Meet the Urban Airgunner: Rick Ward

Meet the “Urban Airgunner”: Rick Ward

Rick Ward

by Tim Smith

I’ve met Rick Ward several times at SHOT and the NRA Annual Meeting and he’s always been one of the most gracious people willing to take the time to talk about airguns and hunting. A few years back, while at a NRA Annual Meeting, we presented AirForce founder and CEO John McCaslin with a framed copy of Airgun Hobbyist with Ton Jones and the Texan on the cover. Rick mentioned that he noticed Rossi Morreale and Jim Chapman had been on the cover on prior issues. He jokingly said “How about putting me on the cover someday.

Left to Right: Rick Ward, Ben Smith, Tim Smith, Ton Jones, John McCaslin at the 2015 NRA Meetings.

While looking at numerous images for the cover of this issue, we found a picture of Rick taken at SHOT and said, “You know, that would make a nice cover.

The July 2017 issue.

Rick is a national award winning Professional Rodeo Announcer and Voice talent. You may have even heard him on some of your favorite outdoor shows. Rick’s journey on the rodeo trail has allowed him to hunt coyotes across this great land. Rick currently resides in Georgia with his wife of 25 years, Jennifer, and his three children: Matthew (22), Anna Beth (18) and Sarah (15). He says coyote hunting in the Southeast is a real challenge due to the abundant food sources and thick cover.
Rick’s dedication to the sport of predator hunting has gained him the respect of many outdoor professionals. Rick has guided hunts for several predator hunting videos. He is one of the founders of the Georgia Predator Hunting Association where he is the director of marketing. He and his team have worked with state officials and law enforcement agencies to get the laws updated to further support predator hunting and get suppressor hunting laws passed in Georgia.
The following is a short interview that I did with Rick to tell you a little about the “Urban Airgunner”

TS: “Could you tell us a little about yourself?”
RW: “I grew up on a small ranch in Texas where working horses and cattle were a way of life. Like most people my love for hunting started at an early age. After reading an article in a magazine on the challenges of calling coyotes, my interest focused on calling coyotes and less on trapping. I was given an old wooden hand call by a neighbor and I have never looked back.” He continued “It was not until I relocated to a more populated area that I primarily started using PCP (Pre Charged Pneumatic) rifles and became known as The Urban Airgunner. Of course, I had experiences with BB guns and multi-pump air rifles. However, in order to take predators humanely I transitioned to the more powerful PCP rifles. In addition to hunting, the PCP rifles allow My family and I to hone our marksmanship skills and enjoy hours of shooting entertainment whether it may be a PCP rifle, a multi-pump or CO2 powered gun. Or even one of the favorite childhood BB guns when a friend’s child comes over for an adventure.”

TS: “What was you first air gun?”
RW: “I remember getting a Daisy BB gun one year for Christmas and I absolutely wore it out. But my first real multi pump was a Power line 880. I was 10. I still have it and if it could talk what stories it could tell.”

TS: “Did your dad teach you to shoot and hunt?”
RW: “My Dad was the best shot I knew when I was a kid Lol. My Great grandfather was a Texas Ranger and Dad learned me to shoot at a very young age. Yup, Dad taught me a lot but I learned the most by getting out, shooting and hunting every chance I got.”

TS: “Do other people in your family use airguns?”
RW: “Yes, they do from time to time but my youngest daughter is a air gunner from the word go. She and I spend a lot of time shooting and hunting together.”

TS: “Where did the “Urban Airgunner” name come from?”
RW: “That all started as a joke, when I moved into an urban area my buddies would tease me about being an urban cowboy. When I started taking varmints with a air gun they called me the ‘Urban Air gunner’ so I used it as my YouTube handle and it stuck.”

TS: “What about your ‘Don’t just hunt it. Airgun it.’ saying?”
RW: “Well I am a huge Lonesome Dove fan and old Gus had that sign with the Latin on it and he said that it was a moto ‘it just says it’s self’. Truth is: it’s about the challenge of hunting with an air gun what ever you do with a powder burner you have to do twice as good with an airgun. It’s about being proud to be an Air gunner!! So don’t just hunt it Airgun it.”

TS: “What do you think of the AirForce Texan?”
RW: “Wow, it is absolutely a work of art. It was my introduction to big bore Airguns. I was one of ten hunters across the country to do extensive field testing with the Texan before it was launched at SHOT show. I didn’t want to give it back it is a phenomenal gun. I’ve taken several animals with it and crazy distances. They come in three great calibers .457, .357 and .308. And now they have the TEXAN SS in .457 that will produce 400FPE it was launched this year at SHOT show. I’ve got five Texans in my collection. Can you tell that I like the Texan?”

 

Rick Ward at the 2017 NRA Meetings in Atlanta. Photo credit: Mike Zimmerman /MZPHOTO.COM

TS: “What is your favorite game to hunt?”
RW: “Coyote, I am addicted to coyote hunting. It is challenging enough with a powder burner but you go after them with an air rifle and man it is a challenge and an adrenalin rush to harvest one of the Wiley critters. I could fill up your magazine with coyote hunting. I have studied the coyote all my life. When I was eleven I read an article about the challenges of calling coyote and shooting them with a .22 or .22mag. One of the neighboring ranchers gave me a weems wild call, you blow into it and it makes a distress rabbit sound. I set out to call in some song dogs. Well, I called in a coyote and was so dumb founded that I called him in that I forgot to shoot. My life was never the same after that. I’ve been able to hunt coyote in several states now and I am always learning about them. Maybe I could do a seminar: coyote hunting 101 for your readers one day.”

TS: “Why do you like hunting with airguns?”
RW: “Well air gunning is not just about hunting. It is a great way to introduce new shooters of all ages to the sport. BBs and pellets are cheap and you get hours of good quality FAMILY time, something that America has forgotten about. As for the hunting aspect it makes a person challenge oneself to try and be better to push yourself to make each shot count to become one with nature. Am I getting too deep?”

TS: “So… when can we going hunting with you?”
RW: “Lol …. well I’ll tell you we will set a date for October and I will take you out and we will hunt some coyote and pigs then we can go back to the farm, build a nice fire and talk some philosophy….”

TS: “Do you shoot Airguns for a living or do you have a full time job?”
RW: “Ha. I’m glad you ask that question. My Grandpa use to say he was a jack of all trades and a master of none. Lol I guess I followed in his footsteps, I have been blessed way beyond measure. As cool as it would sound to say I shoot for a living. This is a part time gig. I am a Field Service Tech for Thompson Tractor Company. I have been working in the Cat Lift Truck division for 21 years where I am the senior tech.
I have to say that every person that I work with from the owner all the way down to the cleaning lady have allowed me to live out my dreams. This is the best company I have ever worked for, I think that they live vicariously through me sometimes. I am always being asked where I’ve been and where am I going next. I work with a bunch of super amazing and talented people!! I would also like to say that if you have a dream, don’t be scared to work hard to achieve it. No one is going to do the work for you . You have to work hard and pay your dues “Dare to overcome life difficulties to fulfil your Dreams”. Sorry, I’m rambling, God has Blessed my life for sure.”

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