Alternative weapons provide opportunities

I was discussing the upcoming archery deer season with Gary Cox, owner of Trophy Hunter’s Archery in Lumberton last week. Cox indicated that each year more and more folks were becoming involved in not only the deer hunting, but also all sorts of other hunting offerings. Feral hogs have become really a top-notch challenge for archers. There is an overabundance of the feral pigs, and archers are chomping at the bit to go after them. What’s really great is that the same archery equipment that works for the whitetails is also good for taking the hogs.

Most folks who enter the archery world, according to Cox, want to become proficient enough with bow and arrow to consistently bring home the venison. In doing the preparation for that, they spend hours flinging shafts at targets. By doing this at various known distances, many of the archer become very accurate with the archery equipment.

Folks of all ages can really get involved in shooting the bows and arrows. There are plenty of archery tournaments around, and most of the television outdoor hunting programs are archery related.

The really high tech equipment that is available is amazing. The bow and arrow crowd has come a long way from the traditional longbows and wooden arrows. The accuracy has also been greatly advanced.

There are many places in our state as well as other states that will allow archery-only hunting. These types of hunting spots may be loaded with game but too near to other property or too small for guns to be used. Practice your archery skills until you can consistently hit the a spot at known distances. Do this until you feel comfortable shooting and then it’s OK to head afield.

Muzzleloader rifles and guns have also become so popular that in many states they have their own special hunting seasons. In most cases, they are legal to take along hunting during the regular open seasons, also. There are many calibers for these rifles. They have become so advanced that in many cases, rifle scopes are used. The longer ranges seem to be no problem for the modern muzzleloader. Here, again, it is necessary to learn what the proper powder and projectile load for your rifle is. Once that has been established, then spend some time on the rifle range before heading afield. The muzzleloader of modern times are highly accurate and capable of taking almost any North American game animal.

What really intrigues me is that more and more hunters have begun using handguns as hunting tools. There are many conventional calibers of handguns that are well suited for hunting almost any game animal. The larger magnum calibers such as the .44 and the .357 are well suited to take afield. Thee big-bore revolvers are capable of taking down whatever they hit. Then with the proper pistol scope, they are capable of being highly accurate at longer ranges. Feral hogs are probably the most sought after game of the handgunner. They are plentiful and great confidence builders for beginning handgun hunters.

Hunters that have included their handgun when hunting deer, elk, black bear and such have, for the most part, gone to the single-shot pistols with break-down loading and hammer firing. These handguns use ammo that was designed for center-fire rifles. As with any firearm or archery equipment, it is important to practice shooting until you are familiar with the firearm or bow and arrow. These high-powered rifle cartridges will certainly do the job coming from a center fire handgun as well as they do coming from a rifle. It’s just a matter of the shooter becoming as accurate as the handgun is.

So if you are blessed with a hunting area or several hunting areas with plenty of game, then you might consider using a handgun. Should the area be loaded with game, but the acreage small, the archery idea could be a great choice.

Tune in to KSET 1300 at 6 p.m. on Thursdays for Billy Halfin Outdoors and listen to the updates daily at 7:25 a.m., 12:25 p.m. and 6:25 p.m.