Deer Hunting & Rifles

namedpipes

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First off, I'm not a hunter - this is just to understand the reasoning, if any...

So I get that you can't hunt deer with a rifle, except shotguns or certain muzzleloaders. I understand bow & arrow are ok during the right season.

You can't use any rifle for hunting deer.


I just don't understand the reasoning.

According to my recollections watching Bambi, a deer is a large animal, easily spooked. It seems to me it would be difficult to get close enough to the deer to humanely kill it quickly with a shotgun, a shotgun being devestating at close range and not so much at a distance. I suppose there are muzzleloaders that are accurate at a distance, but my impression of those is gained from movies of the revolutionary and civil wars, and those are no match for a modern hunting rifle.

So, again, it seems to me, the chances of injuring a deer vs killing it are pretty high compared to shooting a similar sized animal with say, a 30-30 and a scope.

If all that is correct, then it seems the humane thing to do is allow hunting with modern rifles. That would make the people that wrote this law monsters...

Or is there some very good reasoning that makes all kinds of sense that I've just missed. Maybe a shotgun really is the most appropriate firearm for deer hunting?

Just curious and asking the reasoning, not arguing one way or the other.
 

Realtor MA

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A 30-06 will travel for miles if someone 'launches' it. A slug not so much.
A 12 gauge slug packs a pretty good wallop out to 75 or 100 yards.
 
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a deer is a large animal, easily spooked. It seems to me it would be difficult to get close enough to the deer to humanely kill it quickly with a shotgun, a shotgun being devestating at close range and not so much at a distance.
The shotguns are loaded with slugs, not shotshells. In much of the Northeast, second-growth forest is sufficiently dense that that deer generally will not present a visible target until they are well within accurate range. And as pointed out above, rifle bullets will carry well beyond that visible range. Yes, it is difficult to get within clear-shot range. That's why it's called "hunting" instead of "deer catching."
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namedpipes

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In much of the Northeast, second-growth forest is sufficiently dense that that deer generally will not present a visible target until they are well within accurate range. . . . Yes, it is difficult to get within clear-shot range. That's why it's called "hunting" instead of "deer catching."
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OK, I see there are some good reasons. It seemed contrary on the surface.

Here's hoping my sister's boyfriend has a good year. He's a b&a hunter and usually brings some venison ka-bobs to the cookouts.
 
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This is one of the regs that I hate, but understand. In some of the smaller public hunting areas (or even on private land for that matter) it would be pretty easy for a newbie hunter to let go of a flat shooting cartridge with very bad results. When you travel to Texas, S. Dakota, etc. you realize how densely populated Massachusetts really is.
 
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Do what I do. Go to Maine for your deer hunting. There are so many benefits such as NOT giving your money to mASS, being able to use rifles and mostly friendly people amongst the Maine game wardens. Hey, I even ran into one of them one day while hunting around Jackman who gave me info on where the deer were congregated, resulting in filling my tag.

Oh, and I agree with those who say don't worry about the distance in most cases. The last two deer I bagged in Maine were not shot with a rifle. One was downed with a 12 gauge shotgun and the other was dropped with a 44 magnum pistol with a 4 inch barrel and iron sights. Sometimes it can be that close.
 

Kicker96FS

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Around here if you can see 50 yards in the wood your doing pretty good. And yes, it's population density.
Not to worry, last deer I shot in Maine walked right up to me, never saw me until it was 40 FEET away from me. When I saw the light go on in his eyes, I pulled the trigger. Anyone that has shot one close up knows exactly what I mean. I was out in the open, on one knee, it was freaky to realise he just did not see me. A few more feet and I could have beat it to death. [smile]
 
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SAV

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Go figure

I enjoy the different weapon seasons and do each. I also can understand/respect the dense population reasoning.

But then why can I use my AR-15 in .223 with a 30 round clip on a coyote? Or even a .22 rifle at times (which I was once told could shoot a mile if aimed at a 45 degree angle) when I'm 500 feet from a dwelling.

I'm not sure how I feel about going after raccoons in the dark with a shotgun?

I don't get it.
 
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Do what I do. Go to Maine for your deer hunting. There are so many benefits such as NOT giving your money to mASS, being able to use rifles and mostly friendly people amongst the Maine game wardens. Hey, I even ran into one of them one day while hunting around Jackman who gave me info on where the deer were congregated, resulting in filling my tag.

