2011 Prairie Dog Hunt Take Two — 600 Yard Direct Hit on Video

Prairie Dog Sitting on Mound

Typical view of a white-tailed prairie dog sitting on a mound in Wyoming.

I played hooky from work so Dallen and I could take a second trip this year for prairie dogs as a birthday present to myself. The wind wasn't nearly as bad as our first trip prairie dog hunting earlier this year. I did rig my tripod up with weight hanging from it to steady it more. With the steadier tripod and less wind I was able to get much better video and I was also now able to take video in full HD 1920x1080 with my FujiFilm HS20exr camera.

With the wind being more under control this trip we spent much of our time shooting at prairie dogs in the longer more challenging ranges of 300 to 600 yards with my 243 WSSM. Dallen used his A-Bolt 223 Rem. on many of the closer shots (170 to 250 yards).

Below are some videos clips from the day. My favorite shot of the day was when I took a prairie dog at right around 600 yards with a bullet going 4240 fps while my spotter (Dallen!) was taking a break/snooze to get a snack from the truck. I wasn't able to get my rangefinder to give a range off this prairie dog mound however I was able to range a prairie dog mound that was closer at 571 yards. By judging the distance behind the mound I could get a range off, I feel confident in guessing the shot at 600 yards give or take a few.


Here are some prairie dogs getting airborne in slow motion mixed with HD video clips that have audio.


Here is a slow motion video clip of a miss on a prairie dog at somewhere around 475 yards. The vapor trail was very noticeable on this shot. You can even see the vapor trail being blown by the wind during the first part of it traveling across this draw.

I use my Fujifilm HS20exr camera with a frame rate set at 80 frames per second for the slow motion video clips and full HD 1920x1080 for the clips that have audio. I also had a Sony VCL-DH1758 teleconverter on the camera to get a 51x (1224mm) optical power zoom which is very useful for the long distances we are shooting at the prairie dogs.

2011 Prairie Dog Hunt - 243 WSSM Shooting 4240 FPS

Dallen shooting my Model 1885 in 243 WSSM from the bench while prairie dog hunting.

Dallen shooting my Model 1885 in 243 WSSM from the bench while prairie dog hunting.

Here are a few photos and video action from a recent DIY Prairie Dog hunt that Dallen and I went on. Dallen took his A-Bolt Stainless Stalker in 223 Rem. and I took my Winchester Model 1885 in 243 WSSM. After watching the acrobatics the 243 WSSM would give the Prairie Dogs in the viewfinder of the camera Dallen started using my rifle for most of the day. The 55g Ballistic Tip bullets coming out the muzzle of the 28 inch long rifle barrel are crusing at 4240 fps working some pretty cool magic on varmints.

We drove around for a few hours in the morning looking for different areas to hunt. By the time we found some good areas the wind was just roaring. It was very difficult to hit anything past 200 yards. We still made the best of it and focused most of our shooting around the 200 yard distance.

Dallen made the most impressive shot of the day at 300 yards, with a heavy cross wind. It took him a couple of shots for me to spot the shot placement and try to outsmart the wind. Here is a video clip of the shot. He is holding with the second windage mil dot to make this shot. The vapor trail of the bullet is also pretty impressive in this shot.


Here are some compiled video clips of various Prairie Dogs being launched. We almost get three complete rotations in the air with one critter we took at 160 yards as you can see in the clip below.

To capture the video I was using my Fujifilm HS20exr with a frame rate set at 80 frames per second and some at 160 frames per second with a Sony VCL-DH1758 teleconverter to get a 51x optical power zoom. The wind was so bad that the video was horribly shaky. I did the best I could at getting video in the harsh wind. I will work on a steadier tripod system in the future. Because the camera was so shaky HD video was not working really at all. By running the camera in lower resolution and higher frame rates I was able to get some ok footage. I also took all of the video footage into Adobe After Effects to stabilize the video so you don't get completely sea sick watching it.

My Model 1885 in 243 WSSM on the bench while prairie dog hunting.

