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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last weekend was our second annual sage rat hunt in Crane Oregon.  A sage rat is a Belding ground squirrel.  They are called sage rats or picket pins here and in Montana they call them gophers.  They live smiliar to the way prairie dogs do.  They make huge mounds and dig holes in fields.  Which is why the farmers are so eager to let hunters on their land to hunt them.  There were several people from different shooting/hunting boards there and all had a great time.  I put a brick and a half through my 597 without a problem.   This concludes the rimfire portion of our program.  Justice you might want to hit the back button now.  :)


Hey Groucho, Kid 10/22 I took my .22 Hornet and got some good airtime on a few.  Long shot was a shade under 200 yards and average shots were 100-165 yards.
 

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 Mike:
Sounds like a lot of fun,I cant
imagin shootin a brick and a
half at any live targets in one
day.
Would be a good place to try
a 17HMR dont you think.
Whoa is me!!!!
All we got here in ole VA. is
groundhogs and crows.And they got
a season on the crows.Go figure.
Get of couple dozen shots in
one day ,youve had one h--l of
a day.But man is it fun.
Got to work on them hogs, soon
as turkey season is over.

Goodluck & Goodshootin.
 

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Hey Mike, Sounds like a good time shooting, even got to try alittle long range with the Hornet I see, we have those "gophers" [thats what everyone here calls them] I was reading in a magazine last night [Rifle Sporting Firearms..March] they were talking about the 17hmr and the Hornet having the same amount of drift in a 10 mph wind, 3 inches at a 100yds and 15in at 200, very simular in some ways, my 17V will be here next Monday it sounds, ammo tomorrow....have to check it out on some of those sage rats...haha....later Kid
 

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;D
Mike,
I just got back on Monday from Crane.  We left the Willamette Valley on Thurday morning, camped at the Hot Springs and shot for a full 2 and half days.  .22, 22-250, .223 and a single kill with my .45.  The only bad part was the pump at the Hot Springs went out and the pond was low and cold.  Theres next year to look forward to.  Weve done this for 3 years now.
Croaker
 

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Hey Mike.......Maybe we can get together half way this summer {Montana} and do some serious ammo burning on them little varmits  ;D .......let me know, sounds like fun..later  Kid
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well have to catch them right after cutting the alfalfa before they go down under for the summer.  Same little buggers you have in MT :)  Just change the name from gophers is all :)  I shot a bunch of them up around Sunburst MT a couple of years ago.
 

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Mike,
Youve been going for 2 years, Ive been going for 3.  The group I hunt with is still trying to dial in the best time frame.  Weve hunted the Ist weekend in May and the last 2 weekends in April.  Weve been thinking of going earlier.  The 1st year we shot a field at the base of the butte.  It set the standard we keep trying to reach.  That was the next to the last weekend in April.  The next year we went a weekend farther out and got hammered by the weather.  We had a good shoot, not a great one.  This year it was a Cinco de Mayo Massacre.  One rancher told us hed had people shooting for weeks already though and hadnt seen a lot of rats.  Whats been your experience?
Croaker
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
We went the weekend of the 20th and although there were lots of rats it wasnt as good as the year before or when I went to Baker City.  We hit some wind this year but other than that and being a little on the chilly side it wasnt bad.  Most of the fields that were hot last year were either plowed under or not much action on them.
 

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Had my new Volquartsen Onyx .22 WMR out euthanizing rats in Eastern Oregon this past weekend. Weather ranged from 2" snow on the ground with 25 mph winds to warm (75F), sunny, and 10 mph winds.

Lots of rats, but they are holed up in specific alfalfa fields. You just have to spot the center pivots, and talk with the ranchers to determine where infestations are located. The field we shot in was swarming with them, and ranchers are extremely happy to have populations controlled as it is very difficult to use poison baits. The field we shot in had a bald eagle, and it would be totally impractical to poison the rats with such magnificent scavenger birds flying about.

At any given time I could glass over 200 of them, and I estimate there were probably 40,000 of them in the 1/2 mile wide center pivot circle. Ranchers hadnt started irrigating alfalfa and it is still very short, maybe only 1 or 2" tall. Rats seemed to be holed up more so in the bare areas than in what sparse alfalfa there was.

When cold and windy, only the larger rats would come out and play. When it got warmer, the young uns would surface. I made several confirmed (with laser rangefinder) hits at 165 yds, but it took a standing "rat and a half" holdover and windage. Once dialed in it was fairly easy to make routine hits in the 150 yd. range.

Chief Dave is right-on about the CCI TNTs. They are accurate (0.45" at 100 yds in the VQ), and they are authoratative, cutting the targets in half and putting about one foot of air under them. I went through about 2 or 2-1/2 bricks of ammo, with over 350 rds being shot in one two hour period on Sunday when temperatures warmed into the low 70s.

Zircon
 
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