Guns Rifles

5 Top Varmint Shooting Sites

It's never too early to think about a prairie dog shoot.

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1. PHILLIPS COUNTY, MONT. An incredible combination of public access and prairie dogs. Most are on BLM land east of Zortman. Malta’s chamber of commerce can point you to the ranchers who welcome shooters. Contact: Malta Chamber of Commerce (406-654-1776)

2. THUNDER BASIN NATIONAL GRASSLAND, WYO. This grassland sea—nearly 300,000 acres in all—features thousands of acres of prairie dog towns. Steer clear of the portion where reintroduced black-footed ferrets live and shooting is prohibited. The Grassland’s office in Laramie has maps of closed areas. Contact: Thunder Basin National Grassland (307-745-2300)

3. CENTRAL OREGON The agricultural land between Prineville and Redmond offers great shooting for ground squirrels, or “sage rats.” Also, check out the Crooked River National Grassland, closer to Madras. Contact: Crooked River National Grassland (541-475-9272)

4. CARRIZO PLAIN NATIONAL MONUMENT, CALIF. There are enough California ground squirrels on this piece of land between Bakersfield and San Luis Obispo to keep your barrel warm all day. Shoot rock squirrels over irrigated fields or around any water supply. Contact: Bureau of Land Management, Bakersfield (661-391-6000)

5. MAGIC VALLEY, IDAHO The sagebrush flats north of Mountain Home, Jerome and Twin Falls crawl with Great Basin (aka Piute) ground squirrels. The best shooting is in the sagebrush adjacent to small creeks and springs. You’ll need a basic Idaho hunting license. Contact: Blue Lakes Sporting Goods, Twin Falls (208-733-6446)