Blowing Up Little Furry Things
- Posts: 90
- Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2014 10:30 pm
- Location: NW North Dakota
I asked my son if he wanted to go with me on prairie dog shoot on Friday, August 18. Once in a while my son has Friday off from work because he works 10 hour days, but this Friday he had to work. So, no fun for him!!! I like to use Weather Underground’s website for weather predictions, especially the wind information. They were predicting fairly warm temperatures and winds of only 5- 9 mph which is GREAT compared to most days in North Dakota. The weatherman was right!!! I had about 90 miles to go to get to the dog town I was going to explore. The owner of the land has poisoned it in the spring of 2016, but I figured there should be a few prairie dogs that survived. There were a couple of little dog towns this rancher had told me to check out that were further east from this big dog town I was heading for. I checked out those little dog towns and they were a bust. He must have poisoned them too. So I headed to my original destination. I parked my pickup in the shade of a green ash tree at 9:38 a.m. Yes, I know that is a bit late, but there was dew on the grass in early morning and I avoid that. I looked at where my pickup was parked and decided the sun would hit my pickup in the afternoon so I moved it around and got my sun screen up in the windshield and my sheets hung over the windows on the driver’s and passenger’s side of the pickup. I got my little Schwinn cart out, loaded my stuff into that.
Since the cart is so handy to haul way more stuff than I can place in my backpack, I take a couple of little coolers, the backpack, a hundred or more rounds of ammo, lunch, extra water and ice, and the kitchen sink!!! Today, I’d be using the .17 Remington built on a Jerry Stiller Predator action. I had the 33 rounds I didn’t get to shoot on August 8th, plus I loaded the last of my 30 gr. Starke FBHP bullets so I had 49 rounds loaded with 30 gr. FBHP Starke bullets coated with Danzac and loaded with 21.2 gr. of IMR 8208 XBR and Remington 7½ primers. I had another box of shells loaded with 22.3 gr. IMR 8208 XBR. These casings are a bit sticky to get the bolt handle up and the shells ejected, but I didn’t want to pull the bullets so I was going to shoot them. I had 32 loaded shells in that box, but these bullets were coated with hBN. They shoot about in the same place as the 21.1 gr. of 8208 XBR. I set my target box up and shot 2 shots with the 21.1 gr. load and Danzac coated bullets. Since they shot about 1/4" below my preferred point of impact at 100 yards, I had done 1/4" click up and both bullets hit the same hole, at 1" high. Right on the money! I put the elevation cap back on my Leupold VX-III 6.5-20x40mm silver scope with the fine duplex reticle. I used my Lane Scorpion 556 suppressor again today. My trusty Harris swivel bipod with notched legs was on the rifle again too.
There must have been some turkeys in the area as evidenced by some feathers.
I left the pickup around 10:40. However on my drive to my parking place I hadn’t spotted even one prairie dog. That wasn’t very encouraging. As I started walking to the west, I thought I could hear the faint barking of a prairie dog to the south. I parked the cart and sneaked up out of the little ravine I was in and spotted several prairie dogs and got into position to shoot. I had my new SIGSAUER Kilo 2000 range finder along for its test run. I ranged and a 4 prairie dogs. The Kilo 2000 is quite tiny compared to my Leica 1200, but I wasn’t used to the mode settings and somehow wiped the digital readings plumb out of view. Like a dummy I hadn’t brought the instructions along so after shooting those 4 prairie dogs, I hiked back to the pickup to get my Leica 1200 I had the wisdom and foresight to bring along “just in case.” On the way back to the pickup I stopped at the cart and got my camera slung. I had the camera slung around my neck, my rifle slung over my shoulder, and my Kilo 2000 also around my neck. I stepped in a prairie dog hole and fell headlong to the ground. My camera came up and hit me in the upper lip; my rifle hit me on the back of the head and bruised my head and back a bit. Thoughts flew though my head that my surgery repaired back was going to come undone, but other than getting a couple of bruises and being mad at myself for not watching where I was going, all was OK. The Lord looks after little children and clumsy old men!!! Here are photos of two of my first prairie dogs of the day along with my Stiller Predator action .17 Remington.
