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Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by jon321, Jan 29, 2017.
This would be my first rat hunt and was wondering what's the best location and month to go .Thanks
I'm sorry, WaRshingtonians are not allowed to shoot Oregonian rats, you will have to shoot your own WaRshingtonian rats.
I be teasin' ya... kill 'me, KILL 'EM ALL!!
Does anyone else think it's funny that the OPs avatar is a cat....
asking about rat season?
Springtime somewhere in E. OR.
Lol I myself didn't even realize that till you said something
There's a neat live webcam that shows how many sage rats are running around every day.. and a pointer like the forest service has like "Extreme Danger!" except the sage rat one says "Now!" when the gettin's good.
Haven't been sage rat hunting in years but used to all the time when I lived in the Central Oregon area. The best shooting was always right after first cutting in the alfalfa fields. They are out and easy to spot.
Yowsa, it's on my bucket list, now where did I put the damn thing?
Good luck in your quest to rid Oregon of these evil little monsters.....
Sage rats pretty much hibernate underground from August into February. They are no where to be found in those months. Just exactly when they will come out of hibernation, tends to be a bit weather dependent.
I believe that the males come out first in February, followed later by the females in later weeks. If you hunt real early in the season, you can unfortunately run into the possibility of shooting a pregnant female, which can be a very gross sight indeed, if you blow open their body.
I believe that the baby squirrels usually start to come out when it gets warmer in April, providing many more targets.
February????? We'll still have 4' of snow on the ground this February!
Christmas Valley has always been the hot spot. I don't see rats around Bend, Prineville or Paulina like I used to. The fields I used to hunt around Unity are depleted due to the organized sage rat hunt they do there each spring...although not sure that still goes on. I used to hunt around Baker City, but the field I hunted there closed. The owner found a dead bald eagle one spring and the wife had it tested...it was reported it died from eating dead sage rats loaded with lead. Burns used to be a hot spot, but a few guys have bought up the rights to all the good fields and charge $200-300 a day to hunt. I've heard a few spots remain farther east in Craine.
Time of year is when the high daily temps get up into at least the 50s. A sunny day with little wind is best...they don't like cold wind. Killing one sitting on a patch of snow is really cool. Warmer of course is even better, but they will come out when it is really cold too. But you can't go too late in the season or the grass is too tall.
Our policy is to never kill the really fat ones early in the season...they hold the next generation, and shooting the pups late in the season is the best.
Good luck finding a patch. A lot of rancher/farmers have had their irrigation pipes shot. They either won't let people they don't know shoot or have resorted to poison.
I've had good luck around Prinville can't remember the exact month and it was on private property. I do remember one good ol' boy I talked with, a ranch hand at 80 dam. Anyway the dash of his truck had .22 casings all over and stuck in his dash vents. Not saying right or wrong just made me laugh.
I figure I know the worst time and location to go sage rat hunting because experience has show that I don't know the best.
I am going to have to look for a new patch. The private land I used to hunt them on is no longer available to me because my shooting buddy passed away. The problem now is that all the public grounds I looked at had no squirrels showing up last year. Must be hunted out like the rockchucks around here. We shot a dozen chucks on my buddy's property last year. But when I cruised looking for ground squirrels, I didn't see any chucks either.
Beldings ground squirrels are a strange little squirrel. They are one of very few mammals that estivate and then hibernate, so they spend a bunch of time under ground! because they go under in July/August they pop up pretty early. I looked at our past hunts and it is usually the first two weeks of February that we shoot the first one each year. After they get a little food in them sunny days are the way to go.
If you are shooting on a ranch you better be shooting every one you see at any time. "Saving" the females until later will make the rancher upset you are leaving the factories standing.
Because the little buggers have gone so long without food they come up in the snow. Here is a video. That was a strange trip we had 6 inches by the time we left and the squirrels were out but the fields were very difficult to drive in so we left.
Otter: could you please send me the name and number of the ranch that tested the eagle. I have a friend who works for ODFW and does studies on lead and has never heard of an eagle testing positive for lead poisoning from eating shot sage rats.
We hunt every year and usually go April/May before the alfalfa gets too tall. Kill them all, you cant shoot out a field. Weve shot so many that the field reeks of rotting carcasses after a few days and the pivots water. Weather is the biggest factor. The first week in may can be 80+ degrees and have foot tall alfalfa, which means you are too late, or be 30 degrees and blowing rain/snow, which means few will be out. April is usually a safe month, but this year plan on early May. My .02
We used to go over by Ironside/Vale in the late '80's. It was about that time that the state put a moratorium on poisoning squirrels. The birds of prey would eat the poisoned squirrels with bad results. Met a rancher over there and went for 4-5 years in a row, he'd put us up in an old ranch house right in the middle of the alfalfa fields. 1st thing in the morning we'd walk the field w/38/357's. This was early June so the babies were out, you could sluice a few off the top of a hole and wait a little bit until the bros and sisters came back out to eat their siblings then shoot some more of them. We could basically shoot 3-4 days without leaving 3 fields. I'd set up in late morning w/a .223 and a 22-250 on bi-pods w/a couple bags of ammo and sit in one spot until I got bored and wanted to move. I got 240 from one spot one day (we each has a little spiral pad in our pockets to tally with). The rancher would stop by periodically to check on us and watch the action for a bit. He liked to shoot them too but had work to do, he had a 10/22 in the cab. They'll be coming out now on the warmer, sunnier days but not en mass like later into Feb/March.
Slightly off topic: I was out hiking and ran into a Vietnamese family hunting ground squirrels. Nice family, and great shots. Their boy was hitting them on the run with this tricked out 10/22. Anyway got to chatting with them and realized they eat them . They had a nice camp set up not far off and offered me a try.
Well me being me and never turning down trying food of any sorts, I gave it a shot. I hate to admit it, but it was delicious!
However, Ive read there's been cases of them carrying the plague .
They saying goes, the skillet will kill it, but I'm not sure if that applies to the plague