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Gun Pushing Deer Hunters VS Stand, management & bowhunters....


PMA Member
I understand the party hunting/ driving is a tradition here but the guys wound way to many deer... I'm gonna say probably 60% of the deer hit are not recovered.. probably higher... most guys won't even take the time to follow a blood trail.. and to make semi auto straight wall rifles just adds to the issues.. just my 2 cents..
Actual picture of deer skulls we found after shotgun 1 and 2 last year

Sent from my SM-G930R4 using Tapatalk


Active Member
Its really hard for me to read some of these comments and not get bothered by it. I get it, the trespassing, the wounded deer, the unethical hunters, it happens. I'm not naive enough to think it doesn't. But there are also a lot of good ethical hunters that do it the right way as well and I hate it when the "shotgun group mentality" all get lumped together. I guess I take that a little personal. You can make the same argument about trespassing and unethical hunters for every form of hunting there is from squirrel hunting, mushroom hunting, shed hunting, bowhunting, coyote hunting, coon hunting, etc, etc.

Like others I have hunting both ways for long time. I would like to think I have an unbiased opinion and can see both sides of this debate. Although I prefer the solitude of stand hunting the shotgun hunting season is something I look forward to every year and its just as much about seeing friends and family I don't get to see that often anymore as it is about killing a deer. I can tell you what it's not about and thats trespassing, taking unethical shots, not taking care of a wounded animal, or hunting from a truck. I honestly can't remember one time in the last 10+ years where there has been any trouble with trespassing or witnessing anything like road hunters in the area I hunt. Maybe I'm just very fortunate to be in a good area with like minded groups around. Again I know it happens. I have plenty of friends in law enforcement that I hear all there stories. FYI one particular buddy that patrols during 1st season in the last 2 years has written up 2 different people that were current law enforcement officers themselves. lol Just can't fix stupid.

Some more thoughts on the debate. If it wasn't for the 10s of thousands of deer killed during shotgun seasons where would the population control come from? Disease? a 50 acres land owner maybe shooting one doe if any a year waiting for his trophy buck? An out of state land owner that owns 100s of acres that doesn't allow any hunting? Would the DNR/legislations be forced to increased amount of non resident tags? farm bureau? More deer car accidents?

Another debate some buddies and I have had the last few years is has the quality of bucks in this area decreased because like minded groups shooting more does and less bucks which intern let more junk bucks live much longer and continue those genetics of crap bucks that will never come close to being a trophy. Those genetics have taken over and quality bucks are hard to come by.

Bottom line is there is no right or wrong way. Hunt the way you want and enjoy it and don't be hypicritial of someone who chooses a different method.
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  • Deleted by Hawk32


PMA Member
In my opinion, there are "hunters" and then there are, "guys who hunt". You can see the same riff across a ton of activities between the die-hards/clinically obsessed and the newbies/weekend warrior types.
The shotgun pushing crowd generally falls more into the second category of "guys who hunt", but I know plenty of weekend warrior bow hunter types as well and others who cross both lines too.

The negative is that shotgun season will inevitably have a lot more guys who don't know all the rules and regs, do it more for fun, don't care about management, are most likely not going to be proficient shooters and are not well versed on shot placement and everything whitetail, like us die-hard types. Party hunting is not for me, but I understand why guys do it and the comrade-re that comes with it. For me, whitetails is about all there is for my hobby, so I'm all in year round, for most shotgun hunters whitetails is a couple weeks a year. I can get on board with that mentality too, as there are activities outside of whitetails where I fall into that category.

There has got to be a place for both though. There are a lot of hurdles out there for new hunters at this time and it's a lot of work. Hunting is one of those frustrating things where time and hard work doesn't always pan out in success. That can be a lot for a new hunter, so shotgun season is definitely an avenue for someone to cut their teeth, see some action and get a good taste of what all is involved.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Some more thoughts on the debate. If it wasn't for the 10s of thousands of deer killed during shotgun seasons where would the population control come from? Disease? a 50 acres land owner maybe shooting one doe if any a year waiting for his trophy buck?

All good and fair points. To above, it is possible to manage does without deer drives. One farm, neighbor has shot 37 with his muzzleloader. We had a goal of 50 for the block and are getting close with other people shooting a few each.
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It is going to be a good fall!
My buddy shot a 160+ in Warren County, when the neighbors pushed a creek to the east of my farm. Boom-Boom and here he came at 2:00 in the afternoon on a warm day, got it all on film. Zero chance that buck would have ever been shot on our farm without that push. Sometimes the drives benefit the neighbor and vice versa.


Well-Known Member
Another debate some buddies and I have had the last few years is has the quality of bucks in this area decreased because like minded groups shooting more does and less bucks which intern let more junk bucks live much longer and continue those genetics of crap bucks that will never come close to being a trophy. Those genetics have taken over and quality bucks are hard to come by.

