Sage Rats 2009

The time of year has arrived when mother nature teases us offering a few warm days causing sage rats to venture out for a little field play. Once out of hibernation their metabolism starts to increase causing them to become active allowing  hunters great shooting practice. “Prarie dogs” as some call them can cause a guy to shoot hundreds of rounds. Our favorite weapon of choice is the .17 HMR combined with a scope of some sort (Simmons 3X9) in our case.

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The day finally arrived when I bought my son Eli his first rifle. The idea was to familiarize him with hunter safety while training him on proper weapons handling. Once the rifle had been set up ready for field action, we headed to the ranch where we could site in. Our mission was to reduce the sage rat population. Of course we had to spend time shooting at targets in order to dial in the 100 yard cross hair.

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Later that day, the sun came out and “behold,” sage rats magically appeared! Excitement in Eli’s eyes began to show as he watched rats run from mound to mound disappearing quickly into their  maze of underground tunnels.

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Eli slung his .17 HMR and headed for the field to gain a closer look!

Ready for Action....

Ready for Action....

When sage rat hunting, it always seems to work better if you have a great pair of optics paired with a stable shooting chair or rest for steady aim. With gear in hand, Eli and I set up on the far side of a pivot where the short grass offered multiple prarie dogs opportunities.  We spotted a perfect subject approx. 100 yards out when we settled the rifle and proceeded to flip the safety off. “BANG” as Eli helped pull the trigger observing his first sage rat bite the dust!

Great Shot!

Great Shot!

As we walked the field later, we realized how much damage these rodents really cause. If not careful, a guy could step in a hole and twist an ankle.

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We picked up the remains from our first target attempts, then headed back and drove to another area for more opportunities. The day ended up shooting about forty rats while missing about ten. Not a bad day for the first trip out!

Eli's Collection

Eli's Collection

The toughest part of the day came whan Eli showed me our two ammo cases saying, “dad – we’re out of shells”. At that point we decided to head for a treat on the way home. I think Eli enjoyed the time together while learning proper rifle safety in pursuit of the great outdoors!

No Nore Ammo...

No More Ammo???

I Love Sage Rat Hunting!

I Love Sage Rat Hunting!

About the Author

Troy Neimann

Troy Neimann

Troy Neimann lives in Central Oregon with his wife of 19 years and their three children. You can find Troy with his family, friends and partners out most weekends enjoying the Lord's creation "Pursuing The Outdoors".