Doug Koenig Takes Deer Consistently at 200-Yards Plus With a Handgun
Editor’s Note: Mossy Oak Pro Staffer 45-year-old Doug Koenig of Hamburg, Pennsylvania, has a tremendous platform to give tips on hunting and shooting anywhere he goes and on his TV show, “Doug Koenig’s Championship Season” because he’s one of the most-well-recognized competitive handgun shooters in the world. “Most of my competition is handgun shooting, but I also shoot 3-gun tournaments (shotgun, handgun and rifle) and the Sportsman’s Team Challenge 3-gun tournaments,” Koenig explains. “My sponsors are Mossy Oak, Smith & Wesson, Leupold, Hornady, Safariland, Gamo, TenPoint Crossbow Technologies, Starline Brass, Otis Technology and Bass Pro Shop. I’ve been competitive shooting for 26 years.” Koenig has won the NRA’s Bianchi Cup 15 times, which is one of the most-prestigious handgun championships in the world, the NRA World Action Pistol Championship six times, the World Speed Shooting Championship three times, the Sportsman's Team Challenge Championships 16 times and the Masters International 20 times. “When I’m hunting and shooting, I’ll wear some type of Mossy Oak clothing in both sports,” Koenig says. “On my competition shooting uniform, I also have some Mossy Oak camo incorporated into my competition shooting uniform.”
Taking any deer with a handgun is a great accomplishment. However, being able to bag deer consistently at 200-yards plus with a handgun is almost an unbelievable feat. According to Doug Koenig, “The longest shot I’ve ever made with a handgun and harvested a deer at is 226 yards. I was shooting a Smith & Wesson X-Frame .460 with a 200-grain Hornady bullet. I was hunting in Illinois, where there are numbers of wide-open agricultural fields. In Illinois, you can hunt with a handgun, a muzzleloader or a shotgun, but the state doesn’t permit rifle hunting during deer season. You can also hunt out of ground blinds or tower blinds. This hunt was 7-years ago, and I made that shot on camera. I was shooting off a rest. I was confident that I could make that shot, because I had been practicing at distances of 200 yards or more. I knew my Smith & Wesson X-Frame would deliver 3-1/2- to 4-1/2-inch groups at 200 yards, my Hornaday 200-grain bullet had tremendous knock-down power, and my Leupold pistol scope was as accurate as it could be. So, I felt very confident that I not only could make the shot and hit the deer, but that I could place the bullet in the deer’s vitals to put the deer down quickly and efficiently.
“Several ingredients are required to consistently take deer with a handgun. First, you have to spend a lot of time on the range practicing to know exactly how your handgun will perform at different distances. Also, you have to use a very-steady rest, a highly-accurate range finder and a quality sighting system on your handgun. When you pull all these elements together, before you touch the trigger, you need to know that you can make the shot. Most of these same elements are required for accurate shooting, no matter which weapon you hunt with, the distance you shoot, or the animal you’re trying to take. To be as accurate as possible when handgun hunting, I usually shoot off shooting sticks, or if I’m fortunate to be in a blind, I’ll take a sandbag and prop the sandbag on the window of the shooting blind. To make long shots with pistols, you have to get extremely stable and have your sighting system stable.
“I’ve taken several other deer at 200 yards. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to learn how-many states have seasons for handgunning for deer and other animals. I’m sure many-more handgunners have taken deer with handguns, but you just don’t see or read about them very often. Actually quite a number of people hunt with handguns. I don’t know why we don’t see or hear anything about them. Of course, I’m not just a handgun hunter. I hunt with vertical bows, crossbows, shotguns, muzzleloaders and rifles.”
For more about Doug Koenig, visit www.facebook.com/DougKoenigChampion.