One Gun Or Two?

Carrying a shotgun in addition to a rifle into a predator set is a pain, but it's much easier if you recruit a partner to carry it for you.

By Al Voth

When I was a kid I enjoyed reading about the adventures of a comic book hero called the Two-Gun Kid. As the name suggests, two revolvers strapped to his waist were the Kid's trademark.Whenever I see modern hunters going afield for predators or varmints and toting a firearm in each hand—usually a rifle and a shotgun—I'm always reminded of the Kid and his two-gun style.

With a background like that, you'd think I'd be one of those guys carrying two firearms into the field. Not so. I've carried two guns into the field on occasion and the practice has never proven particularly useful for me. I don't care for lugging the extra ammo and the extra gun for what I see as a limited benefit. The result is I'm mainly a one-gun hunter.

Not that there's anything wrong with carrying both a rifle and shotgun out on a stand to call predators or after any other game, as long as it's legal in that jurisdiction. I don't personally know any hunter who does it regularly, but I see TV hunters do it all the time.

In that setting I can't help but think that carrying a second gun also allows one more sponsor to come on board. Which is OK, too—after all, someone has to pay the bills for those shows I enjoy watching. TV hunters aside, I'm sure there are ordinary Joes like me who do find it useful to carry two full-size firearms on their walk away from the truck. If it works for you, go for it.

While you won't find me doing it, there is a variation of the two-gun hunter that I'm using more these days. That variation is simply two hunters with two different guns—as in one hunter carrying a shotgun and the other a rifle. I've been experimenting with it over the past year and its always worked out fairly well. If you regularly hunt with a friend, it's an option worth considering, especially for mixed bag hunts like I did recently when a farmer reported losing some spring calves to coyotes.

Because they will peck the eyes out of newborn calves, he always wants the ravens on his place controlled as well, so I told my son-in-law to grab a rifle, while I took a shotgun for the birds. We hiked into the problem area undetected and over the span of several hours took out two big black birds, a coyote and a pair of beavers that were cutting down his trees. Both guns got a workout, both shooters had some trigger time and we helped out a farmer. And we each only had one gun to carry. Winner!

So, if you go on a varmint hunt with a buddy, consider taking different guns. It means taking turns shooting, but that's okay, because the non-shooter can run the video camera and/or do the calling. It provides the option of taking flying and running varmints at the same time, and if beavers are on menu you can add swimming varmints too.

I think the Two-Gun Kid would be pleased.