Best Mule Deer Hunting In Idaho in 2023
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Tips and Tactics for Shotgun Deer Hunting
Most of us hunt deer with rifles during buck season.
Shotgun deer hunting is a close in affair when compared against rifle hunting. With recent developments in the last decade or so with the proliferation of rifled barrels and newly improved slugs, distances have been improved greatly over the old smooth bore 'punkin' ball days. But even with the great improvements in performance shotguns are still a decidedly shorter shooting weapon than a centerfire rifle. Given this shorter effective range, hunter's using shotguns need to set up in stand locations that will suit their hunting weapon. There is little use in sitting on top of an open hill watching the surrounding pastures and brushy banks if they are out of range. A better location is just inside the woods so that if a buck appears in the distance hunters can move back into the woods and stalk the deer through cover.
Shotgun slugs are an enormous and powerful slug (at close distance) and hunters need to use this to their advantage. While no bullet will go through brush without effect, the large slugs from a shotgun will do better than a rifle bullet. Open and clear shooting less are less important with a shotgun slug than a bullet (but an open shot is always better). This may allow a better stand selection for the shotgun deer hunter. Also, shotgun hunters need to be careful of slug placement at close range as the large slug will scatter bone throughout the meat.
For those hunters who are using buckshot in their shotgun while deer hunting, the advice above goes double for you. You need to be even closer to the expected deer location and brush is of even less consequence to you. You do need to be extremely careful to not shoot at dogs or drivers if you are using this hunting method. My preference is to face away from the dogs and / or drivers and shoot deer only after they pass your location. In certain situations (such as facing a hill that the deer will come down) shooting forward can be safe but keep in mind that you are throwing a handful of large pellets with every trigger pull.
As with any hunting shotgun deer hunting should always follow the two key rules of hunting. Be safe and have fun!