Stories tagged hunting

Oct
13
2008

A long shot: This goose hunter had plenty of success using the Quiet Gun on a hunt. The extended shaft of the shotgun includes vents that slowly release gases that cause loud sounds of typical shotguns.
A long shot: This goose hunter had plenty of success using the Quiet Gun on a hunt. The extended shaft of the shotgun includes vents that slowly release gases that cause loud sounds of typical shotguns.Courtesy The Quiet Shotgun
I used to live in a small town along the Mississippi River. Each fall, on the opening day of every waterfowl-hunting season, I’d be rattled awake at sunrise with the booming of shotguns of hunters getting in their first shots of the season. To put in mildly, I was never enthused to hear the start of another hunting season.

With increased housing development of rural areas, the noise of hunting is encroaching on the quiet and relaxation of people wanting to live in the country. But Wendell Diller, a Twin Cities area hunter and inventor, has come up with a device to reduce those conflicts. Here's a link to his website about his latest invention: the Quiet Shotgun.

I saw a report on his quiet gun on a recent episode of Minnesota Bound. While the main focus of the report was on hunting mentorships for urban kids, the guns they were using in the goose hunt were Diller’s Quiet Gun shotgun. Click here to see the guns in action in the video report.

Here’s how the shotgun works.

The Quiet Gun reworks gun technology to reduce a shot gun’s usual boom to the “whoof” similar to an air-rifle. Diller likes to describe the sound as “an air-rifle on steroids.”

To do this, a barrel extension is put on to the shotgun. Along the extension are port holes that allow the high-pressure gases of the shooting action explosion to leak out along the chamber rather than erupting out in one loud belch at the end of the gun.

Buck luck: This hunter used the Quiet Gun to bag a deer.
Buck luck: This hunter used the Quiet Gun to bag a deer.Courtesy The Quiet Shotgun
The extension also greatly reduce the amount of kick a shotgun fires back into the shoulder of a hunter. How effective are these guns? Quiet Guns are being used with the group Capable Partners – a group for disabled hunters who’ve been proficient in both hunting trips and trap shooting events.

So far, the Quiet Gun is not commercially available yet. And for safety concerns, Diller strongly discourages anyone from experimenting with this new shotgun technology on their own.

So what do you think? Is this a good application of science for easing a growing problem with the outdoors sports? Will the Quiet Gun be featured in a upcoming Coen Brothers’ film? Share your thoughts here with other Science Buzz readers.

Nov
09
2005

It's deer hunting season in Minnesota. Deer hunting is a major industry in this state, generating $236 million in retail sales in 2001, 4,825 jobs and $122 million in wages. The sale of hunting licenses for deer brought in $19.7 million to the DNR in 2004. The revenue from these licenses account for 29% of the DNR's Game and Fish Fund, which help buy and manage wildlife management areas and fund research on forest animals.

As important as all this is, deer hunting plays an even more critical role in managing the state's deer population. There are more than a million whitetail deer in Minnesota, and due to recent mild winters the population is nearing record numbers.

The record number of deer is having an impact in many parts of the state. Deer grazing is threatening some plant species, such as trillium, wild lily of the valley, and rose twistedstalk. Reforestation of Eastern white pines and white cedar trees is difficult due to deer grazing. Deer related traffic accidents are also a concern, with an estimated 20,000 deer-vehicle crashes annually.

Deer management through hunting is tricky, especially since the DNR cannot predict what the winter weather will be like. Seven of the last eight winters have been milder than average, leading to increased deer numbers despite more liberal hunting policies meant to control the population. Severe winters result in "winterkills" that can reduce the population significantly, but without being able to predict them, the DNR has to make some educated guesses. Another factor that worries the DNR is that while the number of hunters is increasing, it is not increasing at a rate that can control the high population of deer.

As a result, the DNR is loosening restrictions on hunting anterless deer. Hunters used to have to enter a lottery to obtain an anterless permit. Now any hunter can buy them over the counter.

What do you think? What would you suggest to help control the deer population? What do you think about hunting? Do you think it is an effective deer population management strategy? If not, what would you suggest as an alternative?