A shotgun is a versatile part of a hunter’s collection. Not only is a shotgun a great addition to your home defense strategy, but it’s also an excellent gun for beginners, it comes at a variety of price points, and a twelve gauge shotgun is ideal for sport hunting a wide range of game, both big and small.
What You Can Hunt
With the versatility of ammunition, you can hunt any bird, including dove, quail, grouse, pheasant, geese, duck, and turkey. Birdshot in either a 12- or 20-gauge model gives you a deadly shot, and because they shoot a spread of pellets, shotguns are perfect for animals in flight.
You can also hunt small game like rabbits and squirrels, or load your shotgun with buckshot to pursue big game like deer or feral hogs at close range. If you use slugs, your shotgun is capable of hunting the same big game, or perhaps bigger, at longer ranges.
Range and Specs
The range of a shotgun varies depending on the ammunition. Pellets are an adequate shot at about forty yards, and slugs at about seventy-five. The reality is that shotguns will always be less accurate than rifles; however, because they can fire multiple projectiles, they are ideal for small, fast-moving targets.
The two most common gauges are twelve and twenty. The gauge refers to the diameter of the barrel, and the higher the number, the smaller the barrel. A 20-gauge shotgun is slightly smaller than a 12-gauge, is lighter weight, and has less recoil.
Ammunition also comes in gauges rather than caliber like in rifles or handguns. There are several different kinds of ammo you can use to load a shotgun. A shell is a self-contained cartridge loaded with multiple metallic pellets. Buckshot is the same is birdshot, but the spherical projectiles are bigger, so it does more damage and can be used to hunt bigger game. Slug is the term used for a shotgun bullet. It’s one solid lead projectile and is the most powerful ammunition you can buy for a shotgun.
How It Compares to Bow Hunting
Experienced hunters use both a gun and a bow regularly. However, for beginners, or someone wanting to gain proficiency, it’s best to choose one firearm and practice consistently. Focusing on a smaller set of skills enables mastery of those skills more quickly.
The outdoor hunting experience is entirely different from shotgun to bow. Hunting small game with a bow is very challenging, and you’ll be largely unsuccessful unless you have exceptionally good aim with moving targets.
Big game is also hard to shoot with archery unless you’re within thirty yards of your target. Stalking within archery range of elk or deer requires a lot of practice, skill, and sometimes luck. In most cases, a shotgun promotes more frequent success if your goal is to bring home dinner.
Seasons, Tags, and Regulations
Outdoor hunting regulations are complex, and they vary from state to state. Check local rules for where you can hunt, how to obtain tags, and how long the season is. When factoring in some of these things, bowhunters tend to have more of an advantage.
Some land is designated archery only, and many local landowners will only allow bowhunting on their property. If you know someone with land, hunting on private property can be cheaper, so gun hunting tends to be more pricey if you want the exclusivity that private property provides.
Over-the-counter tags are available first-come-first-serve but are the best bet for beginners because you don’t need points to be competitive. More experienced hunters have a better chance at a lottery for obtaining the tags they need.
Archery season is usually longer than gun season. You may also want to consider whether the seasons overlap because many archers don’t enjoy sharing the woods with gun hunters due to a significant disadvantage. It can also be dangerous to have bowhunters and gun hunters in the same area at one time, although incidents are rare, especially if you practice appropriate safety techniques.
Archery season usually precedes gun season, meaning that if you hunt with a rifle, you’re already at a disadvantage before you even begin. Guns often scare off animals, so once gun season starts, it can be hard to bag your limit. However, the earlier in the season it is, the warmer it is, so gun hunters do have a weather advantage later in the year.
Best for Beginners
A shotgun is one of the most versatile guns and performs nearly all functions that a rifle does, with few exceptions. Its ability to shoot a wide range of ammunition makes it useful for almost anything. Small game, large game, and home defense are a few potential uses already addressed. It’s effective at both short and long range.
Shotguns are also relatively inexpensive, so they’re not a huge investment for those wanting to learn. Shotguns circumvent a lot of legislation where handguns and rifles are concerned, and they’re easier to acquire.
It’s easy to transform a shotgun to a home defense role or make it a bird-blasting gun for the field. With an endless line of aftermarket accessories, you can tweak a shotgun to make it comfortable for anyone.
Shotguns are versatile, and you have a lot of options for comfort, size, and ammunition, making it one of the best guns for hunting. Grab A Gun has shotguns for sale, and you can order shotguns online on their website. If you’re looking to take up outdoor hunting, shotgun hunting is the perfect choice.