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I had been a rifle man for many years. It was and still is a great passion; however, more and more, I am more interested in hunting with a hand gun. Without realizing, I did some hand gun hunting over 30 years ago by just trying out a shot to a varmint and some doves in south america. I hated missing shots with my Bersa .22LR. My younger brother loved to carry a H&R999 (not sure of the model but similar to it) and he was quite accurate with it. I used his revolver a few times with good small game results. But, at the end of the day, I was the same rifle man. In the 1990's, my brother was already very proficient shooting jabaline and small deers with his side arm and I happen to read an article about hand gun hunting in one of the gun magazines showing the Ruger MII 678 pistol and small game hunting. Tha's when I decided that I will small game hunt only with pistols from now on. Later on, the State of Iowa allowed deer hunting with straight wall cartridges from 357 cal and above. Since then, my rifles had been collecting some dust but I still use them for mostly punching papers. I am not going to lie. I had continued to use long guns off and on; but my preference now is hand guns.

The long story short, I admire my brother's handling of a hand gun while hunting and that called my attention to try it. The rest had been acquired from gun magazines and places like this here. I am no longer the same anymore and I love it. Thanks.

Camba
 

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Hi : I was always exposed to shot guns; small game and deer hunting.. wanted a pistol from the first time I realized that they were not all big bores... at 14 years old, I saved and begged to spend the money on a six shot 22 single action of German manufacture... it was a big deal to be among the first to get and use a rifle for deer down here in our club; got another 22 this time a semi auto ruger with bull barrel and found I could shoot squirrels and birds with it at incredible ranges; then it was a 357 BH that was never to shoot a deer; and by the time I was three years out of hi school I had a ruger SBH and hunted deer with it.. been using the same 22 semi since 1972 for small game and can shooting...
it was the attraction of the Westerns, the styling, and the apportunity to be different but still effective.
BTW : it did not take long for rifles to replace shotguns for deer hunting even in front of dogs.. but it is still fairly unique here for shooting pistols at anything resembling game animals... I am the only one that does squirrel hunting with rimfires, and one of three persons who will carry a pistol deer hunting, and the only one who practices at distance and am truly ready and trying to shoot a deer with a pistol...
I imagine we are not really progressive down here... I am a little different than my peers here... this year I am going on many more handgun only hunts than in the past, but I do love some of my rifles : single shots, lever actions 45 7-0s, just like the pistols so much, I use them more and more now..
that is my answer
(and I am sticking to it. _)
glad you are enjoying the most satisfying firearm hunting available.. it is really cool is it not ?
dan kennison
 

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I rolled my truck over about 20 years ago drunk and it bused up my left arm and shoulder so i couldnt hunt that year with a rifle. I bought a 357 stainless blackhawk and hunted that year and never looked back.
 

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Camba: ya'll said - "I am no longer the same anymore and I love it". Yep! That happens when ya start hangin' around here. Fortunately, it feels good and we don't wind up hurtin' anything.

Dan: when I was younger I was exposed to tall, leggy blondes and realized that no matter how hard I begged and pleaded, handguns couldn't help. So, I married one.................

Mikey.
 

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I started early with a handgun for hunting. I always thought it was too easy to shoot animals with a rifle, so I got into bow hunting and handgun hunting. I use the same hunting method with handguns as I do for bow hunting. Oh I don't have anything agents rifle hunting, I still do it, but my passion is handgun hunting. My first hunting was with a 22 revolver for rabbits and squirrel, I took my first deer when I was 18 with a handgun. It was a Ruger Blackhawk in .357 Magnum at 25 yards, it was a spike buck, I still have the rack. I then went up to a Blackhawk in 41 Mag and now I don't see an end in sight.
 

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I remember my father letting me shoot his 22 handgun when I was only about 8 or 10 yrs old. I guess this got me hooked. Bought my first handgun in the 60's. It was a High Standard Sentinel 9 shot .22 ( all I could afford at that time ) but it was my first handgun. Shot at alot of small game but wasn't that successful. Then I just had to have one of them Magnums. That's where my Old Ruger Blackhawk in 357 comes in. This was my main hunting partner for many years. Couldn't hit much with it at first but I was determined to be the best shot that I could be. So practice, practice & more practice. I would set up homemade cardboard woodchuck targets at all kinds of yardages out to 100+ yrds. Then finally it all started to come together. I got so I could hit woodchucks, rabbits, fox & other small game at these ranges. I've read all of Skeeter Skelton articles, tried all his loads, read anything that had to do with handguns or handgun hunting. I guess you would say I was obsessed with handgun hunting. As money became more available I bought many more handguns. My sons shoot handguns but don't hunt with them. Hoping to get my grandson's ( or grand-daughter's ) interested in handgun hunting. I guess it was the CHALLANGE that keep me with the handguns all these years, because almost anyone can shoot game with a rifle, but it takes patience & alot of practice to be a good handgun hunter.
 

