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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings folks! I just got back from my annual Sage Rat hunt in central Oregon. I discovered sage rat hunting in 2019 and had such a great time that I decided to go every year for as long as I can. The only tough part is that it takes me 8 hours to drive to Burns, Oregon from my home in Washington State. I might have to break it up into two parts sometime in the future.

I stayed in Burns but drove 30 miles to the east to Crane to shoot. I booked a guide just to make it easy. I still hear that it's not hard to find a farmer willing to let you shoot on their land. But since it takes me 8 hours to get there (and 8 hours home), I'm willing to pay a small fee to guide to set things up for me. I'd rather spend my time shooting than knocking on doors.

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As you can see, no problem social distancing here. I just wish there were some trees for shade.

We shot for a bit from a raised platform but the rats were so spread out that we decided to go look for them.

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That's where my CZ 457 in 17 HMR mounted in a BOG "Death Grip" tripod worked really well. I would drop two packs of ammo (100 rds) in my pocket, a bottle of water in another, and start moving around. Set up, shoot rats out to 150 yards and then move farther along for another 150 yards. Rinse, lather, repeat.
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I also packed a heavy barrel AR for those rats out past 150 yards or when I didn't feel like walking.

I'll spare the victim photos but it was sure fun teaching them new tricks like doing back flips 5 feet into the air.

I'm trying to decide if I feel like going back next month. I think April is the best month. The rats are still dumb, the grass is short, but the weather can be "iffy". The weather in May is nicer but the grass is taller and the rats wary.

Hope you guys are getting out and giving the varmints a bad time!

It's great being retired!
 

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Shooting Sage Rats sounds better to me than looking everywhere for the plauged out, starved out, dried out, shot out Prairie Dogs. That's a fur piece from me here in Kentucky.
Glad you had a good shoot and nice photos.
 

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Good write up, and thanks for the pictures. Where can you get info on the guides for popping some sage rats???
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you, Gents! Somehow going the 14 hours to Montana just seems a "bridge too far" right now.

The guide did tell me that things are still a little slow right now due to a late Spring. The group think is that it will be in another week before "the ground is moving" red hot shooting begins.

When I went in April of 2019, the alfalfa was about 2 inches high. So you were looking for brown lumps moving about in the green grass. With 8X binoculars, it was easy to spot them out to 300 yards. This year, the alfalfa was barely a half inch tall. It made the rats easier to spot but I wonder if the lack of concealment made them more nervous.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't know much about prairie dogs but sage rats (Belding ground squirrels) will eat their own. It's not unusual to see one snacking on the remains of another rat. At times you have to wonder what they're thinking. One moment there are three sitting there - Bang! Now only two. One turns to the other and says, "Hey! Where's Bob?" The other looks back and says, "I don't know. He was here just a minute ago. You want a leg?"

I also wanted to mention that action starts off at about 0730. Around 1100 it starts to slow down until about 1500. Then things ramp up again until 1800. Some guys head back to the motel for lunch and a siesta. Others will just have lunch in the field and plink off the occasional stragglers.
 

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30+ hours to Winnemucca from IN. A LOT of windshield time.
 

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I've read some debate about Pdogs being the same way as sage rats, eating their own or the remains. I've even participated in the "where's Bob" scene, except it was a family, 2 adults and 3 smaller pups, all lined up on a mound. Picked off the 3 pups, mom & dad finally figured out what was going on before I could get them. LOL
 

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That's what I'm told.....

Hard to find a shooting Bud to spend 2 HARD days or 3 hard enough days of windshield time just to get there, 5-9 days shooting, then the return drive. That's a lot to ask for either individual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hard to find a shooting Bud to spend 2 HARD days or 3 hard enough days of windshield time just to get there, 5-9 days shooting, then the return drive. That's a lot to ask for either individual.
I can completely identify with this comment. Finding a good hunting partner is pretty tough as we get older. My best hunting partner decided to retire on the east coast. My next best partner got job transferred to Texas.

This year I went sage rat hunting with two new partners. For some reason, they hated each other from the moment they met and things went downhill from there. Even the guide noticed. Within 10 minutes, she took me on the side and said, "They really hate each other, don't they?"

It did put a damper on the hunt but things work out. The guide emailed to say the temperatures are moderating and the rat numbers are up. Why don't I come back alone? The wife just said, "That's a great idea!" Of course I have no idea whether she wants me to have a good time or just wants me out of the house for a few days.

Now to see if I can get things together.

Side note: I absolutely love my CZ 457! I bought it a year ago in 22LR. I decided I wanted to try the 17 HMR so I bought a barrel. Absolute laser beam out to 150 yards. I've been trying to find a CZ 457 Varmint in 17 HMR since. Man! Can't find one anywhere locally.
 

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Just get your $%^& together and go man. You have a hall pass, what more could a man want???? LOL
 
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