent Buyers Report

The air rifle is terrific and shoots very well. However, it has a break-in period that may last over 100 shots. The included scope is ok but not the best. A decent old school springer that does make a slight noise. But there’s no compromise on price and accuracy. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This Rifle is a simple and basic air gun with a traditional design. The quality of the components is great and matches the standards you’d expect from Ruger. The fiber optic aided front and rear sights work great in daylight or darker conditions. Thanks to the green color fibers. The air rifle shoots with ample velocity and power to humanely kill both tree and ground squirrels.

The stock design is very ergonomic and the recoil pad is just awesome. Finding an adjustable trigger at this price point is hard. But the Air Hawk has managed to get a decent one. 

Bottom Line

Choose this rifle if you have a squirrel problem on your property. Or want a non-PCP, reliable, and accurate air rifle to take out in the woods. This air rifle won’t fare well for long shots but is decimating within 20 yards.

Best .25 Caliber Air Rifle For Hunting:
Umarex USA Gauntlet PCP Bolt Action Air Rifle

Umarex Gauntlet PCP Pellet Gun Air Rifle, .25 Caliber


  • Integrated 11mm dovetail rail
  • Silent action and 8 pellet rotary mag
  • Ergonomic stock with adjustable comb height
  • Built-in pressure regulator for consistent shots
  • .25 cal 890 fps gun can handle most apt game


  • A tad heavy at 8.5 lbs

What Recent Buyers Report

Umarex Gauntlet hails from those categories of air rifles that barely have any negative reviews. The only downside buyers could quote for this gun was its slightly heavy weight. So it’ll feel more like a real rifle when carrying, rather than an air rifle. The accuracy, action, and silence are top-notch. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Gauntlet PCP rifle comes with a built-in regulator for the detachable pump. You don’t need to detach the pump or carry an extra tool. This gives you the ability to adjust depending upon the range, ammo, and target you’re dealing with. The stock is synthetic and has a tool-less adjustable cheek weld.

The 8 shot rotary magazine eliminates the hassle of loading pellets after every shot. The rifle can fire 27 full powered shots on a full tank. The barrel is free-floating and the gun runs very silently being a PCP. 

Bottom Line

The .25 caliber is great for hunting down bigger game like raccoons and coyotes with an air rifle. The Gauntlet is very accurate even on longer ranges and has a very feature-loaded design to suit the needs of even pro hunters.

Best Big Game Air Rifle Hunting:
Seneca Double Shot .50 Cal

Seneca Double Shot .50 Cal Double Barrel Shotgun Air Rifle


  • Also compatible with air bolts
  • Receiver drilled and tapped for rail
  • Air distributor with barrel selector dial
  • Shoots 50 cal shot shells up to 1,130 fps
  • Two smooth bore barrels with removable choke
  • 244 cc, 3000 psi cylinder with in-built pressure gauge


  • Heavy and costly
  • Only front bead sight. No rear sight

What Recent Buyers Report

Not many people buy high caliber air rifles, and that too a shotgun. But those who bought this double barrel were mesmerized by its beauty and performance. To the extent that they didn’t even mind the weight. The air rifle shoots great and has a good punch with versatility. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Seneca double barrel is not a simple two-barrel shotgun. It is a PCP airgun that houses a very peculiar firing mechanism that can be tuned to perfection for every shooter. The power adjustment is simple and depends upon the cocking distance. 

The muzzle has removable chokes that can be attached/detached depending upon what you are shooting. This gun works with shot shells, .50 cal slugs, and also air bolts. Which makes it quite versatile. There’s even a barrel selector dial that helps with quick follow up shots. 

Bottom Line

Among the few big game air rifles out there, the Senece double barrel is the most advanced, reliable, versatile gun that allows you to take two quick shots at your game. Which can be imperative with big animals.

