The last prairie dog shoot I was out on was back on November 13, 2018 in this same PD town I was in today—that’s 6 months and 10 days without exterminating any prairie dogs—I was suffering withdrawal symptoms from not feeding my NEED to eradicate a few prairie dogs!!! I had been watching the weather forecast for a long time, looking for a day when it wouldn’t be raining, the temperature would be in the 50s or 60s, and the wind would be down below 10 mph so I could venture out and give my new 20 VarTarg rifle its second try at dispatching prairie dogs. Well, that day came last Thursday, May 23. I left Williston a little late, but the weather seemed just fine.
I arrived at the prairie dog town I was going to shoot on around 10:00 a.m. and the temperature was 57º and the wind was blowing about 5 mph. My 20 VarTarg, was shooting great and the WHACK sound it makes when I hit a prairie dog is tremendous just like it was last November!!!
I loaded up my backpack, a little cooler with my lunch and some Diet Mountain Dew and ice cold water. I also had my shells, camera, my swivel chair, and Caldwell DeadShot FieldPod along too. For the first stand, I set up on a dirt mound and shot 9 prairie dogs before moving to another spot. That’s the way things went until about 11:53 when the wind picked up and started gusting to 15 mph. The little 32 gr. V-Max bullets leave the muzzle at about 3,699 fps and even with the 15 mph wind; I was hitting prairie dogs with regularity on out to a bit over 200 yards. I stopped shooting and decided to take a few photos. Here’s the “Hero Photo” with my Schwinn cart, Savage target action, RB/LP, my Lane Suppressor along with a mirage shield, Leupold VXIII 6-20x SF scope, and a bloody victim.
By 12:30 I had taken 29 shots and missed on one of those shots. I walked back to the pickup so I could have a bite to eat. I arrived at the pickup at 1:00 and drove to the SE and parked for lunch. I opened up the topper on the pickup and climbed in to get out of the sun and wind. The wind was wafting up to 20 mph at times so it was good to get out of that stuff. I finished lunch and laid down for a nap at 1:20. An annoying robo call woke me after 15 minutes of nap time. I dozed off again and was awakened by a noisy diesel pickup that pulled alongside me. It was a fellow who started up a dozer near my parking spot and needed to move the dozer. I was having problems getting my nap started so at 2:30 I decided I probably wasn’t going to get any more nap time and I got ready to head out again. I had 24 of my 32 gr. V-Max cartridges left to shoot.
The ground was very dry on the top and there didn’t seem to be much edible vegetation that cows or horses would eat, but the prairie dogs were chewing away on what little vegetation existed. I took some photos of blossoms by a couple of rocks.
I continued to walk, stop, shoot a few shots, and then walk some more. By 4:05 I shot the last of my 20 VarTarg shells I had in my cart. I had hit on 45 of 46 shots, but didn’t get any doubles. There were no pups out and about.
I still had 100 of my 20 VarTarg cartridges back at the pickup, but I decided to put my 20 VarTarg in its soft case and took out my Savage 12VLP .204 Ruger with the BLACKNITRIDE™ treated barrel and got out a box of 39 gr. Sierra BlitzKing ammo loaded in Norma brass. With the wind wafting as fast as it was, I figured the 39 gr. Sierra BKs would be better suited to the 10 to 20 mph winds. The muzzle velocity for the 39 gr. Sierra SBKs is 3,860 fps. The drop and wind deflection numbers are WAAAAY better than those of the 32 gr. Hornady V-Max pills. The prairie dogs were a bit wary and I tried to make a few head shots on some that were just peeking their eyeballs above the entrance to their mound and missed on 2 shots that were about 125 yards away. I didn’t try any more shots like that!!! I shot a total of 13 shots with the .204 Ruger and hit on 11 of those shot. Total count today was 56 dead prairie dogs with 59 shots. Then I started taking more photos.
Here’s a photo of the .204 Ruger and a dead PD with yellow arrows pointing to pieces of the dead critter. He got splattered out from his den hole pretty far and wide. Then the photo to the right shows the remains of that dead critter.
Here are some photos of the blossoms and/or seed heads I found in the PD town.
I got started for home around 6:00 p.m. and was in my garage at 7:04 p.m. I could feel quite a bit of back pain because instead of using my Caldwell DeadShot FieldPod, I laid prone on prairie dog mounds. I felt a lot more confident on my shots by going to the prone position instead of used the FieldPod. No pain—No Gain?! Here’s the final “Hero Photo” showing my Savage 12VLP .204 Ruger with the BLACKNITRIDE™ treated barrel, my Gemtech TREK-T suppressor, a side focus Monarch 3 6-24x50mm scope with the Nikoplex reticle and a 4" sunshade. My barrel has a mirage shield on it and a temp strip. The rear of the stock has a shell holder and I have a 9-13" Harris swivel bipod with notched legs on the front. The camo bag under the rear of the stock is filled with Styrofoam beads and is very useful when I need to hold the rifle steady. That’s a wind deflection and trajectory chart taped on the left side of the stock.
My spinal cord stimulator is working pretty good, but my "Genius" pain doctors can't figure out how to stop the pain that I'm feeling around the place they inserted the battery pack in my back. I had three epidural steroid shots back there on May 17 and they did absolutely no good!!! I have another appointment with this "Genius" pain doctor this coming Friday. So far it has been a waste of time seeing him about the pain around the battery pack. I feel like a guinea pig. They try this and they try that and don't seem to really know what they are doing, but they are definitely lining their pockets with office call fees, X-Ray fees, etc.