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The Traveling Airgun Hunter: Know the Laws and the People!

Posted by on August 3, 2014

I know that I am very lucky; between writing for several hunting publications, a TV show, and Online (websites, blogs, and Youtube) projects, I get to hunt in a lot of different places. That in and of itself is very cool, but I also have the opportunity to meet with a lot of great people. But when you travel to hunt in different jurisdictions it is the hunters responsibility to know the laws. This post is not a comprehensive compendium of all the laws across the country, but I’ll tell you about some of the places I’ve hunted over the last few years, I also mention some of my fellow hunters I’ve met along the way!

Eric Henderson I on a squirrel hunt in some state or another. We started hunting together in Texas over a decade ago and have hunted all over the country and Africa as well.

Eric Henderson I on a squirrel hunt in some state or another. We started hunting together in Texas over a decade ago and have hunted all over the country and Africa as well.

So you’ve decided to lay your hands on an air rifle and hit the field in pursuit of game, the next question is; what to hunt and where to hunt it? It is the responsibility of each and every hunter to know the local laws, but those pertaining to airgun hunting are not always clear. There is an evolving mosaic of regulations for airgun hunters, and one needs to keep current on the jurisdictions in which they’ll hunt. Almost every jurisdiction requires that the hunter has a hunting license, even for pest control. There are however, a few states such as Nevada that do not mandate a license for hunting non game varmint and pest species. A detailed list outlining the current regulations for every state is outside the scope of this column; however let’s take a look at a representative sample. A quick summary of the laws in Arizona, California, Nevada, Indiana, Kentucky, and Texas will give an idea of the regulatory landscape.

Kip Perow and I have hunted Arizona and South Africa together. One of the best all around hunters I've shot with.

Kip Perow and I have hunted Arizona and South Africa together. One of the best all around hunters I’ve shot with.

Arizona is one of the states that clearly spells out the use of airguns as a legal hunting tool, and allowed pneumatic airguns to be used for taking of small game and non-game animals for several years. But as of last year, changes to the regulations were implemented that allow for the taking of most large games species as well; whitetail and mule deer, pronghorn, javalina, bear, mountain lion can now be taken with PCP air rifles .357 caliber or larger. This makes the State the destination for airgun hunters, and I plan to hunt there a lot in coming years. As an aside Airgun Only Adventures is the guide/outfitting service started up by Airgun of Arizona and headed up by Kip Perow, a very knowledgeable airgun hunter and guide that can get you on to an airgunning dream hunt.

Scott Dellinger is a new friend that I've been shooting with quite a bit over the last year or two. We shot literally hundreds of collared doves and pigeons in that time!

Scott Dellinger is a new friend that I’ve been shooting with quite a bit over the last year or two. We shot literally hundreds of collared doves and pigeons in that time!

California is another jurisdiction that specifically allows the use of air powered guns for the taking of small game animals, including rabbit, squirrel, quail, and turkey. It is stipulated that when hunting turkey the caliber of the airgun must be .20 caliber or larger. Non game species such as sparrows, pigeons, starlings, ground squirrels, coyote and jackrabbit may also be taken with airguns. California is one of my favorite airgunning venues, because in addition to the well thought out regulations pertaining to airguns, there are literally thousands upon thousands of acres of public land to hunt. I’m a confirmed wingshooter and have been for most of my life, but taking a game bird grand slam in the sunshine state; mountain quail, California quail, and chucker with an airgun is a realistic yet challenging goal!

Virginia expanded their laws a few years back to allow big game, as well as small game species, to be taken with air rifles. So besides the typical fare of squirrels, rabbits, and predators, you can use them to take turkey, deer, and black bear. Virginia has been one of my favorite destinations over the last few years hunting with my buddies Chip Sayers and Charles Peebles. If you’re an airgun hunter living in the more restrictive state of Pennsylvania, it’s well worth the travel down to the more progressive game management environment of Virginia to book your hunts!

Eric, Chip Sayers and I at Chip's house during a 7 day hunt a few years back, right after the airgunning laws went into effect.