I'll add to this a bit - we've noticed neighbors who don't push and are stand hunters tend to shoot more young up and coming bucks. They don't pressure their land, they can pick off tons of young bucks from Dec 1st to January 10th in their box blinds. Does more "damage" to the local deer population than any shotgun group does in my opinion.

I use the term damage carefully because that's purely damaging only my own interest in shooting mature bucks. They're doing nothing illegal and I'd never knock them for shooting what they want. Now if they start complaining about the lack of mature bucks... then I'd gladly chat with them about our management practices. I'd never push our management choices on them until they showed interest or complained about lack of mature deer (i.e. the results of their choices in what to shoot).


Well-Known Member
Many say what you do on your land is fine. That is of little concern if you own a large chunk a land. Deer stay there and avoid other high pressure areas around you. But if you own a small tract what other land owners do affects your hunting , your plans, your goals. Their deer are your deer. Or would have been. I have that condition around me. I hold back on young ages but by what I see every season(young deer). I must assume my neighbors do not hold back. Own enough land is the answer. But I
Never will.


Life Member
I haven’t hunted shotgun season since 1987 and when we did hunt then, we sat in our bowstands. We shot some really nice bucks using that method and actually did better than the orange army. The main reason I stopped was because of safety and the fear of being shot. It becomes quite scarey with slugs whizzing past you and when you hear them you know they are close. The ones you need to worry about are the ones you never hear.


Active Member
i think everyone would be wise to remember that gun hunters make up the vast majority of hunters.. just a thought here but we actually need the gun hunters.. i don't have a problem with people who want to shotgun hunt, personally i do not. but who is anyone to pass judgement on how someone else hunts? thats ridiculous. I myself tend to go after bucks that are 5 or older because i want to. if my neighbor shoots a big 3-year old who the hell cares? i know i don't.. its hunting, they're a free ranging animal that everyone in the state owns. I personally think people take this qdma stuff way way to far. if i see another instagram post about " I've got 12 years of history with ole' "skyscraper" and 8 sets of sheds" i might puke. I think its a sickening trend, so is the claim that QDMA is about a healthy herd and age class.. thats horse hockey. its about big bucks, and thats fine i like big bucks but call a spade a spade. Maybe I'm off my rocker but i think people should just go out and do what makes them happy and not pass judgment on what makes someone enjoy their time in the field. As long as its within the confines of the law have at it. People need to take a step back and look at the big picture.. its just a deer.. you don't own it , a million different things could happen to it. so pass if you want to, shoot em if you want to and don't be a douche to guys hunting the way they want to hunt even though you don't agree with it :)


I bow hunt and gun hunt and enjoy both for different reasons. One problem I see here is a majority of people thinking everyone must do the same as them as far as hunting or management. If you are lucky enough to own land you have all the right to practice whatever you want or if you are a part of the orange army you can shoot whatever deer brings you happiness. Just like voting every individual has a thought or opinion and you can voice that by how you vote just like in hunting you may do what brings you joy.

The other issue I see is the comment on the number of wounded animals. No one wants to see injured deer, but how many times during bow season do we come read this forum about a deer being wounded? All the time and the usual response is he’ll live or if you bowhunt long enough that will happen. And this is a small forum, how many more deer are wounded from bow hunters? It would just be interesting to see (which will never happen because no way to find out) statistically percentage of deer wounded by bow hunters vs. gun hunters.


PMA Member
I hunt both ways and got into hunting from my dads group of friends. Love bow hunting but the anticipation of meeting the guys at the cabin for drinks and discuss the next days deer drive tactics is equally enjoyable but in a totally different way. I bow hunt for mature deer but make sure I get my meat shotgun hunting. We fill all our groups tags every year and the numbers stay the same for the most part. In my 18 years party hunting, I can think of only a few deer we have ever lost. Even a not so perfect shot you almost always can finish them off quickly. From what I’ve seen in all the bow hunting shows I watch; you could argue more deer are wounded that way or take longer to die on poorly placed shots. As I mature as a hunter, as long as you hunt smart and legally I’m all for however you want to hunt


Super Moderator
I would agree with what is stated above too, Iowa is a rare breed with deer pushes. When I started hunting almost 30 years ago in Illinois, pushes were the norm, 20+ guys and the groups around us were very wreckless and disrespectful. Those same guys now sit about 90% of the time, have become much more respectful and kill just as many deer.

