Anyone who has ever been on a dog-drive or a man-drive for deer knows the advantages of using a shotgun for this type of hunting, but shotgunning for deer isn’t just for those on the ground. Some hunters prefer shotguns even when perched in a tree stand.
Ernest McLeod of Sumter is one of those hunters. He has killed his share of deer with rifles, but about ten years ago, he decided that for him, a shotgun was the way to go.
“The main reason I decided to use a shotgun is that of all the deer I’ve killed in my life, very few were more than 40-yards away when I shot them. Most of my stands are in pretty thick woods that overlook small clearings. I can’t tell you how many times I raised my rifle on a deer, and couldn’t see anything but a big patch of brown through my scope, even with the magnification turned all the way down. The deer were just so close, I couldn't even tell what part of the deer I was looking at,” said McLeod. “That’s not a problem with a shotgun.”
Spooking deer on his way to the stand is another reason McLeod started hunting deer with a shotgun. “I park about a hundred yards from all my stands, and while walking to them, it’s not uncommon to spook deer that will bolt as soon as they notice me. And as soon as I notice them, I know they are too close for me to get off any kind of responsible shot with a rifle. You can mount and shoot a shotgun loaded with buckshot and have a reasonable chance of killing that deer,” he said, adding that it’s much quicker for your eye to focus on placing the bead of the shotgun on the deer than it is for your eye to focus and pick up the crosshairs in a scope while trying to aim at the kill zone on a moving deer.
McLeod also doesn’t mind getting out of one of his stands and walking to another during the day. This leads to more chances of spooking a buck in close quarters. “I use to think, ‘well, that’s too bad I didn’t have a shotgun, but I’ll be happy with the rifle once I’m in the stand,’ but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was giving up the chance to shoot deer on the ground with a shotgun, just for the chance to shoot deer in a stand with a rifle, even though a shotgun would work just fine in my stands,” he said.