Buckshot for whitetail?


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SleazyRider
June 16, 2014, 09:34 PM
Are there any circumstances when buckshot has an advantage over rifled slugs or centerfire rifle cartridges for hunting whitetail deer? Assume for the purposes of this discussion that state and local game laws permit the use of any of these rounds.

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R.W.Dale
June 16, 2014, 10:00 PM
In my experience NO

Buckshot for me has been a mediocre failure. If you can hit it with buckshot you can drill it to the ground with a foster slug just as well only farther and with much more favorable terminal results.


This and also the fact that almost uncannily to the incident every hunting fatality I can remember around here seems to ALWAYS involve buckshot which seems to be the " sound hunters" load of choice

cat_IT_guy
June 16, 2014, 10:02 PM
I used buckshot when hunting with dogs near Beaufort SC. My dad was a pilot in the Marines and they used to allow dog hunting with shotguns on the airstation. Basically it was a dozen or so guys, most would sit in lawn chairs around the perimeter of a 10ac(?) patch of woods. The dogs go in, the deer run out, guys in lawnchairs shoot at deer as they run out. As the deer are running, the pattern of the buckshot has the advantage of not requiring a single projectile to the vitals, you have more chances. Benefit #2 is the buckshot does not travel as far or carry as much energy as a single projectile.

Just about any other circumstance, Id rather have a bow/rifle/slug but for this type of hunting buckshot was mandated.

EDIT: I talked about the logic behind the buckshot, but not the performance. The 2 deer I shot with buckshot went down in a hurry, also witnessed a handful of other deer taken (I only hunted maybe 4 or 5 times this way). The key I think is limiting range.

jmr40
June 16, 2014, 10:18 PM
Hunting with dogs is about the only place I'd consider it. It can work at close range, but I much prefer a rifle.

redbullitt
June 16, 2014, 10:19 PM
I'd take a few slugs in the tube any day for hunting.

Captcurt
June 16, 2014, 10:24 PM
I too have used buckshot on deer driven by dogs. Years ago we had a "shotgun only " area near home. The two bucks that I took fell instantly. One was 40 yards standing broadside. The other was running through timber like a bat out of Hades about 45-50 yards. I wouldn't have had a chance with rifle.

Back in the good old days hunting with dogs was a way of life in the south and southeast. Shotguns were the norm.

double bogey
June 16, 2014, 11:00 PM
The only one I shot with buckshot was running right at me, and at 10 feet it shut it down right now. Another I saw shot at 40yds, didn't die right away.

rcmodel
June 17, 2014, 12:08 AM
Yes, unless you don't have any better choice.

Rifled Slugs are far superior to buck-shot outside 15-25 yards.
Rifles are far superior to rifled slugs outside 50 yards.

Unless you are restricted to being handicapped using buckshot by local laws?

Use anything besides buckshot for deer hunting!

rc

Water-Man
June 17, 2014, 12:26 AM
It could increase your margin of error but, then again, could decrease it also.

Davek1977
June 17, 2014, 06:14 AM
Personally, I'd rather not hunt than depend on buckshot to reliably anchor deer-sized game.

SleazyRider
June 17, 2014, 06:33 AM
I appreciate your thoughts on this. As a former New Jersey hunter (yes, I know), I was once restricted to buckshot and have a few boxes left over from back in the day. For the time being, in New York (yes, I know) we can shoot centerfire or slug, so I'm thinking my my OO buck cartridges are pretty much relegated to a home defense shotgun.

Again, thank you for your responses!

Bull Nutria
June 17, 2014, 06:50 AM
In Louisiana thickets where long shots over 50 yds, buckshot is useful however my thought is what if there is a sneaker buck that is standing there at 60 yds and all you have is this dam buckshot in your weapon. you have 2 choices either you don't shoot and hope he gets closer or you shoot and wound a beautiful animal that runs off in the swamp and you never see it again.

a properly sighted in slug is a better choice, lethal to 100yds +

I opt for a rifle now, i have hunted with buckshot in my younger days following dogs and was lucky most of my shots were inside 35 yds and were lethal. shots with buckshot passed 35yds are very iffy!!especially at running deer in thickets.

the new slugs by federal i think the "truball" are quite impressive in videos by brobee??

Bull

cowpoke
June 17, 2014, 07:08 AM
Keep it 50 yds or less , ues the bigger buckshot , 1,0,00,000. And pattern your gun !

Sav .250
June 17, 2014, 07:38 AM
Check your DNR site first to see if it`s legal. Some states, not.

