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Old 02-16-2016, 12:35 PM
jholp jholp is offline
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Default Prairie dogs

I realize prairie dogs are hardly big game but I don't see a varmint area to post to.

My friend and I want to do a prairie dog hunt this spring out West. I am not asking you to reveal your favorite place, rather do you know of places in South Dakota, North Dakota, or Wyoming where one could find opportunities to hunt?

Points of contact, areas, etc., are what I am requesting.


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Old 02-16-2016, 08:22 PM
Silverfox Silverfox is offline
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jholp--I usually place varmint and predator hunting information on the Small Caliber Discussion Board at this Website.

To answer your query, I'd suggest you contact the game & fish departments in the states you list. You can also contact Chambers of Commerce in cities near prairie dog habitation. One in ND, is the Dickinson Convention and Visitor's Bureau in North Dakota. They used to have information you could obtain from them.
Catch ya L8R--Silverfox

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Old 03-28-2016, 04:55 PM
iiranger iiranger is offline
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Default I save some of this, dated???


Prairie Dog Hunting in South Dakota

A few tips for those who need a bit of help to get started


As of today – 10/24/00, the prairie dog in South Dakota is classified as a non-game animal. As a result, it has no season and can be hunted without regard to bag limits or calendar limitations. This could change at any time. I’ll update this document if/when this change occurs. Whatever you do, DO NOT take my word for it. Before you hunt, you check the rules and regulations for yourself. My own personal “season” is from May 15th to October 1st. Any earlier, they just won’t be up in good numbers yet. Do people hunt earlier? Absolutely. But if you are planning a long drive / flight from out of state, you are risking a successful hunt by coming too early. I stop shooting when October rolls around, just because I think too much hunting pressure is a bad thing. I also feel that those prairie dogs that have survived all summer have earned the right to mate. Remember, you do have to leave a few breeding pairs or there won’t be anything to hunt next year. Hunters can and do go out later. Just be sure you’ve got good mud and snow tires on your 4WD truck. A cell phone won’t do you very much good in most places where you will be hunting. There just aren’t very many cell phone towers out on the prairie.

Where to go?

Prairie dogs thrive in open black gumbo prairie. In South Dakota, that habitat exists in abundance in the western half of the state. The Missouri River provides a convenient dividing line and most prairie dog hunting is done west river. Most - not all. I grew up in southern Hand / Hyde county and we had a few prairie dog towns near my home. I would consider this the eastern ‘fringe’ of their range in central South Dakota. The towns in this area aren’t very plentiful and are usually smaller in size.

How do I get started?

IMHO, the best place for you to get started is at the South Dakota game fish and parks website. There is a wealth of good solid info on that site. You need to check it out. Many questions will be answered if you just take a little time and do a bit of research. Look hard enough and you will find a link provided for out of state hunters to get a license.

The Link:

South Dakota hunting opportunities exist on private ranches, tribal ground or federal ground. Private ground is your best bet, but it is also the hardest to find access to. Tribal agencies are a good option and hunting can be fairly inexpensive. Federal ground is public ground and open to anyone and everyone.

Private ground

The best advice I can give you is to get busy. Get off your duff and do some basic research. Make a few phone calls. Don’t go to the GGVG main board and ask, “Where should I go?” and expect anyone to just hand over their private hunting areas. Take a look at a map, pick a city and call their chamber of commerce office. Call a motel and ask for the owner’s advice. Book a hunt thru a local guide. Come a few days early and visit the local livestock sale barn. Visit with the regulars at the lumberyard or implement dealer. Stop at the downtown café for breakfast. Hit the main street diner for lunch. Show up at the local corner bar on a Friday night and buy the locals a round of Bud’s. We’re friendly folk here, most of us enjoy free beers and most will be glad to help you out.

Tribal ground

My own PERSONAL recommendation would be to shy away from the Pine Ridge and Rosebud. These areas get hit hard and get hit often. Great hunting can also be found on the Crow Creek and the Lower Brule. I grew up very near both of those reservations and KNOW it to be good habitat for prairie dogs. I believe these two reservations as well as the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River hold the most “untapped” hunting in the state.

The phone numbers are as follows:

Lower Brule--605/473-5666

Pine Ridge--605/455-2584


Cheyenne River--605/964-7812

Standing Rock--701/854-7236

Federal ground

Three years ago, my son and I had one of those extra special days of hunting. It was one of those days where the memories will last a lifetime. We hunted the Fort Pierre National Grasslands, south of Ft. Pierre. We had a brand new Ford Explorer, a full tank of gas, an untested gun and plenty of time on our hands. You get to see lots of virgin native prairie, plenty of dog towns, and a few dogs. These dogs are very well trained and fairly gun shy. When we hunted, the most fruitful town yielded 8 or 10 shots. But, on that day, to my son and I, numbers didn't matter. The best part was that it was free and you don't have to answer to anyone. Again, contact numbers are found on the SDGF&P web site. The grasslands are controlled by the U.S. Forest Service and include:

Buffalo Gap National Grasslands (605-745-4107) in southwestern South Dakota

Fort Pierre National Grasslands (605-224-5517) in central South Dakota

Grand River National Grasslands (605-374-3592) in northwestern South Dakota

Maps are available from the grasslands offices. Tell them you are hunting prairie dogs and they might include a photocopied map with the sizes and locations of towns penciled in. I say MIGHT because this practice is iffy at best. Don’t count on it.

