A prairie dog is a type of ground squirrels, a neat social animal habitat mostly in USA, Canada and Mexico. They are considered as one of the most abundant mammals in North America, although their numbers have decreased over the last few decades for several reasons.
These tiny animals are mostly harmless, lives in burrows, and eat vegetables. They directly or indirectly benefit other small animals by providing shelter and food. Such a nice little species they are!
So, hunting prairie dogs, may sounds crazy, cruel and even sad at first. Shooting these apparently cute, harmless puny animals for no reason! – Who would do that?!
Yes, it is cruel, if there aren’t any real reasons for doing that. The fact is, for some, these tiny things aren’t as harmless as you think. There are few actual reasons exist for shooting prairie dogs. That’s why hunting prairie dog is considered as varmint hunting – a way of controlling pests.
Let’s look upon the causes of why people actually hunt or, I should rather say, shoot prairie dogs.
Harmful for grass lands
About 30 million prairie dogs are moving through the underground tunnels in North America’s prairies. They populate rapidly like many other small mammals. Although, a few prairie dogs living inside the grass lands doesn’t seem very terrible. But, to a livestock farmer, an uncontrolled amount of prairie dogs moving inside his farmlands isn’t good news. They could cause serious problems, they certainly could cause serious damage to the pastures as the prairie dogs feeds on them.
Can cause injuries to livestock
Prairie dog’s burrow and tunnels can seriously injure livestock especially horses. Many unfortunate incidents happen over the years where a horse breaks its’ leg by stepping on a hole or a tunnel when it collapses. A large number of prairie dogs mean a large number of these types of tunnels which consequently results many such unfortunate events. Livestock farmers do not like that, obviously.
Prairie dogs spread diseases. It has been found that they carry the kind of fleas that causes plague. Therefore, densely populated prairie dog’s colonies are not desirable near households.
Finally we can come down to a clear conclusion – population of prairie dogs should be controlled. There are many alternative measures can be taken to control their number such as putting barrier, rehabilitating, poisoning etc. Some of these alternatives can be difficult and even not possible. In such scenario, shooting them becomes the only feasible option.
Shooting prairie dog isn’t actually hunting; it’s a great way of target practicing though. Beginner hunters can take this opportunity for mastering their accuracy by shooting at a living animal. This is true with both firearms and bows.
Best gun for prairie dog hunting
As I just mentioned, hunting prairie dogs could be a real time opportunity to mastering a hunting weapon. So, you can select any weapon of your choice i.e. rifle, bow etc.
However, if you are serious with killing this animal then rifles would be the best choice. As prairie dogs are not typical game animal, hunting them is considered as varmint hunting.
And the rifles that are used for hunting varmints are popularly known as varmint rifles. And, varmints are the animals which are responsible for creating nuisances i.e. killing farm animals, spreading diseases, destroying other assets etc.
You can choose any rifle from the underneath list of best guns for for varmint hunting, including prairie dogs:
List of hunting gears and other things
If you are planning to go out for a prairie dog hunting then bring this things with you –
Best Places for hunting prairie dogs
Wyoming is one of the best places for hunting prairie dogs. You will find abundant amount of white tailed PDs in all over this state. But, the thing that made Wyoming best is its prairie dog hunting laws and regulations. The Wyoming Department of Agriculture has declared prairie dogs as pests – so, in public lands you won’t require any license to shoot prairie dogs.
In some private lands you may need permission but, most owners will happily give you permission to hunt PDs.
Apart from Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska contains a large number of black and white tailed prairie dogs. However, each state has its own rules and regulations regarding hunting prairie dogs. Consult the states wild life department’s website before outing would be a good idea.
Best time for hunting prairie dogs
Prairie dogs love sun. They come out from their holes whenever the sun is shining. So, prairie dogs can be hunted all over the year if there’s enough sun. However, during spring time when the pups come out is the most opportune time to shoot maximum. If you want to shoot a lot of prairie dogs then prepare for late spring (early June) and early summer
Farmers and ranchers don’t like PDs in their land. They would normally welcome your help to get rid of this creature. But, during rain they won’t like you to destroy their track with your ride. You won’t like it to get stuck in the mud either. So, it’s better to stay away from the farms land during rain.
Hunting prairie dog is fun, especially for new hunters. This experience helps you become more familiar with your weapons. It will sharpen your eyes. Make your shooting more accurate. Train your nerve to become more agile. Make you more patients. Prepare you for real hunting.
Do you want anything more?
Please let me know if this prairie dog hunting tips helps you in the field.