The first thing to do is to check with local laws and ordinances regarding handgun hunting and with fish and game commission rules regarding what species can be hunted when. Make sure that you are completely legal before heading out in the field. Be sure to have the appropriate licenses in your possession.
StrategyHunting varmints with a small semi auto handgun is not easy, but very few things worthwhile are. Realize the limitations of your equipment and yourself. If you are hunting predators like coyotes or foxes, calling is the best option. Find locations where these predators are likely to come to a call within the range of your ability. Make sure of the wind and ensure that you are well concealed but can have enough visibility to actually see to shoot. Hunting burrowing animals involves scouting out burrows and staking out the areas from a position where you can see the entrances but are far enough away to not spook them. It’s a fine line with a handgun. Because of the limited range of handguns compared to rifles, you have to do everything better and more carefully. You have to get closer, quieter and shoot straighter.
Most full size semi-auto handguns chambered for modern center fire handgun cartridges will work. High velocity hollow point ammunition will probably provide the best performance on varmints. Test the ammunition in your handgun to determine the accuracy and point of impact. Cross sticks or some other type of convenient rest is very handy for making accurate shots in the field. There are models of cross sticks that have adjustable legs that let a shooter use them from low sitting position all the way to standing. They are very good at providing extra support and stability especially when shooting in higher positions and over obstacles. A good pair of binoculars is also essential. They can be important for seeing a called predator coming in from a long distance but are just as important for looking for the top of the head of a woodchuck or rat peeking out of a hole 20 yards away in broken terrain. A laser rangefinder can also be useful for the longer shots, given the loopy trajectory of most handgun calibers at distance. If you are predator hunting, calls are important. Some hunters prefer to use electronic calls but mouth calls also work well. Wounded rabbit calls are great for pulling predators from long distances. A squeaker call is useful for pulling the predator in that last few yards to get it into range.
One of the best pieces of equipment to add is a good optical sight to your handgun. A long eye relief handgun scope or a good red dot or reflex sight can extend your range or make getting that quick sight picture on that running coyote easier. Long eye relief pistol scopes add magnification and provide a very precise aiming point. This is great for situations where the targets are small and distant and the shooter has a good rest. These scopes are great for accuracy but the magnification limits the field of view. This makes them less than ideal for fast moving game. A non-magnifying red dot or reflex sight is at the other end of the spectrum. It provides a wide field of view and a bright aiming point that is great for fast moving game and rapidly changing conditions. There are a few good options for adding optics to semi auto pistols, especially if they are equipped with an integral accessory frame rail.
UM Tactical manufactures a US made universal mount for a handgun scope that assembles with no tools in 30 seconds or less. Videos, photos, and ordering information are available at www.umtactical.com or call us for more information at 866-979-4GUN (4486).