I actually didn’t mind when they pushed ad long as they were safe as we never have on our ground and we became the refuge. Those boys were responsible for a lot of big deer dying on our side of the road

That being said I don’t really understand the want to push deer all over and put them on the neighbors land. I am a firm believer that a lot of the complaining about quality and quantity of deer on certain properties are self inflicted.
When I started hunting, I only shotgun hunted. Usually it was drives with my brothers, dad, and grandpa, but sometimes we would join in on a larger group that hunted the same land if they needed to hunt the same season as us. I always liked it when the larger group was around because they were from a few hours away and it was the only time of the year I saw most of them. They always had good stories to listen to and there was a lot of laughter. But hunting with them could get nuts with the amount of slugs they would unload on running deer. Over the years, we began doing some sitting along with the drives, and had success both ways. Eventually we lost access to the majority of the ground that we hunted, and our little group became smaller with everyone becoming busier with our own lives. For a number of years I would hunt with only one brother and sometimes my grandpa and try to do drives, but that left a lot of escape routes uncovered and we would end up just spooking deer off the farms. I enjoy sitting as much, if not more, than trying to walk a farm, and I had to work at getting my brother into that mentality. However, we have since pretty much converted over to stand/blind hunting for shotgun as we figured it wasn't doing much good to bump the deer to the neighboring properties. If we did a "drive" it was basically just still hunting through slowly, trying to bump deer to each other. It's been several years now that we've hunted together as we now usually hunt different seasons, so now we both pretty much just go sit on our own. However, I will sometimes still hunt through parts of the farm if I'm not seeing much activity on sits or toward the end of the season. I've hunted with another group a couple times in the last few years for something different and to add a body. I still do enjoy a group for the stories, laughter, and fun. But there were a couple things I saw go on that I didn't care for and I'd prefer just to go hunt by myself. I'd probably still go with a couple guys to do slow "drives", and who knows, maybe I'll go with a larger group again if I get that urge.

As far as being successful on shooting more mature deer, I think you have to have some management practices in place. Whether it's on your ground, or a neighboring piece and hoping to get them when they venture over, management has to be there. You can't shoot everything that moves and expect to have mature deer. True, some will make it through year after year, but the likelihood goes down with more pressure. In my area a lot of the ground has been bought up for hunting in large tracts that don't allow drives. There are smaller tracts, but if they are for hunting as well, I'm guessing the owners have the same thing in mind: big bucks. There has definitely been a shift to more food plots and less movement of the deer from farm to farm. Thus most of the neighboring ground becomes a sanctuary and the reason we don't push deer as much any more. Sometimes I would love it if those neighboring pieces got pushed once in a while, but I suppose that is more for me maybe getting a chance at what's across the fence. That being said, I fully understand that what we do on our side affects our chances as well, and that's why we've pretty much converted to stand/blind hunting with the occasional still hunt through. And I don't blame the neighbors for owning larger tracts and hunting the way they want to. I'd probably do it too if money wasn't a factor.
Provide enough security cover with relative proximity to food and NEVER go in there except one time of year to shed hunt or to recover a deer. This isn’t rocket science and I think most people on here understand this. This is what I set up on all my farms and these are not big pieces. As time goes on the deer figure it out.
So you are saying that the deer get wise to having security cover close to food as in a positive, or the deer get wise and dont come to the food until after dark?

Sod Savage

The "drivers" in the shotgun group I go with are the best hunters, hands down. We don't drive timbers we HUNT THEM. "Drives" take long enough that the "Blockers" are just about as likely to see natural movement deer as they are to see running deer. If the "drivers" (who are actually skilled still hunters) are bumping deer to the "blockers" (who are actually stand hunters), the deer aren't usually moving very fast and are looking back at the "drivers".

Our group is more of a team. There is one "coach" who matches skill-set with spot placement. Guys with still hunting skill end up doing the most "driving" the guys that are the best shots and the best weaponry get spots that are more open and longer range. The guys that need the deer close get put where the deer come close. We start out the 2nd season with 8 guys and end the week usually with 2 or three. The biggest bucks always get killed Thursday or after and with a group of 4 or less.

I would challenge anyone that thinks sitting in a heated blind on a food plot is a more pure form of hunting to go out and "drive" (still hunt) a timber with 3 guys on the 3rd weekend of shotgun season. But to each his own, I am more interested in fooling old bucks than just being a trigger puller. Sometimes just seeing one is considered a win.

Sure, some smaller bucks get shot more than I would like sometimes, but its rare and the way she goes. Even more rare is a deer wounded and not recovered. But I also know that I am blessed to have access to a large tract of land that I won't lose. If all I had was a small tract, you dang right I would be in a blind or in a stand on a food plot.

Every group is different, I have hunted with several. Some get too wreckless and trigger happy for me. Some got too diluted down with a guy bringing his buddy and his buddy showing up the next year with his buddy and his brother in law. At any rate, I sit enough with a bow and muzzloader. I need a change of pace, deer drives, if you want to call them that, do it for me. They all work putting horn on the wall and meat in the Freezer.
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