Just in the process of making a quick trip back to Saskatchewan to visit family and took to opportunity to do a little gopher shooting in the South-west near Hazenmore.
For the past few years I have been reading about the gopher infestation in the area and have been curious to see how bad it was. Then this year the federal government approved the use of strychnine in Saskatchewan by the local farmers and ranchers to reduce the gopher population so I figured it was now or never.
The poisoning work had already begun and local farmers I talked to said that the numbers were certainly reduced, but there were still a lot of gophers around. What was amazing was the visibility everywhere of their digs. Just driving along Highway 13 you could see the evidence in the fields alongside the road. On the rural roads it was impossible to avoid running over animals. They were spread through pastureland, cultivated land and even burrowed into creek banks like muskrats.
The local farmer whose land I shot on has had shooters come in from all over the country: As far away as Ontario to the East and Northern B.C to the West, and he was happy to see them.
The shooting wasn’t fast and furious, but it was steady. Every time you thought things had come to a halt some more gophers would show up. And it wasn’t ideal weather either. Not overly warm nor was it sunny. There had been a lot of rain in the area in recent days and I had originally thought the day might be a washout – no pun intended.
I probably shot upwards of 70 gophers from about 3:00 PM to 8:30 PM, all using .22 rimfires. In the interest of avoiding psychological trauma to urban gopher aficionados I took no pictures of the mayhem I participated in. Anyway, who wants to look at pictures of dead gophers.
In the end the landowner was happy that I had contributed to the reduction of his gopher herd and I had spent an afternoon reliving the shooting days of my youth. I would have liked to have gone back another day, but rain moved back in to Southern Saskatchewan, which made gopher shooting impossible and the locals so happy that I couldn’t see fit to complain about the weather affecting my personal agenda.