Reducing Varmints to Mist

These hunters share a passion shocking to outsiders

For every sportsman, there are certain moments when the elements of his pastime come together perfectly. The canoe breaks through the rapids. The marlin leaps. The spaniel flushes the grouse. For Duane Spooner, a North Dakota gunsmith, this ideal moment involves a rifle, a scope and a deadly long-range shot at his favorite quarry, the prairie dog. "The head goes one way," says Spooner, grinning, "the tail goes the other way, and everything in between just disappears." Spooner's son Eric, 16, shares his dad's enthusiasm. "It's relaxing," he says. "I like seeing how high they fly. We have little contests where...

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