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Prairie Dog Hunt in New Mexico

Prairie Dog New Mexico

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#91 Spud

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 05:08 AM

I had a Tee shirt made, it turned out pretty good. You should have heard the commits form people at the stores I went too. HA!

 

 

This is the 298 yard kill. I'm really amazed at the destruction the 204 can inflict.

The hit ratio is so high with the 204 I'm starting to think it might be more economical than the 17hmr and 17wsm for anything over 150 yards. There was a ~8mph wind from behind so I didn't correct for wind. And I only corrected 1moa for drop.

 

attachicon.gifIMG_1413_20.jpg

 

I shot one today that was partially hidden and ~50 yards away. I saw a cloud of dust through the scope and thought I missed. When I saw what was left of the prairie dog I realized it wasn't dirt that I saw, it was prairie dog vapor. 

This one that I shot last year in Wyo, with my 204 which is my caliber of choice. I take 4 guns every year to keep them form getting to hot. This one was shot at 235yds with 32 gr Vmax

Spud

PS note hole in the little guy's chest

 

I would hang that picture on my wall, Spud!

 


Edited by Spud, 04 May 2017 - 05:51 AM.

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#92 Rudy

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 06:00 PM

 

 

This is the 298 yard kill. I'm really amazed at the destruction the 204 can inflict.

The hit ratio is so high with the 204 I'm starting to think it might be more economical than the 17hmr and 17wsm for anything over 150 yards. There was a ~8mph wind from behind so I didn't correct for wind. And I only corrected 1moa for drop.

 

attachicon.gifIMG_1413_20.jpg

 

I shot one today that was partially hidden and ~50 yards away. I saw a cloud of dust through the scope and thought I missed. When I saw what was left of the prairie dog I realized it wasn't dirt that I saw, it was prairie dog vapor. 

This one that I shot last year in Wyo, with my 204 which is my caliber of choice. I take 4 guns every year to keep them form getting to hot. This one was shot at 235yds with 32 gr Vmax

Spud

PS note whole in the little guy's chest

 

I would hang that picture on my wall, Spud!

 

I think the buzzards and crows prefer these tenderized critters over the ones that need to be opened. 


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#93 Old Hickory

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 11:52 PM

You have a good point there, Rudy. Much easier for them to eat. The crows around here have been busy snatching baby rabbits out of rabbit nests.



#94 Rudy

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 05:07 PM

I got back on the 9th but I got delayed in posting more pictures and results.

 

My tally for the trip was 530 prairie dogs and 1 gopher. The numbers are down a lot which is good. I also noticed that the majority of the kills were smaller prairie dogs. Probably pups from last year. Our neighbors are very grateful and they even let me have the irrigation water a few extra days so I could work in some more shooting at sunrise. I received word-of-mouth invitations to shoot prairie dogs from several landowners. One even asked if I hired out. 

 

One day I was shooting with the 17hmr and I noticed some movement about 30 yards away. I zeroed in with the scope and spotted a gopher that would occasionally push some dirt out of a hole. I would occasionally catch a glimpse and after about 10 minutes he finally exposed the top of his head and paused long enough for me to squeeze off a shot.

 

This is the first gopher I've ever shot.

 

 

IMG_1432_20.jpg


Edited by Rudy, 22 May 2017 - 05:13 PM.

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#95 Rudy

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 05:33 PM

I did learn something the first day I took the 204 out.  I was shooting about 100 to 230 yards. The first 8 shots were hits. Then I saw a small prairie dog 170 yards off to my right and I shifted my position on the shooting table. I shot 3 times and missed.   :shockedcamo:  At this point I stopped shooting and decided some thinking was prudent. When I recreated my shooting position I saw the error.

 

I had moved to the back of the four wheeler, was standing and placing weight down on the table with my elbows. This caused the suspension to compress. The recoil from the rifle would release the weight and my shots were being thrown off. 

 

I stopped leaning heavily on the table and I didn't have any more trouble. I hadn't seen this before with the lighter recoiling 17wsm and 17hmr.

 

I might try adding a couple of extending legs at the back so I can have a more solid table for long range shooting in the future.



#96 Rudy

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 06:49 PM

I started taking a 17 and the 204 with me. I'd start with the 17 when the wind was calm at sunrise, then switch to the 204 when the prairie dogs stopped popping up at closer range.

 

Prairie dogs definitely stop coming up at closer ranges based on the loudness of the rounds.

17hmr ~50 yards

17wsm ~90 yards

204   ~120 yards

 

I really liked the 204.The longest kill was 304 yards. I missed one at 337. I like a bipod because its easy to maneuver, but I should probably switch to a front bag for the 300+ range. I did shoot a bunch in the 250-300 range and it sure was fun.

 

On this day I had the 17wsm and 204. The largest flock of scavengers I'd ever seen showed up. There were probably 50-60 including a couple of eagles and hawks. There were so many the prairie dogs stopped coming up so I dusted one crow with the 204. The eagles, hawks and crows left after that. But the buzzards weren't about to give up an easy meal.

