This page has been moved to http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/gun-shots
If your browser doesn’t redirect you to the new location, please visit The Gun Shots at its new location: www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/gun-shots.
I started deer hunting with a slug gun. Well, let me qualify that. It was actually an old side-by-side Stevens, and back in college, just before the deer opener my buddy and I would drive to an abandoned railroad culvert. We drew a deer silhouette on a piece of large cardboard and stood back about 30 yards. For ammo, I used discount Foster slugs—I don’t even remember the brand. If we put a hole anywhere within the silhouette, the gun was pronounced “on.”
Such was the state of slug hunting 30 years ago. Nowadays, deer hunters who use rifled shotgun barrels and the latest slug gun loads have the opportunity for a truly accurate shot on deer well past 100 yards.
But is that really a good thing? Last week I talked to a member of my gun club about the new breed of slugs. He was sighting in at 100 yards and marveling at how the packaging claimed ranges well past 150 yards.
That’s all well and good, but I know he’s hunting in a heavily wooded area and he’ll be lucky to see--much less shoot—a deer at 40 yards. Don’t get me wrong; I think the new slugs are great. I hit a deer with a Lightfield slug a couple of seasons ago and he dropped as if pole axed. That sure made getting my venison a lot easier. But I wonder if some hunters will be tempted to shoot at farther distances, where they may wound and not kill and where an errant shot may travel somewhere it’s not supposed to go.
The places I hunt, the farmer gives us permission because he doesn’t think his family or livestock have to worry about long shots. I counsel new slug-gun shooters to keep that in mind. You still have a duty to shoot carefully and precisely. What I like about shooting from a treestand on this property is that I can take a longer shot, but most of the time I wait out a deer, let him get a little closer and then make sure the shot is below the horizon. For me, the great advantage of the new slugs isn’t the distance they can travel, but their incredible accuracy. It’ s comforting to know that when I aim at the shoulder, that’s where the slug will go. Now, if I could just get that Ithaca 37 to kick a little less.