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#1985328 - 08/25/11 11:37 PM One More ND PD Hunt on 8-24-2011--Photos--One Graphic !!!
Silverfox Offline
Die Hard Member with a vengeance

Registered: 04/20/01
Posts: 4986
Loc: Williston, ND
The weather was GREAT today. The temperature was 54º at 7:00 a.m. today and eventually got up to the mid 80s. There was an occasional gust of wind up to 10 mph, but the wind was mostly 5 mph and under!!! Once again, there was a lot of oilfield traffic and lots of road construction zones on the way to my prairie dog town. I was about 15 miles from the dog town when I met a big truck hauling scoria with no tarp over his load and sure enough, a big chunk of scoria hit the middle of the passenger side on my windshield and left a quarter size rock chip!!! That about ruined my day before I even got started hunting. Since I have glass insurance and it won’t cost me anything to have the rock chip fixed, but it is still a bummer to have that great big chip in the windshield that was otherwise free of blemishes.

The last time I hunted in this dog town was on July 29, 2008, so I was curious about whether the PD population was up or down. Many of the dog towns I have been at this year, seemed to have a shortage of PDs. I parked my pickup behind a big ridge to hide it from view of the road to the west of the dog town and at a spot where my shots at prairie dogs weren’t going to come close to hitting the pickup either. The photo below has you looking to the NNW of the dog town from where I parked my pickup. There were hundreds and hundreds of cattle over above the tree line you see in the bottom of the draw, so I couldn’t shoot in that direction. There were some cattle that meandered into the PD town to the SE of me too, but I was able to keep them out of my line of fire.

The rifles I planned on using were my Predator action .17 Remington and my Savage target action .204 Ruger. I set up my target box at 100 yards from my pickup and fired a fouling shot through the Predator action and one more shot to see what the POI was compared to the POA. Just right—1 inch high and dead on for windage. I decided to hold off on firing the .204 Ruger and instead I checked the scope alignment on my .17 TAC I had built on a Remington 700 BDL action. This .17 TAC caliber has been a barrel burner for me even though my loads have not been HOT loads and I haven’t let the barrel get extremely hot while prairie dog hunting. It was a very accurate rifle when I was shooting loads to form the .20 Tactical Dakota Lapua brass down to .17 Tactical. I formed 400 casings and fired all 400 of these casings and have another 100 of them I haven’t worked with yet. Anyway, somewhere around 400 shots down the barrel the accuracy turned BAD!!! I had purchased a 17 inch Hawkeye bore scope that fit the .17 caliber barrel and one look down the .17 TAC barrel showed me a view that looked like the back of an alligator. It appeared like there may be some benefit to set the barrel back one full inch and chamber it again, so I had that done at the 521 round mark. That helped a bit, but it wasn’t shooting near as accurately as it had the first 400 rounds. But I digress again!!!

I decided that since I had 91 rounds loaded with Danzac coated 30 gr. BTHP Kindler Gold bullets for the .17 TAC, I might just as well burn them up (and the barrel too) rather than put more rounds down my Predator action .17 Remington. I shot 5 rounds to get the scope adjusted and headed out after some prairie dogs at about 9:45 a.m. By 10:10, I had shot about 7 shots and the last of those shots was a very devastating shot on a young prairie dog. The shot was from only about 100 yards away and I could see one piece of the PD fly out to the left about 10 feet and another piece fly back away from the mound. I decided that I needed to inspect the damage and see if I could find all the prairie dog parts. If I could find the parts, then it was time for some pictures.

As you can see by the photo, below, some of the parts made some pretty good flight distance from the point of impact.

Those little 30 gr. BTHP Kindler Gold bullets really EXPLODE on these thin-skinned PDs. I wish my son had been with to take some of his multiple exposure photos that shot the PD before the launch, a few frames during the hang time, and the landing. The .17 TAC put on quite a show for me today.

By 10:45 a.m. I had shot 12 shots. As I was ejecting the empty cartridge from my rifle, I fumbled the casing and it went straight down a steep prairie dog hole. I got out my flashlight and lit up the den hole, but I could not see the casing. Boo Hoo. I worked hard forming those casings, neck turning them and fire forming them and I hated to lose even one of them. I was tempted to walk back to the pickup and get my shovel and dig the casing out, but with my luck the federal boys would catch me and arrest me for digging up the National Grasslands!!