Eric, Chip Sayers and I at Chip’s house during a 7 day hunt a few years back, right after the airgunning laws went into effect.

In Michigan, game may be taken by firearm, bow and arrow or slingshot and in some instances by crossbow. Michigan defines a firearm as a weapon from which a dangerous projectile may be propelled by an explosive, or by gas or air. This definition of a firearm does not include a smooth bore rifle or handgun designed and manufactured exclusively for propelling by a spring, or by gas or air, BB’s not exceeding .177 caliber. Thus, all air rifles, except smooth bores designed and manufactured exclusively for propelling by a spring, or by gas or air, BB’s not exceeding .177 caliber, can be used to hunt small game or varmints. There are several hunters in the state that under the preceding definition of a firearm, use airguns to hunt larger game as well.

Missouri was one of the earliest states to allow air rifles to be used for taking whitetail deer. The regulations, which were championed and pushed through multiple wildlife management hearings by airgun hunter Ken Cox, allow PCP air rifles of .40 caliber or larger to be used for taking deer. The state has long allowed air rifles for the taking of squirrel, rabbit and other small game. I’ve taken several deer there since the laws came into effect a few years ago, and offer this up as another one of those destination spots for airgun hunters. My friend Brian Cook has hosted Eric Henderson and I there on multiple trips, but the state also offers up a lot of public land hunting opportunities to set up a DYI, definitely a must do for the traveling airgun hunter.

Nevada: is one of the jurisdictions that do not specifically address airguns, but allows that small game may be taken with handguns and rifles without stating the power source. Nothing is contained in the regulations regarding the method of take for non-game animals. There is no closed season on those species of wild animals or wild birds classified as unprotected. Coyote jackrabbit, skunk and weasels, and all species of mammals which are not classified as game, fur-bearing, protected, threatened or endangered animals. These include marmots, chipmunks, English house sparrows, starlings, porcupines, skunks, rats, moles, voles, pocket gophers.

My son Jamie and I have hunted all over the West together.... unfortunately since he left for college we don't get the chance as often.

My son Jamie and I have hunted all over the West together…. unfortunately since he left for college we don’t get the chance as often.

Indiana doesn’t specifically call out airguns either. However, they do state that gray and fox squirrels may be taken with any equipment and ammunition during squirrel hunting season. The regulations are the same as when hunting with a firearm, you must have a hunting license, meet fluorescent orange clothing requirements while hunting squirrels when the season overlaps deer season, follow the same limits and seasons as firearm. An airgun can be used to control pest birds such as English sparrows, starlings and feral pigeons (except homing pigeons) stating they may be killed at any time and in any number.

Brian Beck and I hunted together a lot in Indiana while I lived there. One of the best predator hunters I've ever met.

Brian Beck and I hunted together a lot in Indiana while I lived there. One of the best predator hunters I’ve ever met.

Kentucky allows the use of air guns for the taking of small game animals; including rabbit, squirrel, and non game species such as sparrows, pigeons, starlings, ground squirrels, and coyote. Last season there was a change in the laws that took many airgun hunters by surprise, the use of .177 caliber guns was prohibited, and only guns in .20 caliber and larger were permitted. A grassroots effort led by local airgun hunting guru Randy Mitchell, was able to lobby for a reversal of the law and permit the use of .177.  As an aside, a new regulation was passed at the same time prohibiting the use of .25 caliber airguns for hunting. Go figure! Still, the state is taking a forward thinking approach with respect to airgunning and deserves kudos for doing so.

Historically Texas explicitly stated the taking of any game animal with Airguns is prohibited, but allowed the taking of exotic or non game animals. Therefore you can take rabbit, ground squirrels, prairie dog, coyote, bobcat, feral hogs, rams, axis deer and other non-indigenous species. But you could not take squirrel as they are a game animal in most (but interestingly not all) of the state. I have not seen the changes regulations, but my friend and airgunning guru Terry Tate told me the laws are changing this year to allow small game species to be on ticket. Texas is my destination spot for big game airgun hunting, and there are a lot of free range exotics rom Africa and Asia that can’t be hunted anywhere else.

