Can You Hunt Deer with a Shotgun? A Step-by-Step (Guide)

Can you hunt deer with a shotgun

You want to hunt deer but are unsure if your shotgun is the right weapon for the job. It can be tough to know what hunting equipment you need for the specific animal you’re trying to take down. Do you need a rifle? A bow and arrow; what about a shotgun, Can you hunt deer with a shotgun?

We wrote this guide to help clear any confusion and teach you how to use a shotgun for hunting deer. This guide will walk you through everything from selecting the suitable shotgun for your needs to sighting your weapon to taking down your prey.

Can You Hunt Deer with a Shotgun? 

Can a Shotgun Take Down a Deer? Yes, you can hunt deer with a shotgun, but it’s not always the most effective way. A gun is excellent for hunting deer from short distances, as it can easily take down the animal with a single shot.

However, shotguns are not as accurate as rifles when hunting from a distance, so you may have to get closer to the deer to make a kill shot.

Is a Shotgun Good for Hunting Deer? 

Can You Use Shotguns for Deer Hunting? Yes, shotguns can be used for deer hunting, but they’re not always the best choice. If you’re hunting from a distance, a rifle will likely be a better option, as it’s more accurate.

However, a shotgun can be a good choice if you’re hunting from an effective range, as it’s more likely to take down the deer with one shot.

How to Hunt Deer with a Shotgun? Hunting Trips

If you’ve decided that you want to hunt deer with a shotgun, there are a few things you need to do to be successful.

First, you need to select a suitable shotgun for your needs. There are a variety of slug barrels on the market, so it’s essential to choose one best suited for deer hunting.

Next, you need to sight in your shotgun. This means making sure the sights on your gun are correctly aligned so that you can hit your target.

Finally, when you’re out on your hunt, aim carefully and shoot the deer in the head or heart, as this will ensure a quick and humane kill.

Tips for Hunting Deer with a Shotgun 

Here are a few tips to help you successfully hunt deer with a shotgun:

  • Choose the right shotgun for deer hunting
  • Understand your shotgun’s choke and smooth bore barrel length
  • Learn how to aim and shoot a gun properly
  • Scout out good locations to hunt deer from a distance
  • Practice, practice, practice!

Shotgun Only Deer Hunting States

Assuming you’re referring to states where it is legal to hunt deer with a shotgun, here is a list: Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Maine

Deer hunting with a shotgun can be an excellent option for those who don’t want to use a rifle or for those who live in densely populated areas where shooting a gun might not be practical. Slug barrels are also typically less expensive than rifles and can be easier to operate for some hunters. 

If you’re considering deer hunting with a shotgun in one of these states, check the local regulations regarding what type and size of a shotgun are allowed. You’ll also need to make sure you’re using the correct type of ammunition for deer hunting. 

With some research and practice, deer hunting with a shotgun can be a great way to fill your freezer with venison.

Can You Hunt Deer with a Shotgun in Texas?

No, you cannot. In Texas, hunting deer with a shotgun using rimfire ammunition of any caliber is illegal. The only exceptions are during deer dog training days or when hunting hogs on properties where the landowner has authorized the taking of deer with rimfire ammunition.

If you want to hunt deer with a shotgun in Texas, you’ll need to use non-rimfire ammunition such as centerfire rifle rounds or shotshells loaded with buckshot or sabot slugs.

Can You Hunt Deer with a Shotgun in Pa?

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has officially lifted gun restrictions that fire single-projectile ammunition. This means you can now easily take your semi-automatic centerfire shotgun when hunting deer, bear, and elk in all 50 counties!

The old regulations said hunters could only use pump-action or break-action slug barrels that held no more than five rounds. The new law will now allow for any legal shotgun as long as it’s not a semi-automatic that fires single-projectile ammunition.

Now that you can hunt deer with a shotgun more easily in Pennsylvania, check out the local regulations on shotgun ammunition and ensure you’re using the correct type of ammo for deer hunting.

What Gauge Shotgun Is Best for Deer Hunting?

The answer to this question depends on what you’re looking for in a shotgun. If you’re starting, a 12 gauge shotgun is a good choice as it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to find.

If you’re looking for a bit more power, a 20 gauge shotgun might be a better option. And if you’re an experienced hunter who wants to take down big game, a 10 gauge shotgun might be the best choice.

