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Old March 16, 2010, 02:15 PM   #1
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Is hunting deer with Buckshot ethical?

Ok, long range rifle hunting has been discussed, now let's look at the shotgun. Not as a substitute rifle but as a smoothbore, pattern throwing, honest to God shotgun. Here goes:

Is it ethical to hunt deer with buckshot?

If not, why?

If so, why?
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Old March 16, 2010, 02:36 PM   #2
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Funny how it's called "buckshot" but you can't use it to shoot bucks.
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Old March 16, 2010, 03:03 PM   #3
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It's exactly the same as long range hunting in that the "ethicacy" is determined by whether or not you can reliably make the shot, not by the implement used. It's opposite of long range hunting in that the determining factor is not really the shooter but the firearm itself. Shotguns and buckshot will severely limit the effective range but if the shot is kept inside that range then it is as ethical as any other implement.

It is not always legal, however.
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Old March 16, 2010, 03:29 PM   #4
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Don't go telling people in S Carolina they can't use buckshot on bucks! Thems fighin words!!
I have never used it on deer, but when I hunted for 4 years in S Carolina I was one of the few people that didn't use dogs and buckshot.
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Old March 16, 2010, 03:47 PM   #5
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If it is a big enough gauge, and you know the max distance for a good tight pattern it isl
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Old March 16, 2010, 03:58 PM   #6
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I've been using Buckshot for over 30 years, and it will put em down when you make a good shot!
I have killed bucks running flat out, or standing still, it doesnt matter, as long as you know your limitations and dont stretch them!
A 12 ga. with a good choke can be very deadly out to 50 yds. or so.
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Old March 16, 2010, 04:02 PM   #7
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It could be Ethical!
Can't go into any detail but I have hunted deer with buckshot, in South Carolina. Only because it was the only thing they allowed. Also hunted wild bore in Central Europe, for the same reason. Glad those days are behind me and can hunt deer with slugs.

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Old March 16, 2010, 04:19 PM   #8
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Legal here

Buckshot is still legal here on deer, as is dog hunting deer as well (not all counties allow dogging deer). Both are seen less and less in my county, even though still legal.

In its heyday, dogs helped recover cripples, and there were often enough hunters involved that a hit deer would get shot at again by another stander as well. Deer were on the run, hits with only a few pellets were common.

Range is the factor. Fifty yards is to long, and many were/are shot at past fifty. I'd have to say that the gun is not the factor. Getting a killing pattern w/ any rig is a percentage game past fifty yards. What matters is the ability/character of the hunter to pass a shot that is out of range.

The onset of deer leases, shooting houses, and the prosperity to afford club dues and rifles in general have pretty much nixed buckshot/hounds and deer near me.
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Old March 16, 2010, 11:35 PM   #9
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So what is an Ethical Buckshot Pattern for Deer?

What then is an ethical buckshot pattern - that is the minimum number of a given size of buckshot pellets in the kill zone of a deer?
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Old March 17, 2010, 07:57 AM   #10
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Is Buckshot ethical?

Of course it is, if you keep everything in perspective. Obviously it is not a long range hunting round. However, I once shot at a doe at an estimated 60 yards (I was younger then) and dropped it in its tracks (1 pellet hit the head), talk about lucky! I don't shoot buckshot at that range anymore.

Anyway, nowadays I use my old Remington 870 loaded with #000 buckshot (pattterns extremely well out of PatternMaster full choke). When mid day comes around, I sometimes go slippping through the woods trying to jump a deer. If it is less than 40 yards, I most likely take a shot if its clear enough. Have taken a number of whitetails this way over the years, (one of them was my biggest buck (10 pt.- 220 lbs.) Yes, the buckshot is lethal at closer ranges but as Clint would say: "A man has got to know his limitations"....
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Old March 17, 2010, 08:23 AM   #11
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Buck shot for close hunting and slugs for long range.

Growing up in the family hunts we would go into the deep thick breyer bush ridden swamps and when the one would put up one of the bucks (that where laying low hiding from us making noise) we would usually come out with that Buck using 000 Buck shot. These shots were very close mostly and in the thicket only a few shot made it to the deer, which was enough to put it down. We would use slugs for sitting in somewhat open area.

I would say it's ethical for a particular method of hunting as long as you use it for short range thicket hunting in areas of high population of people.


