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“Hunters typically think of standing corn as a hindrance to successful deer hunting,” Greg Wunderlich opines at ammoland.com. “No doubt deer love the golden morsels and can just about live in the confines of the towering plants, foiling dreams of open country success. While deer drives can be an effective means to scare them out, ethical shots can be problematic with whitetails in high gear. They can be downright dangerous, as well, when it comes to slinging lead in the heat of the moment. There is another way: Go in after them.” Wait. What? If shooting at bounding Bambis is dangerous – and it is – how is stalking through elephant eye-high corn less dangerous? “If you tend to be claustrophobic, still hunting tall corn might not be for you,” Greg admits. “If you can handle exciting surprises, however, proceed cautiously for up-close opportunities.” But wait! There are other perils . . .

Most effective movement is by means of crossing rows, by gradually slipping your head into every single row with your eyes pointed down the row. If nothing’s there, pull back slowly. Then, before taking one more step into that same row, do the same in the other direction. This process minimizes movement, which is of utmost importance, considering that your face may be mere feet from an unsuspecting animal in its living room . . .

A word of caution is in order: It is very possible that you may spook deer out of the corn. Therefore, other hunters in the area must know if you are in there so that they don’t shoot blindly into the corn at runaways . . .

Be ready with hearing protection. Quick deploying types tipped with foam earplugs can be worn around the neck snapped into place before making a shot. Shooting a large caliber handgun without some form of hearing protection is a good way to go deaf – even if done only once.

Good advice. But I think Greg forgot to mention the possible complications posed by the presence of more than one handgun hunter prowling through any given corn field. Other than that and the list above, what could possibly go wrong?

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29 Responses to What Could Possibly Go Wrong: Handgun Hunting in a Corn Field

  1. Regarding the title above – The equipment really does not factor into hunting safety. It should be treated the same whether sling-shot, arrow, shotgun, pistol, or rifle.

    Positively know your target, and the backstop, or don’t take the shot.

    • before changing out an electrical outlet make sure you switched off the breaker.
      like wise if you are putting yourself where no other hunter can see you are the only hunter, and if not have a very solid plan with your mates where every one knows every ones position and strict lane of fire.

  2. OK coming from the boarder of IL/WI where there are cornfields for hectares in all directions who hasn’t hunted corn with a pistol? I have since I started hunting deer and I started with a pistol first.

  3. Right, slipping through a row at a time into the wind is a longstanding and proven whitetail hunting tactic.

    More breaking news ,some hunters sit in stands up in trees !

  4. In Iowa handgun hunting is reserved for the second muzzle loader season – late December – early January. You’d have to look harder to find standing corn than you would a 12 point buck.

    • In Ohio, our first muzzleloader season was the weekend before last, Oct 11-12, and there was still some corn standing, but our first season with handguns allowed is Youth Gun season, Nov. 22-23, then Open gun season Dec. 1-7. There won’t be much standing corn by then.

  5. “considering that your face may be mere feet from an unsuspecting animal in its living room”

    This guy must take his ninja training VERY seriously.

    • Or the deer could be 350 yards down the aisle in his kitchen.

      Walking through corn tends to be pretty noisy.

  6. I grew up on a farm, which opened into a large forest of thousands of acres behind us. When we planted corn, millet, and similar we had a great deer and dove magnet. I never had to deal with multiple hunters. Now, snakes, varied and vigorous, were.

  7. I come from corn country in Central Illinois and am a little confused by all of this. Last I checked, deer season comes well after the corn harvest. There’s nothing but dried-out stalks laying on the ground.

    • Yeah, I had the same thought. I can hunt with a bow while the corn is standing in KS, but there is no such thing as standing corn when rifle season shows up in December. There is actually no such thing as standing Kansas corn as of this moment. It has all been harvested.

      I have no idea how to hunt standing corn with a bow. I would probably sound like Godzilla in Tokyo to any nearby deer as I crashed through the corn with my bow.

  8. I’ve flanked and snuck in behind some deer on the edge of a wooded area and ended up within 20 feet of them. If you move slow and pick up your feet while walking you can get fairly close. Wind direction helps. It was a doe and two toeheads eating in a clear cut. I’ve stalked deer and elk like this and you can get fairly close before they notice you. These deer didn’t notice me until I climbed on top of an old growth stump behind them. Hunting in corn seems like even more of a challenge.

    • I’ve inadvertently rolled up to within twenty yards of deer when I rode my mountain bike. They looked at me like they didn’t know what I was. When I dismounted, they suddenly figured out that I was a person and they ran like hell.

      Deer are stupid.

      • LOL
        I was sitting in a tree line between two corn fields [there was a lane on one side] I pulled 3 does in with a lit cigg and a shiny fishing lure[just spinning it between my finger, mid afternoon]. wow they did not LIKE that fishing lure one bit, stomping, snorting and fake charging, they walked around me a few times then got close. Ii was starting to worry they might put the hooves to me. when i threw the cigg down to rub it out they figured out i was bad for them and bounded off.

