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Prairie dog hunting


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Panhandle resident here. Have done it some. It is fun if you back off 500 yards and have a good rest and chair (in the shade). They wise up pretty quick so you can't just sit in one spot all day. 

Much like calling coyotes and even dove hunting up here, the days of freebie hunts are about over. The ranchers figured out there was money to be made, and most of the good spots are all leased up. 

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I'm going to be that guy:

 

Prairie dogs aerate and fertilize the soil. Prairie dog towns result in more rainwater making it back into the aquifer and less running off, resulting is less soil erosion. Cows (and other large ungulates like pronghorn, deer, elk, antelope- you know stuff you guys like to kill) prefer to graze in areas adjacent to dog towns, because the grasses have higher protein content. Prairie dogs act to prevent grasslands from being over run with brush, like cedar. Ranchers who exterminate prairie dogs are degrading their land and the abundance and quality of the grasses and forbs on that land. More prairie dogs on ranch land means more grazing for cattle, not less.

Burrowing owls are on the decline due primarily to the war on prairie dogs. The owls use abandoned dog holes to nest, they don't make their own. Desert tortoise also depends on prairie dogs.

Finally, cows do not break legs stepping in prairie dog holes. Anybody who tells you other wise is either lying or deluded or doesn't know what they are talking about.

I concede a galloping horse is at risk of breaking a leg in a prairie dog hole, but the towns are pretty obvious, and anybody dumb enough to gallop a horse through a dog town shouldn't be riding a horse anyway.

 

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In northern McCulloch County, in the early 80's, there was a colony on the ranch next to ours.  The old timers around that area told me that they were thick in the '50s but that is the most eastern I have ever heard of them being. They disappeared shortly thereafter but not because we were killing them.  There was an explosion of the fox population around that time so maybe that had something to do with it.

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20 hours ago, Shoxthemonkey said:

Not by shooting, for sure. The places around Liberal, KS, Turpin,OK that we used to shoot over have been decimated by poison. We hardly ever see a dog  there anymore.

Yes, I use poison on mine. While a blast with kids, shooting prairie dogs has almost no effect on the local populations here on the high plains. 

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On 2/25/2020 at 11:23 PM, High Plains Drifter said:

I concede a galloping horse is at risk of breaking a leg in a prairie dog hole, but the towns are pretty obvious, and anybody dumb enough to gallop a horse through a dog town shouldn't be riding a horse anyway.

It's often overblown to an extent - but my aunt still raises quarter horses to this day, and before that sheep.  I remember vividly on one occasion her putting down a horse with broken leg from stepping in one of the holes.  It's not something you forget.  Horse crying - she was crying.  It was a mess.  Same with cattle ranchers and porcupines.  Only has to happen once to set the morderous genocide in motion.  

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Just now, davidg said:

Fixed it for the truth.

Like I said, prior to horses it was sheep/goats.  Anything brown and on 4 legs had the air let out of it ASAP.  Granted sheep are dumber than a sack of hammers, but still.  Walking meat bags for the coyotes and wolves (back they were still around). 

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On 2/25/2020 at 11:23 PM, High Plains Drifter said:

 

I'm going to be that guy:

 

Prairie dogs aerate and fertilize the soil. Prairie dog towns result in more rainwater making it back into the aquifer and less running off, resulting is less soil erosion. Cows (and other large ungulates like pronghorn, deer, elk, antelope- you know stuff you guys like to kill) prefer to graze in areas adjacent to dog towns, because the grasses have higher protein content. Prairie dogs act to prevent grasslands from being over run with brush, like cedar. Ranchers who exterminate prairie dogs are degrading their land and the abundance and quality of the grasses and forbs on that land. More prairie dogs on ranch land means more grazing for cattle, not less.

Burrowing owls are on the decline due primarily to the war on prairie dogs. The owls use abandoned dog holes to nest, they don't make their own. Desert tortoise also depends on prairie dogs.

Finally, cows do not break legs stepping in prairie dog holes. Anybody who tells you other wise is either lying or deluded or doesn't know what they are talking about.

I concede a galloping horse is at risk of breaking a leg in a prairie dog hole, but the towns are pretty obvious, and anybody dumb enough to gallop a horse through a dog town shouldn't be riding a horse anyway.

 

Family has been ranching in the panhandle for over 100 years. While not common, we have had cattle break legs on occasion. 
 

Also, when working cattle you don’t always get to choose where you do and don’t gallop. You see one good horse get put down bc of a prairie dog hole and you’re willing to do a lot of work to make sure it doesn’t happen again. 

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