Ultimately, the best gauge shotgun for deer hunting is the one you’re most comfortable with and can shoot accurately.

Is 20 Gauges or 12 Gauges Better for Deer?

This is a controversial topic as there isn’t a right or wrong answer. It depends on your preferences and what you’re looking for in a shotgun. The 12 gauge slug is the most popular choice for deer hunters.

The 20 gauge slug is a good choice for a small game, but it doesn’t have the power to take down a deer like the 12 gauge slugs. The 12 gauge slugs dominate the hunting community because of their stopping power and accuracy.

How to Choose the Right Shotgun for Deer Hunting?

There are a few things you should take into consideration when choosing a shotgun for deer hunting. The first is the type of action you want. Pump-action and break-action shotguns are the most popular choices for deer hunting.

The next thing you should consider is the gauge of the shotgun. The 12 gauge is the most popular, but the 20 gauge is a good choice for more miniature games.

Finally, you should consider the type of ammunition you want to use. Slug barrels are the most popular deer hunting, but buckshot can also be a good option.

The best shotgun for deer hunting is the one you’re most comfortable with and can shoot accurately.

What Shotgun Do You Use for Deer?

For deer, I use a 12 gauge shotgun with slugs. Some people prefer a 10 gauge, but I find the 12 gauge more adequate. I also like to use #1 buckshot for deer, although some people want larger sizes, such as #2 or #3.

Whatever shot you choose, make sure you practice with it so that you can make accurate shots when it matters most.

Best Shotgun for Deer Hunting

You’ve been planning your deer hunting trip all year and, finally, have time off work. But what gun should you take? There are so many choices, and everyone seems to have a different opinion.

Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. We’ve researched the best slug barrels for deer hunting and compiled them into this handy guide. Whether you’re looking for a shotgun that’s easy to carry or one that will pack a punch, we’ve got you covered.

The 5 Best Shotguns for Deer Hunting

Mossberg 500

Sale
Mossberg Shotgun Ammo Sling (Holds 25 Shells) ***Made in U.S.A.***
  • 100% Made in USA, Shotgun Ammo Sling with Gripping Ring and Ammo...
  • Ammo Loops Hold 25 Shells (20 or 12-Gauge Shells)
  • 2" Heavy-Duty Black Nylon, Featuring Unique Rubber Gripping...
  • Attaches to your 1" swivels (1" wide strap insertion through your...

The Mossberg 500 is one of the most popular slug barrels on the market, and for a good reason. It’s affordable, reliable, and easy to use. It’s also a good choice for deer hunting, as it’s powerful enough to take down a big game.

Remington 870

Remington 870 Express Shotgun Ammo Sling (25 Shells) - Made in U.S.A.
  • 100% Made in USA, Shotgun Ammo Sling with Gripping Ring and Ammo...
  • Ammo Loops Hold 25 Shells (20 or 12-Gauge Shells)
  • 2" Heavy-Duty Black Nylon, Featuring Unique Rubber Gripping...
  • Attaches to your 1" swivels (1" wide strap insertion through...

The Remington 870 is another popular choice for deer hunting. It’s a bit more expensive than the Mossberg 500 but also more robust. It’s a good choice for hunters who want a bit more firepower.

Winchester SXP

Ace Case Winchester Model 1300 Practical Defender Shotgun Ammo Sling...
  • 100% Made in USA, Shotgun Ammo Sling with Gripping Ring and Ammo...
  • Ammo Loops Hold 25 Shells (20 or 12-Gauge Shells)
  • 2" Heavy-Duty Black Nylon, Featuring Unique Rubber Gripping...
  • Attaches to your 1" swivels (1" wide strap insertion through your...

The Winchester SXP is a good choice for deer hunting because it’s lightweight and easy to carry. It’s also very accurate, making it a good choice for hunters who want to kill their prey with one shot.

Browning A5

Browning Traditional Fitted Pres Leather Case- Universal
  • Browning Brand has come to represent “The Best There Is” in...
  • We have partnered with many companies to represent the Browning...
  • Browning-branded products will embellish your lifestyle with home...
  • Rugged wood construction covered with expanded vinyl

The Browning A5 is a bit more expensive than other shotguns on this list, but it’s worth the investment. It’s one of the most accurate slug barrels on the market and is also straightforward.