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I'm not sure you can say there was a "defining moment in time" when I "became a handgun hunter" really. Even as a boy using an air rifle I wound up somehow with a air powered handgun I often used to shoot the birds of the neighborhood that were my quarry back then. Dunno if I was even double digits old at the time but likely was yet sure not a teen yet.

As soon as I was old enough to buy handguns legally I began to buy them and the day I turned 21 which was the legal age in Alabama to obtain a concealed carrry permit I did so. I got more deeply involved with handguns in that time frame and began competition with them at the local shooting spots at first just the informal shooting but then more seriously at matches being held with trophies as prizes and took my first trophy at my very first such match. I went on to become a rather serious competitor on the Alabama silhouette shooting circuit and won more money and trophies than I had any place to put them. I still have boxes of them stored away in the attic that I have no room for.

I do recall one day early in my career when I had a High Standard Trophy .22 LR semi auto in a holster on my side and was carrying a Remington 552 Speedmaster on a squirrel hunt. That rifle kept failing to feed and I wasn't doing well with it with the factory irons even when it did fire. I took it by the barrel and flung it as far as I could away from me into the woods and pulled the High Standard and finished my hunt with it. I guess one might could therefore infer that was the day I really became a handgun hunter but in truth it for sure wasn't the first time I had hunted with a handgun. I ended up killing several squirrels that day.

There really weren't enough deer around this area to hunt seriously until perhaps the early to mid 70s and while one could call themself a deer hunter they would seldom bring anything home to prove it. So I continued to hunt mostly squirrels some rabbits and of course doves as I had been a wing shooter even longer than I had a handgunner. But some time in the 70s I took up deer hunting on a regular basis and the handguns kinda fell into disuse as a hunting tool as back then it was not legal to take one onto the WMAs where I did most all of my hunting. The game wardens even told me if I got caught squirrel hunting there with a handgun I'd sure wish I hadn't.

About '88 I think it was I got permission to hunt on private land owned by a fellow who worked for me and I really took to handguns in a big way at his place cuz it was legal on private land and finally I had a private land area to hunt. For years I used nothing else but handguns there and finally they even legalized them in the WMAs and I used them there as well. I've taken only handguns on many of my out of state hunting trips most in fact but not all.

I still use rifles from time to time and likely always will as I do enjoy rifles as well but other than my wing shooting which is still what I do the most I fire more rounds thru handguns and use them as hunting tools more often than I do rifles. Even if I am on a rifle hunt a handgun will always accompany me for any shots in range of an iron sighted handgun.

I got into the TCs seriously beginning in my silhouette competition days and they were a boon to winning at that game. I began to use them in deer hunting fairly early on and was quite successful at doing so. I gravitated to the 14" Contenders and even the 15" Encores that weighted as much as some of my rifles. One day a light came on in my head that those things were as heavy and bulky as my Remington Model 7 rifle and the barrel was only 3.5" shorter and I came to question in my mind whether I was really handgun hunting when I was using a long barrel TC specialty handgun. That thought grew stronger and stronger until I finally sold them all off and began using only revolvers when hunting as I still do today. I've even gotten to where when I want to actually "handgun hunt" I don't even like a scope on it even tho the irons are really hard to see, still I feel more like I'm really hunting with a "handgun" when it only wears the irons and one of them so equipped is always with me in the woods. A rifle might also accompany me if the ranges expected are well beyond the range of the iron sighted handgun but one will be with me in case the shot actually comes up close and where I hunt it often does.

But then three or so seasons back I almost fell to what might have been my death or at best I'd have been paralyzed for life as a best outcome when getting from a tree stand. That's the last time I've climbed a tree. That was a ladder stand that day but I'd felt uneasy in my climbing stands much longer. That was also the last time I went deer hunting until last December when I took the trip to White Oak Plantation for the Annual Handgun Hunt there. I hunted only from ground blinds or shooting houses with stairs and a railing to go into them.

