ND PD Hunt on 8-27-2016

Blowing Up Little Furry Things
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Silverfox
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ND PD Hunt on 8-27-2016

Postby Silverfox » Thu Sep 01, 2016 12:53 pm

Once again, I got a late start out of town for a PD hunt down on the National Grasslands south of Williston, but I was sure the prairie dogs wouldn’t mind if I was a bit late! I had three rifles that needed to have the point of impact checked and scopes adjusted if necessary so I pulled into the north end of a prairie dog town to do the checking. I set up my little target box and did some shooting. I fired 5 shots with the first rifle and had the scope adjusted just fine. The next rifle wasn’t as accommodating!!! I had cleaned the barrel and put in Lock-Ease so these were the first shots down the tube and I expect the POI to be off a wee bit. The shots were about 1/2" lower and 1/2" further left than desired. I did some cranking on the windage and elevation knobs and took two more shots and they were waaaaaay off. I guess I should have shot more fouling shots? I cranked on the knobs again and shot four more shots and they were nowhere near where they needed to be. I decided to just case up the rifle and work on that some other day. It took out the third rifle and fired two shots and they were right on the money. So, I started driving to the dog town I planned on hunting in for the day.

I arrived at my parking place at 11:33 a.m. My parking place is about a half mile from the dog town, but since the dog town is on National Grasslands acreage and there are no trails leading to the PD town, I would have to hoof it in from my parking spot. I thought about packing my lunch along, but decided to go ahead and eat and then walk in. I ate my meal and at 12:00 noon I laid down for my daily siesta. I was up at 12:33, got my gear ready to go and at 12:55 I was walking towards the dog town. By 1:12 I was getting close to where the first PD mounds are located, but the doggone cows were milling around those mounds. There’s a water tank there so I guess I don’t blame the cows for being close to the water tank, but doggone it anyway, that spot is usually a GREAT spot and I often nail 10 or 12 PDs right there. As it was, I managed to shoot three or four PDs. I moved out to the northwest of the cattle and settled on a PD mound and by 1:45 I took my 13th shot. Old unlucky #13 because I missed that shot!!! Fortunately, one of my 13 shots nailed a double so I still killed 13 PDs with my 1 miss, 1 double, and 11 singles. Here’s a photo of the double.

Image

By now it was 88º and the wind was wafting from the SE at 10 to 15 mph. I decided to walk around on the east side of the dog town and try to get to the south end and shoot with the wind. As I was walking along I passed by one of the PDs I had shot and noticed that he had a mouth full of grass so I snapped a photo of him which you can see below.

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I shot a few more PDs and stopped to take some photos at 2:20 p.m. By then I had the one missed shot, 1 double and hit on 16 singles so I had 18 dead PDs for 18 shots. The action was very slow compared to the other times I have been in this dog town, so someone was either poisoning the PDs, the plague had reduced their numbers, or lots of folks had been here before me thinning out the population. I could see lots of vehicle tracks on this land where no one is supposed to drive except the people who run cattle there, so I suspect other hunters had thinned out the PD herd.

Here’s a little collage of some of the bull thistle blossoms, some rose hips and yellow cluster of buds with a nice rock with some moss on it in the background. I don’t have any idea what that white fuzzy blob is, so if you know help me out and let me know what it is.

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I decided to take out my ice cold water, finish off the other half of my sandwich and have a cookie for dessert. At 2:55 I got up from my snack and walked to the SW. I crept up on the east side of a little rise to get a good vantage point so I could shoot to the west and NW. There was only 1 PD up and about and I ended his days on the prairie. The temperature was 93º now and the 15+ mph wind felt good, but it didn’t help my shooting accuracy. I started walking back to the pickup at 3:08 and spotted a few PDs on my walk back. I was very disappointed that there weren’t more PDs. At one spot, where the wind was wafting from right to left at 15+ mph at a 90º angle to my line of sight, I lined up on a standing PD ranged at 180 yards away and squeezed off a shot expecting to see red mist! NOTHING!!! The PD just stood there. I lined up on him again, carefully squeezed off another shot—NOTHING again and it looked like the bullet hit to the left of the PD!!! Then this dumb Norwegian woke up and realized my 40 gr. V-Max bullets were deflecting 3 inches or more in the wind and I should have been aiming maybe an inch or more to the right of his body instead of aiming at the center of his body. By this time the prairie dog was on all fours with his rear end to the right and his head to the left so I aimed right in front of his rear leg and the bullet appeared to hit him right behind his left front leg—must have deflected 3 to 4 inches in the wind. I continued to walk to the pickup and shot a few PDs as I moseyed along.

Earlier in the day, when I was at the furthest point from the pickup, I ranged from that spot to the ridge where I cross over to the pickup. When I got to the top of the ridge I ranged the distance to the pickup and the total yardage was a little over 1,600 yards. I had only taken 29 shots, which is a miserably low number of shots for all the walking I had to do to get to this dog town. There just weren’t many PDs out there to shoot at. I had missed on 3 shots, hit one double, and nailed 25 singles for a total of 27 dead PDs for my 29 shots.

I was using my Savage 12VLP .204 Ruger that I purchased used back in about 2010. It has a 25-inch 1 in 11 twist barrel and I shoot 40 gr. V-Max bullets coated with hBN. My load is 27.2 gr. of H4895 using WW brass and Remington 7½ primers. The muzzle velocity of this load is 3,840 fps and it really tears up the prairie dogs and isn’t too fur friendly on coyotes either. It sits in the factory laminated wood stock and still has the factory AccuTrigger that has been adjusted to about 1.5 pounds of pull. I have a silver colored Leupold VX-III 6.5-20x40mm scope with a fine duplex reticle. I had the bolt bushed and Kevin Rayhill did some work on the bolt. It is as smooth as glass now. Here’s the “Hero Photo” for this report. As you can see in the photo below, in my haste to get out to the PD town, I forgot to put my mirage shield on my barrel. Fortunately or unfortunately, I didn’t need it because I never really had enough PDs to shoot at so barrel heat did not become a problem!!!