Best Beginner Hunting Rifle:
Daisy Pink Model 1998 .177 Caliber Air Rifle


  • 50 shot BB capacity. Use for practice
  • Fiber optic front, adjustable rear sight
  • Multi-pump pneumatic .177 cal air rifle
  • Shoots pellets at 715 fps and BB’s at 750 fps
  • Kit includes safety glasses, 4x15mm scope, 500 pellets & 750 BB’s


  • 10 pumps for max velocity
  • The scope is almost useless

What Recent Buyers Report

The Daisy 888 powerline is a renowned beginner’s air rifle for hunting. What daisy delivers for such a menial price is unbelievable. This air rifle has ample power to make a quick kill shot for a small game apt for beginners. Some people complained about the scope. But there’s nothing you can ask for such a low price. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The good ‘ol Daisy had to make it on our list. The venerable air rifle has taught many pro shooters to hold their first airgun. The first amazement is the combo deal that includes pellets, bb’s, a scope, and shooting glasses. A complete package for airgun shooting. This is a pneumatic multi-pump rifle that is both fun to shoot and deadly.

It isn’t a quick repeater for the newbie hunter to get carried away and start spraying. You have to work at it. As far as accuracy is concerned, the 888 performs well on that. 

Bottom Line

Choosing this rifle for beginner hunters is a complete no-brainer. It is a complete package that includes an accurate and inexpensive rifle that is not flimsy. .177 caliber is good for beginners and enough for small game.

Best Air Rifle For Deer Hunting:
Gamo Big Bore TC45 PCP Air Rifle


  • Two stage adjustable trigger
  • Integrated noise dampening system
  • Top rail for mounting extra accessories
  • Single shot bolt action. Get 10-40 shots per fill
  • Powerful PCP that works with ball or cast ammo
  • Delivers up to 1,000 fps and 400 fpe with specific pellets


  • Weighs too much (12.35 lbs)
  • Slightly extra LOP for kids/small shooters

What Recent Buyers Report

This air rifle hasn’t been through many hands for too many reviews. But those who have used it testify for the sheer bone-breaking power of this rifle. The TC 45 handles heavy grain slugs very well and can be used for the game more than deer in close range. The weight was a slight concern though for some. But most of it is the cylinder. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is certainly a big-bore air rifle that shoots .457 caliber pellets and slugs. It is a PCP based system that requires you to cock the lever for every shot. The rifle can generate up to 400 fpe of energy with 350-grain cast slugs. That’s about four times more than what’s required for a deer. 

The rifle is very silent for its power. But not mute. It can also shoot up to 1,000 fps with 138-grain pellets. The shot count ranges between 10 to 40 depending upon pellet weight. The .45 caliber is decimating for meat at such velocity within 100 to 150 yards. 

Bottom Line

The Gamo TC-45 is a powerful rifle that carries enough air to take down multiple games at close or short range. The rifle is a bit bulky and long for smaller stature shooters. But the sheer power gives you peace of mind after pulling the trigger. 

What Can You Hunt With an Air Rifle? 

It depends upon what’s the caliber of an air rifle and how much power it shoots. The lowest powered air rifles are used for hunting small critters like mice and pigeons. Add some more power and you can bring down squirrels, possums, and even raccoons. 

Increase the caliber up to .25 cal and you can hunt down coyotes or even hogs at close range with high power rifles. There are air rifles chambered in calibers like .357 and even.50 cal that can be used for hunting down bigger game like deer or even a cape buffalo. 

How Accurate is an Air Rifle? 

Like some firearm rifles, some air rifles can also deliver sub-MOA (one-inch groups) accuracy. This is relative to the powerplant mechanism of the rifle, its barrel, and the type of pellets being shot. 

PCP air rifles are the most accurate, followed by nitro piston and springers. That’s due to the lesser movement of parts resulting in lesser shock/recoil. Using the right pellets is about 70% crucial for accuracy. Plus, having a good barrel constitutes about 20% of the part in accuracy. The rest is trigger and ergonomics.

