Prairie dog season opened here, in Northern Arizona, this past Thursday. I had intended to get out for the opener, but the weather forecast for the dog town area, was predicting winds in the 20 to 25 mph range. I know from experience, that hunting in those conditions, is a complete waste of time.
The forecast for Friday, was much better with winds predicted to be in the 10 to 15 mph range. I headed out midmorning, for a nice leisurely drive out to the dog town. This town is about two miles long, and a mile wide. I like to drive about a third of a mile into the town, park, get my gear out, and then hunt in a circle around where my vehicle is parked.
As I drove into the town, I saw a lot of this years pups running here, there, and everywhere. As I was gearing up, I glanced off to my left, and spotted an adult p-dog sitting on the top of a mound. I finished loading my Cricket, and hit the dog with my laser range finder. The range came back at 55 yards. The rifle is zeroed at 75 yards. I checked the trajectory plot info, on the side of my rifle, and it indicated a hold under of one and a half hashmarks on the AEON scope's reticle.
I settled the rifle onto my tripod, adjusted the scope parallax for a clear image, and sent a 34 grain JSB down range. The shot connected, and knocked to dog off of the front of the mound, and out of sight. When I got over to the mound, I was greeted by the image that you see at the beginning of this story. The dog slid down into the burrow entrance, DRT.
Using my handy, dandy, prairie dog recovery tool, I fished him out of the burrow. The pellet entered just above the left shoulder, crossed over, and exited above the right shoulder.
I took a couple of pictures and resumed my hunt. The wind isn't bad, it's running 12 to 15 mph, the temp is right at 80 degrees, and it's nice to be out of town, enjoying a beautiful day in the wide open spaces. Hunting prairie dogs is the frosting on the cake.
I've walked maybe 80 yards, when I spot another adult p-dog sitting on a mound directly in front of me. The range finder indicates that it is 67 yards away. As usual I get the gun set up on the tripod, and get into the scope to set up for the shot. The wind flag, that I have mounted to my air tube, indicates that I have a quartering wind running from 10 o'clock, to 4 o'clock. I hold a little left, one hashmark under, launch the pellet and miss just right. Racking the side lever, to load another pellet, I make a slight adjustment to my hold and launch another pellet.
This one connects, and rolls the dog off of the mound. I can see it rolling around in the dirt, so I send another pellet down range. That shot connects with its head. At that point, all action stops and the rodent is DRT.
At this point, I decide to drive into the town another half mile, or so, and grab a bite to eat. While I'm munching on some fried chicken, I have several visitors show up. Prairie dog pups start popping up anywhere from 15 feet to 20 yards away. They are young, dumb, and very curious.
These guys all get a pass. I don't get any satisfaction from shots this close in. I'm generally looking for opportunities from 50 yards on out to around a hundred.
I finished up my lunch and went on the hunt again. While eating, I noticed some activity a couple of hundred yards away, so I headed in that direction. As I got closer, I could see three prairie dogs frolicking around a mound. It looked like two pups and an adult. Closing the distance to a lasered 75 yards, I set up for the shot.
The two pups disappeared, but the adult was sitting upright on the mound, looking in my direction. The wind was coming directly at me. I set up for the shot, and putting the crosshair on the prairie dogs shoulder, touched it off. At impact, the dog tumbled over backwards and out of sight. When I walked up to the mound, I found the dog laying in the dirt on its back. The pellet had entered at the right shoulder, and exited through the throat.
By this time, it's getting pretty toasty, so I decided to call it a day, and headed back to my vehicle. I spent another hour checking out a couple of other nearby towns for prairie dog activity. There were plenty of dogs visible in both towns, so I'll be back to hunt those areas soon.
I could have shot a bunch of close in pups, but a high body count isn't important to me. It was my first hunt of the season, and I had a really good time. The .25 cal Cricket Carbine continues to be impressive. When I miss, it's my fault not the guns.
Until next time, thanks for reading.