SleazyRider
June 17, 2014, 07:58 AM
I have no intention of using it. I was just curious as to the circumstances that warrant its use. Aside from hunting with dogs or perhaps very close ranges, it doesn't sound like there are any.

DDeegs
June 17, 2014, 08:37 AM
Sleazy,

NY does NOT allow buckshot for deer.

Dan

H&Hhunter
June 17, 2014, 09:48 AM
I've tried it on hogs and found it to be almost useless. The only way it would work on a big hog was at extremely close range.

ljnowell
June 17, 2014, 01:00 PM
We use slugs only in my parts(no rifles allowed either) and we do good with either rifled slugs or rifled barrels. My dad's last deer was taken at 157 yards by the laser rangefinder with his old 870 with a slug barrel and brenneke KO Slugs.

Patocazador
June 17, 2014, 02:03 PM
I've killed over 25 deer with 00 buckshot. Most were taken on "charity hunts" for churches in Alabama. Stands were assigned, the beaters were men from the church, and dogs, horses, and 4-wheelers were used by the drivers. Only buckshot was allowed and it was quite effective in that type of driven hunt.

It is also useful when still hunting through thick brush and swamp where deer are jumped in front of you.

Most of these shots are under 40 yards. Use a full choke 12 gauge.

Arkel23
June 17, 2014, 02:09 PM
If the deer is close and running then buckshot would probably be a better choice, but otherwise you're probably better off with a slug or center fire.

H&Hhunter
June 17, 2014, 02:20 PM
I've seen a buckshot specific choke built by Hans Vang I think, that delivers about the tightest patterns you can imagine. I'm guessing that they would be a bit better on large game within their respective range limits.

351 WINCHESTER
June 17, 2014, 02:50 PM
I call it "luckshot" and for good reason.

desidog
June 17, 2014, 03:19 PM
Hunting with buckshot is illegal in CT too.

pbearperry
June 17, 2014, 03:25 PM
Lost a nice buck using buckshot at only 20 yards in Mass. years ago.Never used it again.

Patocazador
June 17, 2014, 03:48 PM
I was told by a prof. hunter that many professional hunters in Africa usually carry a SxS shotgun with buckshot when following up wounded leopards.

Leopards are much more dangerous than deer.

tahunua001
June 17, 2014, 04:18 PM
one when you're hunting from a tree stand and the rifles are scoped with high power scopes and you need rapid target acquisition.

2ndAmendmentNut
June 17, 2014, 04:21 PM
A quick shot at pigs with a load of buckshot is very effective. Deer in TX aren't as tough as pigs so buckshot would work fine at close range.

herkyguy
June 18, 2014, 05:01 AM
I shot a 9 point last fall with 3" magnum buckshot. He ran 40 yards and fell. Problem was there was no blood at all. I knew I hit him from about 20 yards and I had enough twilight to find where he'd run to, but I was close to losing him. Most of the pellets were right under his pelt on the opposite side.

I only had buckshot that day because I was on a stand that had does coming in each evening and was looking to drop one to put in the freezer.

Go figure that during the rut, bucks show up where all the does are.

I'll be sighting in my shotgun for slugs this fall though. Id much rather have a good blood trail to follow.

CajunBass
June 18, 2014, 06:37 AM
I'm probably not the right guy to reply because I've never used anything but buckshot for deer hunting. I've killed them from 10 to 40 yards, never lost one, and never had one go more than a few feet after being hit. I don't think I ever killed one with just one shot, but can't remember but one I had to shoot more than twice. And that's counting a few that were down for the count with one shot, but I used a load of birdshot at muzzle touching range to turn out the lights.

All my hunting was done driving the deer with dogs. Shotguns and buckshot were the only weapons allowed. My favorite load was 3", Number 1 buck. I don't think I ever killed a deer with anything else, but saw (and dressed) a lot that got killed with 000. That stuff kills like lightening, and breaks bones like matchsticks.

SleazyRider
June 18, 2014, 06:47 AM
I'm probably not the right guy to reply
You're exactly the right guy to reply, as I appreciate a different perspective. Thank you!

H&Hhunter
June 18, 2014, 06:51 AM
Range is your primary limiting factor with buckshot.

Captcurt
June 18, 2014, 10:31 AM
When I was a teen we did a test to see what calibers bucked brush the best. We set up cardboard boxes with targets behind a thicket of Sumac and shot every gun that we had access to. Calibers were 22lr, 222, 250-3000, 300 Savage, 308, 30-06 and 12 ga 00 buck. Buckshot was the only one that consistently made it to the target. Later we repeated the same scenario with other loads including 35 Rem, 44 mag and 50 Cal muzzelloader. Buckshot won again.

