What type and caliber gun should I bring on a prairie dog hunt?

 

For starters, we recommend that you bring more than one gun.  First of all, sometimes you will get into so much shooting that your barrel will heat up and it is handy to have another firearm to use while the other cools off.  Secondly, if you have a breakage with your gun, you are going to want a back-up.

 

We suggest that your primary gun be a bolt-action rifle, for accuracy, equipped with at least a 12x scope.  A more powerful scope may be advantageous, however above 12x you will want to use an adjustable scope (for the closer shots).  Lots of shooters use a 6x to 20x variable / adjustable scope, it seems to work well for them.

 

You can use any caliber you prefer.  However, here’s how we sort them out:

 

For close in shots the .17HMR & .22LR are plenty.  You may also want to use a 22LR handgun for great sport on some shots.  The distance you are shooting and the wind conditions may be an issue with these smaller calibers with lighter loads.  The next step up in caliber that we consider would be the .220 Swift.  This load would handle the intermediate ranges.

 

For all around use and flexibility, the favorite is the .223 (specifically the 55gr, ballistic tip).    Limited recoil, accurate, economical and effective.  We have had success with this rifle/load out to 400+ yards.

 

 

If you are looking to “reach out” and touch a long-range target, you might consider the 22.250 or.243 caliber.

 

From our viewpoint, larger calibers than the above fall into the heading of “personal preference”.  Suffice to say, if you like to shoot prairie dogs with a .308 or 30.06 round … go for it.

 

How much ammo should I bring with me?

 

It is difficult to say how much ammo you will need.  It depends on your abilities and intentions.  For example, if you are a seasoned shooter and you will be focused on just prairie dogs and you will be shooting a three-day hunt, you may want to budget about 300 rounds per day.  If you just like to shoot, you might want to bump that up a little.  So the answer is relative to your intentions. 

 

As for us, here’s what we do for a three-day hunt.  Bring a .22LR handgun and a semi-auto .22LR rifle.  Also bring a .223 bolt action rifle.  For theses guns we pack a minimum of 1,000 rounds each of .22LR and .223.  You can bring more than you need; it’s not always easy to find what you didn’t bring.

 

Exactly where will I be located on my prairie dog hunt?

 

It depends on the time of year, the game you’re after and the local hunting and weather conditions.  We are constantly looking for and finding private land available to us.  The bottom line is, we go where the action is.  We will work out the details of your shoot as your booking date nears.  You’ll have plenty of time to make plans, travel and lodging arrangements.

 

What regulations are there when hunting prairie dogs?

 

In Wyoming the prairie dog is not considered a game animal, it is viewed as a pest.  You are not required to have a hunting license.  There is no closed season on private property.  Certain government / public owned lands have restricted hunting seasons.  You are not required to wear hunter’s orange while in the field.  You may use any caliber gun to hunt prairie dogs.  There are no bag limits.  However, you will need a Hunter’s Safety Certificate if you were born after December 31, 1965.

 

There are general hunting regulations, i.e.  Land Access, Endangered Species, etc.

 

There are regulations regarding the possession and transportation of firearms.  These rules / laws are not specific to prairie dog hunting; they apply to anyone, anytime they are involved with the possession, use and transportation of firearms.  You are responsible to be informed of these laws.  Here are a few websites where you may find useful information:

 

National Rifle Association - Gun Laws               Wyoming Game & Fish

 

State of Wyoming Official Website                      OUR  LINKS  Page

 

 

Know the law !

 

 

What happens if it rains ?

 

Prairie dogs don’t come out in the rain very much.  They usually hold up in their burrows until it stops raining.  So you just don’t hunt if it’s raining.

 

If you are out in the field when it starts raining on you … you are very likely going to be stuck in the mud until things dry out.  The dry, hard ground quickly turns into “Gumbo Mud”.  Even 4x4 vehicles can find themselves mired down.

 

The best bet is to stay out of the field if it has recently rained.  If you are in the field and it is threatening to rain … make your way off of the two-tracks to the nearest gravel road and then head for the blacktop.  Be alert.  The weather can and does change quickly from partly cloudy to mostly muddy in short order.

 

What do I do if someone challenges me being on the property ?

 

As our client you will be hunting on private property where we have leased from the owner the hunting rights for the season.

 

You will be provided with credentials.  If you are asked for identification, simply inform them that you are our client and show them your credentials.  If there is any further question of your presence on the property, just leave the property and contact us immediately.  Please do not engage in any argument or unpleasant exchange.  We will handle any points of contention.

 

Having said this, we have never had any of my clients challenged on any hunt.  Our expectation is that unless you are in some manner being unsafe, irresponsible or destructive, you will not be approached by anyone.

 

 

Got a question ?  … Give us a call.

 

(406) 366-3858

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