If all else fails and you feel like your hunt just isn’t going to work out, drop me a note. I hate to think anyone would come all the way to South Dakota and not have a good time. Just be sure you’ve done some of the basic legwork on your own first. With a bit of minor arm-twisting, I just might be available that weekend to guide you to a few spots that I know of. Obviously, I can't promise anything, but I would hate for you to get skunked.


Prairie dogs are the tree squirrels of the grasslands. Live in holes in the ground, not trees. Rodents like mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits, etc.

You start, I suggest, with a call to the Forest Service Office, 125 N. Main St., Chadron, NE 69337; (308) 432-0300... Mr. Schumacher was the public affairs man last I knew. You ask about the overall situation. #1). Law requires them to manage for multiple uses which include hunting /shooting & #2). They have charge of the grasslands from OK/KS border north and east of Rockies and know overall what is happening. Populations cycle and the locals, if they know, hate to admit the low spots (LESS SHOOTING) and lose business. Chadron has no money involved... b). the law is a pain. They have tried to re introduce the weasel, black footed ferret, and closed some good shooting, 'cause all the weasel wants to eat is p'dogs. You go shoot there and it is Fed slam, confiscation... DON'T...

C). THERE IS BLACK DEATH (bubonic plague) IN THE FURBALLS, beware!!! They say they can cure it now with antibiotics, but why bother. Leave the pieces for the coyotes... (It is carried by fleas, stay at a distance and you should be o.k.)

Shooting buddies more travelled than I have told me of great shooting in TX and OK, but the land is densely populated so it is pretty much "pay to shoot" and if you don't have big bucks... oh wellll... Some in NM And AZ, but too dry, too many mountains... National grassland in SW corner of KS. Cimaron Nat. Grassland. If population is up, very good. You need KS small game license.

SD is the hot spot that markets to the tourist. Indian Reservations. Rosebud in south center of state. Sioux Indians. Organized. Web search and get current rules. The indians fight, politically, like a bunch of Chicago democrats and rules change... I think guides were required last I knew. Pine Ridge has a poor rep. Poor service, unhappy locals. They drink too much. North Center, Cheyenne Wind River and Standing Rock. (Eagle butte). Center: Lower Brule (more Sioux I think) ... Of course, VHA is in Pierre. club with 800 number and all... suits you, join. has a couple guides.

Many big game guides offer off season shooting and early deer antelope season shooting to expand the day for people with tags filled.

NE, western nebraska... nothing organized. Outside the "sandhills" (which are really hills of sand, HUGE hills of sand)where the burrows don't work out, good shooting, good welcome if you wander and ask.

Wyo. is the wide open space. Energy rules and you won't hurt an oil derrick with a varmint rifle. No license last I knew. Between Douglas and Newcastle there was a p'dog town 26 miles in diameter. But some of it was closed to shooting for the damned weasels.... (house cat disease almost extincted them)... Local chamber "arms open" welcome... Or the farm stores or the small town diners.

ND, nothing organized. Farther north, little thinner pop's... same as Wyo otherwise. CO, good shooting and lots of tree huggers to hate you, call the cops with phony reports, high license costs, etc. Denver is lovely. Montana like North Dakota, about the same. They're there. You got to find them then have FUN. Zortman Garage & Motel used to advertise. Used Blackfoot Rez I think... good luck
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Old 03-31-2016, 05:32 AM
sicero sicero is offline
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Location: Medway, Ohio
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You'll get a lot better shooting if you can park that big shiny truck

down over the hill out of sight.

I have been told, prairie dogs don't come out till mid morning.

I think the outfitter didn't want to get started too early.

The wife and I are out shortly after daybreak.

It's not long until they are up and we didn't spook the whole town

getting in.

Make friends with one rancher and each year it will get better.


I pride myself in being able to make decisions with little information.
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Old 04-19-2016, 04:26 PM
Oleman Oleman is offline
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Location: WA.
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Make friends with one rancher and each year it will get better.

That! we hunted on a guy property he had 2800 acres and in six year we had had access to over 28,000 acres. We picked up our garbage, we closed gates and followed they rules they gave us. We would always send them a small gift at Christmas.
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