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Scattergun Bucks


With the opening of the deer season in South Carolina, many hunters are entering the fields with their trusty shotgun. All in hopes of tagging that buck of a lifetime. Shotguns have long been a tradition and an excellent choice for deer hunters. For those choosing to hunt deer with hounds, the shotgun is the only choice, but more and more are turning back to the scattergun for stand hunting bucks.

Writers all across America spell the lethal effects of slugs on whitetail deer. And in states where rifles are not allowed the slug gun is an excellent choice. For our discussion, we will focus on smoothbore shotguns using buckshot as the ammunition of choice.

The shotgun and buckshot has caused the demise of millions of whitetail deer. Long before the advent of the rifle choices we have today, every outdoorsman owned a shotgun. It was the “one gun” that did it all. From light loaded dove and quail shells, to the hefty buckshot and steel used for waterfowl. The shotgun does it all.

Hunting bucks with a shotgun is similar to archery hunting – only louder. The tactics are similar, set up is almost identical and range is close to the same. The shotgun offers the hunter the opportunity to shoot through things the archer cannot. It also offers the possibility of shooting at a moving target.

One tactic that helps the shotgun excel is hunting the pine plantations that are prevalent in the south. When these plantations reach a height of about fifteen feet, hunting them is difficult at best. The ground hunter has the advantage, sitting in these tight quarters watching trails is a very effective method of killing big bucks. This is the perfect set up for the shotgun hunter. Sitting low, shotgun hunters sitting on the ground can see beneath the limbs and cover and pick out movement.

Ammo choices vary and arguments for one over the other are similar to the arguments over a Chevy or Ford. There is the standard 00 buck, 0 buck, #4 buck, #1 Buck. All offer a bit of a difference. For example, the 00 buck in a standard 3” configuration will carry 9 pellets. While the #4 buck will carry 16 pellets. The choice depends on how far shots are predicted and if the animal will be moving.

Other options include the gun itself. From the 12 gauge or the 20 gauge. Both are lethal within their effective ranges. If using the smaller gauge opt for the heavier loads in the 3” version. When available, the good ole 16 gauge is an excellent choice for he scattergun deer hunter. Filling a whitetail with a shoulder full of buckshot at effective range will fill your freezer.

Keep in mind that blood trailing a buck shot with buckshot can be tricky. The exit holes, if available will be small and blood will be scarce. However, when shot well, the buck will die is short order.

The smoothbore offers a great opportunity for hunters who may not have access to long range rifles to still enjoy a great day afield.