I walked back to the cart and pulled it out to where I had shot the prairie dogs and snapped some photos. It was 12:45 already and I was hungry so I headed towards a great big tall cottonwood tree to sit in the shade and eat. Unfortunately, there were many huge ants crawling around on the bark of the tree. I had my insect repellant spray along and sprayed myself, the area of the tree I was going to lean on and settled in for some lunch. I finished lunch and decided to head further east to find some shade away from these ants for a little nap. At 1:00 p.m. I found a nice spot and set the timer on my watch so it would wake me at 2:00. That didn’t work, but I did wake up at 2:16!!! I have a couple dozen physical therapy exercises that I do three times a day, so I did about half of them before walking back to the big tree to get the cart and start hunting prairie dogs again. Today, the phrase “HUNTING PRAIRIE DOGS” was 100 percent true because they were few and far between!!! I had to “HUNT FOR THEM TO FIND THEM!!”
It was 2:40 when I started walking west again. I stopped and shot 1 PD and then moved west. I saw a prairie dog inside a fenced area and lay down and reached for my camo bean bag. It was not where it should have been!!! I lined up on the PD anyway and could see the bottom barbed wire between me and the PD, but I figured I would hold way low on the critter and miss the wire and hit him. WRONG!!! I retraced my steps and searched and searched but couldn’t find it. Finally I went back to the tall cottonwood where I ate lunch and there it was. I got back to my cart and headed west again. I got to the west end of the dog town and decided to see where the hBN coated 30 gr. Starkes were hitting. They were hitting in about the same place as the Danzac coated bullet. I took a few photos of blossoms.
I headed to the ENE where there has been a nice big colony on the north side of an old lease road. The shooting there was pretty good and when 5:30 p.m. rolled around I decided to get back to the pickup and head to a dog town further north. I had been in the dog town for 7 hours, taken a 2 hour lunch and nap break and had only taken 22 shots and killed 20 prairie dogs. That did not thrill me at all. My pickup thermometer said it was 100º, but I think the actual temperature was probably around 85º.
I drove north to the next dog town and from the well-worn trail into the dog town, it looked like the U.S. Army had been through there. I didn’t think there would be many prairie dogs left. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw dozens and dozens of prairie dogs scurrying to get to their dens as I drove along the two-track. I eventually parked in the shade of a tree, put the sunshade up in windshield and got ready to head out. I shot 4 prairie dogs before I left the pickup!!! I thought “This day might turn out OK anyway.” Over the next 15 minutes I shot 9 prairie dogs. Counting the four PDs I had shot near the pickup I shot 26 prairie dogs in less than an hour—that’s 6 more than I shot in 5 hours at the first dog town. I ran out of the Danzac coated loads and shot 4 shells out of the box with hBN coated bullets. I managed to bag one double and thought I might have bagged two more doubles, but didn’t verify that. So for the day, I nailed 50 prairie dogs and fired of 53 shots. The longest shot was 199.5 yards according to my Kilo2000.
While I was in the east end of this dog town I snapped a few more flower photos.
I had taken a photo of the big tree I sat under during my lunch and also took a photo of the big cottonwood where I shot my last PD of the day. The tree on the left was where I had lunch and the tree on the right has seven trunks coming up out of the base!!!
The sun was a big glowing red ball in the west so I had to do some “artistic photos” for your viewing pleasure.
I know some of you seem to like the “Hero Photos” I often post with my stories so this one is for you. This photo was taken in the east end of the 2nd PD town of the day.
Last edited by Silverfox
on Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
- Posts: 369
- Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:55 am
- Location: Home is Manchester, UK. Shooting around North Yorkshire and Scotland
Superb write us as usual. I really look forward to your reports and photographs. Its just like being tehre with you!
Thank you so much for sharing
Struggling to become half the man my dogs think I am
and forever trying to make a daily advancement
- Posts: 1505
- Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:58 pm
- Location: La Porte Indiana NW
Great pictures Silverfox!!
Way to make a good day out of not a whole lot.
Wish I lived closer to be able to shoot dogs more than once or twice a year.
- Posts: 90
- Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2014 10:30 pm
- Location: NW North Dakota
manc-munsters--I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the write-up.
bullseye-69--Thanks for the compliment on the photographs. I think I might I spend more time taking photos than I do shooting some days.
You can solve the problem of not living closer to PDs by moving out to Western ND. Lots of job openings out here if you want to work!!
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