ND PD Hunt on 8-20-2016

Blowing Up Little Furry Things
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Silverfox
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ND PD Hunt on 8-20-2016

Postby Silverfox » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:12 pm

My son finally got a chance to go with me for a prairie dog hunt today. He got his first chance to try out the rifle I had built for he and my grandson to use, which was the rifle I used on my last PD hunt on August 9. I worked up a different load than the one I used on August 9. He’ll be shooting the new Melonite treated 24" stainless steel Lilja 1 in 9 twist 4 groove Remington Varmint contour barrel chambered in .17 Remington. His ammo was done in virgin Nosler brass that I had neck turned and was using 21.9 gr. of IMR 8208 XBR touched off by Remington 7½ primers pushing 25 gr. Hornady V-Max bullets out the end of the barrel at 3,957 fps. The scope on the rifle is a Leupold VX-III 6.5-20x40mm with a fine duplex reticle. Anyway, I had 152 rounds loaded for this hunt and figured there would probably be close to 50 rounds left at the end of the day. I was in for a surprise!!!

We left Williston at 7:58 a.m. and arrived at the south end of the dog town at 8:48 a.m. It took us a while to get out gear together and to hang the sun shades in the windows of the pickup, but finally got to shoot the first PDs of the day at 9:20 a.m. We weren’t more than 15 yards from where I parked the pickup and when 10:05 a.m. rolled around Jeff had shot 29 rounds of ammo and I shot 13 shots from that spot. I don’t think anyone had been shooting on this end of the dog town for quite some time. The wind had picked up from the 4 to 5 mph early morning velocity on up to 8 to 10 mph, so that threw another variable into the point of aim problem. We walked a ways to the NNW and set up and by 10:30 Jeff had shot another 9 rounds and I had shot 7 more rounds. We kept moving to the north and set up every 100 or so yards and would move on when the PDs were out of sight. By 10:57 a.m. Jeff had finished off the first box of ammo that had 52 cartridges in it. He missed on 8 shots, hit 1 double and 43 singles for a total of 45 dead prairie dogs for those 52 shots. Here’s a photo of Jeff’s double. He was disappointed when he walked up to the mound because it looked like only one prairie dog, but when he started counting legs, he realized the top PD was stacked on top of the other one.

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We noticed a big prairie hawk flying over us and it landed near a dead prairie dog to the west of us and began chowing down.

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I was shooting a .17 Remington built using a Stiller Predator action with a 26" Lilja stainless steel 1 in 9 twist 4-groove Remington varmint contour barrel. I formed brass for this rifle from WW .204 Ruger brass. The chamber has a .201" neck ID and I turned all the necks on the casings so the neck walls are .0125" thick all the way around. I was using some 30 gr. Starke FBHP bullets I had purchased from Clint Starke waaaay back maybe 15 to 18 years ago. I had been shooting 29 gr. GENCO bullets with great accuracy, but ran out of those in May or June of 2014. I had a tough time finding the right load for the 30 gr. FBHP Starke bullets. I hate to admit it, but I shot 224 of those bullets before finally settling on a load of 22.9 gr. of Varget touched off by Remington 7½ primers. The muzzle velocity with this load is 3,757 fps. The BC for this little bullet is estimated to only be at .209, so it does have a tendency to deflect quite a bit in the wind. This rifle has a silver finished 6.5-20x40mm Leupold VX-III scope on it with the fine duplex reticle. By 10:57 I had finished off my first box of cartridges which had only 31 loaded rounds in it. I had missed on 2 shots and hit on 29 singles for 29 dead PDs with 31 shots.

Jeff started using ammo out of the cartridge container that held 100 loaded rounds and I started shooting out of the ammo box that had 85 loaded rounds. We wound up in an area that had lots of PDs with very dark fur. Jeff hit a couple of those PDs and I nailed 5 of them that were about 195 yards away and all of them were within 5 yards of each other. We finished shooting from that spot at 11:35 and decided that once we filled our ammo holders and magazines we would walk up to where the dark furred PDs were and snap some photos. By that time Jeff had missed on a total of 6 shots out of the new box of ammo and hit on 22 shots. I had taken 30 shots and missed on 4 of them and hit on for a total of 26 dead PDs for 30 shots. Here’s a photo of a “sleeping” prairie dog and another one in sleep mode behind him.