Oh, and I agree with those who say don't worry about the distance in most cases. The last two deer I bagged in Maine were not shot with a rifle. One was downed with a 12 gauge shotgun and the other was dropped with a 44 magnum pistol with a 4 inch barrel and iron sights. Sometimes it can be that close.

Being orignally from Maine, people will generally be friendly, but one thing for all the MA hunters on here to know, if you go to Maine, find 100 acres or so you like to hunt on, buy it and post it, you'll be pretty much despised and if you ever find yourself in need of a hand and people in the area know you, don't count on getting any help.

That being said, Maine welcomes the extra revenue :)
 
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As a Previous poster mentioned most shots around here are about fifty yards. I took a buck last year out of my stand at less then ten yards with a bow. Also, shotguns have com a long way, and it there are ones that are acurate out to about 150 yards and if you are a good shot even further. I used to hunt with a 30-06 in NH, but after shooting my H&R slug hunter I realized that I am a better shot with it then I am with a rifle anyway.
 

Viper22

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Ham Slam, how do you like your Slug Hunter?

I just picked up a NEF Ultra Slug Hunter (pic's in new acquisition gallery) and I can't wait to get to the range and sight it in. I'm wondering just how accurate these slug guns are.
 
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Ham Slam, how do you like your Slug Hunter?

I just picked up a NEF Ultra Slug Hunter (pic's in new acquisition gallery) and I can't wait to get to the range and sight it in. I'm wondering just how accurate these slug guns are.

I love it, they are crazy accurate, I think you will love it. I put a scope on mine. I also put rifled slugs through it, and they fire very accurate up to 100 yards. I haven't maxed it out it, but I suspect with a sabot slug these guns are accurate up to 150 and even 200 plus if you are a good shot, which I am not.
 

Viper22

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Mine has the rifled barrel for sabot slugs, and it has a Bushnell Trophy red-dot for a scope.

My local gunshop is closed for vacation until the 14th....I can't wait that long to pick up ammo!!!
 

M1911

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I understand rifles are legal for hunting many other animals, though.
The number of hunters in the woods hunting for those other animals is far, far lower than the number hunting for deer (and they are probably more experienced hunters than the average deer hunter).
 

SAV

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Pics

Couldn't see your NEF pics in "New Acquisitions". Would love to see it. I recently pciked up a NEF Pardner 20 gauge (bare bones) for rabbits.
 
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They're on page 3 for the August acquisitions.

I'll tell you that scope might not do what you want it to. Your gun will out shoot that scope, I had to go with a scope that would reach a little further out. I started with a red dot, but I soon realized that my gun could shoot a lot further then the scope could reach. It is a great gun. I did months of reserch and actually called a few people at field and stream magizine, and they all said that other then the deer slayer this gun was the best shoot for slug guns. I got a few sabot slugs from dicks, they are more expensive, but better with the rifled barrel. I have that same gun, but with a walnut stock.
 

Viper22

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I think it'll be enough for the type of area I'm going to be hunting. I've got 200+ acres behind my house that I can hunt. Its mostly heavily wooded areas with logging roads. I can't see having the opportunity to take a shot past 75 yards.

If I find locations that allow for a 100+ yard shot, the local shop has Bushnell Banner shotgun scopes with adjustable magnification...I think they go up to 4x.
 
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Some observations:

  1. You all mention slugs. Not too much mention of buckshot.
  2. There are some other hunting regulations or laws which mention dividing the state East to West at Route 31. I think this would be a fair line for shotgun/rifle as well.
  3. The box on my .22 Long Rifle ammo says it can go up to 2 miles.
 

Viper22

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Some observations:

  1. You all mention slugs. Not too much mention of buckshot.
  2. There are some other hunting regulations or laws which mention dividing the state East to West at Route 31. I think this would be a fair line for shotgun/rifle as well.
  3. The box on my .22 Long Rifle ammo says it can go up to 2 miles.

The shotgun I have for deer hunting has a rifled barrel. You can only use sabot slugs with this type of shotgun barrel. This is the reason why I haven't mentioned using buckshot.
 
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The shotgun I have for deer hunting has a rifled barrel. You can only use sabot slugs with this type of shotgun barrel. This is the reason why I haven't mentioned using buckshot.

You can use both sabot slugs and rifled slugs through your gun, and to be honest if you only shooting under 100 yards then using the cheap remington sluggers will be fine. Check into it. I mostly shoot rifled slugs, and have my scope adjusted to them. When I go to shoot sabot slugs I have to adjust my scope.
 
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