|Kansas Prairie Dog Hunt 2012|
|This is my summer for prairie dog hunting, by the time fall rolls around I'll have hunted them in South Dakota, Idaho, Texas, Arizona, and Colorado ... but this trip to West Kansas has become a yearly ritual, hunting out at Trag Hatchers cattle ranch outside of Syracuse. After a slow year in 2011, the populations are back up.|
|This part of Kansas is about an 18 hour drive from my home base in Indianapolis. Whe you hit the eastern border of the state it's a rolling grassland, which becomes decidedly more desert like as you get to the Western border. The ranch is a stones throw from Colorado.|
|I though about flying to Wichita or Denver then driving, but once I looked at the mountain of gear I wanted to take, that was an obvious non starter. I had 4 carbon fiber tanks fully charged, a back up hand pump if everything went to hell in a hand basket, five rifles. binoculars, spotting scope, bipods, tripods, cameras, range finder, tools, a small mountain of pellets, and enough audio books to get me there and back.
The two main guns that I used were the FX Verminator MK II and the AIR Arms 510 TC. The weather was beautiful, though winds were on and off for a couple days.at the start of the hunt.
|The prairie dogs were out and abvout in big numbers, and there were more young running about than I'd seen here in the last three years. This was great on the days where the wind was high because I could get into 75 yards pretty consistantly. The older ones constituted most of my 100 - 125 yard shots.
Walk 100 yards past this group of dogs, and there'd be the another group waiting to be snuck up on. Do it slow and a couple of the lookouts would stay out barking, and you could get a shot.
|The last two or three hunts I'd been on here, my primary guns were in .25 caliber which worked just fine, but this time around I was using .22 caliber guns. I have to say, I didn't really notice much difference in effectiveness, maybe the .25 bucks the wind a little better, but if the winds really came up the only workable solutions was to move the range in closer.|
This burrowing owl (left) stood on a nearby mound watching me drop dogs to his left and right, but didn't seem too concerned!
I watched this prairie dog (below) for awhile before dropping him with a headshot at about 60 yards while he was walking away.
|The cool thing about the Verminator is that I could be out for hours of shooting without needing a refill. Great in a target rich environment like this, where each hunt would take me on a 3-4 mile hike before finally looping back to my vehicle.|
|The landowner was worried about shooters using high powered rifles in the area I was working over because of his livestock. I appreciated his concern, but I was more worried about his livestock messing with me. This guy walked up behind me while I was otherwise occupied shooting, and I didn't like the way he was looking at me
The AA 510 TC carried well, and offered a lot of shots per fill with high power.
|The bulk of the shots taken were at 75 - 100 yards, and often the only thing I could see was the prairied dog peeking over the rim of his burrow. My favorite technique for hunting them was walking into a town and sitting down to wait for them to start poppiung back up. Also had a lot of success spotting them with my binoculars and creeping in along arroyos and under the ridgeline of hill before peeking over for a shot.Had a great several days shooting and got about 65-75 dogs per day, which I consider really excellent results for the type of hunting I was doing. If you'd like to set up a hunt at the Hatcher Cattle Ranch, drop me an email and I can provide details.|
|I used both shooting sticks and bipods, and from a sitting position could lock in solidly for the long shots.|