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Here’s a photo of 7 of the real dark furred PDs we shot.

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It was about 12:15 p.m. when we got started back towards the pickup so we could relax in the shade and have lunch. Of course there were a few noisy prairie dogs along the way back and we took turns shooting them. It was 1:00 p.m. before we got back to the pickup and sat down in the shade for a bite to eat. Jeff had taken a total of 87 shots, missed on 14 of them, hit on 1 double and 72 singles for 74 dead PDs with 87 shots. My total for the morning shoot was 6 missed shots, no doubles, and 55 singles for 55 dead PDs with 61 shots.

Before I sat down to have lunch, I decided that since the wind was blowing a pretty steady 8 to 10 mph with gusts to probably 15 mph that I’d break out the Tikka Master Sporter in .22-250 for the afternoon shoot. I had a 24" stainless steel #5 contour Brux 1 in 12 twist barrel chambered so I could use both WW and Lapua brass. I turned the neck walls on the Lapua brass to .0135" but haven’t turned necks on the WW brass. The rifle is shooting so doggone good with the Lapua brass I almost hate to go back and try the WW brass. The chamber has a .255" ID. I had the barrel sent in and given the BLACKNITRIDE™ treatment about back in October of 2013. I was using a couple of different brands of 50 gr. bullets, but a buddy of mine urged me to try the 53 gr. V-Max bullets. They have a nice BC of .290 and I sold all my 50 gr. bullets and went exclusively with the 53 gr. V-Max. The casings I used today were all virgin brass. I’m using an over-the-max load of IMR 8208 XBR and the muzzle velocity of this load is 3,798 fps!!!! This load is really hard on prairie dog fur!!! It has a 6 24x50mm Nikon Monarch 3 scope with the Nikoplex reticle. That’s an AAC Ranger II suppressor on the end of the barrel with a mirage shield I bought from Sinclair Intl. Here’s a look at the rifle to the below.

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We ate lunch and at about 1:37 we decided to take a short nap. We both laid down in the shade on the north side of the pickup. The wind was wafting out of the northwest and it was pretty chilly when it got up to speed. I plugged my ears with a couple pieces of Kleenex to try to block out Jeff’s snoring, but that didn’t work real good. I finally got up and moved to the rear tailgate at about 2:00 p.m. and went to sleep in the sun there. That felt much better, out of the wind, and the sun was warming me up. Before I knew it, almost two hours had passed by since we lay down to take a “short” nap! I needed the rest and I think my son did too. Anyway, at about 4:00 p.m. we had our supplies together again and started to walk to the north and east for our afternoon shoot

We were about to cross the fence when Jeff said “Look at that!!!” It was the funkiest colored grasshopper I have ever seen. We snapped a few photos. It appears the hopper has her abdomen in the ground and is probably laying eggs. Has anyone ever seen a grasshopper colored like this one???

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We could hear what sounded like gunshots off to the NE of us. I thought that was strange since this PD town is on private land and I had received permission to shoot here today and the land owner said I’d be the only one out there. The shooting stopped and we continued to walk, stop, shoot, and then walk some more process. We did hear a couple more shots. As we approached a little knoll that has become my favorite spot to shoot from we saw a pickup approaching us from the east. It was on another farmer’s land, not on the PD town owner’s land. The driver had a big bull-type bag on the hood and had been shooting PDs to the north on land that he didn’t own. We introduced ourselves, talked a bit about my strange looking Tikka Master Sporter, what calibers we all shoot, etc. and I told this fellow we were going to walk to the little rise to the north and start shooting PDs. I’ll be darned if he didn’t say, “That’s exactly what was going to do, but I’m going to drive my pickup there.” That’s what he did. My son and I set up on a couple of PD mounds, but this guy had his pickup parked on the south side of the property fence line and was a little over 25 yards behind us. He had his gun on the bag on his hood pointing right at the little rise I wanted to shoot from so we stayed west of that place. We were shooting and both had suppressors on and all of a sudden—BOOM!!! This guy shoots at a prairie dog to the north of us and I saw exactly where the bullet hit. He didn’t shoot right over our heads, but I’m sure his line of sight was no more than 5 yards or so to the east of us. I was lying on the ground and turned around and stared at him. He said, “WHAT???” I didn’t answer him. Jeff & I went back to shooting and pretty soon—BOOM!!! He shot again. This time I got up and walked back towards him and said “Do you realize you are behind us and that your center fire rifle makes an awful lot of noise out here where we are?” He said, “Yes, I know that, but I wasn’t aiming your way.” I didn’t think any more explanation to this guy would help him understand he was acting like the north end of a donkey going south so I told him, “We are going to walk out to the east northeast and you can shoot here all by yourself.” He said, “There are a couple of prairie dogs out there to the north, why don’t you shoot them?” I told him, “You go ahead and shoot them because we are moving out of here.” He said, “Well, I’m going to head over to the east too.” We started walking and would stop and shoot and then walk some more. He did head east with his pickup and he didn’t shoot any more shots and finally left the area. That’s the second time I have had someone horn in and shoot in a PD town I have been in. It is especially annoying when I am on private land where I supposedly have sole rights to shooting on that particular day. Anyway, no one got hurt, but my blood pressure sure spiked.