If Arkansas didn't have point restrictions I would take my 12 ga and sneaky-snake through the nastiest thickets that I could find. But, it is really hard to count points on a buck running through brush.

ldlfh7
June 19, 2014, 10:58 AM
Buckshot is illegal for whitetail in Missouri so I have never been able to see what it can do.

MCgunner
June 19, 2014, 10:58 AM
I killed my first buckshot kill ever this year with my 20 gauge shooting 3 buck. Now, I wasn't deer hunting. I was sneaking up on a tank to see if there were any ducks on it when I looked to my right and there stood an 8 point at 35 yards eyeing me that I'd seen on the game camera. I had 3 buck in the mod barrel and fired. 3 pellets to the head, 5 to the neck, went down in his tracks.

My doubles, 20 gauge (light) and 12, are my go to woods guns around here during deer season, make great combination guns. I could load with slugs, I guess, but I figure if I get a clean shot, it'll probably be running. This deer wasn't, he was just standing there.

No, I don't CHOOSE buckshot to hunt deer with. I usually use one of my rifles unless it's bow season or I'm in a handgunning mood. But, buckshot has its uses for me.

dprice3844444
June 19, 2014, 12:58 PM
light skinned animals at close range open shots from ground cover and tree stands,if you do your part,it will do it's.

buck460XVR
June 19, 2014, 02:44 PM
Range is your primary limiting factor with buckshot.

I tend to agree. I think that some of the bad rap that buckshot gets is due to folks shooting at animals too far away and taking poor percentage shots. Too many folks feel it's a point and shoot kind of thing as opposed to aiming.

judgedelta
June 19, 2014, 04:52 PM
Hunting from horseback, the shots are fast and close. Benelli M1 with special choke and Winchester long range triple O's; good out to 50 yards. Few horses like a shotgun, almost none will tolerate a rifle...

MCgunner
June 19, 2014, 06:55 PM
Too many folks feel it's a point and shoot kind of thing as opposed to aiming.

I'm one of those folks. :rolleyes: I don't "aim" a shotgun. Properly fitted, it practically points itself. I don't hunt deer on purpose with a shotgun, but do hunt birds and small game and don't "aim" in the sense of aiming a rifle.

When I learned about FITTING the shotgun to me, my wing shot percentage improved. The gun is part of the body, should come to YOU, not the other way around. Shoot where you look.

Patocazador
June 19, 2014, 07:07 PM
Quote:
"Too many folks feel it's a point and shoot kind of thing as opposed to aiming."

I shot a deer last year in a shotgun/muzzleload only hunt only because I was using a shotgun (with slugs). I was surprised while walking to my stand by a spike that jumped out on the trail, saw me at 30 yards, wheeled around, and hauled back into the bushes. I instinctively swung and shot as if it were a dove or duck. The slug caught the spike in the base of the neck as he disappeared into the brush. He was dead 30 feet into the thick stuff.

You don't aim a shotgun except on a stationary target.

Greenflyfarmer
June 19, 2014, 08:39 PM
I grew up in the Virginian mountains and hill billies love rifles. Me too. West of the Blue Ridge were I learned the woods, dog hunting for deer is illegal.
I moved to central VA and dog hunting is the norm and tradition from Colonial days.
I hated the noise and barking at first. Later I learned how to make use of the dogs hunt clubs ran across the land I hunted on. I could never take a shot in that dense piney woods on deer running flat out at times.
But a 3 1/2 inch 12 gauge extra full choke with 00 and 18 pellets puts the fastest buck down. 20 years Of pump shotgun hunting during general fire arms season and I am confident of success in dense woods on the ground or in a tree. 50 yards.

SleazyRider
June 19, 2014, 09:33 PM
... hill billies love rifles.

I must be a hillbilly then. :) Welcome to The High Road, Greenflyfarmer, and thank you for your post.

Glockula
June 19, 2014, 11:42 PM
I'll second that buckshot is Ok at best when hunting with dogs. I killed my first two seer in the southern Virginia swamps with 00 buck and an old Winchester 1400. Not the best way to go about it IMHO. I much prefer a scoped center fire rifle or iron sighted lever action.

buck460XVR
June 20, 2014, 01:02 PM
Quote:
"Too many folks feel it's a point and shoot kind of thing as opposed to aiming."

I shot a deer last year in a shotgun/muzzleload only hunt only because I was using a shotgun (with slugs). I was surprised while walking to my stand by a spike that jumped out on the trail, saw me at 30 yards, wheeled around, and hauled back into the bushes. I instinctively swung and shot as if it were a dove or duck. The slug caught the spike in the base of the neck as he disappeared into the brush. He was dead 30 feet into the thick stuff.

