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Prairie Dog Hunt in New Mexico

Prairie Dog New Mexico

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#106 Alan

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 04:45 AM

I hunted prairie dogs since I was about 17 years old. I sort of changed my modus operandi in 2005, so although I still hunt them occasionally, I typically use an airgun these days. I really do not know how many of them I have shot over the years. I do know it is in the tens of thousands. For nearly 40 years, I went prairie dog hunting almost every weekend from March through October. An average hunt expended some 1,500 rounds. Most of the time, two or three of my friends went with me, and they were shooting up as much powder as much as I was. 

 

For you guys that reload, think about this. Combined, I shot about seven to ten pounds of powder every week! I bought bullets from Simmons, Hodgdons or MidwayUSA, 10,000 at a time. I remember one order where I purchased 100,000 large rifle primers, and got a dealer's discount! 

 

Anyone can duplicate the feat. But instead of chasing women, owning fancy-dancy automobiles, or drinking a 12 pack of beer every night, you have to sit in the basement reloading for the coming weekend! It is a hobby after all, and you just have to be dedicated to it. Having a decent paying job is a bonus.



#107 Rudy

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 12:01 PM

I hunted prairie dogs since I was about 17 years old. I sort of changed my modus operandi in 2005, so although I still hunt them occasionally, I typically use an airgun these days. I really do not know how many of them I have shot over the years. I do know it is in the tens of thousands. For nearly 40 years, I went prairie dog hunting almost every weekend from March through October. An average hunt expended some 1,500 rounds. Most of the time, two or three of my friends went with me, and they were shooting up as much powder as much as I was. 

 

For you guys that reload, think about this. Combined, I shot about seven to ten pounds of powder every week! I bought bullets from Simmons, Hodgdons or MidwayUSA, 10,000 at a time. I remember one order where I purchased 100,000 large rifle primers, and got a dealer's discount! 

 

Anyone can duplicate the feat. But instead of chasing women, owning fancy-dancy automobiles, or drinking a 12 pack of beer every night, you have to sit in the basement reloading for the coming weekend! It is a hobby after all, and you just have to be dedicated to it. Having a decent paying job is a bonus.

 

My goal is to eradicate them (if possible) from the valley where we own property. Then shoot any that try to come in. It appears I might succeed. 

 

BTW, I heard the plague hit the prairie dogs around Lindrith,NM. I believe you mentioned that a friend of yours hunted in that area. Lindrith is 26 miles north of Cuba.



#108 Alan

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 01:40 PM

Yes sir! The one I used to hunt east of Roswell, was systematically poisoned over a period of three years. That land it all cultivated now, and no hunting allowed. The near 500 acre town north of Tatum, is now owned by a county commissioner, and the signs went up the day he bought it.

 

There are still a few places near Cuba, and northeast of Springer. Long way to drive for me. Fact is, it is closer to drive to west Texas where anyone willing to shoot hogs and/or prairie dogs are truly welcome. 



#109 Old Hickory

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 12:54 AM

 Rainmaker Rudy! I bet those folks would certainly welcome you back! 

 

That is quite a population decline. Main reason was dry weather? The fella that made you the offer, I recommend hunting there.


Edited by Old Hickory, 06 October 2017 - 12:56 AM.


#110 Rudy

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 10:01 AM

 Rainmaker Rudy! I bet those folks would certainly welcome you back! 

 

That is quite a population decline. Main reason was dry weather? The fella that made you the offer, I recommend hunting there.

There was a 24 hour period where the rain fall was over an inch. That is quite  rare in that area. So everyone was happy.

 

I don't believe the dry summer contributed directly (starvation) to the PDog decline since there are irrigated fields. Indirectly, I think it made it easier for the predators to catch a meal.