I obviously don’t hunt in the next state, but as a contrast to other jurisdictions presented here I’ll mention the Pennsylvania regulations. They are at the other end of the spectrum stating that “Any device operated by air, chemical or gas cylinder by which a projectile of any size or kind can be discharged or propelled” is prohibited. These laws are very backwards in view of today’s Airguns, but every year I look for change.

We’ve taken a random look at a few states regulations, which will give the prospective airgun hunter a pretty good idea of what might be encountered. The states like California, Arizona, and Virginia which clearly articulate their positions on airguns are the ideal. In other regions the prospective hunter might have to do some home work to get clarification on ambiguous wording (when in doubt go to the appropriate enforcement agencies for clarification). There are a couple of jurisdictions that are outright restrictive with regards to airgun hunting, but hopefully they will revise their positions at some point. Besides keeping an eye on the game regulations, the hunter also needs to consider local ordinances with respect to where airguns can be discharged, but as a rule they are far less restrictive than firearms. I think the future for airgun hunting looks promising, in speaking with a number of fish and game agencies and enforcement branches it appears than many more states are looking at clarifying or expanding current regulations to become more airgun friendly. This is a positive trend as the sport continues to gain popularity.

So you’ve decided to lay your hands on an air rifle and hit the field in pursuit of game, the next question is; what to hunt and where to hunt it? It is the responsibility of each and every hunter to know the local laws, but those pertaining to airgun hunting are not always clear. There is an evolving mosaic of regulations for airgun hunters, and one needs to keep current on the jurisdictions in which they’ll hunt. Almost every jurisdiction requires that the hunter has a hunting license, even for pest control. There are however, a few states such as Nevada that do not mandate a license for hunting non game varmint and pest species. A detailed list outlining the current regulations for every state is outside the scope of this column; however let’s take a look at a representative sample. A quick summary of the laws in Arizona, California, Nevada, Indiana, Kentucky, and Texas will give an idea of the regulatory landscape.

Alabama has allowed airguns to be used for taking small game for a long time, but last year they opened the first season for whitetail deer with PCP air rifles. I was invited down to hunt with Dammion Howard and his son Hunter (cool name BTW), and we spent a few very cold days while I got on the board with my first Alabama buck. The people I met were great, the deer populations high, and the laws right for thise of us that want to use big bore airguns, this is one of the spots you should put on your “must hunt” lists.

Arizona is one of the first states that clearly spelled out the use of airguns as a legal hunting tool, and allowed pneumatic airguns to be used for taking of small game and non-game animals for several years. But as of last year, changes to the regulations were implemented that allow for the taking of most large games species as well; whitetail and mule deer, pronghorn, javalina, bear, mountain lion can now be taken with PCP air rifles .357 caliber or larger. This makes the State the destination for airgun hunters, and I plan to hunt there a lot in coming years. As an aside Airgun Only Adventures is the guide/outfitting service started up by Airgun of Arizona and headed up by Kip Perow, a very knowledgeable airgun hunter and guide that can get you on to an airgunning dream hunt.

California is another jurisdiction that specifically allows the use of air powered guns for the taking of small game animals, including rabbit, squirrel, quail, and turkey. It is stipulated that when hunting turkey the caliber of the airgun must be .20 caliber or larger. Non game species such as sparrows, pigeons, starlings, ground squirrels, coyote and jackrabbit may also be taken with airguns. California is one of my favorite airgunning venues, because in addition to the well thought out regulations pertaining to airguns, there are literally thousands upon thousands of acres of public land to hunt. I’m a confirmed wingshooter and have been for most of my life, but taking a game bird grand slam in the sunshine state; mountain quail, California quail, and chucker with an airgun is a realistic yet challenging goal!

