First day back in the U. S. from another Alberta trip. My wife wanted to go to Canada to visit where I hunt deer so the trip was scheduled (she can't figure the attraction).
Spent about 9 days, rained the first 2 and we got cabin fever a bit, spent 2 days shooting gophers near Killam... flat land and the gophers were shot close(r) range...to about 300 yards. We still managed to get about a million of them and ran out of time and bullets. The best time was to be had using an old Winchester model 77 (I believe) 22 rimfire after we ran out ot 223 and 6mm-06 ammo. We made a few kills in the 160 to 170 yards area with the 22 RF... there was a "nest" there and we shot about a dozen off that particular spot...The first 22RF kill was 164 yards (on a "you can't hit one that far away with a 22" challenge), then the shooting was on...lots of fun. We fed a bunch of crows, ravens and opportunistic gophers those 2 days.
Went to visit the mountains at Jasper and spent a little time whitetail shed antler hunting (some luck but no Booner's found).
We didn't get SARS, West Nile, CJD, Mad Cow or anything else.
I do believe I'll head back up for a buffalo and wolf hunt in January...
Saw a pile of whitetail, some coyote, moose, sheep, mule deer, black bear, grizzly and various birds. (Lots of live and dead gophers too!)
Oh yeah...A rental car (Ford Expedition) will hold about 1,500 pounds of that sticky clay mud that comes off the "high grade" unpaved roads...(more than that when you're skidding sideways with the window down. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] ) Took us 3 trips to the car wash and a pocket full of Toonies (don't know the correct Canadian spelling) to get that car clean enough to return.
I also just got back from some trips, almost a month of steady travel - Texas, N. Sask., SE Manitoba and Montana - and had some interesting experiences. On a fly-in one fellow had a fish hook pop loose from a big pike and it flew straight into his mouth, one hook had to be pushed thru his lower lip so the barb could be cut off. Same fellow shot a bear that rough scored 23 so he was happy, despite a slightly swollen lower lip. Next trip I setup my moving target system and some tv guys were shooting balloons with archery equipment with good accuracy at 30 yards, then we put a 6" steel plate on it and burned up a bucket of .22lr, great clanging sounds and the plate was heavy enough it never wobbled. Then down to SE Manitoba to a great bear/deer outfitter, right in the corner near Minnesota and Ontario. Then up to shoot prairie dogs in Montana with the .223 WSSM, .22-250, .220 Swift, .223 and the mighty .308 Win. You would have enjoyed a rifle that Jeff Hoffman shared with me, a brand new AR-10 in .308 Win. Only way to shoot p-dogs is with 20 shot mags! My farthest hit with the AR-10 was 547 on a newly minted dog, it was about half the size of a gopher. Jeff had some ammo along that had to be seen to be believed - every hair on the p-dog was cut at least seven times, only evidence of the dog was a few red spots every 10 paces - no carcass! Then back up to N. Sask. to another outfitter's lodge - another fantastic bear and deer camp - very high success on book critters.
When the hell are you going to come shoot over here, we got the stuff.
Let's make a date then... You come down here and kill some of the local pests and I'll come up there and kill something... I was out last night for a short look-see and there were no less than 18 deer in 3 crop fields so I stopped looking... I need to kill some more before the farmer(s) get too upset, now's bad time for deer to be after the crops.
What you got this fall...maybe I can get up to your place for a little hunt.
Technical question: Are the gopher's of Canada actually Richardson ground squirrels? They seem to be smaller than I recall Prairie Dogs being, act the same but smaller (No it's not that I didn't hit very many [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] ) There were some "newly minted" versions we shot the first day, about the size of a Hostess Twinky but the full grown versions were still only about 8 inches long (maybe I got a "runted" batch).
I was using the new Nikon Tactical 2.5 x 10 on my .223 Rem for this shoot...great scope. Shot up all my 69 grain Sierra Federal Gold Medal ammo (except one round you know, they got Indians in Alberta [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] learned that from John Wayne movies)