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 Prairie Dog Hunting in SoDak - Need Some Tips 
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 Post subject: Prairie Dog Hunting in SoDak - Need Some Tips
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:54 pm 
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Location: Minneapolis
If anybody has any tips, knowledge, etc., it would be greatly appreciated. Prairie dog hunting in South Dakota was first brought to my attention a few weeks ago. I never realized they were such a problem (with the Plague & breeding like the rodents they are). I am yearning to go, but would like some advice from people who have experience. I have been researching & from what I have seen, you have to be west of the Missouri river. I understand that a non-resident license is $40.00 to hunt on public land, unless you make arrangements & pay-a-fee with private land owners or tribal authorities. According to maps & charts provided by the state of South Dakota, It seems that tribal lands easily have the highest density of prairie dogs. The Rosebud Reservation in Todd county looks very appealing (unless you travel farther to the Pine Ridge Reservation). Is there anybody who has any tips or recommendations regarding travel, food, lodging, where to hunt, how much ammo to bring, etc? I would be using an AR-15 in .223. Thanks in advance.<br>
<br>
Kenneth


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 Post subject: Re: Prairie Dog Hunting in SoDak - Need Some Tips
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:53 am 
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First place to go look is VarmintHunter.org, They have a great magazine, a great group and they keep on top of where stuff is hot and where people can go and get access....


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 Post subject: Re: Prairie Dog Hunting in SoDak - Need Some Tips
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:56 am 
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Start hoarding ammo now.

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 Post subject: Re: Prairie Dog Hunting in SoDak - Need Some Tips
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:58 am 
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If you call teh Champber of Commerce office in Faith, SD, they can FAX (maybe even email) a list of ranchers that will let you shoot. Some charge a fee, some are on reservation land, and all are guaranteed to be way the hell adn gone from anything close to civilization. :-)

Son and I went out there in '05 and had good shootin' (you really can't call it "hunting") at a couple places.

Last year we went to Newcastle, Wyoming and didn't do nearly as well. Brother some others went to Medora, ND 6 weeks ago and had good luck, too.

If you use Google, you'll find the number in Faith. There are at least two motels in town, and a couple places to eat. Matt and I had a good time out there in '05.

Bring ammo! In an afternoon and the next full day, we went through 700-800 rounds of .223 hollow-point ammo. It costs less to go elk hunting in Colorado for ten days than to shoot prairie rats for a weekend.

jb

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 Post subject: Re: Prairie Dog Hunting in SoDak - Need Some Tips
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:20 pm 
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I've hunting those furry prarie rats for quite a few years now, and it's a blast. Expensive but it's a blast.

We used to stay in nearby hotels, then we rented a cabin and the last couple years, we've just pitched a tent on the edge of a dog town. In the morning, you start shooting a .22 from the tent at the close ones. Then you progress to getting out the tables and long range rifles.

.223 is one good caliber, although 22-250 is also a good option. As far as ammo? As much as you can carry, 1000 rounds is not unreasonable at all. To be honest I usually brought 1000 rounds of .22 and 2000 rounds of .223 just to be safe.

We usually shot from tables or setup bipods and laid on blankets. Over time the dogs will get wise and drop down in their holes for awhile. It's a good time grab a bite to eat, rehydrate, and let the barrels cool down. That's one reason to go early in the spring, they haven't gotten gun-shy. In the spring I've had situations where you have three dogs sitting on top of the holes and you shoot the one in the middle and the other two just look around as if "Heh, where did Fred go?". By the end of the summer, you take a shot and every prairie dog within site ducks down in their hole for an hour. Kinda sucks.

Use hollowpoints, the dogs explode better :)

Watch out for rattlesnakes. Where you have prairie dogs, you'll have rattlers.

Plot out a couple different dogtowns, you'll probably get to a point where they get skittish eventually and you'll want a backup location. We had a location that was actually pretty f-ing big. So we'd start out at one end and shoot until they got skittish, then sneak to the top of the next hill, and shoot over the edge and the next group.

Forget any illusions about making a dent in the population. They breed like crazy, no way you'll have an appreciable impact.

The ranges you'll be shooting at can vary. Some serious shooters talk about taking shots at 1000 yards and so forth. Realistically most of my shots have been between 100 yards and 600 yards. My farthest hit was at about 624 yards.

Forget coming up with a "body count" at the end of the day. The prairie dogs are cannibals. I've killed prairie dogs and then watched through my scope as his fellow "hole mates" grab his body and pull it down into the hole.

Don't touch them, they carry all sorts of nasty diseases. Plague and monkey pox amongst lots of others.

A lot of times farmers are grazing cattle on the same land as the prairie dogs, don't shoot the cows. Although to be quite honest the cattle have usually gotten used to it. We've had more than one shooting location screwed up because the cattle moved INTO our lanes of fire rather than getting scared away.

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 Post subject: Re: Prairie Dog Hunting in SoDak - Need Some Tips
PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:02 pm 
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I appreciate all the great stories, info, & tips. I can't wait to try out the new Leupold Mark AR 3-9x40 Mil-Dot reticle scope. With the price of .223 ammo, I will probably end up bringing along a .22 upper also.

Thanks,
Kenneth


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 Post subject: Re: Prairie Dog Hunting in SoDak - Need Some Tips
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:13 pm 
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Let us know how it goes. Like I said, I've only done it in NoDak, be interesting to hear how SoDak is.

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 Post subject: Re: Prairie Dog Hunting in SoDak - Need Some Tips
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:19 pm 
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Wow, this sounds like a lot of fun!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Prairie Dog Hunting in SoDak - Need Some Tips
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:19 am 
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Drexel_Spivey wrote:
I appreciate all the great stories, info, & tips. I can't wait to try out the new Leupold Mark AR 3-9x40 Mil-Dot reticle scope. With the price of .223 ammo, I will probably end up bringing along a .22 upper also.

