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View Full Version : 12 gauge Rifles....


Dave McC
September 19, 2002, 06:09 AM
Someone asked me to comment on full race slug shooters, and a recent infomercial disguised as a hunting show got me going on this.It wasn't the products on the show they were pimping for that bothered me, I was/am familiar with most of them and know them to be serviceable. It was the way they were presented as must haves, from the Carbon suits and spray to the treestand urinal to the expensive ammo.

Lots of us here in the East must use shotguns for deer,hogs and even black bear, depending on state and region. Md's rifle areas are smaller and less deer dense than the shotgun areas, oft in or near the 'burbs,producing deer at an amazing rate.

Central Md now has no restrictions at all on antlerless deer during the appropriate seasons, and the Eastern Shore has crop permits by the handful. Most of both these areas are bow, shotgun or ML only. And except for Dorchester County, no buckshot is allowed.

The good news is that shotguns,used with proper ammo and within their range limits, are very effective at killing deer.

The hightech jobs with scopes,trigger work, sabot friendly bbls, etc,are all the rage now.They're also quite effective,since they extend practical range quite a bit.

And, curmudgeonly and old fashioned as I am, I still strongly approve of hunters using gear that's most likely to result in clean and humane kills.

The bad news is that harvest rates are not increasing in direct relation to the new, improved hardware.IOW,we're shooting worse with better guns. And in the places where harvest RATES are up a bit, harvest numbers are WAY up. Hunters today get more opps than their ancestors did, there's more deer in North America now then when Columbus first landed.

So,what's the problem?

Actually, there's several probs.

The first one is the old one of not enough practice and familiarization. KNOWING your weapon makes big difference. This is hard to do for many of us, since we find it hard to get time, money and/or facilities to get in lots of practice. A wingshooting shotgun can be used on clay targets or birds but a dedicated deer psuedo-rifle has little versatility, and gets little use.

In my younger days, we used to plink at tin cans or other targets of opportunity with slugs at a shooting pit. Like cheap gas,good $100 shotguns, and optimism, these are long gone.

The second prob is that too many folks think like riflemen whe they set up on stand. The best 12 gauge rifle has but 1/3 or less of the effective range of an '06.Better for all, including the deer, to set up like bowhunters for shots within 50 yards, at funnels,crossings, rub lines(more important than but oft found in connection with scrape lines), outside but near bedding areas and so on.I know this isn't always possible, but it's nearly always possible.

BTW, on the 20+ deer I've checked in with a shotgun in the last decade, average distance was less than 35 yards, and except for one Hail Mary shot at someone else's cripple at over 125 yards, clean one shot kills on them all.

Acting like or being a bowhunter makes a hunter so much more aware of stand location, wind, camo and movement.A 16" piece of dental floss with one end tied to a small feather at one end and near the muzzle of your shotgun with the other will do more to get you shot opps than all the scopes and sabots on Earth.Of course, one can have both.

Having an accurate sabot shooter with a good scope on it can help you shoot better. I'm all for that, but more to the point, I'd love to see all of us HUNT better, and that doesn't come out of a shotgun bbl, or a checkbook.

Dismounting from pulpit....