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Long Range Prairie Dog Hunt In South Dakota

Long Range Prairie Dog Hunt in South Dakota

By Jesse Grove

Hello, my name is Jesse Grove and I am a union pipe fitter from Central Pennsylvania. This story started out last year when we decided to get into the 1k and 1500 yard clubs at the Varmint Hunter Association (VHA).

In 2007, myself, my fiancé Cindy, and a fellow pipe fitter, Will White, headed west to Mobridge, South Dakota. Our outfitter, Kerry Knold of Outrageous Adventures (outrageousadventuressd.com), was more than happy to oblige our needs to make 1000 and 1500 yards. The final outcome was numerous dogs at 1000-1300 yards and some fresh guts, but no dog to confirm a kill at 1733 yards.

Long Range Prairie Dog Hunt
Kerry Knold: South Dakota outfitter of Outrageous Adventures

Last year, June 2008, there were eight of us that headed out for South Dakota: my fiancé Cindy and I, Will White and his daughter, Megan, my mother, Bonnie, and another fellow pipe fitter, Bob Flick and his son Tyler, and last but not least, my cousin Seth Grove. We took enough gear along to fill Will’s ¾ ton Chevy crew cab with a 6 foot bed and my diesel Jeep Liberty.

Once you arrive at Kerry’s, everything is taken care of for you. You have ample accommodations, everything is clean, and there is plenty of good food and good times. He provides transportation to and from the field, a hot home cooked breakfast, sandwiches and snacks for lunch in the field and a home cooked dinner when you return back to the lodge. All of this cost $430 for three days of hunting and four night stay. Fuel cost out and back plus tolls was $284 per person for the six adults. To me, not a bad vacation for less than $1000 and all the shooting you care to do. On the way back, we went a different route to avoid about half the tolls and also go below Chicago. This way is about 100 miles longer but it’s well worth it, as we got stuck in construction in Chicago on the way out.

Our trip was set for three days of fun. Also in camp were two guys from Wisconsin, Dick and Harvey. We’ve booked our hunt the same dates with these fellow shooters before. These guys are a hoot to be around, never a dull moment, and the cheese, well that’s another story. After breakfast, we take a short drive to the ranch where the dogs are plentiful. During the ride out to the ranches, you see things that are totally different to us mountain boys from back east. Free roaming buffalo is definitely something we don’t have. After arriving, a quick set up and the fun begins. Soon we were doping the wind, dialing scope, and were rewarded with the sound of solid hit on the prairie hunter’s favorite rat. One of the best things about the trip was seeing the excitement and hearing the laughing of Cindy, Bonnie, and Megan from the sound of “WHOP”, when scoring on distant dogs. You just can’t put a price on those moments. Times like that you don’t forget.

The others on the trip spent their days picking off rats anywhere from 100 yds on out to about 800. My mom, Bonnie, known as “Mom” to everyone, shot all the 222 rem. ammo I had loaded for her on the first day. She had a great time and killed some dogs to boot. Seth had taken close to 1500 rounds for his three rifles, and he was bound and determined to shoot as much of it as he could in the three days. This was his first trip out west to hunt and he enjoyed it a lot. Bob Flick and his son, Tyler (age 15), were both shooting 22-250's. Bob was enjoying his time with his son and was helping him make some pretty impressive shots. Bob has been out with me before, so for him, it was more about Tyler.

Well, the guns of choice this year were two 222; one AR-15, three 22-250, one 25 WSSM, one 243 WSSM, two 220 Weatherby Rockets, one 223, one 17 HMR, and one 22 rimfire. The two long range rifles were a 300 WSM and a 300 Weatherby IMP.

The two long range rifles here are more of the topic of interest. All the other guns are pretty much your run of the mill factory guns except for the two 220 rockets, one 22-250, and the 243 WSSM, which are custom guns.

Long Range Prairie Dog Hunt
Bill White's Rifle

The first long range rifle is Will’s. He had this rifle built three years ago. It is a Remington 700 action, Timney trigger, 38” Krieger barrel, with a muzzle break designed by Ted Ulmer of Potters Mills, PA. Ted also chambered the rifle in 300 WSM with a tight chamber and a no turn neck. The barreled action rides in a McMillan MBR stock with a custom barrel block designed by Will and built along with the stainless steel weight plates by B&G Machine of Jonestown, PA. Total weight of this rifle is 47 lbs.

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