  9. I wonder if this guy has ever actually hunted corn fields if he thinks you will have time to apply ear pro before taking a wing shot at a running deer. I use the Surefire plugs if I’ve got a big revolver, and no ear pro if I have a carbine.

    The best way to hunt cornfields is to make a massive drive with hunters on line spaced closely together and good posters on the edges. Make sure that your party has the discipline to ID their targets. I’ve seen deer shuffle a few yards past hunters and go undetected. Depending how fast deer and running and bounding, it can be a whole lot easier to take the shit once they stop running and look back after a few hundred yards. Then again, the big bucks usually GTFO of dodge and don’t stop until they find the next heavy cover.

  10. Sounds like a terrible idea. You can be 10 feet away from someone in a corn field and not able to see them at all. Additionally, cornfields tend to be flat or only mildly slopped, so your shot can travel an extremely long distance and you have no way at all to eyeball what’s beyond your target. This is incredibly irresponsible.

    • Replying to myself, sounds like lots of people are doing it successfully. I’m from hill country, so I guess the thought of my bullet traveling for hundreds of yards and maybe crossing a country road makes me kind of nervous. I guess if you know the field, know its boundaries, and know you’re the only one in it (or know where anyone else is), it’s fine.

  11. Greg forgot to mention the possible complications posed by the presence of more than one handgun hunter prowling through any given corn field.

    It’s no more dangerous than the possible complications posed by the presence of more than one handgun, rifle or shotgun hunter stalking through any given Northeastern woods. Those woods are dense. Most shots are at 150 feet or less. There are no clear lines-of-sight because trees don’t grow in neat rows. Guys do get shot, but it’s still a very safe sport.

    If you want to hunt, you have to go where the game is. If it’s a cornfield or dense woods, go and get it. If it’s in a beanfield with it’s unlimited line of sight and potential for 300 yard shots, consider yourself lucky.

    • Ralph, I’m going to have to disagree about the safety aspect being the same as hunting dense woodlands.

      In wooded areas, the game and hunter can be in any direction from one another, meaning it is far less likely that you will be aligned with another hunter, even if you are both seeing and shooting at the same critter. Due to the linear nature of corn fields/rows, it is far MORE likely that you will be perfectly lined-up with another hunter if you are both looking at the same critter, either from opposite sides, or from the same side.

      Back when we were youngsters (and living in another state), we’d hunt standing corn for pheasants, and I’ve seen other hunters suddenly “appear” in front of me as they stepped into the same row; if I had been using a rifle or handgun to aim at a deer, vs. walking and waiting for a flushed bird with a shotgun, it might have been the setup for a tragic accident. It is also not unusual to be able to see a deer in the row 50-100 yards away, but NOT be able to see what’s in the same row for the next 100-400 yards, well within the killing range of your rifle or handgun.

      Finally, those dense woods are far more likely to STOP a bullet before it gets too far out of the hunter’s sight, or at least deflect and slow it enough for it to drop to the ground, preventing a long-distance injury to another hunter; this is not the case for cornstalks/leaves and heavy handgun hunting bullets.

      • Based on the number of hunters shot in cornfields and the number who are shot in the woods, I think you have things completely reversed (even though both numbers are very small).

  12. Very true Ralph.
    Where I am on Western NY the corn is often up into gun season,depending upon how wet the ground is.

    I hunt my wife’s families 3,000 acre farm,each hunter gets an area ,anyone else in the corn field would be trespassing.

    If you move one row at a time across the rows and it’s a little windy,you are by far making less noise,then the wind is blowing the thousands of stalks…..

    As Ralph said I can see farther up those rows then i can in the thickets,brush lots and even parts of hardwoods where I hunt.

  13. Speaking from the farmers’ point of view, I wouldn’t have it. Moving through ripe corn is bound to knock some ears loose.

  14. This is a how to for poachers. No farmer would ever let anyone hunt in their standing corn. Not even themselves.

  15. Just not an option in my northern state.
    – As said above, corn is usually long gone before firearms deer season opens.
    – It is illegal to hunt in unharvested crops here without the owners specific permission.
    – Much of the corn around here is grown for feed or ethanol production, and the stalks are so close together (6″-8″ apart) it is virtually impossible to cross a row without damaging several stalks. For this reason, you’re not going to GET permission to hunt in a standing crop.

    I have hunted entry/egress points to a field (trails or natural topographical drainage ditches) with a handgun, if excessively wet conditions have prevented harvest before the snow flies, and this method can be very productive.

  16. Interesting comments. My wife’s family often has 1,500 or so acres of corn,they don’t have issues with hunting it.

    While much of it is down now, not all is and gun season is two weeks away. Years when it’s extra wet I’ve seen it up well into our 3 week gun season.

    Poachers hit the bean ,hay,clover fields at night with rifles during bow season or just prior. I hunt a large farm that practices qdm, dealing with poachers is an issue we face yearly.

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