Prairie Dog'n changed

Marine Evan

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Jan 1, 2020
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North Georgia Mountains
Prairie dog hunting has changed dramatically for those of us that have to travel a far piece to enjoy it. Covid shut myself and my shooting partner down for two of the last three years and last year, we went to a new property in Western South Dakota that was a real disappointing one day affair. What had changed was the access fees to hunting grounds. Seems like they have now become the new "cash crop" for many land owners with tresspass fees from $250 a day up to a a few at $1000 a day for "guided hunts" per shooter. Yes, some included lodging but way out of my "sensible" range.

Ammunition expense is what it is and over the past 14 years I have accumulated enough reloads to last me several shoots. I even ventured into the .204 cartridge platform and was excited to try it out. When covid shut me down for two years, I sold it and ammunition. I have since got into it again and hope to use it this coming spring.

Living in Georgia, 1500 miles one way is an investment and getting harder to justify. For those that live in Pup country, appreciate your access.
 

yobuck

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east central fl. /n.c. pa.
Nothing stays the same for very long.
Another problem is the right people to go with.
That can be an even bigger problem, even among good friends.
For me a 6 day round trip requires at least a 5 full day hunt.
But for some reason even retired guys i know think 3 days is plenty.
There are other places, but everything requires time, and that might mean going alone.
 

JSHKS

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Nov 26, 2017
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Yeah, finding someone to go with that isn’t a whiner. Went with some guys ONCE that refused to drive down a gravel road, AND the dirt road was dusty.
I called him Nancy the rest of the day, he got up and left in the middle of the night and went home, lol. Heard from sources later he spent several days getting the dust out of his truck, inside and out.
 

snox801

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Spring Lake Michigan
Yeah, finding someone to go with that isn’t a whiner. Went with some guys ONCE that refused to drive down a gravel road, AND the dirt road was dusty.
I called him Nancy the rest of the day, he got up and left in the middle of the night and went home, lol. Heard from sources later he spent several days getting the dust out of his truck, inside and out.

Boy some call me an a hole but I would have been a harder on him. I run down hogs with my truck. Sounds like he should be a duck hunter. I met a guy this fall who had his “friends” leave him early. The hunt wasn’t even done but they all got mulies. He shot his in the am they were leaving and still wouldn’t wait. They had the truck and trailer. He was forced to find other means. If you plan a trip with more than yourself plan on staying till the last person wants to leave.
 

dciron

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Sep 16, 2020
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South Puget Sound, WA
Boy some call me an a hole but I would have been a harder on him. I run down hogs with my truck. Sounds like he should be a duck hunter. I met a guy this fall who had his “friends” leave him early. The hunt wasn’t even done but they all got mulies. He shot his in the am they were leaving and still wouldn’t wait. They had the truck and trailer. He was forced to find other means. If you plan a trip with more than yourself plan on staying till the last person wants to leave.
Wow! I can’t believe dudes are like that. Unfortunately we have youngsters, generally 35 yrs or younger) who have been raised that THEY are the only person that matters. Their feelings are most important. Life is really about being a part of a team and finding yourselves doing things that go beyond what a single person can accomplish, more than that it just MORE FUN. I can’t believe they bailed on that guy who likely was excited for their success and who probably helped them. Sad.
 

snox801

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Spring Lake Michigan
Ya we ended up taking him out and helping drag out and brake down his deer. Nice guy. I even offered to bring his stuff back cause he only lived 6 hours from me. If I was him those guys would have awaken to a truck with flat tires or missing something important that would take at least a day or two to fix.
No longer would they be my friend.
As for dogs yep only reason not gone is because of price to hunt. Sounds fun but if I’m gonna kill a week killing pests at a premium it will be pigs.
 

dogz

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Jan 11, 2006
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SWMT
For sure it's changed, back in the day we rarely would see people come out west to shoot pd's. Then we started to see some people, which turned into people driving out in motor homes and setting up camps for a couple weeks.

Which of course turned into money beginning to exchange hands.......things do change

I still like to do it the old fashioned way to hike around and shoot them offhand to 150 or so, then for the 150-300 yard pd's go to a sitting position then when going from 300 on out I shoot off the ground with a bipod (just like in a hunting situation).

We generally don't shoot them when they're having pups, same with rockchucks.

And we surely don't take shots that are such layups that there is no skilled involved to them.

I'm very fortunate to have several very good ranches to shoot pd's at (between Mt and Wyo) but I really don't bother them much anymore unless the grandkids wish to do them some harm:)

Personally I prefer either walking around shooting gophers offhand with our 22's and or 17 HMR's, and or go to some of the properties that I have access to that has rather large chuck colony's. With the chucks we only use our big game guns and again we do the out to 150 or so offhand, 150-300 sitting then from 300 on out we go to our bipods off the ground.

It can still be good but things sure have changed a lot!
 

Cemetery21

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Jan 10, 2021
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94
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Southwest MO
When we started, ranchers would call neighbors and have us set up with more places than we could shoot. Hardly ever saw any other shooters and towns were so big we set up in one place for 14 hours a day. It was rare to move during the day. We worked up from 3 day trips to 6 days, then 10 day trips. Never paid to shoot anywhere except a ranch in NE. And that was only daily rent on a cabin that was cheaper than a motel. Man, his wife made some mean giant cinnamon rolls. Yum!
Glad I'm not starting out these days and feel bad for you guys that have to deal with it. In the end, it's probably still worth it if you are with good people.
 