Picture of us while hunting prairie dogs with my 243 WSSM in 2011. Picture of us while hunting prairie dogs with my 243 WSSM in 2011.
My 243 WSSM Winchester Model 1885 in on the bench while prairie dog hunting. Dallen and I from where we setup and shot most of the day. Dallen with his first Red Fox we found while hunting Prairie Dogs.

For more prairie dog hunting video clips check out my second prairie dog hunting entry. Including a 600 yard direct hit on a prairie dog.

243 WSSM Model 1885 Coyote Double

Two coyotes, Model 1885, 243 WSSM, Homemade Electronic Coyote Caller

Every summer since I was little our family has gone camping for several days in the Cache National Forest of Northern Utah. I have many a great memory of these camping trips. Now that I have my own family we have continued the tradition with our own children and my parents who are now Grandpa and Grandma.

The area that we go camping in always had a lot of coyotes but a couple of years back some pretty extensive reduction of their numbers happened. I believe this came by the hands and helicopters of government employees in which I was happy to see because the deer numbers were getting pretty low at the time. Since then I have seen little sign and usually only when there is a sheep herd within a couple miles. I still always throw in a rifle and caller just in case I happen to find some coyotes but knowing most likely there may not be any in the area.


Two coyotes, Model 1885, 243 WSSM, Homemade Electronic Coyote Caller

The first three days of camping this year I was unable to find any coyote tracks or scat within the general area we were camped. On Sunday night about a mile away across the canyon a male coyote surprised me and started doing series after series of challenge yelps, howls and barks for well over an hour straight. It appeared that he was very upset with either another coyote or my wife's little yapper dog that we had with us. Whatever the case, it was Sunday and I have a personal belief that I should not snuff the life out of furry woodland creatures on Sunday. Oh, how I was ever so tempted to sneak past my wife, go across the canyon and silence that song dog... That night I strategized over and over how I was going to out smart him in the morning.

Early the next morning I grabbed my 243 WSSM Winchester Model 1885 single shot rifle, some optics and my homemade DIY electronic predator caller and snuck out of camp before anyone else was up. I slipped into a sagebrush draw that looked across the main canyon directly across from where I had heard the coyote the night before. I figured that at best I could get the coyote to come out of the pines and quaking aspens on the other side of the canyon and look across from some cliffs that formed a gorge like canyon. This would offer a 300 yard shot and if I was lucky I would be able to get him to cross the gorge and offer a closer shot on my side of the canyon, that is, if I could see him in the sagebrush before he winded me.


Two coyotes, Model 1885, 243 WSSM, Homemade Electronic Coyote Caller
My Winchester Model 1885, 243 WSSM, a homemade electronic coyote caller and the two coyotes I just took. I'm wearing the New Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity camo pattern which is not too bad of a pattern. Treestand and Duck Blind are my two favorite camo patterns right now.

Once in place I set my homemade DIY electronic predator caller to repeat a series of challenge barks in much the same manner the coyote had been doing the night before. I figured this coyote was obviously upset with someone in his turf and a little challenge might be just the trick to tick him off and let down his guard. I started the caller up and it wasn't 30 seconds and to my right on the same side of the canyon that I was on two coyotes were coming in full throttle through the sagebrush. As they crossed through a small draw and where out of sight I repositioned myself and setup on my shooting stix. They both stopped at about 100 yards across the draw I was in and I could only see the one so I dropped the hammer on him and down he went.

The sound of the exploding bullet on the coyote and the electronic caller still playing, I think confused the second coyote and she started running parallel to me at about a 100 yards crossing down into the draw I was in. Just before she made it to the thick sage in the bottom of the draw she stopped to look back up at the challenge barking coming from my caller. I was ready and dropped the hammer on her for a double, with a single shot rifle, in less than two minutes of calling .

At first I figured that the coyotes had to be young uneducated coyotes to come in so fast however they were an adult male and female pair. This makes since because the challenge barks I was making probably would scare off the younger coyotes.

I was using Winchester factory loaded 243 WSSM 55g Ballistic Tip bullets that chronograph at 4240 fps from this rifle. The coyotes where 95 and 97 yards away according to my Bushnell Elite 1500 range finder.

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