Air Rifle Accuracy Problems

Several factors may affect the accuracy of an air rifle. Some are common among all airgun mechanisms, while some are specific to design. Let’s check them one by one:

  • A dirty barrel can be a big impairment in accuracy. Since lead pellets leave deposits that can start to hamper pellet movement through the barrel

  • Make sure all the screws on the rifle, including mounts and scope alignment are tight. Loose screws may cause components to wiggle and hence affect the accuracy

  • For PCP airguns, keep an eye on the pressure and make sure it operates on recommended values. For springers, ensure the spring is in the right shape. Never keep a springer air rifle cocked. 

Break Barrel Air Rifle Problems

Break barrel air rifles are the most basic kind of air rifles and do not require any external power source to shoot pellets. However, they are prone to some minor issues that can be fixed with ease. 

One problem people face with springers is the loss of zero on the scope sometimes. That can be resolved by ensuring that all screws are tightened properly. 

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Your stance should be correct while holding the rifle. Make sure the grip isn’t too tight. 

Never disassemble the full rifle unless you are sure of how to assemble it back. The bore of a break barrel air rifle should be cleaned often to avoid accuracy problems. 

Air Rifle Types 

Before we talk about the types, let’s understand what an air rifle is. An air rifle, as the name suggests, propels a projectile through the barrel with the help of air pressure. The principle is similar to that of real firearms. With the difference being in operating pressures and punching power. 

There are air rifles that have to be cocked for every shot by opening the barrel to a certain angle. These are known as break barrel air rifles. 

There are three types of air rifles available today.  These include:

Spring Piston Air Rifles

These are break barrel rifles that use a spring-loaded piston to generate air pressure. When cocked, the spring-loaded piston retracts and upon releasing the trigger, compresses the gasses inside the chamber. Which in turn propels the projectile. 

Gas Piston-powered Air Rifles

These airguns are also break barrel air rifles. house a pre-loaded pump assembly filled with a pressurized inert gas like nitrogen. When the gun is cocked, the gas is further compressed and works like a pneumatic accumulator. These air rifles can be kept cocked for longer durations and are smoother than springers. But they also require more precision to manufacture. 

PCP Air Rifles

PCP stands for Pre Charged Pneumatic. These air rifles have a cylinder that has to be filled with compressed air. This air is then regulated using a piston to fire each shot. There are PCP rifles that can be filled directly with a pump, charged with a hand pump, or used with replaceable cylinders. These are the most accurate and silent kind of air rifles with absolutely no recoil. 

177 vs 22 Air Rifle - Comparison Overview 

The .177 and .22 are the most popular airgun calibers of all time. There are heavier calibers for airguns, but most hunters rely upon these two for humanely killing game animals. Let’s compare these calibers concerning air rifles and find out areas where one excels over the other.

Size and Weight

The .177 pellet is 4.5mm in diameter whereas the .22 is 5.5mm in diameter. Their nomenclature represents their diameter in inches. So clearly, a .22 pellet is bigger and heavier than a .177. While their difference in size also suffices, the weight can differ based upon the type of ammo. 

Velocity and Trajectory

.177 is a lighter and hence flatter shooting caliber than the .22. The .177 pellets travel at a faster velocity which gives them an advantage in trajectory. Which is a reason why they are used for precision shooting with air rifles. 

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Power and Suitability For Hunting 

The use of .177 is mostly limited to 10-meter air rifle matches and it is the only approved ISSF approved caliber for that. However, that doesn’t mean .177 rifles are not used for hunting. They are great rifles for hunting down small birds like pigeons and small critters like rats. The .22 on the other hand is widely used for air rifle hunting and can even take down a hog when shot from a high-powered air rifle with perfect shot placement. 

Difference in Price and Pellet Options

The cost and availability of pellet options tilt in the favor of the .177. The .22 caliber pellets are generally higher in price and also offer lesser options. But as far as rifles are concerned, the price difference is almost negligible. It all depends upon the quality of the rifle and the brand. 