Thanks,
Kenneth


One thing I've learned is that a 3-9 power scope is (for me) a bit under-magnified. Before I go back, I intend to have something like a 6-20 mounted on the rifle.

At 300+ yards, the smaller rodents are still pretty small at 9x.

Have a spotter, too! We usually have one (or two) shooter(s) and a spotter.

jb

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 Post subject: Re: Prairie Dog Hunting in SoDak - Need Some Tips
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:06 pm 
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JonnyB wrote:
Drexel_Spivey wrote:
I appreciate all the great stories, info, & tips. I can't wait to try out the new Leupold Mark AR 3-9x40 Mil-Dot reticle scope. With the price of .223 ammo, I will probably end up bringing along a .22 upper also.

Thanks,
Kenneth


One thing I've learned is that a 3-9 power scope is (for me) a bit under-magnified. Before I go back, I intend to have something like a 6-20 mounted on the rifle.

At 300+ yards, the smaller rodents are still pretty small at 9x.

Have a spotter, too! We usually have one (or two) shooter(s) and a spotter.

jb


Yeah, you're gonna want some high magnification. I've done it with low powered scopes and iron sights before but it gets tough when your reticule covers the entire target. Plus it lessens the eye strain.

Yeah, definitely have a spotter. The dogs have a tendency to stand at the edge of holes so when you fire, it's hard to tell if you hit him and knocked him into the hole or he just ducked down in the hole to hide. Having a spotter helps. We usually broke up into two man teams.

Plus that limits the number of shooters. Otherwise before we did that more than once I was lining up on a dog in my sights only to have someone else take a shot at "my" dog.

You'll find it useful to name landmarks too. Otherwise through a scope every dog hill looks the same and it's hard to follow your spotters directions.

We ended up calling one of the most active holes "Hamburger Hill". A small trench from water washing away the soil was named "Blood Gulch". A rather spectacularly shaped hill was named "The Tit". As a result you could have conversations like this :

Shooter : Okay, my dog just went back down. You got any active ones?
Spotter : I got two milling around 2 holes short of Hamburger Hill, and then there is one standing up on the Tit.
Shooter : Hmmm, okay I see the two. Uh, I'm going for the one on the right
Spotter : Ok
Shooter : Taking my shot
Spotter : Nice hit! Fuzzy little bastard exploded!
Shooter : Where did the other one go?
Spotter : He ran to the right and ducked into the next hole over. We might have one poking out just to the right of Blood Gulch. The Tit is still active though.
Shooter : Shifting to that...
Spotter : Better move fast he's looking skittish...

And so on...

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 Post subject: Re: Prairie Dog Hunting in SoDak - Need Some Tips
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:10 pm 
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Quote:
A small trench from water washing away the soil was named "Blood Gulch".


I just have to ask, is that name taken from the multiplayer map from the game Halo?

To stay on topic I will say that having a spotting scope with a range finder will help a lot. We had binoculars and a problem we would run into is that the person looking through the binoculars would jump when the person took the shot. So there was plenty of times where we weren't sure if we hit or where we missed.

The area where we were shooting was flat for miles so it could be hard to tell what the distance was for many of our shots. (I use land marks to guess range.) A rangefinder would have been perfect for us to make the right adjustments. I can't tell you how many times I was a tad in front or a little above those little bastards.


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 Post subject: Re: Prairie Dog Hunting in SoDak - Need Some Tips
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:54 pm 
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If you don't mind would you share some details of your trip.

When/where did you go? Did you pay a rancher, hotels ect.

Thanks I was thinking about going out mid sept if that is not to late in the year.


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 Post subject: Re: Prairie Dog Hunting in SoDak - Need Some Tips
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:18 am 
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When my son & I went in '05, we stayed at a motel in Faith, SD. There was a place to eat supper, and a liquor store both within easy walking distance of the motel. We grabbed breakfast on the way out, as that place was farther away.

The ranches we went to were both about 50 miles west & south of Faith, on private land. One owner didn't charge, but instead, he sold his book of Cowboy Poetry. It was 8 bucks, and pretty entertaining. One bad thing was that he and his wife apparently get few visitors; they talked our ears off!

There's a bed & breakfast (basic, hunting accommodations!) that will let you shoot on the ranch if you stay there. It was about $75-80 per person, per night to sleep & eat there, though. They had a bunk-house set up in the basement, with a common bathroom. In September, it'll be busy, as they shoot deer, antelope and (their own) bison on the ranch.

In Newcastle, WY, we also stayed in town at a cheap motel and drove 30-40 miles to the ranch. One charged a $25 trespass fee (per person) but we found the dog towns to be completely abandoned. He gave us our money back. The next guy let us shoot free! He, too, wanted to talk for an hour...

A brother-in-law and nephews shoot somewhere around Mobridge, SD, but I know nothing about where or how or what.

jb

edit to add: I don't know for certain but have heard that you can, in the Rapid City area, shoot the little critters year around. On sunny days, they come out even in January. The winters can be nicer out there, ya' know.

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 Post subject: Re: Prairie Dog Hunting in SoDak - Need Some Tips
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:10 am 
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When we go pheasant hunting in SoDak in November we'll often shoot prairie dogs in the morning. By this time of year, though, they're pretty skittish. You might get one or two close shots then it's all 200 to 300 yard shots. That's not normally a problem if you're scoped, but we're out there with open sights. We don't hit very many, but we'll pulling triggers and hearing the bang, so it's fun.


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 Post subject: Re: Prairie Dog Hunting in SoDak - Need Some Tips
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:37 am 
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I'm gonna study those dawgs. I'd like to get some of that "prolific breeding" program implemented at the Rodentman's house.


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