This season I do hope to again do a bit of deer hunting but I'll stay on the ground and won't make like a squirrel and go up any trees. I've not been yet but do hope to go this coming Friday and/or Saturday if I'm feeling OK. I'm very limited in my ability to go far from my truck due to my shortness of breath issues so I'll have my oxygen tank with me if I go. I'll have an iron sighted handgun for sure the FA97 in .45 Colt this year. I picked it up early this year and it will go with me. Depending on where I chose to hunt I'll likely also have a Remington Model 7 in .260 Remington with me as well shooting either Nosler factory ammo with 100 PT or 120 BT bullets just in case the only shot presented is beyond handgun range. Walking the hills these days is not something I can do much of so I can't get back very far anymore like I used to do where the deer are less disturbed. But some how whether I kill one or not seems far less important these days than it once did and I find I go far less often than when I was younger and in better health. These days the shooting range doesn't even call me as often as it once did but a lot more time is spent there and a lot less in the woods compared to the way it used to be when I spent every moment I could in one or the other place.
 

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My love for handguns and handgun hunting started with a High Standard 22 my Dad gave me to compete in small bore silhouette shooting. That same pistol took many jack rabbits in west Texas. Then it was a S&W 357 mag that I used to take prairie dogs with when I lived in the panhandle of Texas. After that I moved around and got away from shooting all together. Then I found GBO and it was all over. I've got a 44 mag SBH, Contender, and Encores all waiting on an opportunity to take a shot. Unfortunately every time I've gone I haven't had an opportunity to harvest a deer or a hog. I fully intend to change that this year.
 

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You may have heard this story before but here goes. When I started deer hunting, I was given my Father's 1873 Winchester in 32-20. It had a 24" barrel and would hold 13 ctg's in the magazine. Of course being a kid, I had to carry it full and even more stuffed in my pockets! That gun felt so heavy to me I felt it should have had wheels to carry it around. My father always told me that the 32-20 did not have a lot of power, but if I got close enough, and placed my shots right, it would do the job. That instilled in me the value of a good clean fist shot. A couple of years after this my Father began to hunt with Clayton Miller. Now Clayton would usually hunt with a Marlin 30-30 but he always carried a Colt double action .38 also. When he would have the opportunity to hunt in the thicker stuff, he would leave the 30-30 in the Jeep and just sneak through the pines with the Colt. He remarked that it didn't have a lot of power, but if you got close enough and placed your shot well, it would do the job. Seemed to me I had heard that before and that Colt sure seemed a lot eaisier to carry than Dad's old Winchester.
When I turned 21 in 1967, I bought a Ruger BHK in .357 and never looked back. This was back when hunting with a handgun was still looked at as somewhat of a stunt. I would practice for hours with that gun and all that parctice soon began to pay off. I developed quite a reputation for accuracy amongst my family. One time that got me into a situation. I would usually hunt in the thicker stuff where shot were limited to 30 or 40 yds. But one day my Brother-in-law asked me to help them cover a ridge and I said sure. I soon found myself in open woods with snow on ther groupnd and the leaves off the trees. I was standing on a hill with a 4 5/8" bbl pistol and I could easily see 300 yds! That definately was not the proper insturment for the job at hand!
I soon bought a .22 (Ruger standard auto 4") and then a Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Mag shortly after they came out. My first box of .44 Mags was waisted. I had heard so much about how violent the recoil was that I was closing my eyes every time I pulled the trigger. I soon got over that and a .44 Mag became my main hunting gun, and still is. 44 Man
 

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rifles and I have never gotten along.
my father was a bullseye shooter, and handguns was all i shot until i went into the USAF.

like someone else here said, I've always thought that rifles need a set of wheels so you can drag them around.
I ten dot a lot of walking, either to my stand or stalk and shoot. and it's just plain easier to stove a handgun in a holster til needed.
 

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i grew up shooting a .22 cal handgun-- it was fun and i could do well-- then Elmer Keith-- then casting bullets and here we are
 

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Well, actually, I've always loved rifles(no matter the action) more than anything else. I've pretty much done it all with a rifle from shots on game within 5-10 feet to busting groundhogs at 800+ yards with rifles costing half as much as a new car. I still thoroughly love rifles, but I now actually hunt at least as much, if not more with a revolver.

The whole concept of hunting with an open sighted revolver has always appealed to me, but sadly, I went most of my life not able to hit a milk jug at more than a few feet with "any" handgun(if I was lucky! LOL!). I owned quite a few handguns over the years, but because I was cursed with a total lack of handgun skill, I never dared to try hunting with one.

I got mad(literally) about 8-10(guessing???) years ago, and bought a nice used 6.5" stainless Ruger Single Six. My ex-wife ragged me to death over it reminding me that I couldn't hit nothing with it, and it'd just be traded off like all the others had been. I told her I was gonna shoot it till the barrel fell off, or I could hit with it, which ever came first. That was in the fall, and I ran at least 400-500 rounds through it every day religiously 7 days a week till spring. By spring I could easily hit a pop can at 50 yards offhand, and bottle caps at 20 yards were probably at least 90% or better. I kept up my practice 7 days a week, but backed off to maybe 50 rounds a day. I also sighted in with the magnum cylinder, and started stalking groundhogs with it. I thumped quite a few that summer with that revolver, and in the process I became completely hooked on hunting with a revolver.

