Save the Prairie Dogs Inc

Discussion in 'Varmint Hunting' started by silvertip-co, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. silvertip-co

    silvertip-co Well-Known Member

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  2. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Do you know the reproduction rate of prairie dogs?
     

  3. ilscungilli

    ilscungilli Well-Known Member

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    Sexual maturity after the first year, one litter per year consisting of 4-6 small targets. They live about 3-5 years.
     
  4. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    So very sad.

     
  5. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Utah Division of Wildlife Resources


    Plinking (shooting) may also be a problem. This loosely defined sport seems to be growing in popularity with some plinkers shooting hundreds of rounds during a weekend. What effect does all of this shooting have on a prairie dog colony? One camp claims none; populations will remain stable. The other camp claims a potential for major population declines, especially in smaller colonies, and the potential loss of habitat due to this decline in numbers.

    The complication or difference in these studies might be found in how the colony works, the colony size and the species of prairie dog.

    Unlike many of the more familiar rodents like rats and mice, which can have multiple births multiple times per year, prairie dogs give birth to three or four young, once, in the spring. This is a relatively slow reproductive rate for an animal largely considered as the grassland's main prey base.

    Most studies on colonial animals have found certain areas, generally in the middle of the colony, are more preferred than others. If an animal dies or is removed from the preferred area, an animal from the fringe will move in to take its place. This may be what the first camp is seeing.

    These studies also show if enough animals are removed, the fringe is abandoned as more and more animals move to the preferred area in the middle. This is what the second camp believes may be happening, excessive plinking may be removing those animals in the preferred area faster than their slow reproductive rate can replace them, especially in the smaller colonies. When the fringe areas are abandoned, the vegetation isn't trimmed back so it gets taken over by taller shrubs and undesired plants thus making it unusable habitat for prairie dogs.
     
  6. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    My point is simple.

    There are hunters who are conservationists and consider the future of hunting and then there are hunters who do not think about the future of hunting.

    This is why I have been suggesting that we(longrange hunters) should not be taking all of the close range shots but let those dogs live and just try to make the really hard shots. We won't kill as many and we can have just as much fun and we won't have the non-hunters litigating the Fish and Game people to shut down the prairie dog hunting.

    There are a whole series of scientific article on the internet about this problem of prairie dogs that I read last summer when I was planning my trip out west. They made me think about prairie dog shooting in a different light
     
  7. ilscungilli

    ilscungilli Well-Known Member

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    Anyone familiar with the South/Eastern part of Wyoming (Douglas) knows that the Plague has laid waste to the little guys. There was a ranch that we shot at for a number of years, and they "managed" the population quite well (every year it seemed to grow in size). Despite what I thought were a lot of shooters, the dogs continued to increase in numbers on this ranch, until the plague came through and decimated the towns.

    They are out of control in areas of Boulder. They have run out of "open-space" to transport them to, and can no longer ship them out of the county (Colorado law). The last I read, they were hoping the Plague would help reduce their numbers "naturally".

    p.s. One of the little guys made a mad dash across the bike path last year, and my little wife squished one with her rear wheel.
     
  8. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    It is just something to think about.

    Everyone agrees there is only 2% of the population left. The environmental community is gearing up to force the issue and once more the hunters will be the villians. It is sad that the animal which we like to hunt (or shot at ) is facing hard times and it is the environmental community that will come to its rescue while the hunting community will deny any responsibility for the situation.

    The same thing occurs with fish in the Chesapeake Bay. The fishermen deny any responsiblity for the scarcity of oysters and crabs and wish to blame everybody else including mother nature.

    Anyway, those are just my thoughts about conservation and the prairie dog.

    I have lots of thoughts about hunters, cattlemen, wild bison and public land and perhaps on another day I will say whats on my mind about that.
     
  9. LWolken

    LWolken Well-Known Member

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    Farm Them

    Well my take is a little different. If the tree hugging liberals want to save the Prairie Dogs then they should buy some land and farm them. They should not tell me or anyone else what they can and cannot do with their own property. Until prairie dogs are beneficial then it is up to the land owner to determine what he wants to do best with his land. If this means managing the towns on his land then charging shooters so he can pay taxes good great. If it means exterminating them so he can run cattle or farm so that he can provide for his family and pay taxes then good too. The problem starts when the government steps in and tells us what we can and cannot do with the peoperty we paid for and continue to pay property taxes on.

    Lance
     
  10. ilscungilli

    ilscungilli Well-Known Member

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    For a number of years, you were not allowed to "hunt" them on public land east of I-25. That is pretty much most of their range. In the foothills, development has more or less wiped them out, or greatly reduced their range.

    http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/psicc/coma/main/Ch3prairiedogs.pdf

    I just checked, and it looks like there is now a season in Colorado, that begins June 15. According to the Federal report, they seem to be doing pretty well in several of the large national parks like the Pawnee Grass Lands.
     
  11. Gary Morgan

    Gary Morgan Well-Known Member

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    prairie dog mortality

    I have been hunting prairie dogs on and off for 35 years. In that time, the greatest change in the prairie dog population I have witnessed has been due to poisoning. The biggest increase in poisoning began five or six years ago in the Texas Panhandle where I do all my PD shooting. This time period also coincided with PETA and other groups beginning to really push hard to put the PD on the endangered species list. It is my belief that at least in the Texas Panhandle the farmers and ranchers said to themselves, "We've been able to live with the PD for the most part because varminters have helped keep them in check, but if the PD is put on the endangered species list and they can no longer be hunted, we will have a completely untenable situation. Armed with this thought, we better poison them now while we have a chance." AND THEY HAVE.

    I am in the process now of trying to get some spots to hunt in mid-May. I use Google Earth a lot to find promising areas. You simply would not believe how many spots I find on Google Earth that have tremendous colonies of PDs, and when I contact the landowner the answer is, "I wish I still had some for you to shoot, but I poisoned those little devils. They're all gone."

    I personally have never seen an apppreciable diminution in a PD population from hunting. They get smart, and when they see a vehicle pull up, they scamper for their holes, and down they go. I don't care how good a shot you are, you can't hit a PD in the bottom of his hole.

    It's really sad, but we have nobody but PETA and the like to thank for this demise.
     
  12. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    I will have to try using Google Earth for PDs. I know where a few are in Wyoming on public lands and I will check to see if their mounds are visible. I suspect it will depend on the season when the photos where taken.
     
  13. SamSpade

    SamSpade Well-Known Member

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    Buffalobob, you must believe in the global warming theory too?? After nearly 40 years of shooting prairie dogs their decline is caused by better and cheaper methods of poisoning!
     
  14. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Well, I wondered about why the poisoning was working so much better or being done so much more than in the past. Most things are about the dollar. That is why the animals are always the losers, they have no money.


    Of course I believe in global warming. Protecting the land, air and water and the animals and fish is what I did for a living and what I still do. I enjoyed my work and believed it to be good to have fish in the river, birds in the air and animals on the land. I would not risk the forests and animals and rivers over some political affiliation. I spent my whole life trying to make these things better because I enjoy fishing and hunting and just watching and being outside and on the rivers.

    Here are a couple of pictures of the 18 foot wood stripper canoe I built. It is now 23 years old. I built a couple of kayaks and canoes before it but gave them away.

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