Virginia expanded their laws a few years back to allow big game, as well as small game species, to be taken with air rifles. So besides the typical fare of squirrels, rabbits, and predators, you can use them to take turkey, deer, and black bear. Virginia has been one of my favorite destinations over the last few years hunting with my buddies Chip Sayers and Charles Peebles. If you’re an airgun hunter living in the more restrictive state of Pennsylvania, it’s well worth the travel down to the more progressive game management environment of Virginia to book your hunts!

In Michigan, game may be taken by firearm, bow and arrow or slingshot and in some instances by crossbow. Michigan defines a firearm as a weapon from which a dangerous projectile may be propelled by an explosive, or by gas or air. This definition of a firearm does not include a smooth bore rifle or handgun designed and manufactured exclusively for propelling by a spring, or by gas or air, BB’s not exceeding .177 caliber. Thus, all air rifles, except smooth bores designed and manufactured exclusively for propelling by a spring, or by gas or air, BB’s not exceeding .177 caliber, can be used to hunt small game or varmints. There are several hunters in the state that under the preceding definition of a firearm, use airguns to hunt larger game as well.

Bob Vogel shot this doe while we were hunting in MI a few years ago. We each took a doe and a buck on that trip.

Bob Vogel shot this doe while we were hunting in MI a few years ago. We each took a doe and a buck on that trip.

Missouri was one of the earliest states to allow air rifles to be used for taking whitetail deer. The regulations, which were championed and pushed through multiple wildlife management hearings by airgun hunter Ken Cox, allow PCP air rifles of .40 caliber or larger to be used for taking deer. The state has long allowed air rifles for the taking of squirrel, rabbit and other small game. I’ve taken several deer there since the laws came into effect a few years ago, and offer this up as another one of those destination spots for airgun hunters. My friend Brian Cook has hosted Eric Henderson and I there on multiple trips, but the state also offers up a lot of public land hunting opportunities to set up a DYI, definitely a must do for the traveling airgun hunter.

Nevada: is one of the jurisdictions that do not specifically address airguns, but allows that small game may be taken with handguns and rifles without stating the power source. Nothing is contained in the regulations regarding the method of take for non-game animals. There is no closed season on those species of wild animals or wild birds classified as unprotected. Coyote jackrabbit, skunk and weasels, and all species of mammals which are not classified as game, fur-bearing, protected, threatened or endangered animals. These include marmots, chipmunks, English house sparrows, starlings, porcupines, skunks, rats, moles, voles, pocket gophers.

Indiana doesn’t specifically call out airguns either. However, they do state that gray and fox squirrels may be taken with any equipment and ammunition during squirrel hunting season. The regulations are the same as when hunting with a firearm, you must have a hunting license, meet fluorescent orange clothing requirements while hunting squirrels when the season overlaps deer season, follow the same limits and seasons as firearm. An airgun can be used to control pest birds such as English sparrows, starlings and feral pigeons (except homing pigeons) stating they may be killed at any time and in any number.

Kentucky allows the use of air guns for the taking of small game animals; including rabbit, squirrel, and non game species such as sparrows, pigeons, starlings, ground squirrels, and coyote. Last season there was a change in the laws that took many airgun hunters by surprise, the use of .177 caliber guns was prohibited, and only guns in .20 caliber and larger were permitted. A grassroots effort led by local airgun hunting guru Randy Mitchell, was able to lobby for a reversal of the law and permit the use of .177.  As an aside, a new regulation was passed at the same time prohibiting the use of .25 caliber airguns for hunting. Go figure! Still, the state is taking a forward thinking approach with respect to airgunning and deserves kudos for doing so.

Historically Texas explicitly stated the taking of any game animal with Airguns is prohibited, but allowed the taking of exotic or non game animals. Therefore you can take rabbit, ground squirrels, prairie dog, coyote, bobcat, feral hogs, rams, axis deer and other non-indigenous species. But you could not take squirrel as they are a game animal in most (but interestingly not all) of the state. I have not seen the changes regulations, but my friend and airgunning guru Terry Tate told me the laws are changing this year to allow small game species to be on ticket. Texas is my destination spot for big game airgun hunting, and there are a lot of free range exotics rom Africa and Asia that can’t be hunted anywhere else.

