Firearms frustrations

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest This is the first deer season in several, thanks to being skunked so far using a compound bow, in which I have been able to participate in the firearms opportunity. For harvesting a buck, anyway. It’s been interesting having the capability to shoulder a gun and consider taking a deer beyond 30 yards, which is as far as I am comfortable take a shot with my bow. A gun broadens the horizons, so to speak, while offering different challenges.For example, I have two guns from which to choose to hunt deer: a semi-auto shotgun and an in-line muzzleloader. Choosing which one to use on any given hunt is easy, for all the wrong reasons: I have hardly been successful with either one. In fact, in two decades of using a muzzleloaders from borrowed beater percussion models to my present cutting edge, scoped, in-line, I have yet to even cut hair on a deer with a front-loaded projectile. And only close friends know how many slugs it took for me to harvest my only shotgun-slayed buck.The advantage of using a modern the muzzleloader is its range: some blackpowder enthusiasts drop deer at 200 yards with the modern-day smoke-poles. On the downside, you are limited to a single shot. At least before a reloading process that few deer are going to stand for.A shotgun such as mine may be loaded with three slugs and shot as fast as you can pull the trigger. The problem there is the range and accuracy are not close to what the muzzleloader can offer — at least in my hands. A slug barrel and modern sabots help both, but my shotgun is a left handed model for which no fully rifled barrel is available. So, based on my sighting-in efforts and the shot groups they reveal, I limit my efforts with the Remington toward deer at 50 yards or fewer.Based on that data, I choose to use the three-shot option of the shotgun when walking through thick cover such as that offered by CRP acreage, where I expect to jump a deer at close quarters and may need multiple trigger pulls to place the lead where I want it. When hunting from a stand or in open country, where I anticipate shots at standing deer at distances beyond 50 yards, I select the scoped, single-shot Thompson/Center.If it were only so easy. Every time I have had the shotgun in hand while walking in the thick stuff, the bucks have jumped out of my set range, run a ways, and stopped at about 75 yards to turn broadside to see what spooked them — offering a clear shot were I armed with the far-reaching muzzleloader. When I take the blackpowder rifle with its reach into the same stand of CRP, the bucks (yes, during the gun week opener two did the same thing in the same patch of thick grass and thistle ten minutes apart) wait until I am practically on top them before jumping and running non-stop into the next county.The same scenarios took place the last time I had a tag to fill and tried both firearms on separate occasions. It’s as though the deer know which gun I’m toting and what evasive maneuver will be required to frustrate my efforts on any given one-man deer drive.Will that stop me? Nope. It’s fun as heck and every time I get back to the truck and hang my license and deer tag on the rear view mirror I smile and remind myself that I get to do it all over again the next day.And I get to do so thanks to folks like Jim Stewart, John Wing, and the Baker and Whitney families who grant me and my family access to their land.Speaking of whitetail hunting… Youths harvest a bounty of deerOhio’s young hunters braved less than ideal weather conditions last month and checked 4,958 white-tailed deer during the two-day youth gun season held Nov. 18 and 19, down a bit from last year’s youth gun season when 5,930 white-tailed deer were checked. The youth deer-gun season is one of four special youth-only hunting seasons designed to offer a dedicated hunting experience for young hunters, including opportunities for small game, wild turkey and waterfowl. Find complete details in the 2017-2018 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at hunters can commemorate their hunt with a First Harvest certificate, available at Participants can upload a photo and type in their information to personalize the certificate. Hunters can also share photos by clicking on the Photo Gallery tab online. For summaries of past deer seasons, youth and otherwise, visit

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