Now, I feel just as well equipped with a revolver as I would with a rifle. The only difference is the ranges at which I can take a shot.
 

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the challenge of it. if i never kill another deer in my life you can say he killed enough. i own a 270 and can hit with it. but what harder, shooting a deer at 300 yards or getting that one perfect shot at pistol range
 

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Howdy,
When I moved to Indiana from Montana about a zillion years ago it was shotgun or muzzleloader for deer and my 30-06 wasn't going to get any use. I didn't trust the accuracy of a Foster slug through a smooth bore, so I tried the muzzleloader. It was an okay tool, but limited my range of fire from the stand by denying me any game off my left (I'm a southpaw shooter) shoulder.
When they allowed handguns, I started carrying a .41 Magnum Blackhawk and found that I cloud fire in a 180 degree arc with out shifting my body. I also had two hands free to steady myself while trying to find my way in the dark or while climbing rough terrain. Now, I carry a scoped .35 Rem Contender to the blind in a shoulder rig. The gun shoots 2" at 100 yards and does the job of a rifle.
And now, Indiana allows pistol-caliber rifles. In country where one really can't see to shoot much past 75 yards, the handgun or short carbine is all that is needed.
I started handgun hunting simply because, to be fair to the game I was hunting, the handgun was the most effective and humane tool in the box.

Bitterroot
 

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I had always been a (long distance) rifle man but I do most of my hunting in an area where lugging a 10-14lb rifle and scope up and down the mountains is ludicrous. I wanted to be able to hunt deer with something that would enable me to get wayyy back where I really need to be to harvest a good deer. Also, where I hunt, the shots don't get any further than 50-70 yards at the MOST and 90% of them are 15-35 yards. I've always had a strong affinity for my 10mm 1911 with FULL power loads for hunting since I'm more accurate with it than any of my other pistols and it carries nice and flat. Any deer within 50 yards is in serious trouble from my 200grain XTP at 1280fps. I carry a Lone Wolf Sit & Climb on my back and my Dan Wesson Razorback in a chest holster and I can get in a lot more places (and farther into the woods) than I could carrying a rifle. I also love the challenge of hunting close range. Like someone in this thread said before.... Which is harder... hitting a deer at 300 yards with a rifle or getting that perfect handgun shot at 29 yards...?? My own personal rule for hunting whitetail is NOT to take a shot at a deer without a solid rest. That means no running shots and no standing, un-aimed, unrested shots. In addition, handgun hunting had always seemed more sporting to me since oftentimes shots must be passed up because of varying factors. My personal keys to hitting with a handgun include a few key things that I repeat in my head while shooting at game: FRONT SIGHT - SQUEEZE - FOLLOW THROUGH - OFFHAND 60/40 GRIP - SURPRISE BREAK. Having to discipline yourself when hunting is just another perk. Overall, its just a more satisfying way to hunt deer for me with an iron sighted handgun. THINK LIKE A BOWHUNTER!

Be safe.
 

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Years ago, (read that decades...) Guns and Ammo ran a cover story comparing deer hunting with a handgun to hunting with a rifle. Of course they did their best to sell as many M29's as possible, and I did my best to convince my Dad we "needed" a M-29 for ourselves. Dad being wiser than I, smiled and listened, then said 30-30's like we carried were responsible for more deer than any other gun he could imagine.

Ofcourse he was correct but I never stopped thinking about that story. It took me awhile but I eventually came back to the idea of handgun hunting. I took my first Wild Boar with a .44mag Contender.
 

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i started because because it is just one more thing that goes BOOM!! and anything that goes BOOM and will cleanly take game brings a smile to my face every time.
 

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I bought a Ruger super single six after reading chuck hawks web page, then bought a Taurus 357mag stainless 627 because i liked it better than 686 smith than smith 642 38special then traded smith and traded for Dan Wesson pistol pack blued Monson mass 15-2 complete. I think I wanted to bet into handgun hunting due to weight of rifles and shotguns and because everything I see is very close and fast.
 

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...the challenge. Started big game with a .280Rem... If you can see it, you can kill it, kind of rifle. For the challenge, I picked up an 1895GS, to shorten the range. Then came my bow to shorten the range even more. Finally came the revolver... Offhand, my bow still groups tighter than a handgun for me.

Jim
 
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