I worked my way along the SSW edge of the dog town and snapped this photo below showing a small pocket of PD mounds running to the SW.

I got to a spot where I had a few prairie dogs that were fairly close to me and was able to sneak up to where I could see through the tall grass and get a shot at them. One PD was only 40 yards away from the end of my gun barrel and he really suffered severe damage to just about every part of his body. This next photo is quite graphic so if it crosses over the line as per the Board rules, I guess the moderators can delete it and I apologize.

Here’s a photo of the PD with the rifle that did the dirty deed.

Later on that morning I shot a nice big male prairie dog and figured I had better get one of my “Hero Photos” before I forgot to do that.

The photo below gives you a better view of the PD and the rifle.

When I reached the NW end, I started to circle back towards my pickup. It was about 12:15 p.m. and I was getting hungry. I made it back to the pickup by 12:30 to have some lunch and get a different rifle for the afternoon hunt. I had spent almost three hours this morning of walking, stopping, and shooting and I had taken shot 36 shots with the .17 TAC. I missed on 1 shot, bagged 1 double and 34 singles for 36 dead prairie dogs for 36 shots. Distances ranged from 40 yards on out to close to 180 yards. I had a great time this morning, but the loss of that one casing was a minor blemish on an almost perfect morning.

I ate lunch and took a short 30 minute siesta and by 2:00 p.m. I had my Savage target action .204 Ruger out and was on my way to a fun afternoon. I was shooting my hBN coated 39 gr. Sierra load. The last time I tested this rifle with my new lot of IMR 8208 XBR powder, the target below shows you what my final target looked like:

Unfortunately, when I got a little over 300 yards away from my pickup, I discovered I had left my elbow pads sitting on the hood. So I got in another 600 yard round-trip walk to go get them!!! Old age does terrible things to your mind—it makes you forget lots of useful information!!!

I was getting in some fair shooting for the next hour, but it was getting hot and I needed to find some shade, eat a little trail mix and have some cold water to drink. I found a shady spot under a nice green ash and had my snack and a drink. I thought my half hour nap at noon was a little too short, so I set my timer on my watch to go off in 30 minutes and laid back on my backpack and closed my eyes. I never heard my alarm go off and woke up about 50 minutes after I lay down. I needed the rest!!!

I woke up around 4:00 p.m. and could hear lots of prairie dogs barking and sneaked up out of the little ravine I was in and got into position to pot some prairie poodles. Most of these PDs were out 125 to 170 yards and there were a few of them that stayed up even after one or two shots, so I warmed up my barrel a bit. The grass was pretty tall so I had to crawl on my belly like a reptile to get to the shorter grass so I could see to shoot. My elbows and knees are still sore. A small part of the cattle herd was grazing near where I was shooting, but they stayed out of the way and didn’t seem terribly bothered by the shots.

It was close to 5:00 p.m., I had run out of water and was getting thirsty, so I started to head back to the pickup and planned to shoot targets of opportunity on the way back. My barrel was fairly hot, so I had to let it cool off anyway and decided to take a break and photograph some of the few plants that were still blooming at this late part of the summer. This first one was just about done blooming but still had some pretty purple color to it.

This next one was in full bloom and quite beautiful.

I also spotted a large bull that had been lying out near the east side of the PD town the whole time I had been shooting. He was finally up and grazing as I was getting ready to leave the PD town. This was one HUGE bull and I was happy he wasn’t mad at me!!! This first photo gives you a view of the lay of the land to the east of where I was standing when I snapped the photo. I had the camera lens set at 7x, but the bull is still pretty small since I was a looong ways away from him. Believe me, he was A WHOLE LOTTA BULL!!!

I got back to my pickup around 5:40 p.m. and had everything packed away and left the dog town around 5:50 p.m. I had taken 37 shots with the Savage target action .204 Ruger and hit on all 37 shots. All the hits were singles. I didn’t get many close shots with most shots ranging from 75 to 180 yards. As I mentioned at the outset, it was a beautiful day with hardly any wind and temperatures probably hit the low 90s. It was actually 100 degrees on my pickup thermometer as I left the prairie dog town, but that was in direct sunlight. Once again, a day of hunting beats a day of work any time of the year. I hope you enjoyed the prairie dog hunt with me.

