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Best states and areas to hunt Prairie Dogs


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#1 Goofycat

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 09:32 AM

I am an old California ground squirrel shooter, but have never visited the midwest states for PDs due to job responsibilities. From what I have read, South Dakota is probably the prime area for PD shooting. I need help in finding out just which states and which areas in these states (probably Montana, South Dakotak, parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, etc.) should I turn my attention to. Also, I am used to shooting squirrels on ranch land, where I have gotten permission from the owners. I understand that much of the land in the above states is on Indian Reservations and have had the impression that shooting on Reservations requires the paid services of Indian guides (I would prefer shooting on private land). How do I get started in shooting these areas. I am retired and can stay as long as I please.

Also, are there seasons for PDs? Ground squirrels are active in northern California from February through June. They hibernate the rest of the year. I know zilch about PDs, having honed my skills on the smaller squirrels. Any advice or websites anyone recommends would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Barry

#2 skypilotbc

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 10:25 AM

Barry,
At one time, S. Dakota was unbelieveable for them--shot the throat out of two rifles in one trip. This is in the area between Winner and White River. Returned the following year and due to a massive poisoning campaign, most of the towns were lost. Did not go there at all this year. Wyoming has a lot of them and is where I'll be going next year.
PD's just want to have sun (not sung to the tune by Cyndi Lauper laugh.gif )! If the sun is shining, they will be out--even in mid-winter. I have shot them when it was -10F.
Bob

#3 Bayou City Boy

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 10:30 AM

All of the states that you mentioned with the addition of North Dakota have good PD populations. This past year PD populations were down in central and western SD because of severe drought, but just east of there in Wyoming numbers were very good. Some areas are starting to poison, also, with a change in federal regs. - SD especially.

Some of the areas in SD and other states are on Indian land but there is a lot of both private and public (national grasslands) locations rich with PD's. By their nature, the public areas get hit pretty hard and by mid to late summer PD's recognize a moving vehicle on the prairie as trouble. It makes for less shooting but with a rifle that will really reach out, it can be lots of fun. I have a totally stock Remingotn Sendero in 25-06 with a fixed 16X scope which is a tack driver that I use when in those areas for longer range shooting. An 87 grain Speer TNT HP makes for good PD acrobatics at even 400-500 yards.

One way is to look for areas of PD habitation and call a few Chambers of Commerce of towns in those areas. You would be surprised how many have "PD Packages" of information they will send, some including land owner contact information. The USGS and the USFS are other options for information. Knowing someone in those areas can be helpful also. Guide services are a way of doing what you want to do if you don't mind paying.

Each state has it's own hunting regs pertaining to out of state hunters, so instead of trying to tell you what each one is, you might be best helped by contacting or looking at state web sites for the "possum sheriff" regs in each state. Colorado has their white tail/black tail issue to consider where knowing land owners really becomes important.

PD's do not hibernate. They will come out on cold days if the sun is shining even if there is snow on the ground. Quite a few years ago I learned this as I was in NE Wyoming frequently. I was attending the U of W and met a girl who lived in NE Wyoming on a ranch. I spent quite a few days in winter months spraying red mist in the snow when we would go vist her parents on weekends. Again, check with each state for regs, if any, today.

By the way, we've been married 35 years now. and the ranch still has beaucoup PD's to shoot when we go visit her father. And a nice assortment of coyotes, too, for the winter months when we visit. smile.gif

HTH - BCB

Edited by Bayou City Boy, 29 October 2006 - 10:32 AM.


#4 skb2706

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 05:27 AM

BCB - I believe CO is just about to change the pd shooting laws for the eastern half of the state. Somebody finally figured out we weren't running out of dogs yet.

#5 WTFC

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 08:26 AM

QUOTE (skb2706 @ Oct 30 2006, 08:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
BCB - I believe CO is just about to change the pd shooting laws for the eastern half of the state. Somebody finally figured out we weren't running out of dogs yet.



I read that somewhere the other day too. Here's the info from 09/07/2006 in the Colorado Division of Widlife regulations.

Colorado Division of Wildlife

Date Last Updated:
#302(cool.gif(6), #303(H), #309 (Entire Section) – 09/07/2006

#309 - Wyoming (Richardson's) ground squirrel, black-tailed, white-tailed, and Gunnison prairie dogs, European Starling, and English or house sparrow
1. Wyoming ground squirrel, European starling, and English or house sparrow:
a. Statewide: January 1 through December 31.
2. Black-tailed, white-tailed and Gunnison prairie dogs:
a. Public Land: June 15 through February 28
b. Private Land: January 1 through December 31.


This from a Colorado DOW press release:
Colorado DOW press release

NEW REGULATIONS

On September 7, 2006, the Colorado Wildlife Commission voted to re-open a season on black-tailed prairie dogs with some restrictions. Beginning November 1, the black-tailed prairie dog season on public land will run from June 15 through February 28.

The prairie dog season on public lands will be closed from March 1 to June 14, which is the period when prairie dogs give birth and raise young. The same season dates now apply to white-tailed and Gunnison prairie dogs as well. A small game license is required to shoot prairie dogs.

Private landowners have always been allowed to shoot, or allow others to shoot, prairie dogs causing damage on their own property year around. That has not changed.

#6 Goofycat

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 05:48 PM

Thanks, guys. I would probably try eastern Wyoming. The suggestion about contacting Chambers of Commerce worked for me in Northern California. They provided me with a list of ranchers who were being driven nuts with thousands of ground squirrels that ate their alfalfa above ground and the roots below. I shot most of them at 50-75 yards with a couple of rimfires.

