WE DEER HUNTERS are truly the managers of whitetail deer. It is “us” who determine which individual deer are taken and which ones are allowed to advance the species.
We too, directly and indirectly make certain the habitat continues to support deer herds, which greatly benefits many other game and non-game species and perhaps, most important, the habitat itself.
As hunters when we decide to take a deer, it is our duty to kill that animal as quickly and humanely as possible. Some of us do so with archery equipment, some with crossbows, many of us with firearms including handguns, muzzleloaders, shotguns and rifles of various actions and designs.
In a departure from addressing management and hunting techniques, I thought it might be fun this issue to address some choices when it comes to deer hunting rounds.
I will admit up-front, I am not a bowhunter, even though I have taken whitetails and other animals with bow and arrow. As to crossbows I hunted unsuccessfully with one in the past. I quite possibly will again hunt with a crossbow this fall during Texas’s archery season.
I have, however, taken more than a few whitetails with rifles, handguns, muzzleloaders and even a few with shotguns (early on with buck shot, and in later years with slugs). I’ve hunted here in Texas, but also throughout the whitetail’s North American range.
I further admit to preferring firearms with blued steel with attractive wood stocks. I personally do not own a “modern sporting arm,” but defend the right for someone to do so.
My favorite whitetail guns are Ruger No.1 single-shot rifles and Super BlackHawk single-action revolvers. I also hunt with bolt actions, including those made of stainless steel and stocked in laminate and synthetic stocks.
My preference in scopes are those produced by Trijicon, based on my experience of having tried many different brands. Also based on my experience, I shoot and hunt with Hornady ammo. The bullet style, weight and load depends upon my firearm’s preference for accuracy.
Over the past 60 years I have taken whitetails with bullet diameters from .22 to .50 caliber (muzzleloaders). Like you, I do have preferences when it comes to whitetail rounds. Some of my rifle favorites are: .257 Roberts, .275 Rigby (same as 7×57), .270 Win, .280 Rem, .280 Ackley Improved, .308 Win, .30-06 Springfield, .300 H&H Mag, .300 Win Mag, and .375 Ruger. In revolvers, I prefer.44 Mag, .454 Casull, and .45 Colt (Long Colt).
To me the ideal whitetail round and rifle is the one you shoot accurately at distances near and far, using ammo that is accurate and produces sufficient down-range energy to quickly and humanely kill a deer. Most deer are and should be killed with the first shot fired.
I again will admit liking to shoot long range at steel and paper. However, when it comes to hunting, my goal is always to get as close as earthly possible before pulling the trigger. I expect one-inch, three-shot groups or smaller at 100 yards from my “deer rifles.” From my handguns, I expect two-inch, three-shot groups at 100 yards.
If I failed to mention your favorite, I would like to hear from you about your favorite deer caliber/round, and why you prefer it. You can contact me by sending an email to [email protected]. I would love to hear from you.
Email Larry Weishuhn at [email protected]