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#2689337 - 06/04/14 09:32 PM ND PD Hunt on 6-3-2014
Silverfox Offline
Die Hard Member with a vengeance

Registered: 04/20/01
Posts: 4986
Loc: Williston, ND
My wife and daughter decided to take a trip to Minneapolis Tuesday, June 3, 2014, and leave me home alone.

Well, I guess when the cat is away the mouse will play so I headed out for a day or prairie dog shooting. The weather forecast for the area I really wanted to hunt in called for thunder showers and Thursdayís forecast was for much, much nicer weather, but I promised my daughter I would give my granddaughter and her buddy a ride at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday so they can go to a special band and choir practice to get ready to perform at the Valley Fair (about 25 minutes SW of Minneapolis/St. Paul). So, since Iíll be performing my grandfatherly duty on Thursday, I opted to go to an area where the forecast was for more sunshine, but there was supposed to be some wind in the late morning and all afternoon. The traffic jam at the intersection of US Highway 2 and ND Highway 85 was not too bad and I got through that area in no time flat.

I saw something on my trip to the PD town that made me very sad. I saw a whitetail doe on the highway ahead of me so I put on the brakes and as I got closer I could see the body of her baby fawn lying on the pavement. The poor little fawn had been hit by a vehicle and was flatter than a pancake. I wondered if the driver who hit the fawn had even slowed down or if the driver was even aware the deer were crossing the road. So, that didnít make my day any brighter.

I was aware that there had been quite a bit of rain that fell in my prairie dog town location late last week, so while the ground was a little soft the trails were fairly good. I parked my pickup in the shade of some green ash trees and got my gear ready. Once again, before I left the pickup, I placed old bed sheets over the doors so they were hanging inside the pickup and gave protection from the sunís rays to the inside of the pickup. I also put up the commercial sun shield in the windshield. I left the pickup at 8:52 a.m. There were some clouds gathering to the south and that was the area the forecast had been predicting rain showers. I thought that I might get wet, but the sun kept shining and it was quite comfortable temperature-wise, but the humidity made it a bit uncomfortable. I figured I was going to have a lot more fun in this prairie dog town than I would have had back home in spite of the high humidity.

I decided to use my Predator action .17 Remington that I had shot only 12 shots with on 5-30-2014. I took the thread guard off the muzzle and threaded the suppressor in place and decided to take a couple of shots to check the point of impact. The rifle appeared to be shooting just fine.

I put the bed sheets over the windows to keep out the sun, locked the doors on the pickup and at 9:33 a.m. I was on my way for some more fun shooting time. There were quite a few pups out, but I didnít see any adults. I shot a couple PDs and was getting my knees and elbows fairly muddy, but thatís the price you have to pay to be a PD shooter. Finally, I spotted a prairie dog mound with five pups on it. I crept to a nice dry mound and got into position to shoot. When two of the pups were lined up, I got the crosshairs on the front one and squeezed off a shot. The 29 gr. Genco FBHP bullet made solid contact with the front prairie dog and I could hear the solid SPLATof the bullet hitting its target. I thought I could see the PD behind my target dog flopping off the mound too, but I wasnít sure. The rest of the pups disappeared down into the den. I decided to go take a look and maybe pose for a hero photo with a double. When I got to where I could see over the mound I found three dead pups so I have managed to score a triple!!! Hereís a photo of the rifle and the three dead pups.

I had hit on a few single PDs and missed a shot before hitting the triple so my hit ratio improved immensely!!! I kept walking, setting up when I had lots of targets on mounds in front of me and enjoyed blasting away. However, I missed on a couple shots that should have been gimmes. It looked like I was shooting over the top of the ones I missed. I checked the suppressor to make sure it was tight and it was. I decided to aim lower and then started to hit the PDs again, but I wasnít real sure how low to aim at each and every distance. I was a long ways away from any object I could use to check the point of impact since there werenít any trees or fenceposts nearby, so I kept on guesstimating where to aim.

At 11:00 a.m. I spotted a mound that looked like there was a prairie dog pup convention going on. I counted 15 pups on the mound!!! I was wishing I had some bullets that would separate and hit multiple targets, but Iíd have to try to make one bullet hit one or more PDs. My first shot netted a double. The PD scattered a bit and then re-congregated on the top of the mound. My second shot bagged another double. When a couple PDs got back up on the mound I fired a third shot and got one more PD. A few minutes later I spotted a mound with a dozen pups on it. I tried to get some lined up for hitting a double or two, but I could not confirm any doubles on the two shots I took at that bunch. As of 11:05 a.m. I had taken 32 shots and killed 35 prairie dogs. I had connected on 3 doubles, 1 triple, 26 singles, and had 2 missed shots in that string as well.

