Could you please explain your last paragraph of your post about the closer range shots protecting yearlings. Not cutting you down I just have heard that before from a guy form Iowa he said Iowa is got more big bucks because we use shotguns so we cant kill from far away..
You are supposed to identifiy your target before shooting if you are conserned about killing a yearling or 2.5 yr old then shouldnt you slow down and make sure the buck is what you want before the bang goes off. Sometimes they get away when trying for the older deer and you get a inbetweener buck in the scope, and your not sure. But knowing you used your better judgment makes me feel better and you still might get another crack at him..
Last year the buck I killed with my rifle was 150 plus and I knew right away by looking at his body and rack that he was a older deer, (he was 3.5). 150 is still good shotgun range. So I dont know how it helps...
Again please dont think I am being a smart a#$ just would like your reasoning for liking the shotgun over the rifle..
First of all let me blast the notion that I did not identify my tagret out of the water! I had a clear view of the deer, I knew the range, and I knew my backdrop. What I did not properly identify was the age of the deer within 1 year. Experts will differ on the age of the deer when they have the jawbone in their hand, so I take great offense at the suggestion that it was an irresponsable shot.
I have chosen to target 3 yr. olds for that exact reason. I want to protect yearlings and this gives me a 2 year buffer.
Now, as to why I suggest that shotgun hunting MAY offer hunters a better chance at protecting yearlings. My own example demonstrates that the closer to the animal you are, the easier it is to see age indicators.
Congrats on your 3.5 year old last year. But it does not mean that 150 yds. is the optimal range to field judge a deer.