Home' The Backwoodsman Magazine : Jan-Feb 2018 Contents a west Texas pasture Jim works and lives on east of the
town where I live. And smack dab in the middle of that
thinned grassy area, there’s a bustling prairie dog town
that stretches the imagination by a whopping 5 by 20
miles, brimming with alert, spry, fast footed prairie
Now, I don’t have anything against prairie dogs.
Generally, I don’t shoot anything unless I intend to eat
it, or it’s going to eat me.
But the ranch is overrun
with the burrowing
and them holes have
been known to cripple
the dogs’ numbers had
skyrocketed, due to my
friend’s thinning of the
coyote population, to
thwart cattle predation.
Maintaining a healthy
herd of anything is tough
work. Ask any Texas
Cowboy worth his salt.
I told Jim I’d be lucky, tickled pink actually, if I could
bag a few of those fleet-footed prairie dogs. And the
first half hour of said hunt, I did just that, embarrassing
myself in the process. I figure I shot up half a box of a
one-hundred-round box of CCI .22LR ammo.
It was a cloudy day. Jim says the dogs are most
active in direct sunlight. Their coats literally shine when
the sun’s out. It wasn’t. Speaking of outer garments,
the prairie dog’s coat is buff tan-brown, an identical
match with the sandy soil they dig in and procreate in.
If that didn’t make ‘em tough enough targets, the rascals
seldom stuck more than an inch, their noses, above the
mounds from which they cautiously peered, when they
did move. My Savage Model 42 comes with adjustable
iron sights, so I lacked the advantage of a scope, and my
poor eyesight, at 68 years of age, made seeing the rascals
nearly impossible. Most often, Jim had to walk me in on
the targets: “To the left of that mound,” he’d say, “a few
feet below that brushy spot. See him?” No, I didn’t see
him, and I dusted a lot of rocks and dirt clods with that
. 22 ammo. But as the day wore on and the sun peeked
out some, I got better at identifying prairie dogs from
inanimate objects and started to get the feel for how the
Model 42 shoots, to a few prairie dogs’ demise.
By virtue of my one- to two-inch targets, my shots
were mostly head shots, if that, had to be, and those
ornery critters when hit with lead would fall or scramble
for their holes—likely head-shot and killed. Feeling
sorry for this old timer, Jim gave me a HUGE benefit of
the doubt and scored each bloodied mound and prairie
dog body part as confirmed KIAs. If that was indeed
true, I fared better and my marksmanship was more
accurate than the tailgate image (See photo of prairie
dogs, and rabbits) would evidence in this story. But in
the end, I was not after a bragging-rights varmint body
count, just weapon’s familiarization, T&E, practice and
FUN. Toward that end,
we had 2 great hours of
fun, and a successful trip
plinking dogs in west
If that wasn’t encour-
agement enough, I went
to the Gun Show in
Alpine the first weekend
found something I’ve
scrounged for, looked
far and wide to locate:
. 22 SHORT ammunition!
Thanks to Raymond
Wyse of Texas Ammo
Source (TexasAmmoSource.net) of Fort Stockton, I
bought a 100-round box of CCI .22 Short, subsonic
29-grain ammunition (rated at a super-stealthy, 710
feet per second and a 100-round box of CCI 22 Short,
Hollow Point, 27-grain ammo rated @1105 fps. And I
didn’t have to take out a loan to afford the new ammo!
Sixty years ago, when my Grandfather took me out
in his old Chevy pickup truck, hunting jackrabbits and
cottontail bunnies, he’d say, “Stephen, open the glove
box and fish out that Prince Albert tobacco tin.” I did
so and shook the metal container. Something inside
rattled. Granddad kept his loose ‘catridges’—.22 Longs,
. 22 Long Rifle, .22 Bird & Snake shot and .22 Shorts in
that tobacco tin, with assorted bits of twigs, leaves and
dirt. But it all shot just fine.
No matter what comes down the pike, be it feast
or famine, I’ll be doing okay with my pockets bulging
with .22 and .410 ammo and my new Savage Model 42
combination gun over my arm. The Savage Model 42
may be the ideal backpacker’s weapon; it seems so for
this old timer. For all you backpackers and campers:
You may need an ammo-friendly, lightweight trail gun.
If you aren’t proud owner of an old Model 24, you might
want to try a NEW Savage Model 42.
My interest in the Savage Model 42 was piqued when
I read Lane Farr’s Being a Flexible Hunter-forage-
Gatherer Letter to the editor in the March/April 2017
issue of the Backwoodsman Magazine.
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