You don't aim a shotgun except on a stationary target.


That only tells me you got lucky. You were using a firearm with a single projectile. Shooting it from a shotgun is no different than shooting a single projectile from a rifle. Lot's of folks get deer by just swinging and pointing a rifle at a running animal also. That too is luck and wounds many a deer. If you didn't get lucky and hit where you wanted....you were aiming. The fit of the gun may have helped with your swing, your lead and shooting in the general direction. But if you were not aiming and just pointing....you got lucky.

Shooting a deer with buckshot is quite a bit different than shooting ducks with birdshot. With a duck you have a pattern that generally is larger than the duck itself and you have many pellets. You don't care where you hit the duck, as a broken wing will bring it down just as well as a shot to the heart. Hitting it in the guts generally brings it down and makes it retrievable also. Angle and where hit generally doesn't make a difference in penetration. This is not true with buckshot and deer. One usually has a few pellets and a pattern that does not cover the whole animal. Where the pellets hit make a big difference whether or not the animal goes down and is retrievable. While you think you are only pointing at the animal, you are, or should be, aiming at the boiler room or CNS. Pointing indiscriminately at the whole animal like you do with a duck makes for a wounded animal. The phrase "aim small miss small" still applies, even with buckshot. When hunting pheasants, and they are close and I don't want to make a mess of them, I aim farther out in front of them, even if it's only instinctively.

ljnowell
June 22, 2014, 05:33 AM
That only tells me you got lucky. You were using a firearm with a single projectile. Shooting it from a shotgun is no different than shooting a single projectile from a rifle. Lot's of folks get deer by just swinging and pointing a rifle at a running animal also. That too is luck and wounds many a deer. If you didn't get lucky and hit where you wanted....you were aiming. The fit of the gun may have helped with your swing, your lead and shooting in the general direction. But if you were not aiming and just pointing....you got lucky.



Shooting a deer with buckshot is quite a bit different than shooting ducks with birdshot. With a duck you have a pattern that generally is larger than the duck itself and you have many pellets. You don't care where you hit the duck, as a broken wing will bring it down just as well as a shot to the heart. Hitting it in the guts generally brings it down and makes it retrievable also. Angle and where hit generally doesn't make a difference in penetration. This is not true with buckshot and deer. One usually has a few pellets and a pattern that does not cover the whole animal. Where the pellets hit make a big difference whether or not the animal goes down and is retrievable. While you think you are only pointing at the animal, you are, or should be, aiming at the boiler room or CNS. Pointing indiscriminately at the whole animal like you do with a duck makes for a wounded animal. The phrase "aim small miss small" still applies, even with buckshot. When hunting pheasants, and they are close and I don't want to make a mess of them, I aim farther out in front of them, even if it's only instinctively.


Couldn't agree more with this post. We have an obligation to make ethical kills. As a Christian I believe that God put these animals here to sustain me. I also believe that he have me certain responsibilities in regards to that animal. One us to show it the mercy He shows me and provide it an ethical quick exit from this world. You don't have to be Christian to agree with the point of me belief, only a person with respect for the animal.

If you aren't 100% sure that the shot you have lined up is going to hit where you are aiming, and will bring down the animal clean, then you don't make that shot.

SleazyRider
June 22, 2014, 08:19 AM
... We have an obligation to make ethical kills.


I'm thinkin' this is the very reason buckshot is prohibited in so many states.

retrieverman
June 23, 2014, 04:54 AM
Since 1982, I've killed A BUNCH of deer and hogs with buckshot, and I've never had any animal walk away after taking a load.

Bezoar
June 23, 2014, 11:20 PM
the 32-20 is considered a rather poor choice for deer hunting. buckshot makes the 32-20 look like a 30-30 by comparison.

Most people who have devoloped the skill to trail and track a wounded deer for 3-5 miles through the forest normally are the ones who use buckshot.

Sun Tzu warrior
June 23, 2014, 11:54 PM
I once killed a 4 point buck in Alabama, which crossed a road..... He stood in the middle of the road with his head tucked in a pine tree. He thought he was covered,....... at 125 paces my Mossberg 500 with it's 3 inch shell, and 30 inch barrel put one (of fifteen) 00BK shot thru his head..... he dropped right there. Also took many does with the same round/shotgun,
Still not my go to firearm when it comes to Whitetails. A Bow is better suited, IMHO!
STW

SleazyRider
June 24, 2014, 06:07 AM
Most people who have devoloped the skill to trail and track a wounded deer for 3-5 miles through the forest normally are the ones who use buckshot. Not me. I happen to be what folks called "colorblind," meaning I can see colors alright but they don't appear as they do for those with normal color vision, especially reds and greens. There's no way I can track a deer with a blood trail---unless there's snow on the ground! So my kills have to be precise and certain, and I usually pass up three or four shots for every one I take. Buckshot probably isn't a good option.