Ed Schultz (heads up engineering at Crosman) on our way out for a hog hunt.

Ed Schultz (heads up engineering at Crosman) on our way out for a hog hunt.

I obviously don’t hunt in the next state, but as a contrast to other jurisdictions presented here I’ll mention the Pennsylvania regulations. They are at the other end of the spectrum stating that “Any device operated by air, chemical or gas cylinder by which a projectile of any size or kind can be discharged or propelled” is prohibited. These laws are very backwards in view of today’s Airguns, but every year I look for change.

We’ve taken a random look at a few states regulations, which will give the prospective airgun hunter a pretty good idea of what might be encountered. The states like California, Arizona, and Virginia which clearly articulate their positions on airguns are the ideal. In other regions the prospective hunter might have to do some home work to get clarification on ambiguous wording (when in doubt go to the appropriate enforcement agencies for clarification). There are a couple of jurisdictions that are outright restrictive with regards to airgun hunting, but hopefully they will revise their positions at some point. Besides keeping an eye on the game regulations, the hunter also needs to consider local ordinances with respect to where airguns can be discharged, but as a rule they are far less restrictive than firearms. I think the future for airgun hunting looks promising, in speaking with a number of fish and game agencies and enforcement branches it appears than many more states are looking at clarifying or expanding current regulations to become more airgun friendly. This is a positive trend as the sport continues to gain popularity.

50 Responses to The Traveling Airgun Hunter: Know the Laws and the People!

  1. Jordan

    Hi Jim – Any thoughts on airgun shooting / hunting in Illinois? It seems like I can’t find anywhere to simply target shoot and that hunting is just out of the question. I do live outside of Chicago but as far as I can tell, there is no where within 100 miles that I could go and simply plink cans.

    • Jim Chapman

      Hi Jordan;
      Unfortunately Chicago (which is one of my favorite cities BTW) is not an airgun friendly environment. For hunting, I’d suggest you invest in an Indiana hunting license and head there to hunt….. lots of public land, especially for small game, and you can use your airguns.
      Jim

  2. Mark Nash

    Any Idea about the laws for big game in South Dakota, Wyoming or Montana?

    Thinking seriously about getting a large bore air rifle. I have a 177 Gamo that’s great fro small critters.

    • Jim Chapman

      Mark;
      I’m doing a scan of the regs and it doesn’t look like there are provisions for airguns for big game, believe they all allow coyote and varmint. I’ll follow with some calls in the next few weeks for an article I’m writing and will post after speaking with enforcement divisions.

    • Jester

      I’ve checked into this, as I wanted to go for Coyote with my Father In Law in South Dakota. Here’s the law.

      41:06:04:17. Minimum air gun specifications. No person may hunt species listed in SDCL 41-8-31(1A) with an air gun that is factory-rated to produce a muzzle velocity of less than 1,000 feet per second. Only hunting pellets are permitted.

      The species listed in that section are predators/varmints. No big game allowed. Coyote, foxes, ground squirrels, prairie dog, porcupine. No birds of any sort.

      It’s hard to believe anyone thinks 1400 FPS with 4.8 grains is more humane than 900 fps with 34 grains… but there you go. I guess it was only in 2011 they started allowing any hunting with air rifles, and I know that the state really loves hunter tourism dollars.

      Personally, I don’t think .177 is humane for the big 30-40lb South Dakota coyotes. No judgment intended, some people are probably better callers or have better placement than I do, not trying to start a fight.

      I feel a lot better using .25 to take them, but I also admit I don’t own a .22 which might be adequate while exceeding 1,000fps at a reasonable price point.

  3. James

    As far as Indiana is concerned, the regulations also leave rabbit, crow, furbearers (fox, coyote, raccoon, opossum, and skunk), and wild pigs open on the type of weapon used, as none are stated specifically.

    • Jim Chapman

      Hi James; you’re right. I lived in Indianapolis for several years and it’s where I really cut my teeth on squirrel hunting, plus done a lot of coyote and raccoon hunting there as well. We talked to several wardens out in the field, and none ever raised a question about our airguns.