 

IMG_1425_25.jpg


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#97 Rudy

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 07:24 PM

There is a hay field behind me in the picture. I came through here the day before with the 17hmr and shot 124 prairie dogs and 1 gopher from these fields.

 

On this day the weather was 38 degrees at sunrise, sunny and absolutely dead calm wind. It was perfect.  :D

I made quick work of 43 in the hayfield with the 17hmr. I was shooting out to 160 yards and with no wind, that was sure fun. The Anschutz worked great.

 

Then I parked the 4 wheeler at this spot for some long range shooting with the 204 into the bare area across the gully. There were quite a few prairie dogs running around out there. The 204 quickly showed who the boss really was!!! The range was 200-300 yards and I quite easily got 23. I may have uttered a few phrases, like "Take that you little SOB!". 

 

 

 

IMG_1439_25.jpg

 


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#98 Old Hickory

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 11:25 PM

:biggrincamo: I really enjoyed reading your fine posts and really enjoy your pictures, Rudy!

 

The landowners where you hunt are good judges of character. Being invited to hunt says a lot in my book.



#99 Rudy

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 07:57 PM

I found another good picture from the hunt that's worth sharing.

 

I found a good spot on top of a hill that overlooks a sparse patch of sage brush. That spot always has prairie dogs because it's next to an irrigated hay field. I hunted that spot with my air rifle three summers ago and got over 200 from that little place. Mostly pups. It's a hard spot to hunt from ground level, but this hilltop provides a definite advantage. And the tall sage brush makes good cover.

 

This was another perfect day with zero wind, and I had the 17hmr and 204. I started with the 17hmr and two prairie dogs popped up at 217 yards off to the right. I shot each one, then just for fun, I shot them again while they lay kicking. Four shots and four hits.... which shows how accurate the 17hmr is when there is no wind.

 

The longest kill with the 204 was ~290 yards. I tried a 337 yard shot which is in the middle of the hay field but I missed.

 

I only got about 20 from this spot, which is a good sign of progress.

 

I got past 5000 on this trip and my total count is now 5177. 

 

Three years ago I setup a prone position with my air rifle off to the left of the picture. I was waiting for the sun to come up when a pack of 8 coyotes came into that sparse patch of sage brush and they were hunting for breakfast. As I was watching them, another coyote came from the hay field with a prairie dog and joined the others. They all piled up and started fighting over the prairie dog. They were 65 yards away and it was quite the spectacle. I don't know how they didn't tear it apart, but one coyote made off with it and came running past me about 10 yards away with the rest of the pack chasing him.  That was definitely fun to watch, but I have to admit, being that close to a pack of 9 hungry coyotes armed with only an air rifle made me a bit uneasy. 

 

BTW... if my 4 wheeler looks purple, that's because it is. I bought it about 13 years ago and the camo paint turned purple even though I keep it parked in the garage. My brother-in-law has the same make and year. His did the same thing. 

 

IMG_1442_26.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#100 Alan

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 04:27 AM

Anyone who has ever hunting prairie dogs have seen hawks and eagles enjoying a hot lunch! This fact is not unusual, as you often see hawks nearby. What you don't see are the eagles, which seemingly appear out of nowhere once you start blasting away. I just wonder where they hide?



#101 Rudy

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 06:06 AM

Anyone who has ever hunting prairie dogs have seen hawks and eagles enjoying a hot lunch! This fact is not unusual, as you often see hawks nearby. What you don't see are the eagles, which seemingly appear out of nowhere once you start blasting away. I just wonder where they hide?

My theory is that scavengers are drawn to flocks of other scavengers.  So once a few show up, the others start coming in to see what they are up to. Eagles have extremely good eye sight so they probably see the activity from a very long distance.

 

It's not uncommon to shoot a bunch of prairie dogs and no scavengers show up. Then suddenly they swarm the whole place.



#102 Rudy

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 08:47 AM

I've had a couple of instances where the exposed turrets accidentally rotated while I've been out hunting. One case happened when I was carrying the rifle on a sling and it brushed against my backpack. The best idea I've had is to made some covers so I'm posting a few pictures. I think this will work.

 

The turrets on the scope are 1.1" high and 1.1" diameter. I used rubber end caps that are for 1.25OD tubing and are 1.25 high. The rubber bands are #74 which are 3-1/2 x 3/8. I think 2-1/2" rubber bands might work better, but I didn't have any.  I found the rubber end caps on ebay. The rubber bands are held in place with a couple of zip ties through holes that I melted with a hot wire.

 

 

IMG_1455_40.jpg

 

 



#103 Rudy

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 08:49 AM

Side View

 

IMG_1456_45.jpg

 

 



#104 Rudy

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 08:51 AM

IMG_1457_35.jpg


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