The last time I was out shooting prairie dogs was December 2, 2017, when I was using the last shells I had loaded for my Stiller Predator action .17 Remington before I replaced the Lilja barrel. I used that same rifle today with its new barrel. I parked the pickup at about 1:45 p.m., got my sun shades up on my windows and got out my Stiller Predator action .17 Remington. This rifle was rebarreled this last winter and hadn’t shot at a live target yet. It is a stainless steel super match grade Pac-Nor barrel in medium Palma contour. It has a 1 in 9 twist with three grooves and was chambered and installed by my gunsmith. He added some 5/16" flutes, threaded the muzzle for my suppressors, and put his fancy scrolling work on the outside of the barrel.
I had 102 shells along and they were loaded with 21.9 gr. of IMR 8208 XBR, 25 gr. V-Max bullets coated with hBN, and I used Remington 7½ primers. I’m using Nosler brass in this rifle. Muzzle velocity with this load is 4,055 fps and makes nice small clover-leaf groups at 100 yards. When I finally got my gear together I walked up to the fence line north of my pickup and lay in the prone position and fired off 7 shots. I missed on one shot and nailed 6 prairie dogs. I took some photos of the victims and then dragged my Schwinn cart through the gate and headed west to shoot a few more prairie dogs. The cart held my backpack, a cooler with my lunch and sodas, camera, field bipod and a 3-legged stool.
There were some Wild Prairie Rose blossoms with one nice reddish colored bud waiting to open. As usual, there were lots of field bindweed blossoms too.
Here is a photo of the second victim of the day taking a dirt nap. It was only about 75 yards away when I shot. The bottom of the PD is a bloody mess!!!!
While I was shooting three men in a white pickup drove into the north end of the PD town and I could hear the sound of a gun going off. Then they unloaded a couple of dirt bikes and an ATV and started racing around the hillside to the NW of me. They eventually had driven one of the ATVs directly east of my position and appeared to be shooting to the south, which is where my pickup was parked. I walked over to where they were and told them where my pickup was parked so it didn’t get a bunch of holes in it. They said they had noticed the pickup and weren’t shooting in that direction??? Here’s a photo of my pickup.
I went back to shooting prairie dogs and they rode their cycles and shot prairie dogs. It was 82º for most of the afternoon. I stopped for a drink of water around 4:25 p.m. Around 4:15 it had clouded up a bit and since my back and ribs still ache from my surgery, I decided to walk back to the pickup and head home. While driving between two fields seeded to grain, I was in extremely tall crested wheat grass and, like an old fool, I didn’t get out to check what was in my path when I approached an area where it looked like water had run off the field. Sure enough, both front wheels went into a washout and the front of my pickup was hung up—both front wheels were spinning in the air!!! I got out my G.I. Shovel and tried to dig out enough dirt to get the frame of the pickup free, but that was futile. While I was shoveling, I could hear rifle shots coming from the east of me, just over the small rise. I could hear the ricochet of the bullets and got worried. I made a phone call to my wife and told her about getting hung up in the washout and asked her to see if my son-in-law or my son could come out to give me a tow.
I started walking towards where the shots were coming from. Sure enough, the fellows in the white pickup were shooting prairie dogs ENE of me and some of the bullets were flying over my head. When I got to where they could see me, I waved for them to come over to where I was standing. They came over and I asked them if they would try to pull me out of the washout. They said they would be glad to help. I walked back to my pickup and got my 20 foot long 1" nylon tow rope out and hooked it to the back end of my pickup. I hooked the other end to the tow hook on their front bumper and I was out of my predicament in a flash.
I thanked them and offered to pay them, but they would not accept any money. They said they were from Alaska and were working for an oil company out of Watford City, ND. I called my wife again and told her to tell anyone she had found to help me that I had already been rescued. I backed up and took a safer route around the washout. I got home at 6:48 p.m.
Other than the fact I got stuck, my aching ribs, extremely sore lower back, and sore right hip, it had been a GREAT DAY!!!
I took a total of 38 shots from distances of 25 yards on out to 165 yards. I missed on 3 of my shots, nailed 32 singles, and bagged 3 doubles for a total of 38 dead prairie dogs with 38 shots. There weren’t very many pups gathered around their mounds. The one double I got I had 8 small pups around their den and I got lucky and killed two of them. The other doubles happened when two adults were close together.
And here’s the photo you have all been waiting for, my “Hero Photo”
showing my rifle, the 1st kill of the day (first kill with this newly rebarreled rifle too) and me.