Coyote Shadow Tracker

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Prairie dog hunting has changed dramatically for those of us that have to travel a far piece to enjoy it. Covid shut myself and my shooting partner down for two of the last three years and last year, we went to a new property in Western South Dakota that was a real disappointing one day affair. What had changed was the access fees to hunting grounds. Seems like they have now become the new "cash crop" for many land owners with tresspass fees from $250 a day up to a a few at $1000 a day for "guided hunts" per shooter. Yes, some included lodging but way out of my "sensible" range.

Ammunition expense is what it is and over the past 14 years I have accumulated enough reloads to last me several shoots. I even ventured into the .204 cartridge platform and was excited to try it out. When covid shut me down for two years, I sold it and ammunition. I have since got into it again and hope to use it this coming spring.

Living in Georgia, 1500 miles one way is an investment and getting harder to justify. For those that live in Pup country, appreciate your access.
Sorry to say that there are some "Not so good -I won't call them hunters out there". PD as well as other hunting over the years has turned into $$$$$. There was a time when could got the SD and land owners would welcome you and give you their neighbor's contacts to come and shoot. This was the same way with hog & coyote hunting in GA. Then some so called hunters got the idea of becoming "Guides". They would go to land owners and tell them if they alone got access to the property that these "Guides" would give the landowners some money. Meanwhile these "Guides" sucked up the land and started charging other hunters several thousand % mark up to hunt. Then landowners started the "Trespass" fees which at once they would beg hunters to control the predator/varmint population.
I don't see anything wrong with getting money from someone to use your property. It's the GREED that started.
The other part of this thread is sharing a hunt with someone else that YOU DON'T KNOW.
Don't do it unless you really have verified info on sharing a hunt. It could cost you $$ but more than that TIME and a experience that you will never forget ie BAD EXPERIENCE.
I did a PD hunt with a person that my father-in-law knew for 20 years. The person always bragged about his PD hunts in SD. Well, this person had a hunt planed and at the so called last minute the other PD hunter backed out due to family issues. Then there was a spot open. I spoke with the person my father-in-law knew and he seem like a really nice person and knowledgeable about PD hunting. We made the agreement on travel costs and vehicle along with hunting area and times to hunt. We had (8) days with (4) travel and (4) hunting. I packed up with over 2,500 rounds of .204 and 223. I drove from GA to Chicago to meet him. We then drove to SD. Along the way I was convinced that he was a serial killer the way he acted towards the female servers at Restaurants. He was a traveling salesperson for a international Industrial Engine company (like Caterpillar ect_). Once we got the SD he only wanted to hunt if the sun was out (only one or two hours a day). Now we had access to over 1K areas and loaded with PD everywhere. I shot 94 the first two hours and he wanted to leave. The next day there was a light snow fall and cleared up. I shot another 200 or so and he wanted to go back to the lodge/hotel. He probably only shot 12 in two days. When we got back, I packed up my stuff and said I wanted to be dropped off at a car rental place so I could finish the hunt myself. Unfortunately, there was not rental places for probably 100 miles. I ended up driving his vehicle straight bac to Chicago and got my truck and drove home. 24 hours of straight driving.
Just bringing this story up because it can happen to you. No hunting trip is worth it no matter how bad you want to hunt or a good price.
Alway go on a hunt with someone you can trust and get along with. Once you are on the trip you are stuck with the other person until you get home.
On another note with guides services. Remember they are doing it for a business. Some do it for the love of hunting and keeping their reputation others' do for a quick buck $$$. Most guides service don't have repeat customers because of location and the costs of a hunt.
If you ever show up at the Guide's location and the Guide says "Oh you should have been here last week-we got some nice deer. elk. bear, fish". You know that your screwed.
I lived in Hawaii and fished regular for Marlin, Yellow Fin, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo. I saw soo many boat charters screw over tourists. It is not an industry where you have a lot of repeat customers. There are a LOT of REALLY good hunting guides throughout the world. Most hunts cost a small fortune and most hunters are able to only afford one lifetime hunt.
I will say that Jill and I had some of the BEST hunts ever with friends. Our trip to Africa couldn't be beat for by any means.
Just want to say make sure you know everything up front. You may spend your one and only trip of a lifetime on a hunt so make sure that it is a great hunt. Also remember that just because you pay for a guide trip, doesn't mean that you come home with a trophy. Sometimes the animals just are not there, or you miss the shot.
 

yobuck

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Aug 23, 2008
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east central fl. /n.c. pa.
I use a portable bench with adjustable legs so i can level the top in uneven terrain.
I use 3 bolt action guns, a 223, a 22/250 ai, and a 6x284.
All have bipods, and i use a rear rabbit ear bag.
I single feed the guns only.
A full day for me would be somewhere in the vicinity of 125 rounds fired, and some days less.
I just dont see how its possible to shoot more unless your just winging away at running dogs with ARs.
 

Coyote Shadow Tracker

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You haven't been in a good rat patch.
Sherm
You know. 10-15-20 years ago always took two/three rifles tons of ammo and even reloading equipment. 22lr & 17HMR for 100yrds, then the 223 AR out to 300-400 and the 204 bolt from 300 to 500yrds. Had a RCBS RASS Chair with an umbrella to set up in an area maybe 270 degrees circle around out to 500yds+ and then a light weight sitting chair to carry from town to town. could shoot 1K in several days no problem. Had to clean rifles several times a day.
I would use my RRA FE Coyote and put in 30 round mags suppressed. Shoot a dog town at around 300 yrds. Once dialed in every shot would drop one. They wouldn't even scatter, just keep eating.
You almost got tired of shooting (not).
 

oldfortyfiveauto

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Jan 20, 2011
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350
I guess I've been lucky. We've got 10 of us that have been going to South Dakota for the last 10 years to the same rancher. It's been great. Shooting varies every year, but can't say we've ever had a real bad year. Last year was very good. Every one of the towns was hot.
 

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