PRARIE DOGGIN!!! by Montana Grant
By angelamontana

Posted: September 3, 2023

Practiced Shooters often target more than paper and metal clangers at the rifle range. There is a point when shooters head afield for tagging big game, or removing critters, that are a nuisance for landowners.

Prairie Dogs and Ground Squirrels are examples of critters that damage grasslands and impact the health of cattle, horses, and other animals. Not only are the burrows a physical issue, but there are also diseases that have become a health concern. These nuisance animals can be shot from a truck or wheeler. 

Landowners will often allow access to shooters to eradicate these nuisance critters. High velocity rounds like 223, or 22-250 calibers allow shooters to practice their shooting skills and help the landowners. A 22 caliber is also popular but lacks the range of the faster calibers. A suppressor will reduce noise if the shooting is near buildings or neighborhoods. 

My friend “Shrapnel” recently invited me for a shoot. We were on private land and allowed to drive the truck through the area. We were both overcoming surgery challenges. My recent back surgery required that I wear a back brace, which made shooting restricted. 

To avoid recoil, I used my childhood 22 Winchester bolt action 22 rifle. My range would be just 100 yards. On top of my rifle is a WW2 German sniper scope that my dad brought back from the war. It was the first scope that I ever used. 

To support our rifles for accurate shooting, we rested the guns on a window mount that Shrapnel designed. TA PVC tube is cut lengthwise and filled with expandable spray foam. A piece of foam pipe insulation is glued on top of the PVC. Finally, a window shooting pad is set on top. Using this rest protects the window. We also have a steadfast rule that the rifle barrel is never inside the vehicle. 

Shrapnel had an arsenal of varmint rifles. Each had adjustable optics, suppressor, or other upgrades. When one weapon heated up, he would switch to another. For safety, he only loaded single shots, for safety.

Over the course of the day, we removed nearly 200 critters from the landowners’ fields. Some of the shots were out to 300 yards. Shrapnel demonstrated his superb shooting skills. I managed the closer targets. It is unlikely that shooters can remove all the varmints from a huge field. The best that can be done is to keep the population under control. 

Targeting Prairie Dogs may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Precision shooting skills are needed to accurately, and safely remove these harmful critters. Marksmanship is a perishable skill that needs to be practiced. This skill also translates to all other shooting and hunting sports. 

Aim small, miss small!

Montana Grant

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