How to Clean an Air Rifle 

Cleaning an air rifle is very easy compared to firearm rifles. Since there’s no burning powder leaving residue and grime behind. An air rifle should be cleaned after shooting through a box of pellets. Especially if you are using lead ammo. 

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But before we begin, you’ll need a few things. A bore brush, cleaning rod or boresnake, cleaning solvent, paper swabs, and clean rags. Now let’s understand this step by step:

  • Ensure the rifle is void of any pellets and is also not cocked. Inspect this visually. 

  • Open the breech of the air rifle. If it's a break barrel, you can use a cleaning rod. If it's a PCP with little space, a boresnake will do good. 

  • Affix the rod with a dry swab and pass it through the barrel. Entering from the breech end then pulling it out from the same spot. Iterate this a couple of times more changing the swab/paper.

  • Now mount the rod/bore snake with a brush of appropriate diameter. Pass the brush through the barrel to loosen up the lead deposits. 

  • Now wet the swab with a cleaning solvent and pass it through the barrel. 

  • If you also want to clean the trigger and other internal mechanisms. Make sure you exactly know how to properly put it back. You can always visit a gunsmith for that. 

  • Wipe off the exterior with a damp and then a dry cloth. You may also oil the wood if the stock is wooden. 


Air rifles can be used to hunt the smallest game to the big non-dangerous game roaming the plains of Africa. It depends upon the caliber and power of the rifle. A good hunting air rifle must be rugged, very accurate, and silent. The most common caliber for such rifles is the .22 cal. Plus, you can find these rifles chambered in big calibers like the .50 cal. 

People Also Ask

Understand some in’s and out’s of using air rifles and about their performance without a short but comprehensive FAQ section. 

How Does an Air Rifle Work?

An air rifle works on the principle of compression and expansion of air. These rifles use spring pistons, gas pistons, or compressed air cylinders to achieve this. Upon pulling the trigger, a burst of compressed air is released in the barrel to propel the pellet out. 

How Does a Break Barrel Air Rifle Work?

A break barrel air rifle can have a spring piston or a gas piston. Upon opening and then cocking the barrel, the piston compresses the gas and stores it inside the gas chamber compartment. After pulling the trigger, this process has to be repeated for the next shot.

What Size Air Rifle For Coyotes?

A .25 or .30 caliber air rifle will be good for coyotes within 50 yards. Even a .22 can humanely finish off a coyote within 20-25 yards with good shot placement. But these animals are very fidgety to come that close. 

Can an Air Rifle Kill a Human?

Yes. Air rifles have caused the death of many people. Even with the smallest caliber, the .177. Never consider an air rifle a toy. These are just low power siblings of real firearms and should be handled in the same manner. 

How Far Can an Air Rifle Shoot?

It depends upon what caliber pellet you are shooting and what maximum velocity your rifle is capable of. A .177 pellet when a shot from an air rifle angled at 30 degrees can travel out to 4 yards. The most common hunting distance with .22 air rifles is under 50 yards. 

How Far Can a .22 Air Rifle Shoot?

The effective range of a .22 air rifle is generally between 40 to 75 yards. Depending upon the power it can generate. As for distance, when shot at an angle, the pellet can travel out to 500 yards from a 1,000 fps rifle. 

What Is a Good Fps For an Air Rifle?

Air rifles offering between 500 to 1,000 fps muzzle velocity are considered good for most hunting. However, make sure that the fps complies with your local laws.

Air Rifle Reviews

Below are all our buyer guides surrounding air rifles. To make your experience a bit smoother, we have organized them in one place. Feel free to browse through a few and find exactly what you're looking for.
Thanks for reading. 

My name is Caleb and I am obsessed with hunting, fishing, and foraging. To be successful, you have to think like your prey. You have to get into the mind of your target - and understand Big Game Logic. If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at Read more about Big Game Logic.