A Slugger's Secrets

I love it when deer camp conversation turns to the “hardships” of having to hunt whitetails in the “restrictive” Midwestern slug states such as Illinois and Iowa.

I sit back, smile and listen, and then add my 2 cents worth. Are the sabot-shooting slug guns of today center fire rifles? No way. Are they 50-yard paper plate shooters? Far from it.

For my long-awaited Iowa adventure, I put a Nikon Slughunter scope atop a Mossberg Model 500 with a ported, cantilever rifled slug barrel. With the BDC reticle, I knew the second “circle” equated to a 126-yard dead-on hold with the slugs I was shooting. When I ranged Limpy at 133 yards, I called it close enough, put circle No. 2 a bit high behind the shoulder and cut it loose. Were that buck standing still at 175 yards, I would’ve used circle No. 3 and taken that shot with the same amount of confidence. When put together correctly, a slug-shooting system—the gun, the ammo and the scope—a 150-yard shot is the new 50 yards.

Although Limpy stole the show for me in Iowa, I also had phenomenal results the first 2 days pairing Code Blue’s Screaming Heat doe-in-estrous scent with hardcore rattling on Knight and Hale’s Pack Rack. The bucks responded surprisingly well to my rattling, and the Screaming Heat kept the attention of a handful of small bucks long enough for me to take a shot had I wanted to. It’s difficult to get mad at the bucks that responded for being too small. Of course, knowing what deer you’re dealing with is the ignition key to firing up any whitetail hunt. And there’s no better way to do that than by filling up SD cards on scouting cams when those bucks become recognizable in early summer.