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Hey New2,
Not sure about your location but here in south central(FL)the black grass rats are around pretty much year round. During the summmer they are most active at dusk and night due to the extreme heat. In the fall and winter they can be coaxed out about any time by mowing pathways through the cow grass and dropping back 50 or so yards and sitting still. They like to run out into the fresh cut grass and eat the cuttings. Here is one staring down a deer caught on my game cam and one that tried to out run the 17HMR.


 

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I`ve never heard of any farmers in Ohio letting people on their land to shot rats. Once in the bin where the rat can really do damage the rat are controled with poison. I know that when I was farming when the rats started getting thick a few pitch packs around and they disappeared.
 

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new2varmints, I'm certain you're referring to sage rats, or ground squirrels by your location. If that's the case, figure on them coming up around mid-March to earlyl April, depending on the weather conditions. I've seen them here as early as late Jan or early Feb, but again, the warmth of the sun on the ground is what brings them out.

They're usually in full swing, munching alfalfa or grass by the beginning of April in most areas they're found.
 

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This is how I do it..............

http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION4/R4CameraPage2006.shtml

Check out the Oregon highway road cams close to the vicinity of your intended hunt.......they will usually show temp., wind, other conditions visually. In my experience & by calendar record, high desert plateau in early April with sun, temps in the 40's. Still freezing at night, dress warmly. l.r.
 

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Over here on the west coast of Florida we call them field rats. Pretty much a year round opportunity to zero your scope. Most common around barns and pastures.
 
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