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Punt Gun
Punt Gun
iron, wood
Illinois State Museum Collection (82.12)
Zoom in on Punt Gun
Punt Gun

In the 1880s, at the height of hunting of waterfowl for commercial purposes, market hunters used large bore shotguns of domestic manufacture. The hunters mounted these cannon-like punt guns on the bow of a flat-bottomed duck boat, called a punt. They poled the boat quietly, at night, close to a flock of ducks resting on the water and fired a large load of shot and powder that killed many ducks at once. Used in tandem, a group of hunters could bag five hundred ducks per day.

Federal Laws banned punt guns, market hunting, and the fashion feather trade by 1920, after much of the wild bird population was decimated from decades of over-hunting.

Punt Gun Detail
Punt Gun Detail
iron, wood
Illinois State Museum Collection (82.12)
Zoom in on Punt Gun Detail
The punt gun pictured on this page is a muzzle loader that looks crude in design, much like an iron pipe with a rough wooden stock strapped onto it. It weighs almost a hundred pounds, so it would have been mounted on a boat or nestled on padding against the stern and discharged.

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