Do you like prairie dogs?

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claybob86
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Do you like prairie dogs?

#1 Post by claybob86 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:31 am

I do, as long as they're on someone else's land!

This is an excerpt from J. Frank Dobie's "A Vaquero of the Brush Country" as it pertains to the reminiscences of John Young, a Texas cowboy/rancher/traildriver:

"When our herd trailed into the prairie dog country of the Indian Nation we were amid an unfailing source of amusement and pleasure. As South Texas boys, several of us had never seen prairie dogs before, and even those among us who had seen them were glad of their society. They were good company.
We listened to their chatter along the trail; we talked back to them; we shot at them. Where there were rocks within reach, we chunked at them. Occasionally a cowboy would get one of the little creatures cut off from the town of holes and then a merry chase would follow. In after years I was to live much among prairie dogs, but I have never wearied of their company. l shall be sorry, indeed, when the United States government, which has done much to destroy the natural life of America, has poisoned off all the prairie dogs. As Burns expressed himself towards the mouse, so I have always felt towards the prairie dog, even if he is a great destroyer of grass.
Had the animals been called prairie squirrels instead of prairie dogs, they would probably have been killed off long ago for their meat. Their diet, like that of squirrels, is strictly vegetable, and their flesh is clean. Only their name has been against them as a game animal. Some years ago two enterprising young men in West Texas made good money shipping prairie dog carcasses, cleaned and refrigerated, to northern markets, where they were sold as squirrels--until food authorities discovered the trick that was being played. Then the business went under.
I should like to know how the myth ever got started that rattlesnakes and prairie dogs live in harmony. Rattlesnakes go into the holes to eat the young dogs, but as soon as the old dogs discover such an intruder they set up a very excited chatter and dozens of them together begin kicking dirt in the hole that the snake has entered."
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#2 Post by piller » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:37 am

Squirrels are not strictly vegetarians, and prairie dogs are known to carry bubonic plague---although it is rare that they are infected. I was always told that horses and cattle occasionally stepped in the holes and broke a leg.
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#3 Post by GunnyMack » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:45 am

Yes, in the crosshairs!
They are fun to watch but more fun to shoot.

Yes it seems they all carry the plague, the ranchers I knew in CO wanted everyone killed. In the spring you didn't dare touch them, flea ridden and that's where the plague starts!
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#4 Post by octagon » Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:35 am

We get occasional bouts of plague and rabies in W Texas. :| when I see normally nocturnal animals like coons, walking around in daylight slowly like they are drunk, they meet Mr. 10mm. The soil at my place is very deep, and the victim is easily buried. They are invariably democrats. :twisted:

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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#5 Post by Ray » Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:59 am

octagon wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:35 am
We get occasional bouts of plague and rabies in W Texas. :| when I see normally nocturnal animals like coons, walking around in daylight slowly like they are drunk, they meet Mr. 10mm. The soil at my place is very deep, and the victim is easily buried. They are invariably democrats. :twisted:

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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#6 Post by crs » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:22 am

Yes, for target practice.
From my house just outside Borger, Texas, it was a 5 minute walk to the nearest dog town and I went there often with my then new Winchester M61 .22. I burned a lot of ammo there, much from the well side of the dirt mound left by the bull dozer that made the slush pit for a nearby oil well.
Practice, practice, practice, etc,,, with open sights.

I still remember my longest shot- a stepped- off 175 yard prone shot took off the top of the head of a standing, barking PD. One of those things a hunter/rifleman never forgets. 8)
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#7 Post by GunnyMack » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:36 am

Yes I can relate- I made a 275 yd shot with my Savage 23B 25-20!
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#8 Post by fordwannabe » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:48 am

Growing up in Montana I spent many many many hours depleting my ammo cache. I most often used 22 rf but on several occasions I would pull out my 03A3 and a 180 he soft point would really make a spectacular mist out of a PD.
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#9 Post by piller » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:56 am

Quite a few years age, a family friend had a Ruger number 1 in 220 Swift. Bruce did a pretty good job of reducing the pasture poodle population in the area around Liberal, KS. I got to shoot it, and that gun was laser accurate. We were only shooting around 400 yards. He had a 16 power scope on it. That was tremendous fun. Well, for us it was. For the Prairie Dogs, not so much.
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#10 Post by GunnyMack » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:14 pm

Someone made a 110 gr .308 hollow point, think it was Speer, boy those out of the '06 just vaporized a PD. 17 Rem was fun on them too!
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#11 Post by AJMD429 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:02 pm

GunnyMack wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:14 pm
Someone made a 110 gr .308 hollow point, think it was Speer, boy those out of the '06 just vaporized a PD. 17 Rem was fun on them too!
They also made the Remington 'Accelerator' 55 gr saboted loads too.... I had half a box given me, and never shot enough of them on paper from my rifle to tell if they were really very accurate out of my firearm, but a friend swore by them out of his Ruger M77.
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#12 Post by piller » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:27 pm