It was much more fun with my centerfires. I must be blood-thirsty, but there is nothing like seeing these things explode when a Nosler BT hits them at 3500 fps. At least it is one way to tell you that you didn't miss. Next time, I will leave the 22-250 home. It is really too much gun for ground squirrels, since super-long shots just are not there, and powder is getting expensive. Also, the barrel heats up quickly. Most shots present themselves at no further than 250-300 yards, especially when the wind whips up. I hate to waste centerfire ammunition on super long shots. I have to work too hard to reload.

My father was raised on a ranch near Winner, SD at a place called Clearwater. I have visited Winner (once), but have never been to Clearwater. I have seen old (early 1900s) photos of the ranch in Clearwater. Very desolate....no trees....lots of rolling country. Maybe I will send a query letter to Winner, SD, perhaps Buffalo and Sheridan, Wyoming, etc. and see what comes up. The trip from where I live (Santa Rosa, CA) will more than likely take at least two days of hard driving.

#7 Bayou City Boy

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 06:52 PM

Goofycat:

Buffalo and Sheridan are getting into the Big Horn Mountains. You'd probably find more PD shooting around places like Casper, Douglas, Glenrock, Gillete, Lusk, Sundance, and Newcastle.

Also, the entire southern part of Wyoming along the I-80 corridor offers excellent PD shooting in spots.

HTH - BCB

#8 Goofycat

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 07:08 PM

Thanks, BCB. I will drop the Chambers of Commerce folks in those towns a line during the next week and publish what I find out. I have always liked Wyoming....especially Cody...my favorite town so far, although I am sure there are others, such as Buffalo. BTW, I stopped in Buffalo and talked to a Realtor, just to check out house prices (high); he said a lot of ranchers had problems with coyotes. Thanks Again. I appreciate your sharing the info. If anyone else has any info on where to shoot, I am all ears.

Barry

#9 n-rigger

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Posted 02 November 2006 - 04:50 AM

if you want to shoot some more GS, you can visit central OR for some high volume shooting from june-late july. best time to go is after a cut of the alfalfa fields. the crop was a little high when i went but still got several hundred shots in 2 days. mighty fun! i'll fill you in on more details if youre interested in this.

#10 Goofycat

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 07:00 AM

Thanks, N-rigger, but I have already reduced the GS population in northeast California (just below the Oregon border) by several thousand. Just across the border in Nevada are literally thousands of jackrabbits. Even the coyotes can't keep the rabbit or squirrel population under control. It is illegal to trap or poison the ground squirrels in California. The population is kept in check by hunters and predators....supposedly....but the little buggers still continue to proliferate.

#11 Longshank

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 02:42 PM

The panhandle of Texas has a lot of p-dogs too. Mostly around amarillo and Lubbock area. The ranchers want to be rid of them as they are a nuicanse and some will let you hunt for free. Last year wasn't too good as there was some p-dog disease that wiped out many of the populations, of course they will bounce back as they build immunity.

I noticed last year that there were hundreds of jackrabbits on the highway median, more than I'd ever seen. An old rancher told me the coyote population was dessimated by mange and without that common predator the rabbit population exploded. Now, this year the coyotes have rebounded. Amazing how the balance of nature works (predator-prey). Happy hunting!!!

cool.gif

#12 DanaT

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 08:07 PM

Most of eastern WYO is private land. It is not so easy to get permission to shoot them.

Now, I am going to let a little secret out. There is a very good area not too far from Cheyenne to shoot prairie dogs on public land. The shots can be moderate to somewhat long (200-400) yards. When I went out shooting them, I got 30-40 in 2 to 3 hours. The PDs were all over.

Here is where to go: Shirley Basin. Basically, drive about 30-45 minutes north or Medicine Bow and turn left at the only intersection. You will find tons of PDs.

Also, around Rock Springs there are many PDs. Its just a longer from Denver than Shirley Basin.

Good luck.

-Dana

#13 n-rigger

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 08:24 PM

hmm, thanks for that. dont think i'll be able to get out to WY for a PD shoot for a cpl years, unfortunately, if i get my new job. they'll own me for at least 1.5yrs once im in sad.gif,

gotta love the world of law enforcement heheheh!!!

Edited by n-rigger, 20 January 2007 - 10:33 PM.


#14 Dan

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 01:14 PM

Ground Squirrels hibernate ? I have never heared of that where I shoot them in Southern and central Calif we shoot all year long . There are 1000s of squirrels in the barley fields if its not raining theyll be there to shoot . I hunt deer and antelope in Wyo in the Thunder Basin National Grasslands lots od P-Dogs there but you want to shoot there late spring and early summer it can get awful hot therein the dead of summer . We hunt big game there in Oct and also shoot p-dogs theres plenty to go around. Get a Thunder Basin Grasslands map and have a good time.

#15 WTFC

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Posted 22 January 2007 - 11:30 AM

QUOTE (DanaT @ Jan 20 2007, 10:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Most of eastern WYO is private land. It is not so easy to get permission to shoot them.


Here is where to go: Shirley Basin. Basically, drive about 30-45 minutes north or Medicine Bow and turn left at the only intersection. You will find tons of PDs.

-Dana


Is that 45 minutes in your truck or mine? blink.gif anim_rofl2.gif