 

In my opinion, here are the reasons for the decline:

 

1. Hunting/shooting as many as possible early in the spring before all the pups are born.

 

2. The only predators I've shot were a badger that was raiding homes at night and a rattle snake. Coyotes, hawks & eagles are fairly common. I also saw a bob cat last spring. I think the predators took a heavy toll on the pups. A hungry coyote probably eats one per day.

 

3. The PDogs can only come back into the area from the West. There are fields full of PDogs to the west but there is a highway and several homes that serve as a barrier for most of that border. There is a small infested area to the north-west that is separated by a creek/arroyo. I may have to shoot them up in there.

 

I will have a much better idea of the population control next spring when I shoot them up again. If there isn't much to shoot, I will probably take the guy up on his free ammo offer.



#111 Rudy

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Posted 07 October 2017 - 02:24 PM

On this hunt I took three rifles:

 

Anschutz 1727 17HMR w/ Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50 FFP EBR-2C MOA

Ruger 77/17 17WSM w/ Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50 FFP EBR-2C MOA

Sako Varmint .204  w/ Vortex Viper PST Gen II  5-25x50 FFP EBR-2C MOA 

 

I upgraded the Ruger with a 1.5# Jard trigger, bolt shim and glass bedding. I broke the barrel in but bad weather didn't give me an opportunity to properly sight-in and test after bedding. The day after arriving in NM was nice and calm, so I tested what the rifle liked for setup and hold. The best 150 yard 5-shot group was with a bipod, rear bag, light cheek weld and shoulder pressure. The overall ctc was 1.83 but the 4 best shots were .87 ctc. (The first shot was the flyer) So that is what I used while hunting.

 

Three of the best shots I made on this trip were with the Ruger. Three medium sized PDogs popped up about 180 yards away and I had a strong gusty wind from 10-11 o-clock. I used a 2 moa correction for drift and got all three with three shots. They were all standing up which made it a bit more challenging. 

 

Overall I like the Ruger but not as much as the Anschutz or the Sako. I do wish the stock wasn't so narrow since I prefer a thicker palm swell and comb. The barrel is also difficult to clean. It takes several passes with Ballistol and Gunslick Foam Cleaner to get clean patches. The Ani and Sako only need one pass. I'm wondering if that is an indication the barrel wasn't properly lapped.

 

The Viper Gen II was also a new piece of equipment for this hunt. I believe the optics are clearer than the Gen I. 

 

IMG_1513_30.jpg


Edited by Rudy, 07 October 2017 - 02:40 PM.

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#112 Rudy

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 01:11 PM

This was a ~35 yard shot with the 17hmr where the PDog was barely peeking over the mound. I've missed my share of these seemingly easy shots by not taking into account the scope height.

 

IMG_1477_20.jpg


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#113 Rudy

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 01:18 PM

The 17WSM does expand better on fat PDogs in the fall vs thin ones in the spring. Many were damaged much more than this one.

 

 

IMG_1480_20.jpg


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#114 Rudy

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 01:27 PM

Beautiful sunny day with the 204 and 17hmr.

 

IMG_1482_24.jpg


Edited by Rudy, 09 October 2017 - 01:28 PM.

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#115 Rudy

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 01:33 PM

Muddy and foggy. It got so thick I stopped shooting for about 30 minutes. This is rare for NM.

 

 

IMG_1488_33.jpg



#116 Rudy

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 01:41 PM

This is the last PDog I shot on the trip.

 

This PDog was 180 yards away and down on the ground facing me. He was jittery and kept moving around. The 204 made a nice clean kill with a head shot. I do like that 204!! 

 

IMG_1493_22.jpg


Edited by Rudy, 09 October 2017 - 01:45 PM.


#117 Rudy

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 02:03 PM

This is the last picture.

 

I went out hiking one rainy day and found two broken tips and a complete point. The obsidian tip is a rare saw toothed tip. The bottom point was worked into that shape and I'm not sure why it isn't notched. The bottom point measures almost 1.75 inches.

 

 

 

IMG_1517_45.jpg

 


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