ND PD Hunt 7-20-2018

Blowing Up Little Furry Things
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Silverfox
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Location: NW North Dakota

ND PD Hunt 7-20-2018

Postby Silverfox » Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:24 pm

Last Friday I headed out for some leisure time in a couple prairie dog towns down in the National Grasslands in North Dakota. While my back, ribs and hips still give me considerable pain, I needed to get out the house and recreate!!! The weather forecast called for 80º with winds from 4 to 7 mph out of the east. My kind of day!!! When I got about 30 miles out of Williston the fog rolled in. Not real thick, so it wasn’t a hunt-stopper. I drove another 10 miles south and the fog lifted. It was 9:13 a.m. and 69º when I parked my pickup east of the PD town. It took me a while to get my gear all organized. When I looked off to the west, I saw a rancher on a 3-wheeler working at fixing his fence. I decided I would walk out to where I wanted to start shooting and wait for him to leave the area. But before I started walking NW, I found a few PDs to the southwest of where I was at and went 6 for 6 on shots that ranged from 45 to 145 yards. The prairie dogs did some fantastic acrobatics. The wind blew at 10 to 15 mph, but that was OK.

I was using my Tikka Master Sporter in .22-250 with my 53 gr. V-Max loads. I had my gunsmith install a stainless steel 1 in 12 twist Brux barrel cut to 24" and treated with Melonite. It is threaded for my AAC suppressor and is deadly on prairie dogs. I had taken the carrying case off my SIG Kilo2000 and left it in the grass as I sneaked up to a vantage point for shooting. Well, I forgot where I left the case and spent about 15 minutes backtracking, but finally found it. I swear, sometimes I think I would lose my head if it wasn’t fastened onto my neck!!! I headed to where I wanted to set up in the shade to do some shooting.

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The shooting was steady, but slow, and I shot five shots from my spot in the shade and nailed five prairie dogs. One of those victims was 41 yards from the end of my barrel. Here’s a collage of that poor prairie dog. He was packed down his hole and I used a stick to lift his head out a bit and eventually lifted his head out. It was still attached to the body with a little skin.

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I decided to abandon the shade and walked out to the NW of my shady spot to do some shooting from the prone position. I had 10 rounds left to shoot out of this one box of shells and shot them all while nailing 10 more prairie dogs. It was close to lunch time, so I headed back to my Schwinn cart and walked to the east where I stopped to take a couple more photos. I had shot 21 shots and nailed 21 prairie dogs. I headed back to the pickup, loaded my gear into the back of the pickup and headed off to another dog town located SW of this one.

When I got to the west edge of the second prairie dog town I was very disgusted to see all the vehicle wheel tracks all over the dog town. I headed east on the trail and eventually parked in the shade of a huge cottonwood tree. I ate lunch and while I was eating I noticed an antelope buck off to the west about 60 yards. He evidently didn’t know I was there and was grazing. I sneaked back to the pickup and got my camera and started snapping photos. There were some dead trees between me and the antelope so we were playing “peek-a-boo” for a while. He eventually saw me move and he began to circle around me to the north and eventually just walked away to the SE.

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I decided to take a little nap before continuing to shoot a few more prairie dogs. This time I would use my .17 Remington built on a Stiller Predator action. This is the same rifle I used on my last report from June 21. It has stainless steel super match grade Pac-Nor barrel in medium Palma contour. It is a 1 in 9 twist with three grooves and was chambered and installed by my gunsmith. He added some 5/16" flutes, threaded the muzzle for my suppressors. I’m using Nosler brass in this rifle and it is loaded with 27.2 gr. of IMR 8208 XBR, 25 gr. V-Max bullets coated with hBN, and I’m using Remington 7½ primers. Muzzle velocity with this load is 4,055 fps.

