I’m always telling you about my successful hunts and I have guys tell me they think that every time I go out there’s game everywhere. This week I’ll share the type of outing that happens a bit more than I write about!
I called my buddy Brett on short notice and told him I really wanted to come down to get an early jump on the prairie dogs. He said “you’re welcome to come over, but don’t know how well you’ll do”. It seems that some dogs were venturing up when the weather was good, but the forecast for the days I had available ……. well, it sucked! Cold, high winds, rain maybe snow flurries, everything that you don’t want. Common sense dictated that I postpone to a later date.: the odds of seeing and dogs was questionable, the few that came up would not be the dumb pups but rather the previous years survivors that were not likely to let me get close, and the howling winds would be a nightmare to shoot in. Going down would not be the smart thing to do.
So I loaded up my car and got on the road for the 5 1/2 hour drive. Leaving Minnesota there was snow on the ground with a couple light flurries kicking up, the wind was knocking me all over the country highway, but I was happy to be out. I rationalized that I had a coupl;e days off work, my family was busy, and Brett and I needed to discuss the upcoming Airgun Prairie Dog Shoot we’d be hosting in May anyways, so no matter what the trip would not be a waste.
I had a few very cool rifles with me, including the Daystate Pulsar, Renegade, and Brocock Bantam: I passed a couple towns on the way in, and saw one dog where normally I’d see hundreds. When I arrived the weather still sucked, the wind was still frigid and howling, but I set up targets and had fun trying to shoot groups between the gusts. To be honest, things didn’t look good. When the target was more than 50 yards away, the wind opened my groups up too much to even think about hunting.
I drove the 15 miles from the ranch back to the steakhouse in town, hung out for a bit catching up on my emails and some American Airgun Hunter related stuff before bedding down for the night. When I awoke there seemed to be a break in the weather, but when I checked the forecast it was set to really fall apart later in the day. I drove out to a prairie dog town, and had a walk-about with the Pulsar and my gear. I stayed out a couple hours, and though it was not so cold today, it was windy with on again/off again showers.
In that entire walk I saw maybe a half dozen dogs, two of which let me in close enough for a shot. The first one I fired an empty chamber as the jumpy rodent dove down his burrow. The next one surfaced right in front of me as I sat contemplating my next move. I lined up the shot and whacked that dog hard, anchoring him on the spot. After that I didn’t see another dog and it started getting colder, windier, and wetter, so I decided to set off for home a day early.
I stopped by the lodge and caught up with Brett for a while, and he said “I could have told you it wasn’t a good time to be out ….. oh wait a minute, I did tell you that”. Anyways, we caught up, talked abou
t our seasons, last time we saw each other I was off to California on a Turkey hunt and he was off to Alaska salmon fishing, and discussed the upcoming shoot in May. As we talked I saw a black line of storm clouds moving in from the West, so said my goodbyes, jumped in the trusty old Outback, and took off for home.
OK, an 11 hour round trip drive to shoot one prairie dog might seem a bit excessive…. and it is. However in retrospect I just wanted to get out a move around a bit. Since getting back from Texas a few weeks ago, I’d been at my office all day every day, and was happy just to be out on the road, to get in a bit of shooting, and a bit of hiking.b So was it worth it???? Hells yeah!