Hunting With Suppressors — The Ultimate Accessory

Kat Ainsworth Stevens

Kat Ainsworth Stevens

One of two things happens when you shoot a single deer out of a herd: Either the entire herd panics and runs, or the fallen deer’s friends stand over it wondering what’s wrong. Then there are the times you’re out after deer and a coyote stalks into view. Do you shoot it, and risk blowing the entire hunt? Do you let it go, knowing what damage it can do? The solution to these problems is a simple one: Use a suppressor. Hunting with suppressors is easier on you, gentler on the area, and less likely to scare off other animals in close proximity in cases where it’s possible to take multiple shots.

SilencerCo Omega 300
The Omega 300 is a fantastic option for hunters that want one suppressor capable of fitting multiple rifles.

Can you hunt with suppressors?

In most states, it’s legal to hunt with suppressors as long as the hunter is acting in accordance with all related laws. For example, deer can’t be hunted at night, but most states allow them to be hunted with suppressed rifles during daylight hours (as long as it’s deer season, of course). Also, some states have restrictions regarding the caliber used on deer. It’s smart to familiarize yourself with all the regulations and laws for the area you intend to hunt beforehand.

From a practical standpoint, of course you can hunt all manner of game animals, predators, and varmints with suppressors. The use of a suppressor doesn’t impact the fair chase aspect of the hunt and, in fact, the reduction in noise is better for the animals that aren’t your target. Some of the animals it’s best to hunt suppressed include deer, feral hogs, and coyotes.

Is hunting with suppressors legal?

Hunting with suppressors is legal in approximately 80 percent of the United States. That might appear frustrating for the remaining 20 percent, but in reality, it’s not legal to even own a suppressor in certain states.

Until June of 2022, Vermont had restrictions on hunting with suppressors, but thanks to S. 281 being signed into law, it’s now allowed. At this time, that makes Connecticut the only state where it’s legal to own a suppressor but not to hunt with one

States where hunting with suppressors is legal include:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Keep in mind that just because your state is on this list doesn’t mean you can hunt whatever you want, whenever you want, with a suppressor. Take the time to read the regulations for the area you plan to hunt to be sure you act in accordance with the law.

SilencerCo Harvester on hunt in WV
SilencerCo Harvester on hunt in West Virginia.

Why should you hunt with a suppressor?

There is a multitude of reasons why it’s a great idea to add a can to the end of your favorite hunting gun.

  • A suppressor offers hearing protection for yourself and those around you.
  • The sound reduction reduces the likelihood of scaring off nearby animals.
  • Shooting suppressed creates smaller auditory impact on the property, meaning less worry of “shooting up” an area.
  • Peace and quiet for distant neighbors or fellow hunters, because unsuppressed live fire is a sound that carries a significant distance
  • Hearing protection for your hunting dog (yes, it matters).
  • Retained ability to hear what’s going on around you, whether that means noticing a rattling snake or hearing someone say your name.
SilencerCo Harvester Evo suppressor on rifle in hunter's backpack
SilencerCo Harvester Evo suppressor on rifle in hunter's backpack.

What suppressors should you use to hunt?

Choosing a suppressor for your hunt depends on the gun being used. In some states, like Texas, it’s legal to chase deer and most other four-legged creatures with handguns. In others, only long guns are allowed. Once you know what guns are legal for hunting the game you’re after, you can choose your suppressor.

The SilencerCo Omega 300

SilencerCo Omega 300
The SilencerCo Omega 300 is a multi-caliber suppressor that can be used on rifles chambered in anything from 223 Remington to 300 Winchester Magnum.

Many of us enjoy hunting with rifles chambered in one of the many .30 calibers on the market. If 308 Winchester or 300 Winchester Magnum are your jam, the SilencerCo Omega 300 can quiet those shots down. The Omega 300 is designed to be impressively lightweight, so it doesn’t throw the balance of the rifle off, and it’s versatile. This suppressor can be mounted to your rifle using either Direct Thread or quick-detach with an ASR mount, the latter of which requires the use of a compatible ASR muzzle device.

Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you this is a nice choice for moderate-sized game where you’re interested in using a larger caliber and going prone. Of course, it also works well on the smaller end of the spectrum.

Kat Stevens holding rifle with SilencerCo Omega 300 - hunting with suppressors
The author taking her Omega out for a walk in the woods that included a hog hunt. (Photo credit: Kat Stevens)

Multi-caliber models like this one work well and make it possible to move the suppressor from gun to gun as needed. The Omega 300 is even full-auto rated and also rated for calibers between 223 Remington and 300 Winchester Magnum. That’s a broad range.

SilencerCo Octane 9

SilencerCo Octane 9

It might surprise you to see a model made for a 9mm mentioned for hunting, but if you really want to challenge yourself, handguns are a must. 9x19mm Parabellum can be used for coyotes, badgers, rabbits, and all manner of pests. Yes, it will technically drop feral hogs with precise shot placement, but it isn’t ideal for hunting. This is where I tell you this suppressor is also available as the Octane 45 for handguns and pistol caliber carbines chambered in 45 ACP.

Why a suppressed handgun?

Because switching from long guns to handguns—when legally allowed—is a good way to force yourself to improve stalking skills and hone marksmanship with pistols. The Octane 9 does an excellent job of quieting down the report of a 9mm, and the Octane 45 does the same for 45 ACP. If you, like me, have a special love for hunting with 10mm, check out the Osprey 45. That one’s compatible with handguns chambered in 10mm Auto and has a different shape so it doesn’t rise above the centerline of the handgun’s bore (meaning no need for raised sights).

Kat Stevens with coyote hunted with handgun that is suppressed with SilencerCo Octane 9 - hunting with suppressors
A handgun suppressed with the Octane 9 is perfect for calling coyotes, especially when you don’t want to risk making excess noise early in the night. (Photo credit: Kat Stevens)

SilencerCo Salvo 12

SilencerCo Salvo 12
The SilencerCo Salvo 12 is made for use on 12 gauge shotguns, making it the perfect accessory for waterfowlers.

Guess what, you can hunt ducks and other birds with suppressed shotguns. Again, take the time to check the regulations in the specific location you’re hunting, but generally speaking, you can absolutely drop a suppressor on your 12 gauge. The SilencerCo Salvo 12 is made for 12 gauge shotguns and I can tell you, it works. Stop and thinking about the constant roar of shotguns when you’re out hunting in a pit with a group of friends. Your ear pro only protects you so far, and it also makes it harder to hear everyone. This can be solved by putting the Salvo 12 on your shotguns.

The Salvo 12 is compatible with most pump and semi-automatic 12 gauge shotguns. It’s modular for length, meaning it can be lengthened from 6 inches to 12 inches. At its full length of 12 inches, is provides the greatest sound suppression. It’s lightweight and designed with a sleek, low profile so there’s no reason to worry your sights or red dot will be blocked. This one’s absolutely recommended for hardcore bird hunters whether you’re after ducks, turkeys, or pheasants.

SilencerCo Salvo 12 suppressor with four harvested ducks
Most people don’t think of duck hunting with suppressors, but it’s an excellent way to hunt waterfowl. (Photo credit: Lawcoop via Reddit)

Should you hunt suppressed?

Yes! Not only does a suppressor stop the sound of gunfire from frightening easily-spooked whitetails, it makes it easier to drop multiple hogs in a sounder. The fact that you can hear what’s going on around you a great deal easier is another huge bonus. If you have kids, this goes a step further, because you’ll need to communicate with them during the hunt. Then there’s the preservation of hearing, because a startling number of hunters hit the woods and fields without ear pro.

Make this year the one where you add a SilencerCo suppressor to your hunting kit. You won’t regret it.

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