Varmint shooting, and specifically prairie dog shooting, is the fastest-growing segment of the rifle-shooting sports. To cite just one bit of proof, the 1998 Prairie Dog Conference, which I wrote about in the May 1997 issue (see page 6), has been booked up and wait-listed for months. Reasons for the popularity of varmint shooting are not hard to come by. Big game hunters are turning to it because it provides the best possible practice for shooting big game animals. It offers all the problems encountered when shooting big game - range estimation, wind drift, heat mirage, bullet drop and shooting at angles of elevation and depression. Anyone who can consistently hit prairie dogs at 250 yards can easily hit sheep, elk, antelope or red stag-sized targets at similar or greater ranges. Unfortunately, all this interest in prairie dog shooting has left many of the old "Happy Hunting Grounds" seriously overshot, particularly those near the Montana towns of Malta and Zortman, as well as in parts of Wyoming and on some of the more popular Indian reservations.
Enter Warren Nesting of Gamemasters, Inc. He and partners Mark Young (owner of the Comfort Inn Motel in Valentine, Nebraska, which is situated in some of the best prairie dog country in the nation) and Wes Colombe (director of hunting programs on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota) have begun to lease up the exclusive prairie dog shooting rights on vast tracts of good dog shooting territory. The tracts of land include properties between Pierre and Rapid City, South Dakota, as well as the Rosebud Indian Reservation and areas around Lusk and Newcastle in eastern Wyoming. They are negotiating to secure the dogging rights on huge chunks of land in eastern and northern Montana as well. They currently have over 125,000 acres under lease, and they expect to eventually have over a half-million acres.
They will operate prairie dog shoots from May 1 through September 30. The shoots will cost $300 per day, all-inclusive. Shooters will be accommodated in the best nearby motels and will take their meals in the best........(continued)