It was a relief to see this bonehead’s pickup leave the area and Jeff and I got busy with the task at hand. The wind continued to blow 8 to 10 mph with faster gusts and there were times when we missed on longer shots because we didn’t read the wind right, but still hit on lots of our shots.

Jeff also snapped photos of a Turkey Vulture that grasped a prairie dog in its talons as it flew off to the northwest. You can see the PD hanging below the vulture.

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I did take a little time to photograph a few blossoms. The white blossom in the middle is a field bindweed or Creeping Jenny!!

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When we got back to the pickup Jeff had taken 152 shots!!! Yes, he shot every single shell I brought along!!! He missed on 27 shots, hit 4 doubles and 121 singles for a total of 129 dead prairie dogs with his 152 shots. That’s a pretty good percentage of hits in the wind we were shooting in. Old Dad missed on 9 shots, hit on 3 doubles and 89 singles for a total of 95 dead prairie dogs for 102 shots. I’m sure glad we didn’t have to skin all those PDs and butcher them!!

Here’s the long awaited “Hero Photo” for your viewing pleasure.

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We had some great shooting in the afternoon even though the wind was wafting and making shots a little more difficult. We started our long walk back to the pickup at about 6:50 p.m. and once again if we spotted a prairie dog to shoot we would stop and pop them. We got back to the pickup around 7:35 and got our gear into the pickup and headed off to the land owner’s place. We thanked him for his hospitality and headed back to Williston. I think it was about 8:45 when we pulled into the garage. Jeff got his gear loaded into his car and came into the house and I warmed up some of my wife’s special hot dish, broke open a jar of beet pickles, took out a couple slices of bread, got the milk jug out and we had a nice supper together.

It was another GREAT DAY especially since I got to hunt with my son!!! My back didn’t bother me and we both got a needed EXTENDED “power nap” out on the North Dakota prairie. I wasn’t looking forward to cleaning the barrels on those three rifles, but it is something that has to be done. It also looks like I have lots of casings to inspect, resize, prime, measure powder, and seat bullets in (254 if you are counting)!!! LIFE IS STILL GOOD!!!

Last edited by Silverfox on Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bullseye-69
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Re: ND PD Hunt on 8-20-2016

Postby bullseye-69 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:13 pm

Nice write up LeRoy.
Great to see a father and son shooting together but what a DB that guy was.
It was good to see you kept your cool.
Did you ever find out who he was or what he was doing out there, permission wise?
“Lifes hard,its even harder when your stupid.”―J Wayne
http://hunt-indiana.com/

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Silverfox
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Re: ND PD Hunt on 8-20-2016

Postby Silverfox » Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:30 pm

bullseye-69--I know who that goof-ball is. He is one of the biggest ranchers/farmers in that area and seems to enjoy throwing his weight around. Not the kind of guy you want to tangle with.

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Re: ND PD Hunt on 8-20-2016

Postby bullseye-69 » Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:04 pm

Well one day he will throw it in the wrong direction and he will get his.
“Lifes hard,its even harder when your stupid.”―J Wayne
http://hunt-indiana.com/

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Re: ND PD Hunt on 8-20-2016

Postby manc-munsters » Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:15 am

As ever, brilliant write up and superb photos. Sorry the idiot farmer spoiled your day, but at least a few PD's hit the deck.
Struggling to become half the man my dogs think I am and forever trying to make a daily advancement :shh:


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