Nominated for hunt of the month

Edited by reb8600 (08/26/11 06:35 PM)

#1985449 - 08/26/11 09:16 AM Re: One More ND PD Hunt on 8-24-2011--Photos--One Graphic !!! [Re: Silverfox]
CV32 Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 09/27/05
Posts: 858
Loc: The Rock, Canada
Great post, pics and commentary, as per usual. smile
"You still don't know what you're dealing with do you? Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility ... I admire its purity, its sense of survival; unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality." -Ash

#1985795 - 08/26/11 06:36 PM Re: One More ND PD Hunt on 8-24-2011--Photos--One Graphic !!! [Re: CV32]
reb8600 Offline
Sponsor/Retired PM Staff

Registered: 10/13/04
Posts: 11165
Loc: Morgan, Utah
Very nice write up!!
2015 Egg Shoot Champion

Egg Shoot Champion of Champions

#1985870 - 08/26/11 08:38 PM Re: One More ND PD Hunt on 8-24-2011--Photos--One Graphic !!! [Re: reb8600]
massbigbore442001 Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 132
Loc: Southern Worcester County MA
All I see are red X's on the screen. But I will take your word and use my imagination of what occurred. North Dakota is one of my favorite states. To me it is somewhat of a sleeper state especially the western portion.

I was wondering what the antelope and deer situation was in western North Dakota? Thanks for any reply.

#1986015 - 08/27/11 12:20 AM Re: One More ND PD Hunt on 8-24-2011--Photos--One Graphic !!! [Re: massbigbore442001]
lazy1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 46
Loc: VA
Great write up. Enjoyed it !!!!!!!!!!

#1987092 - 08/28/11 06:50 PM Re: One More ND PD Hunt on 8-24-2011--Photos--One Graphic !!! [Re: Silverfox]
Silverfox Offline
Die Hard Member with a vengeance

Registered: 04/20/01
Posts: 4986
Loc: Williston, ND
Thanks to all of you for your kind comments on my story and photos. I know many of you are not fortunate enough to live close to prairie dog towns like I do, so I hope my little stories will help you get through the days that you can't be out pottin' prairie poodles yourself.

If anyone has problems viewing the photos like massbigbore442001 did, and you get the little red "x" instead of photos, please try one of the following methods to try to view the photos.

First, try this:

1. Right click on the outline of the photo or the red "x".

2. When the command box comes up, left-click on the "Show Photo" command.

If the photo doesn't show up, then try the following steps:

1. Right click on the outline or red "X" that represents a photo.

2. Look down the pop-up list and click on the "Properties" command, which should be down at the bottom.

3. When the list of properties appears, copy the URL information you see to the right of the "Address:" area.

4. Go to a blank Web browser page and click in the Address Box at the top and Paste the URL you copied from the properties box in that area.

5. Hit the Enter key and you should be taken to the Web site where I posted the photo.

I hope one of those solutions works for you.

#1987151 - 08/28/11 08:04 PM Re: One More ND PD Hunt on 8-24-2011--Photos--One Graphic !!! [Re: Silverfox]
Dogbone Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 02/17/11
Posts: 370
Loc: Calabash, NC United States
For an old guy you sure are a good shot and computer savy too! LOL Enjoyed the write up as well!!
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

#1987239 - 08/28/11 09:34 PM Re: One More ND PD Hunt on 8-24-2011--Photos--One Graphic !!! [Re: Dogbone]
Silverfox Offline
Die Hard Member with a vengeance

Registered: 04/20/01
Posts: 4986
Loc: Williston, ND
massbigbore442001--I apologize for not answering your question about pronghorn and deer hunting in Western North Dakota. There will not be an antelope season this year because of low populations of pronghorn in the state. Deer hunting should be OK. I think some of the heavy wet snow was tough on both whitetail and mule deer populations so there may be fewer buck licenses issued. Usually, if you are a meat hunter, there are lots of doe permits available almost every year.

[Edited to correct spelling. blushing ]


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