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Airguns and Deer

Posted by on January 12, 2014

When I first started hunting big game with an airgun about 10 years ago, there were very few species to hunt and even fewer places to hunt them. My friends and I gravitated towards Texas, because even though by some quirk of logic we couldn’t hunt any game animal (even a squirrel) with an airgun, all exotics regardless of size were on the ticket. We could hunt hogs, rams, exotic deer, feral hogs, aoudad, blackbuck, and many other nonindigenous species. For several years I was down in the Lone Star State 5-6 times per year.


My first Kentucky buck shot with a Quackenbush .50 muzzle loader.

While I’m not a huge fan of high fence in general, I do acknowledge that if the property is big enough and managed properly a hunter can get a quality hunt. But a point to consider for an airgunner is that these properties can generally set their own seasons, quotas, and methods of take. So I found myself on a couple of properties in Michigan and Ohio hunting whitetail and hogs in high fence.

But then something happened, other states started permitting airguns for deer in their states. The enforcement arm of Kentucky sent us written permission to hunt deer in that started, so long as the guns were configured as muzzle loaders and used in the primitive weapons season. I took a nice 12 point buck with a muzzle loaded Quackenbush .50 caliber that first season, hunting with my good friend Randy Mitchell. Sadly he informed me that Kentucky had taken a big step backwards last year and rescinded permission… just as many states are moving in the opposite direction.


This nice buck droped to a .45 caliber roundball from my Sam Yang.

The following year Missouri opened their season to airguns, due to the lobbying and leadership of an airgunner by the name of Ken Cox, himself a law enforcement officer and a relentless proponent of airgun hunting. I’ve traveled to the Show Me State several times over the last few years, and have taken many deer with my Quackenbush .451, .457, 50s the Sam Yang .45 and .50, and the BMFG .45. This has become a destination for big game airgunners, and I recommend it highly if you want to put a an airgun deer hunt together.

Next I headed out to Virginia, which has added very well written laws allowing airguns as a method of take for big game, including deer, bear, and turkey. Another one of my buddies out there by the name of Chip Sayer is a deer hunting machine!

Last week I was down in Alabama, which is kicking off their first airgunning season for deer this year. Using a Sam Yang .45 I dropped a little buck, which we filmed for one of the cable TV programs. This state has lots of deer and a long season, and I’ll be going back next year!

But what gets me really excited is that Arizona has just put some great new laws on the books; that allow you to hunt whitetail, cous, and mule deer. As a matter of fact it is the only place to legally hunt mule and cous deer with an airgun …. not to mention javalina, bear, antelope …. everything except elk. They changed the laws too late for me to get a deer tag but I did get the draw for javalina …… next year I’m putting in for everything!!!

What Else?
Shooting the Wolverine Type B every day and LOVE this gun. I’m all packed up an leaving for the SHOT Show tomorrow, and will post some observations and have a video together in a few days. Hope the weather is not too bad where you live, and you’re getting a chance to shoot! I’ll be posting again soon, have fun shooting!

2 Responses to Airguns and Deer

  1. Bill in Indy

    Hello Mr Chapman, I enjoy reading your articles here and on your website. I just recently realized you located in the Indianapolis area, I am in beech grove. Perhaps when this cold weather is past us, we could arrange a day of shooting, I have a place to shoot not far away in greenwood, the 100 acre property I grew up on, where my uncle still lives. We don’t hunt there, just target shoot out to 100 yrds usually, though we could shoot further if we wanted. Feel free to contact me if your interested, once its warm out we’ll be shooting most weekends.
    Bill Straub,

    • Jim Chapman

      Hi Bill,
      That’s very kind offer and I would like to take you up on it, I always enjoy shooting with fellow airgunners. However I don’t live in Indy these days, moved up to the Twin Cities last year, but do intend to visit from time to time.

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