You love ’em, you hate ’em, and it’s hard to venture the woods without them. Best buds are hard to find. Even if they’re always an hour late or constantly short on gas money, you’ll still lie down in traffic for them any day.

A few years back, after shooting a bunch of prairie dogs, a close buddy of mine came up with the idea to grill and serve a couple of medium-rare pasture-puppy tenderloins to an unsuspecting latecomer friend.

Grilled chislic–which is generally cubed, deep-fried beef–is a popular treat around these parts. It possesses uncanny similarities to prairie dog tenderloin. All we needed was a little special seasoning and a few minutes on the grill, and these tender, moist chunks of pure rotten succulence were impaled with toothpicks and ready to eat.

Honestly, prairie dog should be served with a nose plug, like Old Milwaukee beer. So you’re probably thinking, why would I do this to a good friend?

The answer is simple: Why not? The Steelers were on TV and sod-poodle loins were on the menu. There were about six of us sitting in the kitchen that fateful Sunday afternoon, and immediately after Big Bear realized what he had eaten, well, picture a grizzly in a room full of kittens. We scattered in all directions trying to dodge the fury of fists and elbows–and also keep from blowing chunks.

After the police left, we all settled down, cracked open a few cold ones, and enjoyed a good laugh with our prairie dog-eating buddy.

All things considered, I wouldn’t trade these guys for last month’s centerfold and three of her friends.

Okay, that’s a total lie.

But who am I kidding? That’ll never happen. I guess I’ll stick with the friends I’ve got. Our rules might be a little different, but that’s why we have so much fun.