by B.B. Pelletier

I’m finally back home, so all those questions I’ve asked you to hold can now be sent. While I was on the road, I had to ask several of you to send me your questions after I returned home, so now is the time for that, as well.

There will be more on the SHOT Show, as well as lots more photos. My laptop that I travel with doesn’t have Photoshop loaded (yet!) so I had difficulty dealing with pictures on the road. Live and learn!

Speaking of learning, today’s post was generated by a remorseful reader who posted this comment back on January 18.

I have a forest behind my home separated by a brook. The Deer are eating everything in sight on the home side of the brook. I have been using at Gamo Whisper (.177) to plink them in their butt at about 50 to 75 yards with a Beeman Trophy pellet (other side of the brook) and they really feel it.

This week while I was taking shots at beyond the brook one full-grown deer bolted out from nowhere across my yard at about 20 yards intercepting one of my shots. It hit the deer just behind the shoulder. At first the deer jumped forward and went on its way. I was very upset as I am not a hunter and my objective has always been to sting them so as to have them stay away from my home plantings.

Whenever they were close to my home I would plink them in the butt with a Beretta A-9000 pistol and this would get them off the property. Shortly after I observed this deer on the other side of the brook sitting on the ground. After a while it tried to get up several times and move but it was obviously badly wounded. With-in a half hour it was dead.

I am sick over this. I lost sleep and I am so disturbed that I may stop using the rifle altogether. I am writing this as a warning to those who think that an air rifle is only affective on small animals.

I have often warned new shooters to not use airguns to “discipline” animals, and this is the reason why I say it. Granted, this is an extreme case and probably happens less than one percent of the time, but we don’t even want it to happen that often, do we?

When I was much younger and in the Army in Germany, I would never have thought that a .22 long rifle could take a deer. Then, I met a poacher who not only hunted deer with the .22LR, he used a rifled barrel insert in a shotgun barrel, so his gun was almost silent, yet completely legal. Of course, what he did with it wasn’t legal, but that didn’t bother him. He got plenty of deer without paying for the priviledge.

I returned to the U.S. in 1978 and was surprised to read about California airgunners killing Catalina goats with .177 FWB 124s. They even published articles about it in an American airgun magazine!

The point is this: airguns today are much more powerful than many people think. Many of the “accidents” in which kids kill other kids with airguns are probably really intentional shootings, because the kids don’t believe the guns they have are that powerful. Why should they? Their fathers and grandfathers don’t believe it, either.

I’m no saint. Believe me, my house has pellet holes in places where they shouldn’t be and I have made almost every mistake that can be made. But doing so has converted me into a zealot who preaches airgun safety above all. In other words, don’t do as I did, do as I wish I had done.

If you want to motivate animals use an airsoft gun instead of a pellet gun. Airsoft will deliver the sting you want, without the risk of an accidental death or maiming injury.