  4. Ian McKee

    Why would you use an obviously photoshopped photo of you and the 2 guys standing with their hands in their pockets?

    The lighting on you is from one direction, the lighting on the photo is from another.

    The hat band on the right has some of the leaves from the background in it..
    Your clipping was not smooth.

    Use a real photo of the hunt, or just a inside photo.

    Don’t try to pass it off as something it isn’t, it just lowers your credibility to those of us who know what we are looking at..

    • Jim Chapman

      Ian;

      I think you need to take a chill pill bud, you’re getting your knickers in a knot over nothing. I was talking about friends I’ve meet and hunted with along the way. The photo was taken on Chips deck by his wife, who sent it to me. In case this subtly was lost on you I’ll mention it for your benifit, that wasn’t a hunting photo, but a snap of three friends on a porch.

      Jim

  5. Jeff Hall

    You stated a caliber of 22 cal. for hunting in California.

    You are wrong as far as air rifles in California are concerned & you are mistaken when hunting small game. Below I post the 2014-2015 regulations concerning small game hunting pertaining to air rifles in California. You may use a 17.7 cal. pellet air rifle, ie: 0.177 in the following ways:

    *QUOTE*

    §311. Methods Authorized for Taking Resident Small Game.
    Only the following may be used to take resident small game:

    (a) Shotguns 10 gauge or smaller using shot shells only and incapable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined. If a plug is used to reduce the capacity of a magazine to fulfill the requirements of this section, the plug must be of one piece construction incapable of removal without disassembling the gun.
    (b) Shotgun shells may not be used or possessed that contain shot size larger than No. BB, except that shot size larger than No. 2 may not be used or possessed when taking wild turkey. All shot shall be loose in the shell.
    (c) Muzzle-loading shotguns.
    (d) Falconry.
    (e) Bow and arrow (see Section 354 for archery equipment regulations).
    (f) Air rifles powered by compressed air or gas and used with any caliber of pellet, except that wild turkey may only be taken with a pellet that is at least 0.177 caliber.
    (g) In addition to the methods listed in (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) and (f) above, firearm rifles and pistols may be used for taking rabbits and squirrels only; except in Los Angeles County where rifles and pistols may not be used.
    (h) In San Diego and Orange counties only, rabbits may be taken at any time during the open season by means of box traps. Such traps shall not exceed 24 inches in any dimension, shall be tended at least once every 24 hours, and shall show the name and address of the trap owner. All rabbits taken under this section shall be immediately killed and become a part of the daily bag limit.
    (i) Electronic or mechanically-operated calling or sound-reproducing devices are prohibited when attempting to take resident game birds.
    (j) Coursing dogs may be used to take rabbits.
    (k) Archers hunting during any archery season may not possess a firearm while in the field engaged in archery hunting during an archery season.
    (l) The use of live decoys is prohibited when attempting to take resident game birds.
    (m) Pistols and revolvers may be used to take sooty and ruffed grouse in those counties only and for the season described in Section 300(a)(1)(E).
    (n) Crossbows, except for provisions of Section 354(d) and (g).
    (o) Dogs may be used to take and retrieve resident small game.

    *END QUOTE*

    In California air rifles are NOT listed as firearms, as they do not utilize any spark or ignition source, nor utilize any projecting force by means of any burning powder or burning source of powder or chemical means. By definition of section (f) above, any air rifle of 0.177 size, (17.7 cal.) or greater may be used to hunt turkeys and all other small game in California, smaller calibers can not be used. Section (g) maintains that small game may be taken by air rifles.

    Break barrel air rifles also utilize compressed air by means of the spring and piston, or compressed nitrogen ram by mechanical means. Therefore, air rifles ARE legal to hunt turkeys and all small game in California as long as they use 0.177 or greater sized pellets. Only that CO2 and SCUBA tank or other tank air sources shall be taxed according to their volume sold.

