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I had an anterior cervical fusion and disectomy done in early March. Basically two discs were protruding into the spinal cord, compressing it by a third, causing all sorts of problems. The discs were repaired and three vertebrae were fused together. I was off work for a while, then went back on, and still am on. light duty. Have been only at work or home since the operation.

Finally drove to my favorite stomping grounds, the White River Game Management Area, for some gray digger hunting (California ground squirrels). It's only 65 miles from the house. Need to make some road trips for work later this month and wanted to see how I'd handle a trip.

Even though the weather has been perfect this last week, at nights it's still getting down to freezing there. And the grass is very green, no seeds. The area should be overrun with diggers, but it was pretty slim pickings. Got a few in the usual areas. Was pretty pleased with some shots. After a late lunch I tried some alfalfa fields the state has planted for the deer. Shot some more diggers there, but started missing badly. Simply pushed myself too far. Started missing some easy shots.

Recoil with the Remington R15 (AR15) was quite managable. The geometry of the stock and optics also helped, and it's my lightest precision centerfire rifle. The 3-9x scope works well for coyotes, but it's a bit compromised for long range shots at squirrels. Even so, when I wasn't fatigued I hit everything I aimed at. I usually leave it on 5x, cranking it up for precision from an anchored position or 3x for fast coyote action. Several of the diggers were head shots, because that's all they presented.

Interestingly, I did make some shots prone. Neck movement just allows it. Have not been able to shoot prone very well for the last few years. Doing so for more than a minute would give me an instant migraine. No problems, but did find once fatigue set in that left-right neck movement started decreasing.

Was hoping to try my Browning 1885 Single Shot in 223, but it's not sighted in yet after changing the mounts and rings to accomodate my neck geometry and my changed eyesight. It's a heavy gun, though, not really easy to take on a walkabout. It works best as a position rifle.

Over the last several years I've packed a Rem 1187 as well. There are many areas where the diggers alarm and flee, and a shotgun is the only way to take them. It was really needed when walking from stand to stand around the edges of the alfalfa field. I suspect the recoil is a lot more than my neck will take, though, since the bones are fusing.

Did take my Browning Buckmark and suppressor. It came in handy at a couple of stands when curious diggers would pop up a few feet away to see what I was doing. They really need to learn the difference between camo and cover. This trip I tried Mini-Mags in it. Most of the time they stayed subsonic from the 5.5" barrel, but one made a weak supersonic crack, which tells me velocity is not as consistent as it should be. I'm having problems seeing the iron sights without glasses. When the budget allows I think a Leupold Delta-Point will solve my problem.

Was mighty sore when I arrived back home. Flat wore me out. I'm not up to speed enough for long trips. It's also not fun wearing a neck brace when I drive, as protection in case someone hits me. Really limits movement.

Given my limitation and the lack of diggers, probably won't bother with another trip until maybe June. Unfortunately by mid to late July they go into a mid-summer hibernation, so likely trips will be very limited this year.
 

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I shoot grey diggers in my back yard all year round. I use RWS CB caps and an old sigle shot Steven 22 wih a scope on it. I hate those little sh&%$ ...what they can and do do to a garden is infuriating. I also trap them. It shooting them is therapy for your back, then I'm all for it. Go Brian.
 

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Glad your doing better, and are able to get out. Don't overdo it. Good Luck, Charlie
 

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Molon Labe
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Glad you're doing better and could get out to shoot the critters

I wish there was something they could do for my back, but they say I'm screwed
 
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