I have a 17 WSM caliber Savage rifle which I would like to try on pasture poodles. 20 grain bullets at 3,000 fps would probably be fun at 200 yards or less. They probably wouldn't carry enough energy to do much beyond that. The 26 grain ones at 2,600 fps will kill a coyote with a head shot at 100 yards. Speed kills!
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#13 Post by M. M. Wright » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:40 pm

Love 'em. Ruger 77V in 220 Swift with big scope accounted for lots of 'em out in Cimarron county. (End of the Oklahoma panhandle) When the wind got really bad I'd use my Browning Hi-wall in 30-06 with 165 grain bullets to best use the 1 in 14 twist of that tapered octagon barrel. Got so that soon after we started shooting the eagles would show up to feast on the dogs we had killed. We'd just move to another town.
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#14 Post by piller » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:51 pm

My Dad grew up in Turpin. Not many prairie dog towns around there now. Lots of people had fun shooting them, and the population of prairie dogs sort of declined to the point that they are scarce now. The farmers and ranchers I know anymore don't have any problems with them. Those were fun times.
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#15 Post by jnyork » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:52 pm

I would just as soon go on a good PD expedition as go elk hunting, maybe more so. You dont have to freeze your heinie off in the snow and wind, you dont have to rassle a dang horse, you dont have to live in a tent and you actually get to see some of your quarry. Plus, you dont have to field dress them and pack them out. :lol:

PD populations in Central and Southwest Wyoming have been decimated by plague 3 or 4 times over the last 20 years or so and have never fully recovered. Quite a few of my favorite spots have been completely dead for several years now. I used to get in 300-400 shots on a day trip, now lucky to get 50.
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#16 Post by piller » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:04 pm

jnyork wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:52 pm
I would just as soon go on a good PD expedition as go elk hunting, maybe more so. You dont have to freeze your heinie off in the snow and wind, you dont have to rassle a dang horse, you dont have to live in a tent and you actually get to see some of your quarry. Plus, you dont have to field dress them and pack them out. :lol:

PD populations in Central and Southwest Wyoming have been decimated by plague 3 or 4 times over the last 20 years or so and have never fully recovered. Quite a few of my favorite spots have been completely dead for several years now. I used to get in 300-400 shots on a day trip, now lucky to get 50.
It seems as if it is the same out in Southwestern Kansas and in the Oklahoma panhandle. It may have been disease which killed them off. I am not sure. However, the big prairie dog town we used to have so much fun at is now void of prairie dogs.
D. Brian Casady
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#17 Post by Bill in Oregon » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:57 pm

Claybob, thanks for sharing those reminiscences collected by Mr. Dobie. I killed several gross of Belding's ground squirrels when much younger -- and would still do so around residences and farm buildings if asked. But I tend to find the little dogs entertaining as well, and in my old age am happy to just let them chatter and squabble amongst themselves and enjoy the sunshine. Probably a subliminal expression of the guilt I still feel for killing so many robins and sparrows with my Daisy BB gun as a grasshopper. I took a mean boyhood thrill in that senseless slaughter.
I don't begrudge any who hunt them, especially if invited by farmers or ranchers.

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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#18 Post by BrianSH » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:52 pm

Lil' salt, lil' pepper, garlic, butter. Pinch of cayenne when finished............ :lol:

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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#19 Post by GunnyMack » Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:04 am

I remember now!yeah the things ya remember when waiting for the coffee to brew!

Back in the 90s some bright spark started to export PDs as pets. The Japenese began buying all they could and eating them.
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#20 Post by BlaineG » Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:34 pm

GunnyMack wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:04 am
I remember now!yeah the things ya remember when waiting for the coffee to brew!

Back in the 90s some bright spark started to export PDs as pets. The Japenese began buying all they could and eating them.
You've probably read "King Rat" :lol: :lol:
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#21 Post by Camel73 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:24 pm

I probably like prairie dogs as much as as I like skunks, coyotes, or deer for that matter.
I like enjoy seeing them, whether it's for pure amusement as in the gophers. Gophers are freakin hilarious. Or in awe about sweet bucks.
Coyotes are fun to watch mousing. I had an old farmer many moons ago that said, "Sorry, not this year, I like them mousing about. Check on me next year.", as I was getting permissions for song dogs.
Skunks lump about in such a funny manner. It's hard to hate on them really. I could totally be one of those friend of the forest guys. Well, untill some thinning was needed, for whatever reason lol.

Then comes ballistic enjoyment.
Hmmm, caliber.... which bow... which gun! ...did I cast any more boolits? .... irons? ah heck, bring em all.
To me this is half the fun really.

Haven't tried eatin a prairie dog yet... any recipies?
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Re: Do you like prairie dogs?

#22 Post by cnjarvis » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:56 pm

We used to have them on one of my places. I remember counting 125 at one time, but I haven’t seen them in 6-8 years. I don’t know if the neighbor poisoned them (the town was on both sides of the fence) or if disease got them. I used to shoot a couple here or there and enjoyed “trying” to hit them with a 22 pistol from 100+yds, but I eventually decided I liked them and would rather watch ‘em than shoot’em. They weren’t hurting anything. I miss them now.

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