In my last blog story, I covered getting my Kalibrgun Cricket Air Rifle in .25 caliber zeroed at 65 yards in some testy winds. Yesterday, I had a chance to get out and explore some, new to me, prairie dog country. I took along my Cricket rifle, but the main focus of the day would be exploring for prairie dog towns.
Using Google Maps, I did some pre-scouting of the area that I wanted to explore. I use this tool frequently, and it has paid off more often than not.
I was out of the house early, and on the road to see what I might see. The first area that I four wheeled into, was spot on accurate. As I rolled up to the spot that should hold a prairie dog town, I see a couple of them scurrying for their dens. Great, mark that on my map, and head off to the next area, which is several miles away.
This one turned out to be a bust. There were plenty of prairie dog mounds, but it was a dead town. The weather had mostly leveled each mound, and the entrances were filled with dirt, and overgrown with weeds. Typical of what a prairie dog town looks like that the Sylvatic plague has gone through. I marked that one on my map as a dead town.
Off to the next area, and this one was a good 10 miles away. Based on what I saw on Google Maps, this had a chance of being the “Mother of all prairie dog towns” in Northern Arizona. When I got there, what I had was the “Mother of all ant colonies.”
We have a type of ant up here, that colonizes areas much like prairie dogs do, and looking at the Google Maps satellite photos, the resolution isn’t good enough to differentiate the difference. From on high, the anthills look pretty much like prairie dog mounds do. I marked “ant colony” on my map, and headed off to the next area, which was about five miles away.
Typical anthill, and there was one every 20/30 yards, with hundreds total in the area. From up high, it looks just like a prairie dog town. The base of this ant hill is about three feet across. Oh well, can’t win them all.
Off to the next area of interest. BINGO! As I’m coming into the new location, I can see a couple of prairie dogs sitting on mounds off in the distance. I parked and walked around the town, looking at the condition of a dozen or so mounds. They all had signs of being occupied. It wasn’t a big town, but it looked like it would be worth coming back to for a hunt. I marked my map with the location, and took a lunch break.
By now it’s about 1:30, and I’m a pretty good distance from the main road that got me to the general area that I’ve been exploring. I decide to start making my way back to the first town that I found in the morning. I hope to roll in there around 3:00/3:30. I know from experience, that the p-dogs will start coming out for their late afternoon feed around then, and I hope to introduce a few to my new Cricket .25 rifle.
It was just a little after 3:00 when I rolled back into that first town. I can see a few prairie dogs grazing away in the grass, and through my binoculars, I can see several more off in the distance sitting on mounds.
By the time I get all of my gear out, and on, the close in grazers have disappeared. I start making my way out onto the prairie, in the hopes of closing the distance some on the ones still sitting on mounds. They were a good 200/250 yards away when I started.
I’m taking my time, and glassing from 50 yards in front of me on out, when I suddenly see just a head looking at me from behind some sagebrush. I hit it with my laser range finder, and it comes back at 71 yards. I forgot to mention, that there was no wind. Very unusual for a prairie dog town.
Alright! First test for this rifle. I’ve got her sighted-in dead nuts on at 65 yards. I’m shooting the JSB 25.4 grain Quarter Bore Specials, and I know they’re shooting into a bug hole at 65 yards. Since I don’t have any wind to contend with, I just set the horizontal crosshair right on top of the dogs head, lined up the vertical hair with the eye, and slowly squeezed off the shot.
A 25.4 grain lead pellet hitting a prairie dog head is LOUD! The dog dropped in place without even so much as a twitch. I head over to get the requisite photo, when I can hear another prairie dog barking at me. I get my picture and then turn my attention to the barker.
This guy was only about 60 yards away, and as soon as I started to set up for the shot, down he goes. I keep slowly hunting and glassing the area, when I spot one that has just come out onto it’s mound. I hit it with the laser and get 97 yards. Again no wind. I get the gun set up on my bipod, and settle in for the shot. I put the second small hashmark south of the crosshairs on the top of the head, line up the vertical hair with the eye, and send the JSB on its way. Again, I hear a loud THWOCK, and the dog drops in place.
About now, I’m really liking this rifle. It’s very accurate, with power to spare, what’s not to like. I hike over to the mound, I just rolled this guy off of, and take a quick picture. By now, it’s getting close to 4:30, so I decide to hunt my way back to my rig. I need to get on the road soon. I don’t like driving much at night. These old eyes of mine don’t have a lot of depth perception anymore, especially after dark.
On my way back, I see a few dogs, but they are off in a direction that will take me farther away from my rig not closer. I pick up my pace a bit, because I’m very satisfied with the shots I’ve gotten, and if I don’t get another, that’s okay. Today wasn’t really about hunting anyway, it was more about exploring.
Well, wouldn’t you know, as I’m making my way back, up pops another pasture poodle off in the distance, in the general direction of my 4Runner. I hit it with my laser, and get 113 yards. I have to admit, about now I’m feeling just a little bit cocky. Let’s go for it. Following my usual routine, I get the gun set on the bipod, adjust the parallax, and settle in for the shot. This time I put the second large hash mark, south of the crosshair, on the top of the dogs head, and touch off the shot. The end result of which is a clean miss. Not by much, but a miss high, none the less.
I rack the side lever, adjust my hold just a hair, and launch pellet number two. This time we hear a nice loud THWOCK, and the dog drops in place. A really great end to a very fun day. I’m happy with the scouting I did, and very pleased with this new rifle. Kalibrgun has a real winner on their hands. I also want to thank Charlie, at WWAG, AKA, Wild West Air Guns for putting this rig through its paces before sending it to me.
What a fun day. If the weather cooperates, I hope to head back out for more exploring later this week. I haven’t even scratched the surface of this area. There has to be more dog towns out there, and I look forward to scouting them out.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
Editor’s Note: You can find more stories, rifle and optic reviews, as well as insights on airguns and hunting over on Cliff’s VarmintAir Blog. If you want to see the DVD that started all of us in videoing our airgun hunts, head over to Cliff’s site VarmintAir.com where you can purchase his DVD “Airgun Hunting the California Ground Squirrel”. We will be featuring more of Cliff’s blog posts to educate more folks on how today’s airguns have advanced in technology and how owning one can expand your varmint hunting opportunities.
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