Varmint Hunting With My Boys

It has been a few years since I took a trip to Wyoming to do a little target practicing. My son Landen will be hunting deer and elk for the first time this year and I have found no better way to get a child familiar with acquiring targets, loading a rifle and generally learning how to use a rifle under some pressure than prairie dog hunting. This provides a little stress to a young hunter and helps them work through this so that they can get a good quality shot off. This pays big dividends when your child is out deer and elk hunting.

The first hour or so Landen was a little stressed trying to find them in the scope and getting on them quick enough. It didn't take too long before he was working the action and blasting away all on his own. This worked great so that I could spend most of my time helping KB, my youngest. KB has a few more years before he will be able to deer and elk hunt. 

I ended up only shooting a handful of times but that was all I needed. My closest shot was a prairie dog at 329 yards. I took one at 470 yards and set a new longest shot on a prairie dog at 900 yards on this trip. Check out the video of this shot.

It was a great day being able to spend it with all three of my boys. They had a blast, literally. What a fun day. Now it's time to apply the aloe vera on my sunburn. Ouch!

Coyote Hunt - Pulling Trail Cams For Winter

243 WSSM A-Bolt Varmint Stainless

243 WSSM A-Bolt Varmint Stainless coyote hunting.  

When KB and I were hunting during the muzzleloader elk hunt we made some coyote challenge barks and had coyotes in four directions going crazy all around us. So I decide to take out my 243 WSSM A-Bolt Varmint rifle to see if I could find some to shoot when I went in to check my cameras.

On the way up the mountain I setup to call for coyotes. After calling for a few minutes I spotted a coyote somewhat behind me on a ridge 199 yards away. I swung my rifle and shooting sticks around steadied and sent a 105 A-Max out to meet him. Well it didn't work out quite the way I was hoping. Oops, I think that bullet sailed right over the coyote. I just educated that song dog. Dang it!

A later trip to the range showed the the rifle was shooting an inch and a half high at 100 yards. Add the extra inch I dialed up for the 200 yard shot and I was probably around 3 inches high at 200 yards. Hmm.... I still should have hit the coyote but this might have been just enough to make me miss. Dang it!

After I went and verified that I missed I started hiking back to my Montero. As I hiked back along the path I had hiked in a came across a set of bear tracks crossing over my tracks heading around the hill behind where I had setup to call. I'm not sure how close the bear came to me but he was somewhere behind me within 100 yards while I was calling for coyotes.

I drove up the mountain further and headed in to check my cameras. About a mile up the mountain I crossed some really large bear tracks in the snow. I ended up crossing over these large bears tracks many times while I retrieved most of my cameras.

I decided to leave three of my older cameras up on the mountain to stay for the winter. I set them to only take a couple photos per each trigger so that they wouldn't fill up the SD cards, hopefully before I could retrieve them in the spring. I'm excite to see what these cameras capture on the mountain through winter.

I ended up getting the large black bear on three of my trail cameras. Two cameras were taking photos and a Recon Force Full HD camera got some great video footage of the bear. (see video on page)

Sadly, I found a lion killed fawn near my cameras. It appeared to have been killed a day or two before. The bear had sat down in the snow by the carcass but I don't think he ate much. Only the neck and brisket area around the rib cage had been eaten. The hair on the fawns chin had been mauled making me believe that a cougar had killed the fawn. Because of the fresh snow there was only the fresh bear tracks going to it. I'm pretty sure it was a lion.

It was a beautiful and sad day to hike up into the area for the last time this year. I can't wait to see what the cameras capture through winter.



Big Black Bear Track in snow

Track from the large black bear.

3 shot group of 243 WSSM 105 A-Max

The 105 A-Max is shooting well just an inch and a half high and a little to the right at 100 yards. Given I dialed up an inch to take the 199 yeard shot at the coyote I was around three inches high at 199 yards... just maybe enough to contribute to my missed shot.

Mountain Lion killed mule deer fawn

It appeared that a mountain lion killed this fawn within the last couple days. Notice how all the white hair under it's chin is matted and twisted. It looks like a cougar may have had a hold of this fawn's face.

Bear track in the snow

More of the large black bear's tracks in the snow.

2013 Prairie Dog Hunting — Setting Up a Vortex Viper Scope

Vortex Viper Model 1885 Talley One Piece Base 243 WSSM Rifle

Sighting in my Model 1885 in 243 WSSM with the new Talley one piece base. Talley's new one piece base is pretty sweet. It is much better that the dovetail turn-in style that has been the only option. I do think Talley should rethink their rings as they take a little too long to get the scope mounted level.

Find more information on setting up Model 1885 rifles with bases and rings.

The Vortex Viper scope wasn't too bad either. It's my first Vortex rifle scope to try out.

The three teenagers setup shooting prairie dogs.

The three young men setup blasting away at the prairie dogs.

With me working so much on getting the Pack Wheel game cart ready to sell last year Dallen and I missed out on going prairie dog hunting. This year Dallen has been reminding me over and over that we missed last year and that we need to go shoot some Prairie Dogs. I wonder if he likes going. :) It is a lot of fun spending time with your son shooting a lot of rounds with high powered rifles I must admit.

This year Dallen invited two of his good friends to come along for the fireworks show. Unfortunately we picking the windiest day ever to go. On our first setup early in the morning I just setup the tripod with a spotting scope and the wind blew it over into the dirt. Luckily the scope was fine just a little dusty, however I put the scope up for the rest of the day fearing it would get damaged. There is always a strong wind in Wyoming but we usually are able to get a couple hours of shooting in before the wind starts roaring but not on this day. 

I setup the camera as best as I could to take some video of the boys shooting. With the wind it was very difficult to keep the camera from shaking uncontrollably. I tried to set the camera up directly behind the Expedition as best as possible trying to keep it out of the wind but it helped little.

There appeared to be a good number of dogs this year. Thanks to the wind there were still a good number of dogs when we left. The area was the driest I have ever seen it. It could definitely use some good rain storms this summer. The dust was really bad especially combined with the extreme wind.

On one of our setups as I was watching and spotting for the boys I noticed a good sized prairie dog that was hiding in the sage brush nearly out of view. After many numerous attempts to show the boys where it was none of the boys could ever see it, so I put the camera on the spot and bumped them off the bench. You can see the shot in the video below. I was using the same 95 Gr. Berger VLD load and Model 1885 rifle that I used to take my cow elk back in January this year. I have changed out the bases, rings and rifle scope to a Vortex Viper since my cow elk hunt. The shot was my first to two shots I think I took for the day.

Below are a couple of the better shots that we were able to get on camera. It took some editing in Adobe After Effects to get the video somewhat stable to be able to watch.

Panorama of Western Wyoming prairie dog hunting

Panorama of the area in Western Wyoming where we go hunting prairie dogs.




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