Image


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SShooterZ
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Re: ND PD Hunt on 8-27-2016

Postby SShooterZ » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:38 am

Nice recap LeRoy, as always. I used to shoot a lot of the Grasslands near Lemon, SD and within about 3 years it went from an abundance of PDs everywhere in most of the towns to several towns just completely wiped out. I heard the plague or too much pressure did them in but I don't think you could possibly kill some of these big towns by shooters. Something clearly came through and took out a lot of dogs over about 2-3 years.

We also had a water tank spot that wasn't on the map and it was always a good spot for us to shoot, and much like you, as soon as the shooting started, the damn cattle would make their way over to see what was going on. LOL

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Re: ND PD Hunt on 8-27-2016

Postby Striker » Fri Sep 09, 2016 6:25 am

Silverfox always great reading your adventures and the details of the trip. I wouldn't worry about that one missed shot the double made up for it.
Thank you for taking the time to post the pictures and the write up of your trip.
Wolves don't loose sleep over the opinions of sheep.

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Re: ND PD Hunt on 8-27-2016

Postby rkittine » Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:15 am

Nicely done. I think I might go back to hunting varmints again.

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Silverfox
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Re: ND PD Hunt on 8-27-2016

Postby Silverfox » Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:30 pm

SShooterZ--I think it would be real hard to completely shoot out the total population in a dog town even if dozens of shooters frequent the town. Poison and plague would be my guess on the reason/s for total or almost total depopulation.

They sure are fun to shoot and for an old fart like me it is an excellent incentive to get out and get some fresh air and exercise!!!! :rotf:

Striker--It is good to hear you enjoyed my little tale. While it does take a bit of time to post these stories, I have to admit I type them up and print them out and keep them for myself so it is only a bit more work to upload the photos to a website like PhotoBucket, paste the URLs of the photos into my story, and post them on the BurntPowder.


Bob--Thanks for the kind words. I sure hope you do get back to hunting varmints again. Not many activities give me more pleasure than potting those prairie poodles!!! :sniper:

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Re: ND PD Hunt on 8-27-2016

Postby bullseye-69 » Fri Sep 09, 2016 6:46 pm

LeRoy you are a prairie dog shooting machine!! :Blasting:
I would love to go out as much as you do. :hunt:

Keep up the great write ups and shooting. :cheers:
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Re: ND PD Hunt on 8-27-2016

Postby 870slugger » Sat Sep 10, 2016 10:11 am

You ARE the dog shooting machine!!!!
Very nicely done.
I shoot at a town on public land that as far as I can tell no one else shoots.
I Never see any vehicle activity around the only parking area for miles.
Never find any other empty cases, I pick mine up but always loose a few.
So other then some farming activity and cattle I think we are the only shooters.
It is right at a mile to walk in, we use game carts to carry the guns . lunch , and ammo.
That said:
The town has grown from a mere mile or so in size to over seven miles in size.
We worry it will get to big and plague out or the rancher, leasee , will get tired of it and poison it off.

:hunt:
Hold my beer and watch this! :bonk:

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Re: ND PD Hunt on 8-27-2016

Postby rkittine » Sat Sep 10, 2016 10:42 am

Unfortunately in this neck of the woods the only real open season varmints are Wood Chucks. We have less and less huntable land here in the Northeast. Guess I will just have to fly out to the Northwest.

Hogpatrol - What is good varmit shooting in PA?

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Re: ND PD Hunt on 8-27-2016

Postby manc-munsters » Sat Sep 10, 2016 2:21 pm

We should have a BP shooting break. Me and Jonty can fly over for a few days with y'all :rotf:
Struggling to become half the man my dogs think I am and forever trying to make a daily advancement :shh:

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Re: ND PD Hunt on 8-27-2016

Postby Silverfox » Sat Sep 10, 2016 11:27 pm

bullseye-69—You may have to retire like I did if you want more time to hunt??? I hope you get that chance real soon.

870slugger—The PD town you mention sounds like a prairie dog shooting heaven!!! I have hunted on some PD towns out in Montana that were big—maybe several sections—maybe 1,500 to 2,000 acres. If your dog town is 1 mile wide by 7 miles long that’s almost 5,000 acres!!! However, if you’re talking 7 square miles, that would put that dog town at 31,360 acres!!!!!!!! I am surprised the land owner/s haven’t poisoned it regardless of whether it is 5,000 acres or 31,360 acres. That’s a lot of pasture or farm land and those PDs don’t leave a lot of grass for cattle to eat and they are do a lot of damage to cereal crops too. If I had a dog town to hunt on that was that big, I think I’d camp out there for a week at a time!!!

I got acquainted with 5 ranchers out in Montana who had lots of PDs on their land and they welcomed me and my rifles with open arms. I had thousands and thousands and thousands of acres of prairie dog towns to shoot in. I haven't hunted out there since 2006, so I may have to get in touch with them again, but gasoline prices and the cost of staying in a motel were getting too expensive to make the trip worthwhile, especially since I have lots of PD towns that range from only 35 miles to 85 miles away from my home.

rkittine—I’d sure like to shoot wood chucks out east or rock chucks out west some day. However, I wouldn’t trade my PD hunting for wood or rock chuck hunting. I love the target rich environment in these PD towns. One good thing about chuck hunting might be that the number of shots I'd take each year would be so few that I wouldn’t have to change barrels every several years???


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