The Best Hunting Weapon (Silent Killer)
As an Engineer I’m always thinking of ways to improve upon anything I do and how it’s done. I want to apply this philosophy to weapon selection for the best hunting weapon, specifically for Coyote and Fox. The weapon of choice for most hunters is a rifle. Why is that? I think because it’s the status quo and everyone grew up with their Father and Father’s Father using one. Is it really the best choice? You spend a lot of time and money going out to hunt. Shouldn’t you make it the most efficient hunt possible? The standard hunting weapons are: Rifle, Shotgun, and Bows.
Let’s analyze each weapon based on these criteria for the ideal hunting stand:
- Noise Level
Hunting rifles have been around for a while and have proven reliable. The average rifle, in my opinion, is around 10 pounds. Rifles come in a wide range of calibers customizable to the type of game you’re after. Rifles come in semi-auto, lever action, bolt action… to AR 15 and AR10. Refer to AR Hunting article to learn more about them. Rifles range in price from $700 to $$$$, if you ask your wife, depending on the accessories you put on them. A reliable AR 15 costs around $1,200. Add a scope – $300, customized camouflage – $200, and quality flash suppressor/muzzle break – $50. That’s an additional $550. Rifles are very accurate and reliable at long yards (+300 with good scope). They can take down the timid Coyote that sits out there and won’t come in.
The major drawback to rifles, beside the cost, is noise level. One shot of a rifle at a stand usually means time to pack up and move to the next. Hunters can reduce the noise level a couple of ways: (1) buy a suppressor or (2) use subsonic ammunition with a suppressor. Suppressors are costly and the wait to get one is extensive. It still can’t suppress the shockwave of the bullet traveling thru the air. Lucien C. Haag with Forensic Science Services states “Bullets that are supersonic as they pass a downrange subject produce a loud, sharp ‘crack’ that can only be heard after the bullet passes the listener’s position. This sound is similar to the sharp ‘crack’ produced by a bullwhip and it is exactly for the same reason- the tip of the bullwhip has gone supersonic. Subsonic bullets, on the other hand can often be heard as they approach, pass by and depart a subject’s location.” That alone is loud. Subsonic rounds like the .300 blackout will not generate the shockwave but goes so slow your accuracy drops off drastically past 50 yards. Shooting a .300 with suppressor still generates noise as discussed above. A suppressor does what it says. It suppresses, it doesn’t eliminate noise.
Shotguns pros and cons are similar to the rifle. The gauges to choose from are fewer, accuracy and range are only good to about 40 yards. The costs can vary similar to the rifle. Noise is the same as well. One positive over the rifle is it is use with fowl hunting.
Bows and arrows have evolved drastically over the years to turn the Long Bow into a wicked hunting machine. Bows are light weight, cost is low, and the arrows are reusable. Government regulates doesn’t bows and arrows. Hunting seasons with Bows starts before the rifle hunts. A bow and arrow are quite. It is truly sound eliminated except for the sound of the strings. In comparison it is essentially the ultimate silent weapon. There are two major drawbacks to the Bow: (1) A lot of movement by drawing the arrow back to take the shot, and (2) the range of the arrow is about 60 yards.
This brings me to what I believe is the Best Predator Hunting weapon of choice. The crossbow. Crossbows are light weight, costs range from $200 to $1000 (including scope and arrows). Accuracy is better than the bow because more energy is put into the arrow and the ability to use magnified optics helps pinpoint your target at longer distances. The big advantage of the crossbow over the bow is no movement up to the point of releasing the arrow. You’re able to stay stealthy without giving away your position. The noise level is similar to the bow, quite. If you’re at an active hunting stand and a lot of predators are in the area, you can stay put after you make a shot and keep hunting. This saves you time and gas money. The drawback to crossbows is its limitations with hunting. Most states require special permission to use one. Requirement is you must prove you have a medical condition that limits you from using a bow. Fortunately for those of us in Utah, it’s legal to hunt none regulated animals with crossbows. This includes Skunks, Raccoons, Red Fox, and Coyotes.
For the cost and the advantages listed, the crossbow is my weapon of choice. It would still be a good idea to have a backup hunter with a rifle to take care of a timid Predator in a low active area. Furthermore, before you decide to invest in a crossbow, call your state’s Wildlife Resource Officer to get the laws on using one.