Iguanas have become a real target of opportunity for land owners, property managers, and pest control companies. They do present a challenge however. Most of the pest eliminations occur around homes or other highly populated areas. Airguns are ideal for hunting in these environments, but it’s important to know what airguns will provide the best results. Let’s look at some options.
Know Your Prey
Iguanas can be as small as ten to twelve inches or up to five or six feet and even larger. But even the big ones don’t take much energy to make a clean kill. The key is accuracy. The perfect shot placement is right behind and just below their “ear” with a pellet like the predator polymags, H&N hornets, or Gamo RedFires. The reason for the pellet choice is that all these enter with great energy but then expand rapidly and have minimal pass through. The rapid expansion means instant “lights out” for the iguana, which should be important to any ethical hunter. Again, for a clean kill, it’s going to be all about that perfect shot, not how much power your airgun makes.
Know Your Hunting Environment
As mentioned above, most iguana hunting will be in and around homes, housing developments, and public roads. Not only is accuracy critical for a clean iguana kill, but also mitigation of property damage and personal injury. Fortunately, most shots are taken within fifteen to twenty yards. There are occasions where you may need to take a much longer shot, but it’s better to take a considered approach and work to get closer rather than take the chance on an errant shot. Remember, you are responsible for your pellet and where it comes to rest.
Get the Right Gear for the Job
Now that we’ve discussed our game and our hunting environment, let’s look at some airgun products that will be best suited to the task. When talking to folks that make a living on iguana pest control, they report that most shooters show up to the hunt with “fancy” PCP airguns. While PCP airguns certainly provide the best performance, power, and accuracy, they are often too powerful and are set up for taking shots well beyond the typical fifteen to twenty yard shot. A lot of shooters find themselves frustrated when they are not instantly successful. Also, because you are doing a lot of walking and moving through brush, trees, and up and down embankments, there’s no easy access to high pressure air for a refill. This is where the old school breakbarrel, springer, or gas ram airgun comes into play.
Again, in talking with folks that do this day in and day out, the most practical and successful airguns they’ve used have been the Gamo Swarm Bone Collector and the Gamo Swarm Magnum. The Bone Collector Gen 3i is the newest iteration and produces a little over 20 foot pounds, comes in a really nice wood stock, and includes Gamo’s stock 3-9×40 scope. It’s easy to cock, very quiet, and very accurate out to thirty five to forty yards. Matched with the RedFire pellet and the right shooter on the trigger, the Bone Collector is a perfect combination.
The Gamo Swarm Magnum Gen 3i is also quiet and very accurate, but produces over thirty foot pounds vs. the Bone Collector’s twenty or so foot pounds. It also comes with Gamo’s stock 3-9×40 optic and is more than capable of taking game well past the fifty yard mark. Harold, the owner of Iguana Lifestyles, absolutely LOVES his Gamo Magnum and routinely takes clean head shots on iguanas out to seventy five yards and beyond.
One last critical advantage of any of the Gamo Swarm products is the Swarm system itself. Most breakbarrels still use the “one shot at a time” method, where shooters have to manually load a pellet for each shot. The Gamo Swarm system uses a ten shot rotary magazine which automatically loads a new pellet when the shooter cocks the gun. While there are other springer and gas ram airguns that use a magazine, the Gamo Swarm is arguably the most reliable and easy to use.
Other Airgun Options
For those that want to hunt iguanas with a PCP, here’s what you need to consider. Remember, it’s not about power or long range accuracy. It’s about accuracy at close range. Simple in this case is actually much better than complicated. Taking something like a .22 caliber Air Venturi Avenger and tuning it to twenty or twenty five foot pounds will increase your shot count per fill and give you plenty of power for a clean kill.
Other options could be the Aspen with its integrated high pressure pump, the Dragonfly MK II multi-pump pneumatic, and even something like the Umarex 850M2 Co2 rifle. Remember that it’s not about power and shooting long range, it’s about being able to put a .22 caliber pellet into a space about the size of an aspirin.
Need some help?
If you’d like to know more about iguana hunting, you can read our post Hunting Iguanas in an Urban Environment. And check out our pest and small game hunting air rifles.
If you are looking to go iguana hunting in general, or you have an iguana problem in your backyard and need some help picking the right airgun, just give us a call. We are always here to help and we have hundreds of different airguns and all the accessories and ammo that you need to get the job done.