I woke up from my nap and set up a target box at 100 yards and took three shots to season my newly cleaned and Lock Eased barrel. It was right on the money. I started shooting prairie dogs right around where I had parked my pickup and nailed a double. Then I heard some shooting off to the west of where I was. This worried me because I was sure they didn’t know I was east of them. Eventually their Chrysler van came into sight and they were driving right toward my position. They stopped a few times and got out and walked off to the south of the trail to check out some dead prairie dogs. I shot a few more shots hoping they would hear my shooting and would turn around and leave the dog town. I started hauling my Schwinn cart off the SE where there is a nice colony of prairie dogs. I was certain they could see me walking and would turn around and leave, but NO—they kept on driving and drove right past me and one of them waved at me from the back seat!!! They drove up into the area of the dog town I intended to shoot in!!! I was somewhat annoyed. There were four or five boys in the van and one of them was in a wheel chair. They parked in the middle of the colony and proceeded to shot after shot. I decided to walk over to them and tell them they were breaking the law by driving off the established trail on federal land. I also informed them that it was extremely disconcerting to me that they were coming up behind me and shooting shots—I was worried I might be shot. I also informed them that common courtesy in prairie dog towns calls for you to turn around and get out of the dog town when someone is already in the dog town shooting.

Well, they pleaded they didn’t know it was illegal to drive off established trails on federal land. They also said they could see my pickup and knew I was there all the time. Well, I disagreed with them because my pickup was not visible to them when I first heard them shooting. I asked them if they had licenses to shoot in North Dakota to which they said they did. I noticed they had a Montana license plate and took out my notebook and wrote it down making sure they knew what I was doing. This dark blue Chrysler van was wheelchair accessible and I’m still debating whether I should turn them into the feds or not. I was very much disappointed that they ruined my shooting in this area. They started driving away and then I was worried they might do some vandalism to my pickup, but it was OK when I got back there. I think I was able to shoot maybe four or five more shots as started to walk back to my pickup at about 4:30 p.m.

One of those shots was at two prairie dogs standing very close together; one was slightly in front of the other one. They were 137 yards away and I was pretty sure I nailed them both. There was a single PD off to the left of those two and he obliged me by staying right there while I shot him. I walked over to the mound to see if I got the double and sure enough one dead PD was behind the den hole and the other one was snuggled down in the hole.

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The other PD I shot to the left of these two was a young of the year and he was totally EXPLODED!!! The 25 gr. V-Max bullet really messed him up and threw him about 10 feet behind where he had been standing.

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For you folks who like blossom photos, I have to tell you there were not many blossoms where I was. There were a few dandelions in bloom and some yellow clover and I didn’t photograph any of those. I did find a tiny plant that had some white blossoms and snapped a photo of that. I set my shell holder box with an empty .17 Remington casings alongside the plant to give you an idea of how small the plant was when I took the photo.

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As I trudged back to the pickup I had a chance at another PD that was only 75 yards away. I had to turn my Schwinn cart over so the back was on the ground as I rested my rifle over the front of the cart. That was not very steady and I missed the shot. I got back to the pickup around 5:00 p.m. and loaded my Schwinn cart into the pickup and my rifle and backpack into the cab. I left the dog town around 5:40 p.m. and was parked in my garage by 6:48 p.m.

On my afternoon shoot I shot 3 shells at my target and 20 shots at prairie dogs. With those 20 shots I missed on one, hit on two doubles and nailed 17 singles giving me a total of 21 dead prairie dogs for 20 shots. Total count for the day was 42 dead PDs for 41 shots.

And here’s the “Hero Photo” for this hunt taken at the first prairie dog town with my Tikka Master Sporter in .22-250. I am in some pain, but it was worth it to get out and shoot PDs!!!!

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870slugger
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Re: ND PD Hunt 7-20-2018

Postby 870slugger » Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:41 pm

Great read as normal, Glad to see you back out in the field killing.... :USA:
Hold my beer and watch this! :bonk:

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bullseye-69
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Re: ND PD Hunt 7-20-2018

Postby bullseye-69 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 6:45 am

Nice write up SF. Glad to see you were able to get out and smack some of those little buggers.
“Lifes hard,its even harder when your stupid.”―J Wayne
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Silverfox
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Re: ND PD Hunt 7-20-2018

Postby Silverfox » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:44 pm

870slugger and bullseye-69--I definitely had a GREAT time in spite of the little inconsiderate farts who messed up my afternoon shooting. I am definitely paying for my fun because my back, ribs and hips are still hurting today--four days after the PD shoot. I guess if I want to play I have to pay the piper. Things will get better some day--I HOPE and PRAY!!!

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bullseye-69
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Re: ND PD Hunt 7-20-2018

Postby bullseye-69 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:21 pm

I got my fingers crossed for ya!
“Lifes hard,its even harder when your stupid.”―J Wayne
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