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Prairie Dogs, are looming on extinction?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by gamestalker, Aug 25, 2014.

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  1. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I was watching a show this morning "Life after people" and they were claiming that the prairie dog population has been almost completely wiped out, 98% decline in numbers. And of course, they blame man, hunting, urban development, and so on as the reason.

    What I'm curious about is why those little critters that I love shooting at long range have not crashed in numbers where I've been hunting them for several decades? 98%, really?

    Has anyone here seen this supposed sharp decline over the last 30 or 40 years? I may very well be wrong, but I think this is a bunch of bologna.

    GS
     
  2. anothernewb

    anothernewb Member

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    I laughed so hard at the life after people series. total trumped up BS based on really sketchy science and so obviously leftward bent that I kept watching just because of all of the in congruency.

    Prairie dogs are about as in danger of extinction as mosquitoes
     
  3. mnhntr

    mnhntr Member

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    They go through cycles on a irregular basis because of a Plague they get from each other. Every so often they get a large number of colonies die off but the always come back.
     
  4. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Googling "Prairie Dog" shows that their numbers are down 95% from where they once were. It also claims they were once completely eradicated from your home state GS, but were since reintroduced. U.S, F&W does not consider them to be endangered or even threatened.
     
  5. newfalguy101

    newfalguy101 Member

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    In reality the largest decline is/was due primarily to cattleman poisoning the colonies.
     
  6. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    Yeah, blame the cattlemen.
    Never mind all the country developed and paved over for subdivisions and parking lots.
     
  7. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    I remember a prairie dog town in Raton, NM. Between the curb of the street and the curb of the K-Mart parking lot. But they moved, to a vacant lot behind the cop shop. :)

    Dunno about now, but in the used to be, there were several towns west of Seligman on AZ 66.

    Taylorce1 over at TFL said that plague wiped out the town on his family's place some 80 miles east of Colorado Springs back maybe five years ago. I haven't checked with him, lately.

    And that's about all the specifics I know. :)
     
  8. Don McDowell

    Don McDowell Member

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    Not a lot of decline in prairie dog numbers except where their home ranges have been paved over. But even then there's still large colonies in the vacant lots in subdivisions.
    Being a cattleman and having spent thousands of dollars on trying to control the prairie dogs on my place, I'm pretty sure we haven't made near the dent that urbanization and disease have depopulated more prairie dog towns than anything we can do. Distemper will take out a town in short order, but when a town gets cleaned out it will only be a year or two before they come back and start to repopulate it,, unless it's under a strip mall or housing development.
     
  9. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    Most of the colonies I hunt have gone up and down over the years. I very often run into NAU, U of A, and ASU study groups that are tracking the numbers, and the discussions I've had with them have indicated that they often experience declines due to decease and predators, and of course some hunter effect.

    I've hunted them a lot in N. Az., but more recently down south and S. east part of the state. I personally haven't seen much change in the colonies with one exception up north around Sycamore canyon years back. In that instance it was decease that wiped out almost the entire colony, NAU students were involved in that study as well. But that colony did rise back up again, and fairly quickly too.

    Other than that, I don't buy into the 98% decline that is being tossed around. If the number was that high, I would think I would most certainly have noticed.

    GS
     
  10. Pit4Brains

    Pit4Brains Member

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    I have acreage in Northern Az, about 25 miles NW of Ash Fork and 25 NE of Seligman. There are tons of them up there and those dawgs are big. Maybe 95% of a decline since the Lewis and Clark expedition, but nothing that large recently.
     
  11. ole farmerbuck

    ole farmerbuck Member

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    There are some counties around here that will poision your p-dogs for you if you dont do it. You cant shoot a town out.
     
  12. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    I guess maybe being as there are only one bazillion now as opposed to mythological Victorian era numbers of there having been eleventy-seven bazillion.

    Yeah, they're on the ragged edge of survival. Nope they remember how to procreate!
     
  13. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Considering that the time frame for the estimated numbers and their decline was BEFORE cars and subdivisions, but not before ranchers..., it is proably a good hypothesis.

    LD
     
  14. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    I bet you have lots of prairie dogs out on all that open range land of Maryland.
     
  15. anothernewb

    anothernewb Member

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    If one want's an amusing sense of scale with PD's head to Devils Tower. Granted, it's federal land and therefore they're not exactly hunted out there, but some days it's darn hard to drive to the tower as they're all over the road.

    Apparently they love the rocks and open space of tar - easy to see a long ways for them.

    But. they're so nearly tame from all the visitors feeding them (right in front of the "do not feed" signs) that they stay rather close.
     
  16. berettaprofessor

    berettaprofessor Member

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    Does that mean it's not sporting to use a Ruger Mark III on them at 7 yards?:D

    Seriously, in the foothills of Colorado, they are in between the cloverleafs at every off ramp; sometimes it's all I can do not to stop the car and start shooting.
     
  17. jrdolall

    jrdolall Member

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    I have seen a town emptied out in a couple of months and hunting had zero to do with it. Apparently a plague can hit a town and wipe it out PDQ. I hunt them in Montana every year and I can attest to the fact that, where I hunt, the population is down at least 90% in the past 10 years. We have one town on the ranch that was over 150 acres of dogtown and there were thousands of the guys running around. It isn't because of development or hunting or poisoning. Ranchers make money allowing people to shoot them so they tend to allow them to stay in certain areas. Smaller ranchers don't want them because they spread quickly if they are healthy. I am sure that many places have seen a decrease because of development but not where our ranch is. We are 45 minutes from a grocery store and that is an IGA in Roundup.
    I often stay at a Hampton Inn in Billings and there is a town right across the street from the hotel. You can learn a lot about their habits by sitting in a hotel room and watching them interact from 50 yards or less. I stayed there in May and there were two groups of people, students I guess, out in the vacant lot with clipboards so I don't know if the town is still active or not.
     
  18. Steve62

    Steve62 Member

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    Prairie dogs in Kansas

    There is a decline here in Kansas in the prairie dog population. It's due to the drought and the plague which has brought their numbers down considerably. I have left our local towns alone so they can re-populated the plains. Steve62
     
  19. jrdolall

    jrdolall Member

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    I am in South Dakota just outside Pierre this week and we went and checked out a town today. Hundreds of dogs running around.
     
  20. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    I live too far east to have much experience with P-dogs, but have made a habit or reading all outdoor and hunting stuff i could lay my hands on. I seem to remember reading about 20 years ago everyone was worrying about them. The disease/plague/whatever had really put the hurt on them. But, being voraciously reproductive, they bounced back. And for as long as we (humans) have been poisoning, hunting and taking over habitat, they have adapted.
     
  21. richg204

    richg204 Member

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    wish we had them here in nv
     
  22. ricebasher302

    ricebasher302 Member

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    Prairie dogs are in danger of extinction in the same way the whitetail deer is.
     
  23. DNS

    DNS Member

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    95% extinct?

    I guess all the ones here must of snuck across the border then.
    Maybe theres a P-Dog Dream Act.
     
  24. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    They have declined sharply in NW Kansas due to mandatory poisoning. But they flourish without poison even under heavy shooting pressure.
     
  25. loose noose

    loose noose Member

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    Art, there are still healthy populations of P-dogs just west of Seligman, at least there were last year. In fact there are about 3 towns within a 2 mile or there about radius of the first.
     
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