Around 11:25 a.m. I had a little bit of trail mix and a drink of water and planned on moving further SE. My ammo holder was empty so I stopped to replenish my ammo supply. The wind had picked up quite a bit of speed and was blowing at a pretty constant 10 mph out of the and was probably gusting to 15+ mph. I checked the clouds to the south of my location and it looked like some serious storm clouds were banking up. I only seemed to be able to walk 10 or 15 yards and Iíd have to go prone and shoot 5 or 6 shots. By 11:48 a.m. I had taken 13 shots from the same spot and the prairie dogs quit rushing my position. I missed on 4 of the shots and of the 9 hits, I felt 2 of them could have netted doubles, but I didnít go check, so Iíll call it 9 PDs for 13 shots. My missed shots, once again, appeared to be going over the top of the intended victim. I spotted 2 more PDs and shot those and that was the last of the ammo in that box, so I broke out my last box of ammo, which was only a 20 capacity holder. Up to that point I had taken 52 shots and nailed 51 prairie dogs. It was almost noon so I decided I would head back to the pickup and have some lunch. Before I started walking, I did 3 clicks down on the elevation knob and ranged a couple of prairie dogs at between 130 and 158 yards. I held dead on the middle of the belly of the one at 150 yards and thought the bullet hit right close to a couple inches high, but it was ludicrous to think I could see exactly where the bullet hit?!?!?!. When I have my scope set where I want it to hit the bullet is supposed to hit 1.3" high at 150 yards. I shot at the one at 130 yards and missed. I did 2 more clicks down, shot 7 more shots and decided to move the elevation knob 2 clicks back up. I needed to get a target box instead of this guessing stuff. At 12:49 p.m. I finished off the box of 20 shells and had no more ammo so I headed back to the pickup. AT that point in the day I had taken 72 shots, missed on 10 shots, hit 1 triple, 3 doubles, and 58 singles for a total of 67 vicious prairie dogs lying dead on the battlefield and unable to inflict bodily harm on unwary prairie dog shooters. On the way back to the pickup I stopped to take a few flower photos and got back to the pickup at 1:15 p.m.

I was hungry, but I wanted to get the inside of my barrel soaking with the BoreTech C4 Carbon Remover, so I set the rifle up on the tailgate, raised the butt end up on my sandbags, put my dirty patch catcher on the end of the barrel and juiced up the bore with several we patches. Then I fed my belly. After lunch I ran a couple more wet patches into the barrel and the plugged both ends and cased up the rifle and put it in the pickup with the muzzle lower than the chamber.

The rifle I was going to use in the afternoon was the same rifle I started my hunt with on May 30ómy Savage 12VLP in .204 Ruger with a 25 inch long stainless steel super match grade Pac-Nor barrel with a 1 in 11 twist, three grooves and topped off with my Leupold VX-III 6-20x40mm long range scope with a fine duplex reticle. The 40 gr. V-Max bullets coated with hBN would be sailing out of the muzzle at 3,841 fps. Since I had thoroughly cleaned the barrel after last Fridayís hunt and treated the barrel with a couple of wet patches of Lock-Ease, I needed to shoot a couple rounds to check the point of impact. There was a dead tree stump located 75 yards from the tailgate of my pickup so I made a vertical and horizontal mark on the stump and fired a couple shots. I did a couple tiny turns on the elevation and windage knobs so it was hitting approximately .4 high at 75 yards and dead on for windage. I had several boxes of loaded rounds with varying numbers of loaded rounds in each. After adjusting the scope I had one box with 12 rounds in it, one with 35 rounds, and one with 20 rounds that I loaded into my backpack. Now I needed to drive east to another parking place to continue my hunt.

