When I was 4 years old my father took me hunting for the very first time: indeed, it is the first memory I have of my father and I together; I guess the bond between us was made at that time. Then, when I was 7, I pulled the trigger of my father’s 12G for the first time, and the next thing I saw was blue skies, as the recoil knocked me off my feet. That was when I fell in love with shotgun shooting.
So, shotgun or rifle?
Hmm, this one is very interesting…
In the past
To be fair, at the time, this was the only way of hunting available to hunters, so things like “buck shots” and “slugs” were used for big game hunting in smooth bore. They were easily available and even easier to make at home. You could go hunting with a shotgun for any game around just by changing the cartridge in the barrel. I think that if you were to ask “old” hunters (over 45-50 years of age), they would agree that hunting with a shotgun is the classic and the most beautiful way of hunting.
Of course, hunting with a rifle is great too but it is relatively recent and takes the sport to a different level. Hunting/shooting with a rifle is more precise, more planning is involved and the cost of ammunition is much higher.
Currently, I prefer hunting with a rifle, even though I started my hunting experience with the 12G.
If anyone was to ask for my personal opinion, I would say that hunting with a shotgun is the way to learn and that all young hunters should experience this way of hunting before they move on to a rifle. Shotgun shooting trains you to evaluate distance and shot placement better than any other type of hunting firearm. It helps you to concentrate on the target and makes you think fast: it keeps you on your toes.
This is probably the reason why most hunters have both shotguns and rifles happily sharing space in the gun cabinet. For example, I have 5 rifles and 3 shotguns and as I said earlier, I am mainly a rifle shooter – but I would gladly take a shotgun out for an afternoon’s pigeon shooting and make some proper noise.
There are as many opinions on this subject as there are people, and I guess everyone would be right.
So, what is your favourite way of hunting?