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Old June 10, 2007, 08:45 AM   #1
Full-choke
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Pesky Groundhogs!

So I moved home for the summer and my stepdad informed me that there were groundhogs eating his beans in one of our fields. I went and took a look, and holy crap they had eaten darn near a quarter of an acre completely off! !!

I have been attempting to shoot them for a while now, but I have run into some trouble. Despite all my efforts, they are extremely smart. They have a network of tunnels, for use by the whole family. I have found 5 holes so far, and I'm sure there are more in the woods. My problem is that I can't get close enough to them to get a good shot off. I don't really have a great long distance varmint rifle, all I have is my 17 HMR and it is only good to 150. If I get anywhere within range the suckers clamber back down underground and won't come back up.

I finally got one this morning, but it took laying in the field for over an hour. Anyone got any pointers besides traps or a bigger gun? Maybe something I could try and do to get closer to these little critters...

Thanks,
Ryan
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Old June 10, 2007, 08:59 AM   #2
boltgun71
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Try whistling, that will sometimes work to get them to stand up and look around if they go down ther hole. If you really want to have fun, make/buy a ghullie suit and stalk them!
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Old June 10, 2007, 09:56 AM   #3
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I too would be interested in knowing how to draw them out. We've had a bunch that have tunneled under some out buildings. Picked off 5 of them a few weeks ago with an AR15, had to sit and wait nearly a day for them to come out.
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Old June 10, 2007, 02:41 PM   #4
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I've watched a guy do very well on prairie dogs with a .17 Mack II. He was getting clean kills to 200 yards. (Granted that he did better inside of 125 or so.)

Since the .17 HMR is a few hundred feet per second faster, you oughta be able to get hits at 150 to 200...

The main thing is to learn the trajectory and bullet drop on out beyond 100 yards, and learn to hold for the breeze or wind.

Best luck,

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Old June 10, 2007, 03:10 PM   #5
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Are these groundhogs, or prarie dogs?

Sounds like prariedogs to me. Try burning small piles of green vegitation by as many holes as you can find. The wind and the draft from one fire will draw the smoke into the caverns from another fire.

Smoke 'em out! If that doesn't work, get some ammonia and some bleach and pour them both into the holes. That will gas 'em out. DO NOT PREMIX. Pour them into the holes to mix. You can put a small plastic bag into the hole to hold the mixture to make it stronger.
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Old June 10, 2007, 03:11 PM   #6
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Well, essentially you have two choices:

1. Sit still for longer periods until they start to move.

2. Get a more powerful gun (say, a .223 rem or .243 win, for example), and set up at 200-300 yards. This will work *IF* they will move around while seeing you outside that "comfort zone" range of theirs, whatever that may be. If they STILL run and hide when they see you over 200 yards, then this won't work either. In that case, stick with the current gun and go back to #1 - sit STILL for awhile! 1, 2, hours or more. Squirrels will start moving again after you've sat still for 15-20 minutes. I can't imagine that a g-hog wouldn't try to move above-ground again more than half an hour to an hour after they no longer see you.

It also may behoove you to figure out what times they move the most often - dawn? dusk? what? And to throw on a dark or camo clothes and something to cover most of your face - bandana or anything.

Roughly 90% of hunting is figuring out where the game is going to make an appearance, and be there at the time they make an appearance, within your weapon range. You've got that covered. 9% is making the game not recognize your presence, through sight, sound, or scent. This is where you're lacking. Gotta sit very still & quiet for a good while, and move very slowly to get your gun into firing position. The last 1% is making a good shot.

Don't try to "get close" - that won't work - they see you move and they're gone. You sit still and WAIT.

Oh, and you may want to rent the movie "Caddyshack" to get some good ideas on how to handle them.
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Old June 10, 2007, 04:34 PM   #7
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I havenn't tried this on 'chucks but it works on gophers and ground squirrells. I take a can of propane to each of the holes, stick the hose down the hole and open the valve for a count of 20-30 (seconds.) Then mmove to the next hole.

Propane is heavier than air and will drop down to the nest, and the critters suffocate. Propane then breaks down into the ground and becomes (I've been told) fertilizer.

Pops
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Old June 10, 2007, 04:55 PM   #8
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We took a good number of 'chucks when I was growing up. In addition to the havoc they'd wreak on the garden our black Angus cattle were so stupid they'd step in the holes and break their legs so dad was pretty insistent on keeping the chucks out of the cow pastures.