I drove my pickup down the old two-track trail and parked in a grove of trees for shade and put up my window shades. I put on some more sun tan lotion, sprayed my exposed skin with bug spray, and left the pickup at 3:30 p.m. I surprised myself by not taking a nap!!!! Anyway, there were lots and lots of little PD pups on this end of the dog town and it was lots of fun to be able to set up in one spot and shoot many, many, many rounds. I shot all the shells in the box that had 12 loaded rounds and hit on 11 singles and one double for 13 dead PDs for 12 shots. I opened up the box of 20 shells, but before I started shooting I had a couple cookies and some water. The gnats were absolutely terrible. Little old dumb me had just purchased a 4 ounce spray bottle of NO NATZ and left the doggone bottle at homeóCan you say ďDUMB!?!?Ē Anyway, there were lots of prairie dogs off to the SW of my location and by 5:00 p.m. I had fired the last round from the box of 20 cartridges. The clouds were looking more and more ominous so I decided to call it a day. I started to walk back to where I had left my back pack and noticed a pickup had pulled onto the two-track to the west of me. The doors were open and I could see a couple fellows wandering around the vehicle. Now I had to worry about catching a stray round because Iím sure they had no idea I was out east of their location. When I got to my back pack, I had a handful of trail mix and a drink and started back to the pickup at 5:12 p.m. I had shot a total of 32 shots with the .204 Ruger and had hit on 2 doubles, 30 singles and didnít miss any shots for a total of 34 dead prairie dogs for 32 shots.

Hereí a hero photo from earlier in the day when I posed with my first triple of the 2014 season

I got back to the pickup at 6:16 p.m. got my stuff loaded and was on my may out of the dog town at 5:21. As I was driving out, I could see three fellows walking on the two-track and each had a weapon in hand. When I got up to them I stopped and told them I had left a few prairie dogs for them to shoot and mentioned that there were very few adults out, but there was and abundance of dumb pups. I wished them good luck and headed out. I was in my garage at 6:38 p.m. The wind was a little tougher to shoot in today, but it was still a GREAT DAY!!! I had taken 104 shots and killed 101 prairie dogs today. It isnít very often that I even shoot 100 shots in an outing, so I burned a bunch of powder and other reloading supplies today. If I were forced to buy all my ammo instead of reloading it myself, these 100-round days could be hard on the bank account. However, even at todayís high reloading component prices, my 104 rounds probably cost just under $40 to produce, without counting any expense for the brass. I anneal my brass and use the casings 15 or 20 times, so casing cost is down around 1Ę to 2Ę. To me, prairie dog shooting is an inexpensive bit of entertainment. Now, if you start adding in the cost of the rifle, scope, suppressor, barrel replacement, other accessories, as well as travel to and from PD towns then the total bill starts to pile up. However, I donít think you can put a price on having fun. Just go out and DO IT!!! I hope you enjoyed the story and the photos.

Edited by reb8600 (07/01/14 10:31 AM)

#2689347 - 06/04/14 10:01 PM Re: ND PD Hunt on 6-3-2014 [Re: Silverfox]
obaro Offline
Die Hard Member II

Registered: 09/14/04
Posts: 1570
Loc: Monument kansas
Good stuff there, Silverfox. Have missed your contributions, hope you can get some more for us.

#2689353 - 06/04/14 10:04 PM Re: ND PD Hunt on 6-3-2014 [Re: Silverfox]
PM senior

Registered: 03/28/05
Posts: 9153
Loc: In the sage
Great day and write up. I enjoyed reading it.
Guns have ony 2 emenies- Rust and Politicians.

Wolves don't lose sleep, over the opinion's of sheep.

Carver Predator calls Prostaffer, Made in the USA!!

#2689885 - 06/07/14 08:45 AM Re: ND PD Hunt on 6-3-2014 [Re: Silverfox]
JerrySchmitt Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 301
Loc: Superior, WI
Great story as usual. I'll be out in your neck of the woods in a few weeks so save some dogs for me.

#2691805 - 06/14/14 08:29 AM Re: ND PD Hunt on 6-3-2014 [Re: Silverfox]
Shovelheadave Offline
Die Hard Member

Registered: 10/20/10
Posts: 722
Loc: S.E. Pennsylvania
Awesome !!

#2692308 - 06/16/14 12:20 AM Re: ND PD Hunt on 6-3-2014 [Re: Silverfox]
Viper6 Offline
Seasoned Member

Registered: 01/12/14
Posts: 177
Loc: Washington
Great report on the PD town. Thanks

#2699977 - 07/12/14 10:09 PM Re: ND PD Hunt on 6-3-2014 [Re: Silverfox]
bigdee Offline
New Member

Registered: 07/05/10
Posts: 24
Loc: ind


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