by Pete Muller - Tuesday, May 8, 2018
If you are an avid bird hunter, suppressed shotguns may be your new best friend. Suppressors are now legal for hunting in more than 40 states, and their use by big-game hunters is rapidly growing in popularity. But did you know bird hunters also have the option to hunt suppressed?
If you said “no,” you are not alone. Before joining SilencerCo on a suppressed Osceola turkey hunt in Florida last spring, I too was unaware of the option to “silence” my shotgun. After punching my tag using a Benelli fitted with SilencerCo’s shotgun suppressor—the Salvo 12—I am convinced that suppressors are a must-have for all bird hunters.
For starters, of course, suppressors are not accurately portrayed by Hollywood or the media. Suppressors won’t turn a gun blast into a whisper, and they do not automatically make a gun scary.
However, using one will make your hunt more enjoyable, and here are two big reasons why.
Save Your Hearing
Whether you are a turkey hunter only firing a handful of shells per season or a duck or dove hunter blazing through boxes of game loads per outing, your hearing is taking a toll if you choose to leave ear protection at home.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states “exposure to impulsive or impact noise should not exceed 140 dB peak sound pressure level,” but most gun blasts exceed the threshold ranging from 145-160 dB.
Using SilencerCo’s Salvo 12, noise is reduced to 136 dB at the muzzle, meaning it will be even less for the person shouldering the shotgun and pulling the trigger.
Your ears will delight at the lack of post-hunt ringing, and your hearing will be safe … at least until you hop in your car and start blaring the radio on your drive home.
Improve Your Shooting
The recoil and noise from an unsuppressed shotgun blast can cause even seasoned hunters to flinch at times. However, the negative effects from a hunter anticipating the shot are lessened when recoil and noise are reduced by using a suppressor. Hunter’s will be able to keep a better cheek weld, meaning better shots and potentially more birds on the ground you are in the duck blind, dove field or turkey woods. (Due to the added weight and length to the end of the barrel, I recommend using a shorter barrel and getting in some serious range time to get used to shooting suppressed.)
“The NRA has always been concerned about the health of hunters and shooters—which is why passing the Hearing Protection Act is one of our top priorities,” said NRA-ILA State and Local Affairs Director Lacey Biles. “Bird hunters can benefit a great deal from using these tools, and the NRA is committed to eliminating the hoops shooters must jump through to get them.”
As hunters, our pursuits are about much more than punching a tag and taking meat home for the table. Hunting is about time spent amongst nature and experiencing the natural world with fellow outdoorsmen and women and family and friends. If you give suppressors a try this spring, you will realize they are a turkey hunter’s new best friend.
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