The tactics that worked best were stomping rocks into all of the holes then checking which ones the chucks re-opened. Then you settle yourself comfortably watching one of those holes with an appropriate firearm (we used a .243) and wait.

That was pretty much the entire deal.
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Old June 10, 2007, 07:24 PM   #9
Full-choke
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Well, it sounds like I'm just going to have to devote more Sunday afternoons to stalking and killing these things. I have never had so much trouble with a family of them before, I have shot several in my day, but none as bad as these.

The one I took this morning was a clean head shot at 150 yards, put it down quick. 250 yards though and the 17 just doesn't have the ft lbs to kill them. I'm sure it hurts like heck and scares the **** out of them, but it won't kill.

Ryan
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Old June 10, 2007, 08:22 PM   #10
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Oh, and I forgot to say that the best waiting time is about 1-2 hours before sundown. That's usually when they come out one last time to "fill up" before bedding down for the night.
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Old June 10, 2007, 11:15 PM   #11
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I have a .22-250. My best shot on a ground squirrel is 315 yards. See if you can borrow a .22-250, I guarantee you will be pleased...
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Old June 11, 2007, 12:00 AM   #12
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Hunting groundhogs is going to be a slow affair, if they are anything like rockchucks. Early morning and late afternoon work best for rockchucks, so I would imagine that is what you'll have to do for them too. I hunted rockchucks with 22 LR, 22 WRM, 223, 22-250, 243, 7X57, and 8mm Rem Mag. Your 17 HMR will kill them, but you probably want more gun. What I found with rockchucks is if you don't kill them immediately (head shot), they'll squeal and the others will all go underground for the rest of the day.
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Old June 11, 2007, 12:43 AM   #13
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I shot one in a field today at 100 feet, with my Kel-Tec P-3AT! That's a compact pistol with a 2.7" barrel, for those unfamiliar with the P-3AT.

So much for needing a high powered rifle with a scope...

Hunting chucks is heavily dependent on the environment. My kill today was done in the middle of a field while my son was cutting hay. I was riding in the tractor with him, and the chucks didn't feel too threatened to come out as soon as we got a few rows away. When I'd see a chuck, I'd just open the door and hop out while he kept going. They hardly noticed. I was able to kill one, and get a couple shots (75-100 feet) at another with my P22. I guess chuck hunting with a pistol is pretty unconventional, but it sure is fun.

If your chucks are not used to activity close by, they'll be a little harder to deal with. Waiting them out is about your only option. When you do see one, blowing into a .22 short shell will produce a high-pitched whistle which will normally cause them to stand up and look around. That's when you pop 'em!
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Old June 11, 2007, 02:22 AM   #14
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I have no first-hand experience with this myself, but this is what I've heard from guys who prefer prairie dog hunting to deer hunting - and they do it well. Photos indicate very successful hunts.

They use .243 with a high (10x or so) powered scope and shoot from 200-300 yards using bipods from the back of a pickup, usually. But, apparently, with the use of this 'technique' they're able to walk within pistol range and shoot them (provided nobody's been hunting them close like that before).

Here's their trick: (or one of htem, at least) First, seed the area with feed (corn feed or whatever), and make sure they see you do it. Then cut a 3-4 foot length of black garden hose, and throw it out in the middle of their holes (hopefully while they're distracted by food). Then, supposedly, they will all be distracted by the "black snake", and despite the sound of gun fire or other near by (but less immediate) predators (you), they will keep sticking their heads up out of the hole to see what's going on. Photo evidence indicates they'll just pop up right on top of the next carcass - sorta like whack-a-mole in an arcade, but from 300 yards with a rifle. :P

I think they might also use a special small call which sounds like a young injured 'dog (they're colony animals, so they all look out for the young), but I'm not sure. An injured-rabbit coyote call might also work, because they'll be up and about looking for the predator (similar to the hose technique).

Other possible approaches: you could try poisoning them. I don't know if they'd drink antifreeze, but it works well on cats, and pretty much everything else (soak corn in antifreeze?) Should kill them off quickly, I'd think.
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Old June 11, 2007, 05:57 PM   #15
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If you have a truck with a water tank on it around the farm stick the hose down a hole and let er rip. Stand around with a shotgun and wait for em. They either have to come up or drown so unless they have so many tunnels that the water just flows away they should be comin out.
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Old June 12, 2007, 09:35 AM   #16
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Most hunt groundhogs in the morning after most of the dew has burnt off and the last couple of hours of daylight in the afternoon. Just find a good vantage point, take along a chair and maybe a portable gun rest and wait for them. I always mapped out a walking route and walked slowly keeping my eyes open. But I'm not talking about one field though either. I would take along some stronger medicine too. You want to kill them not wound them.
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Old June 12, 2007, 10:03 AM   #17
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We'd just sic our dog on 'em. Sometimes they's hide under the basketball hoop base and we'd see the dog standing there staring at the base. Then we'd go let him get the bugger.
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Old June 12, 2007, 11:55 AM   #18
Full-choke
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I have shot a Remington 700 ADL in 22-250, inaccurate and I hate the round itself. I'm not comfortable with it, and if it weren't my stepdads, I would drop it like it was hot. I have never liked the round, prolly never will, no offense.