Sav .250
June 24, 2014, 07:52 AM
Humane kill is the end result. Slug........

I suspect those that might use Buckshot, like the idea of "more" lead flying around.

Less aiming . Just, point and pull. JMO.

jrdolall
June 24, 2014, 08:53 AM
I killed my first whitetail in Alabama in 1976 or so. OO buckshot.
In the 80s I was a member of a club that was mostly ex military and pretty much everyone used 308 or 30-06. During the Christmas Holidays Alabama had a doe season that allowed a hunter to kill antlerless deer for about 2 weeks. During those times we often made drives through the river bottoms and virtually always used buckshot because the shots were generally at close range and extremely quick. Now in Alabama we can kill two doe every day for the entire season so we don't do any drives.
In the 90s I was a member of a club that exclusively hunted using dogs. ONLY buckshot was allowed. Lots of hunters came up from Florida for this club and every law in the books was broken just about every weekend. The wardens knew where we would be and handed out lots of tickets.
I haven't used buckshot in probably 15 years because I generally hunt from an elevated stand or stalk hunt. It is an excellent choice in some applications but probably not the best for most people or situations. Quick shots at running animals is where buckshot is the best option. At 25 yards you have 6-9 pellets all of which can penetrate to the vitals rather than one projectile with a slug. If you just throw up your gun and aim in the general direction of the deer then there is a good chance of making a bad hit but that's the same with a slug or rifle. Using buckshot from a tree stand or blind? I personally don't see any advantage to that.

T.R.
June 27, 2014, 05:06 AM
I've read that some southern woodsmen hunt with dogs and load their shotguns with buckshot. But I've never personally talked with any of these hunters about their experiences.

Years ago, I killed a doe in Ohio with a full choked 16 gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot. Distance was about 15 yards or so. I aimed for the spot where head and neck are joined (broadside) and the animal dropped right away. The wounds were quite ghastly at this distance. Since then, I bought a slug gun and have taken many deer with sabot loads at distances out to about 75 yards or so. Although recoil is stout, this outfit is the way to go if shotgunning for deer is your choice.

TR

red rick
June 28, 2014, 09:42 PM
I live in a shotgun only county and in my club we can only use a slug gun if you are in a tree stand and we use dogs .

It just kills me with what some of you think about buckshot .

In the terrain we hunt using dogs , it is my preferred choice . It kills just fine if you hit them in the right place , same as 30-30 or 30-06 . You just have too be closer and we don't hunt bean fields where our club land is .

There are not as many deer in our hunting area now , but when I was in my early teens in the 80's , we would kill 20 some bucks the first day of the season and all with buckshot .

d2wing
July 3, 2014, 12:34 AM
One thing to consider is that Southern deer tend to be small and likely do not have the winter coat and fat layers of a larger Northern deer so are easier to kill with buckshot. It is not legal where I hunt.
As far as point and shoot. Yes it may be lucky and a poor practice but not always. There is a science to it. I was taught how to do it in the Army. And later I became a certified instructor. There is a reason that he hit the deer but doesn't know how he did it. There is a method to trick shooting as well. I am not giving online lessons but it can be taught but you have to have native skill, training and practice to do it right. And it is not foolproof. It doesn't replace aiming in hunting.

HOOfan_1
July 3, 2014, 07:51 AM
I've killed 2 deer with 12 gauge 3 inch Magnum buckshot. One was on a dead run at about 30 yards. The other was standing stock still at about 50 yards. That was all that was legal in those two instances. 3 shell limit too. Both deer dropped within 10 yards of where I shot them.

I have shot a small doe with a .30-30...dropped within 5 yards.

Shot two bucks with a .30-06 the first, a double lung and a piece of the heart shot....he ran about 50 yards before he dropped.

The other jumped just as I pulled the trigger...so I severed his leg just under the lungs and heart. I had to chase him for about 400 yards.


I haven't killed many deer, but luckily I have never lost one. 95% of the places I hunt are buckshot or muzzle loader only. Yeah, muzzle loader is ok, but slugs aren't, just proves the people who make the laws often don't know anything.

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