Ground Squirrel Shooting In Burns (Part 1)

Have you ever been on one of those trips that starts out promising, but then goes down the crapper in about 40 minutes flat? Well, my ground squirrel hunting expedition to Burns, Oregon and then on south to the farming area around Crane, Oregon was just like that.

My brother-in-law Rich and I left Walla Walla, Washington last Friday night at 7:30 to drive the 5 hours to burns, Oregon to shoot some squirrels on Saturday. Rich had been calling around all day trying to find some 40 grain ballistic tips for his new .204 while I had been all over town trying to find something with 62 grains or heavier for my Bushmaster .223.

To make a long and miserable story short, we couldn’t find shit. I even went to Wal-Mart twice and stared at the boxes of Remington 55 grain jacketed hollow points on Friday, but talked myself out of them, since I figured the boys at Wal-Mart in Pendleton would have something better. Wrong!

When we got to Pendleton, Oregon, they didn’t have anything for the .204, and only a couple of boxes of .223, at like $20.00 per box of 20; ain’t no way I’m paying a buck a shot unless it’s at something bigger than a Coyote. So, we just loaded up on jerky and Red Bulls and headed for Burns.

We got into Burns at like 1:30am in the frickin morning. Yea, I know “1:30am in the morning” is redundant, but so is 5 hours of sitting on your ass and staring out the windshield at nothing. The highlights of the drive were the 47 times we had to pull over to pee because we are both over 40 and Red Bull, diet Coke, bottled water and 4 bottles of Starbucks makes a lot of pee.

We stayed at the American Best Inns and Suites in Burns, Oregon. The lady laughed at me when I said I wanted a suite, so I take that to mean they don’t really have any of those in Burns. They did have a clean room with new pillow-top beds that rocked, along with an indoor pool and hottub we didn’t get to use; squirrel looking interfered.

I mention squirrel looking, because we didn’t do a whole lot of squirrel shooting. The problem with the Burns/Crane area is that while they do have squirrels to shoot, they also have roads, and houses, and horses, and cows, and buffalo, and kids and cars and sprinkler pipes and…… But, they don’t really have any place to shoot big bore or high speed rounds. I got so spooked after lining up on a squirrel and then seeing a little white car pull up behind it, that I put my .223 away and just shook for awhile.

We did find a farm owned by a nice guy named Rudy and his wife that actually had a butte behind his field to stop any stray lead. (Located on the North side of Narrows-Princeton road, about one mile after you hit the gravel.) The property is actually the three fields west of the two pivots in this picture:,+oregon&layer=&ie=UTF8&z=13&ll=43.262581,-118.628139&spn=0.054128,0.172005&t=h&om=1. They are growing organic hay and raising organic beef cattle, so if you need some, stop in at the restuarant, bar, general store and gas pump on highway 78 right outside Crane and ask for Rudy, they’ll know where to find him. (Don’t bother him about the squirrels though, because Rich shot them all.)

Most of the ranchers in the Crane/Burns area will only let you shoot if you are using a .22, so make sure you bring one and a whole lot of ammo for it. you will also want to sight it in for 100 yards, because the dang ground squirrels know what a rifle is, and when they see one they go underground for 100 yards before they pop up again. (Most Portland hunters can’t hit a squirrel at a 100 yards, so they think they are safe.) Also, bring a bench and a rest. The best way to shoot squirrels at over 100 yards is with a benchrest, unless your a whole lot steadier than I am. (You may be, remember, I’m over 40. LOL)

Continued tomorrow…. maybe.


5 Responses to “Ground Squirrel Shooting In Burns (Part 1)”

  1. crazyzeb says:

    Sounds like a hole lotta fun! Skwurl huntin is my life and I no where the best places ar to go. I haf to no as skwurl is whut i eat and id go broke hungry if i dint. Im also the best trackur and il finde yur huntin place boy!

  2. It’s not “id go broke hungry if i dint”. It’s “id go broke n hungry ifn i dint”. It’s hard to understand without the n’s.

  3. Clem Cloddsoddernen says:

    You’uns givs us all down here a bad repatashun. “Hungry if i dint”, what kinda nonsense krap is that, anyhoo…..lurn ta talk like a real mountain man, or go home, ya hillbilly wanna-bees. The two of y’all wunt know a squirrel from the hairy patch tween your legs. heck, ya probably already shot it off thinkin it was a itty bitty squirrel shore’nuff. Now, y’all wanna really talk about squirrels, let me tell you bout the big’un I saw back in ’29…..nightmare big, it took 3 slugs from my .458 to keep it from chewin on the neck of my prize bull. But that story is better told over a campfire and a jug, gotta run now, got possums ready to fry.

  4. Go Home Washington says:

    Wow. What a loser. Complain about the drive from Walla Walla to Burns, as if you didn’t know how far it was or how long it would take. Complain about the price of ammo, when you are using it for sage rat hunting? Use a .22lr! I’m pretty sure you should stay in Walla-Walla, idiots like you are why lots of ranchers won’t allow hunters on their place. Maybe there is a nice hotel suite for you there. Why would you want one from 130am-6am anyway? And to expect to find a good ammo selection at Wal-Mart? To think that these people are allowed to reproduce….

  5. Hmm, you seem a little uptight…

    What does my whining have to do with whether or not a rancher will let me shoot on his property or not? I grew up in the country in Oregon, so what does my driving from Walla Walla have to do with anything. Anyway, your supposed to be whiny if you’re country, haven’t you ever heard country music?

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