Ryan
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Old June 12, 2007, 12:52 PM   #19
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This reminds me of...

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Old June 13, 2007, 04:11 PM   #20
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If you happen to own one of those pop-up blinds set it up in range of a couple of holes you know they are using for a few days then go out early one morning after they are used to it & clobber a couple. If it's not too close they will get used to it in less time than you might think. Make sure only one is up when you take your 1st shot if possible and don't let then see you come and go if possible.

In my youth, when all we had was 22s and no $$$ we cut a refrigerator box in half and made 2 hides from one box. Our camo was grass and weeds thrown about and on top of the thing. Worked pretty well and lasted pretty well for about 2 weeks then the rain got it in a major way. We got all of them eventually, most from a box.

Perhaps the critters in this area aren't gh rocket scientists. As proof that we kids weren't gh hunter rocket scientists I can say with authority filling in some of the holes with gigantic rocks hoping you will force them to come up where you want is a protocol not worth attempting. It doesn't work, it's hot work and in our case our uncle took a dim view of the fact we were putting giant rocks his fields. Something to do with tractors and plowing I gathered. It's equally hot work diggin giant rocks out of the holes and taking them back to their original locations.

Watch out for ticks.

Best
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Old June 13, 2007, 10:51 PM   #21
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TNT
Its dynamite... lol
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Old June 13, 2007, 11:37 PM   #22
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Quote:
I have shot a Remington 700 ADL in 22-250, inaccurate and I hate the round itself. I'm not comfortable with it, and if it weren't my stepdads, I would drop it like it was hot. I have never liked the round, prolly never will, no offense.
:barf:

I too am uncomfortable with laser trajectory, minimum recoil, and terrific accuracy!

Oh wait, I misread your post.

How's that saying go? You can't reason with the unreasonable? LOL
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Old June 14, 2007, 07:53 AM   #23
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My 2 cents: I've hunted those pain-in-the-ass varmints for years, using the 17 HMR for short range and no wind and a .243 for longer range. What I've found is early morning and near dark is the best time. You've scouted the area for holes, so you know where they "should" be. Don't think you can walk up near the hole and not be busted. If you have too, take baby steps very slowly. It's best to stalk/walk behind them and not in the front or to the sides. I've waited as long as two hours for a shot after scaring one back into his hole. I've also crawled in high alfalfa and waited for the perfect shot on one hiding in a lumber pile. I've shot two in trees, they were about 10 feet off the ground. I also got surprised from behind one time. I was sitting on the corner field @25 yards from a known active hole. A groundhog walked right behind me and stopped, about 15 feet away. I was froze. As I turned my head very-very slowly, he eventually walked around me in a wide arch and tried to enter his hole from the side. BANG! They are not stupid creatures. But when they screw up...we win.
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Old June 14, 2007, 11:40 AM   #24
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Awesome22,

Sorry if I sound kind of prejudice to the round but I am. Maybe it is just that the Remington ADL is the only 22-250 I have ever shot but I don't like it. My stepdad swears by it but I can't stand it. I learned to shoot groundhogs on that gun and have put nearly 100 rounds down the tube, and I continue to like it less and less everytime I shoot it.

So sorry, not a fan of the 22-250, and yes you can reason with me, I however have already reasoned it out as an option...If I liked the 250, I would have punched holes in these groundhogs with it long ago.

Ryan
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Old June 14, 2007, 12:03 PM   #25
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We've got a couple of conexus about 200 yards from one of our fields. I've found what works best for me, is to set up on top of it overwatching the field. Laying in the prone on a shooting pad with my bipod on my AR. Just lay there for a couple of hours either early morning or just before dark and have fun. Like said before, find out what holes they are useing the most and overwatch them. It's a long process with prairie dogs, but it sure is fun. Sometimes, i'll take the 7mm out just fun.
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