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Old March 17, 2010, 09:37 AM   #12
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Ethical?....Legal? In the northern states where whitetails are much larger than those tiny southern deer, it's illegal. Probably just bounce off Yankee deer...
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Old March 17, 2010, 09:46 AM   #13
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At archery ranges it's sure ethical! I have only shot one deer with buckshot, a doe at about 30 yards, and it picked her up and threw her down! I have never seen a deer floored like that from a rifle or a shotgun slug, but it did the job allright. IMO, if you won't pass on a shot over 40yards, you shouldn't hunt with buckshot. But if you won't pass on a shot thats out of your range regardless of your weapon, then you just plain should not be hunting.
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Old March 17, 2010, 10:27 AM   #14
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I had an uncle take a buck with some 000 buckshot down in Texas. Dropped it like a sack of potatoes. Don't know about the yardage, but I'm sure it was pretty close.

Like tyrajam said, it's fine at archery ranges.
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Old March 17, 2010, 06:01 PM   #15
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RMcl Love these buck shot post. If you have a long full chokw barrel then buy a good mix of number 1 buck and may be some number 4 buck. @ 2/3' and 3' only. Now get some cardboard box's at a appiliance dealer and start shooting for pattern at 50 yards. You will probably find one or two loads that group tight and near point of aim. Tight should be around 20" at that distance for 80% in that circle. Would might find that the hardest hitting loads are the 2 3'4" . Same powder with a bit less shot . Not every gun will shot well enought to nut with useing buck shot. I grew up hunting south Florida swamps and have made solid kill shots at distances that most would say you can't do but you have to put in the time at the bench. Full chock barrels tend to shoot #1 and #4 better than any of the O shot and a improved will shot 0,00, better than a full. Just try them and see what yours does. Your shoulder will be killed, you do know that?? Buy a rifled barrel and load with buckslammers, Probably cheaper and easier on your shoulder.hehehe
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Old March 17, 2010, 06:15 PM   #16
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The only two deer I have ever shot with buckshot I killed in short order, Yes buckshot is ethical.
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Old March 17, 2010, 09:52 PM   #17
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No different than asking if bowhunting is ethical.
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Old March 18, 2010, 06:13 AM   #18
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3 in nitro magnum 00 buck super full choke and 6 in the mag..... GIT ER DONE!!!!!
as i walk through the valley of the shadow of death, i fear no one, for i am the best shot in the valley. U.S. ARMY SNIPER!!!!!
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Old March 18, 2010, 08:07 AM   #19
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Pahoo - At what point was buckshot the ONLY thing allowed to hunt deer here in South Carolina? Were you on a one of the dog drives on the Savannah River Site?

People have been hunting deer here in SC for years and years with both centerfire rifles and buckshot.

Buckshot is extremely ethical when it is used inside of it's effective range. I've killed deer up to about 60 yards with 000 buck in a 31/2 in 12 gauge.

Rembrandt - I can assure you that buckshot will kill your big bad scary yankee deer just as dead as an arrow or anything else you choose to hunt them with.
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Old March 18, 2010, 08:46 AM   #20
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I'm sure these three would vote "no" but then they've all stopped a load or two.

Buckshot is like anything else. Use it right it's ethical. Use it wrong and it's not.

It's that simple.
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Old March 18, 2010, 09:00 AM   #21
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yes,provided the shooter is
close enough range
hit is in vitals,most or all pellets in that area. i would say like 80% or better in a 8"-9" circle.

its legal in NJ, been like that for years,probably because of the land being flat in most areas,thick brush,swampy areas that hold deer.

i load with buckshot if i'm stalking. #1 buck 12ga 16 pellet load.

my father killed a spike buck years ago,somewhere like 18 i think. using #1 buck. deer was no more than 30 yards away,there was a fallen tree between him and the buck and it was bounding. the branches were riddled with shot holes. the buck took 2 pellets to the ribcage,dropped after going no more than 50 yards. 30 yards to me is within archery range. i bowhunt too
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Old March 18, 2010, 02:28 PM   #22
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It is if you respect it's pretty limited range. Out to about 45 yards it's pretty lethal but it runs out of steam very fast after that. Hard for people to let a good buck pass at 55, 60 yards though and not sling some buckshot at it. Deer gets away wounded and the buckshot gets wrongfully blamed. Also most people don't pattern their shotguns to see how good a pattern that it is throwing with buckshot. Same people will spend countless hours patterning turkey shot however. Go figure.

We used to run deer with dogs when I was a young man and I killed a good many deer with it. It works if you don't ask too much of it.
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Old March 18, 2010, 07:07 PM   #23
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Both were controlled hunts or canned, if you wish and under control of the military. That was their requirement and even provided the guns and shot.

Be Safe !!!
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Old March 18, 2010, 07:43 PM   #24
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I've taken numerous deer with Win. 12 ga 2 3/4" 00 Buck. Never had a problem with it.
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Old March 18, 2010, 07:58 PM   #25
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Ethical? why would it not be ethical? I feel that it is perfectly fine.
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