Benelli Nova

Trinity soft padded case for Benelli Nova Benelli Super Nova shotguns...
  • Fast 2-3 Days shipping anywhere in THE USA.
  • Rifle Shotgun Scabbard is designed for an easy, comfortable, and...
  • Molle webbing on both side of the scabbard with four detachable...
  • Six metal D-Ring locations for attaching the padded Shoulder...

The Benelli Nova is another excellent choice for deer hunting. It’s a bit more expensive than other shotguns, but it’s worth the investment. It’s highly accurate and effortless to use.

Check below Best Shotgun Scopes for Deer Hunting

Bestseller No. 1
Hammers Cantilever Barrel Deer Slug Shotgun Scope 2-7x32 with Weaver...
  • A high quality small lightweight scope with plenty of powers
  • Fine line circle x reticle for quick targetting
  • Zoom power from 2x - 7x
  • Resettable finger tight windage and elevation adjustment screws
Bestseller No. 2
TRUGLO 4x32mm Compact Rimfire and Shotgun Scope Series, Diamond...
  • Fully-coated lenses provide maximum brightness, clarity, and...
  • Rubber eye guard; Durable, scratch-resistant, non-reflective...
  • Duplex reticle model includes 3/8" scope mounting rings ideal for...
  • Diamond reticle models include weaver-style scope mounting rings
SaleBestseller No. 3
TRUGLO TruBrite 30 Hunter 30mm Compact Shotgun/Rifle Scope, 1-4 x...
  • 1-4X magnification for fast target acquisition; 30mm tube for...
  • Large exit pupil and generous 3.75" eye relief for a bright...
  • Durable leaf spring click adjustments for windage and elevation;...
  • Extremely wide field of view; 1/2-MOA windage/elevation...
SaleBestseller No. 4
KONUS - KonusPro 7249 - 1.5X-5X32mm Shotgun Scope With Engraved AimPro...
  • BLACKPOWDER AND SLUG APPLICATIONS: The KonusPro 1.5X-5X32 is the...
  • HIGH QUALITY MATERIALS: The KonusPro 1.5X-5X32 has an unbreakable...
  • RANGEFINDER: The AimPro reticle also works as a rangefinder,...
  • ENHANCED OPTICS: The multi-coated optics provide enhanced light...
Bestseller No. 5
DEER HUNTER CLASSIC
  • EXPLORE A LIVING WORLD
  • Immerse yourself in diverse environments filled with over 100...
  • MAXIMUM FIREPOWER
  • Enjoy endless customization as you perfect your weapons. Upgrade...

Can You Use a 12 Gauge Shotgun for Deer Hunting?

Can You Hunt Deer with a 12 Gauge Shotgun? Yes, a 12 gauge shotgun is an excellent choice for deer hunting. It’s powerful enough to take down a big game but not so powerful that it’s difficult to control.

The 12 gauge is also a good choice because it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to find. You can also find a wide variety of ammunition for a 12 gauge shotgun to choose the right type of ammo for your needs.

Can You Hunt Deer with a 20 Gauge Shotgun?

Can You Deer Hunt with a Shotgun? Yes, you can hunt deer with a 20 gauge shotgun, but it’s not the ideal tool for the job. A 20 gauge shotgun is better suited for hunting small game or birds. For deer hunting, you’ll want to use a giant gauge shotgun, like a 12 gauge or ten gauges.

How Far Can You Shoot a Deer with a Shotgun?

It depends on the shotgun. Like a slug gun, a smoothbore barrel can shoot a deer at 75 to 150 yards. 

Like most bird guns, a rifled barrel will hit a deer at about 50 yards maximum.

Of course, the farther you shoot, the more difficult it is to hit your target. For this reason, most deer hunters recommend staying within 50 yards of your target.

Deer Hunting with Shotgun vs. Rifle for Hunting

Is a Rifle or Shotgun Better for Deer Hunting? It depends on your preference. Some hunters prefer the challenge of hunting with a shotgun, while others find it easier to take down a deer with a rifle.

There is no right or wrong answer, but you should choose the weapon that you’re most comfortable with. If unsure, you can always talk to a professional at your local hunting store.

Conclusion

So, Can you hunt deer with a shotgun? It’s not as simple as picking up any old shotgun and heading out into the woods. You need to know specific things to hunt deer successfully with a gun. We hope this guide has helped you understand those things so you can go out and have a successful hunt. Good luck!

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