DOUGLAS, Wyo. It's a little known fact, but no hunting license is required to cross the border and take in a weekend of prairie dog shooting in nearby Wyoming. Prairie dogs are considered a "non-game animal" and thus don't require a license to shoot. Wyoming is infested with them.
Get up and go
The Thunder Basin National Grassland (call 307-358-4690 or 307-358-1604) is one of the top prairie dog spots. It's located in the area north of Douglas and northwest of Glendo Reservoir.
The Grassland starts north of there on Highway 59. Running north and east, it's all public land for miles and miles, totaling 572,000 acres over five counties.
Despite its vastness, land patterns are complex with a mix of intermingled private, federal, and state lands. If private access roads are used, permission must be acquired from the private owner.
Administration for the Grassland is by the Douglas Ranger District of the Medicine Bow National Forest. Their office is in Douglas, and the agency is a great source for up-to-date maps.
A popular way to hunt is by mapping out a driving loop that runs through various prairie dog towns and then returns to the starting point.
One good town is located about 15 miles east of Bill on Road 38.
Work northeast to Road 45 (Cow Creek Road). On the way are scattered mounds, with the biggest dog town about 2 miles by 2 miles. It's on both sides of the road, but the largest part is on the north side of the road.
Next, continue northeast about 25 miles to the next set of dog towns. Work your way toward Dull Center, and from Dull Center go north on Road 39 for 10 miles to Road 54 (Cheyenne River Road) and then west toward Bill. Prairie dog towns are all over this area.
Start from Lusk and go north on Highway 85/18, westbound to Highway 270. This is the Lance Creek Fossil are; the map will show it as a BLM area.
Drive Highway 270 until it connects with 272 from the north. You'll see nothing but prairie dog towns, antelope and oil wells.
Drive 10 miles north on 272 then work back to the paved Highway 18 and 85.
This one starts off Highway 85 north of Lusk, goes up to Mule Creek Junction and then loops back.
The closer to Mule Creek Junction, the more prairie dogs shooters will encounter.
There are no actual established campsites on the Grassland, but camping is allowed.
Lodging's available in a handful of small towns along the way, such as Bill, Wright, Gillette, Sundance, Pine Tree, Midwest, Newcastle and Edgerton.
The Douglas Chamber of Commerce can be reached at (307) 358-2950.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Dept. can be reached at (303) 777-4529.
Prairie dog GPS coordinates:
Thunder Basin National Grassland: 43°41_48_N, 104°59_39_W
West Boundary Coordinate: 105.685
East Boundary Coordinate: 104.237
North Boundary Coordinate: 44.787
South Boundary Coordinate: 43.131
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