Home Hunting Bring in the Backup

Bring in the Backup


by Todd Davis

You have probably heard people say that football fans all love the backup quarterback. The same can be said for a hunter’s backup pistol. All hunters love them; they keep them in great shape, and they are ready at a moment’s notice. Like the backup quarterback, backup pistols rarely get in the big game. Have you ever considered bringing the backup off the bench? If for no other reason than to challenge your skills as a hunter, pull your backup out of the holster this spring and put it in the big game.

Mr. Whitetail Uses a Handgun

If you are skeptical about using the same handgun you carry as your elk hunting backup as your primary gun, look no further than Mr. Whitetail himself. One of Larry “Mr. Whitetail” Weishuhn’s favorite methods of taking wild game is with a handgun. He has harvested wild hogs, axis deer, whitetail deer, and even elk with a handgun. These are just a few of the species Larry has taken with a handgun, but you get the point. Still, there is more to hunting with a handgun than pulling out your .44 Mag and sitting in a tree. Larry is intentional about his handgun strategy; because of it, he is one of the most successful handgun hunters there are.

If you’re new to handgun hunting, it’s best to start in a target-rich environment, such as wild hogs and axis deer in Texas. Both species are plentiful, both are delicious, and both are challenging animals to pursue. Wild hogs, for instance, are wary and suspicious animals with a great sense of smell. They are also plentiful and have marginal eyesight at best. All this and their willingness to hit a corn feeder make them a great animal to take with a handgun. Axis deer are also wary, suspicious, and have a great sense of smell. Unlike the wild hog, they have great vision. Luckily, the Axis rut can begin as early as May and as late as July. All this and the fact axis deer may be the best-tasting of all deer makes it a great option to hunt with a handgun.

Know Before You Go

When you ask Larry what do you need to know before starting to hunt with a handgun, he will tell you, like he has many others, “It’s just like hunting with a rifle; the bullet goes where you’re pointing the barrel.” In other words, don’t make it harder than it is. When it comes to pistol types, Larry is fond of the Thompson Center in Contender or Encore, but these days he is carrying a double-action Taurus Raging Hunter. The Taurus Raging Hunter has a nice flat black color, is easy in the hand, and is very accurate.

The 10mm is becoming increasingly popular as a backup pistol, but the tried and true .44 Magnum revolver is the most popular. Larry points out the 454 Casull has a large fan base and is also a great choice as a backup and primary caliber for handgun hunting. With that said, so many have chosen the .44 Magnum as their backup that taking it to Texas for hog and axis deer only makes sense. With a solid rest and Hornady 240-grain XTP Custom loads, Mr. Whitetail shoots three-inch groups at a hundred yards with his Taurus Raging Hunter. That’s more than accurate enough to bring pork and venison home to the family.

What Else Do I Need?

At this point, you’re probably wondering what else is needed to bring the backup off the bench and into the starting lineup. Like any good backup, your .44 Mag doesn’t need much, and it’s ready to get in the game. With that said, you should consider adding optics to your backup. Most backup pistols do not have optics. Most back-country hunters want to pull and shoot as many times as they can when something big, brown, and furry is charging. A long eye relief scope or red dot is a better option for wild hogs and axis deer. With the advancements that red dots have made over the years, Larry finds a Trijicon red dot works great for handgun hunting. The Trijicon SRO and RMR with a 2.5 MOA red dot are great options. They are a quick fit on the Picatinny rail of the Raging Hunter and have easy-to-use brightness controls.

You Don’t Need Much

If you’re unfamiliar with your .44 Mag revolver, you should know that wrapping your fingers around the front of the cylinder can be a painful mistake. Things happen in front of the cylinder that can leave you with burns or worse. The bottom line is to be like Larry and wear leather gloves when shooting a revolver. Besides, your spouse knew you would have to buy at least ONE more thing before you headed to Texas.

Last but not least, you will need a rest, especially for longer shots. A rest is what you make it. For some, it’s a set of double-throw-down tripod shooting sticks right off the Cabela’s website, but for others, it’s a tree limb in just the right spot. Whatever a “shooting rest” looks like to you, plan on needing one. Even for short to medium-distance shots, an ill-placed off-hand shot is just not worth it. Besides, if Larry Weishuhn needs one, most of us mortals will too.

Take Your Backup to Texas

So, if you’re trying to find something to do between deer season closing and deer season opening, it’s time to send in the backup. Take the backup to Texas and see what it can do in a target-rich environment. Be sure to bring a cooler; there are pork tamales and axis burgers to make. Like Larry Weishuhn, you may decide to give your backup more playing time, and like most backup quarterbacks, the backup handgun can be ready at a moment’s notice. At the very least, you will be more familiar with your backup when something brown and furry is charging at you.

A Lifetime Achievement Award for Mr. Whitetail

Some know Larry Weishuhn as an author. Others know him as a celebrity hunter. Still others know him from his work as a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologist. He does wear all these hats, and these days, he is gathering quite a following on his podcast, DSC Campfires with Larry Weishuhn. Whatever hat you know Larry by, you know that the American Outdoor News Lifetime Achievement Award he recieved is well deserved.

The AON Lifetime Achievement Award goes to individuals who dedicate their lives to preserving the outdoor lifestyle, traditions, and heritage for future generations to enjoy. To know and follow Larry’s work over the years is to know that Larry embodies every bit of that description and more.

His work as a biologist with TPWD established over 15 million acres for various wildlife management programs. Over the years, he has impacted too many outdoorsmen to mention through blogs, articles, books, TV shows, and now podcasts. He has also reached many outdoorsmen through various seminars and speaking events.

Don’t think for a minute that Larry is hanging his hat up. He is as active in the outdoors as anyone could be. You may find him helping with a TPWD game survey today and putting venison steaks on the grill tomorrow. If you have been around Larry any length of time, you know he still enjoys every bit of it. I look forward to trying to keep up with all he does.

When I need help, I, like so many other writers over the years, know we can turn to Larry for guidance. He is always quick to let writers know that no matter what your going through, he has been there. As any student of outdoor media can attest to, Larry and his work are second to none. If ever an award was deserved, the AON Lifetime Achievement Award was well deserved by Larry “Mr. Whitetail” Weishuhn.

Keeping up with Larry:

Latest Books: Deer Addictions and Campfire Talk

Podcasts: DSC Campfires with Larry Weishuhn, Campfire Talk with Luke and Larry

Website: https://www.larryweishuhn.net/

Blog: On Point with Larry Weishuhn

Television – CarbonTV.com: A Sportsman’s Life

Previous articleThe Brown County Double
Next articleBefore the Gates of Hell Open