    California has taxed any air rifle utilizing compressed air by any means other than self compression of air by the rifle itself, by the quantity of compressed air purchased.

    Yes, California is TAXING AIR!

    Follow this link to see the full disclosure on hunting in California:

    http://www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/mammalregs.aspx#307

    This is from the Dept. of California Fish and Game Commission.

    Thank you, and I hope that this clears up any misunderstanding concerning hunting in California concerning air rifles and the caliber allowed to be used. You WILL however need a California Hunting License to take by any means any game or non-game animal in the state.

    Sincerely,

    Jeff Hall
    obroady@me.com

    • Dan

      “Yes, California is TAXING AIR!”
      I work in a grocery store and canned or bottled sodas are taxed while tea, lemonade, and punch are not. I often say that’s just California taxing air, I know it’s really C02, but many just think of the bubbles as air bubbles.

  6. Jeff Hall

    I need to make a revision concerning your comment on air rifle hunting in California. I mentioned that you stated 22 cal. only in California, I was wrong and you stated 20 cal., my appologies. However, it is 0.177 pellet size or 17.7 cal. pellets that can be used.

    Thank you for allowing the redress.

    Sincerely,
    Jeff Hall
    obroady@me.com

    • Jim Chapman

      Hi Jeff;
      .177 is legal for hunting in California, it was only for Turkey that a caliber greater than .20 was specified. I will go back and review this years regulations, as from what you’re saying there has been a change with respect to Turkey.

  7. Larry

    Hey Jim, nice write up, appreciate the good read. I born and raised in Indiana and looking into my first air rifle to hunt small game and pest control with, I’m not looking for the cheapest nor a $500 air gun to do so with. I am looking at the .22 caliber size and was looking at the Benjamin NP2, any thoughts on this or any other ones you can recommend, thanks in advance sir for your help.

    • Jim Chapman

      Hi Larry;
      Thanks! Been out of Indiana for about 2 years now and we miss it. If you’re looking for a spring piston hunting gun, there are two I really like. The first is a more recent release, the Walther LGV, which is one of the sweetest shooting springers out of the box that you can find. Very accurate, appropriately powerful, and a great shooter. The next is an old favorite, the RWS 34. The NP2 is not a bad rifle and is a bit less expensive to get started with, but if I was looking for a gun to use over the long haul would personally go with the Walther or RWS. The dimensions, smooth firing cycle, and quality of finish would sway me.

      • Michael Miedzianowski

        I like the gas pistons more because they are not affected by the weather as springers are prone to but also gas pistons are not prone to stretch either. I have a Hatsan vortex and a Benjamin NP and love both over my Springer.

        • Jim Chapman

          Some gas piston guns I like better, some springers I like better, it depends on the gun. Having said this the two big advantages of gas ram are that (as you indicated) they can be left cock for long periods, but also that they have a much more controllable firing cycle when shot from a rest.
          Regards,
          Jim

  8. dustin

    All three of you guys look photoshopped into that background lol

    • Jim Chapman

      Hi Dustin, it’s been mentioned before. Actually were not photoshopped in, Chips wife (she took the photo), photshopped the deck railing behind us out.
      Regards,
      Jim

  9. Max lepper

    I live in central Illinois and was wondering If I can hunt squirrels or raccoons with an air rifle?

    • Jim Chapman

      Hi Max, I believe you can hunt squirrel, not sure about raccoon. Call your Fish and Game dept. and they can clear it up if the regulations don’t answer the question clearly.

  10. Michel

    Jim,

    Is there some forum or petition that I can get involved in to voice my desire for Texas to allow Air Gun Hunting for Small Game?

    Thanks,
    Michel

    • Jim Chapman

      Hello Michel;
      As of this year you can hunt squirrel, you could always hunt rabbits, prairie dogs, pigeons, raccoons, fox, bobcat, coyote, hogs, and exotics …. so outside of quail I think your pretty well set. Texas is one of the great hunting states (if you have a place to hunt) with a lot of game. My favorite predator state.
      Jim

  11. Tyler

    I live in Orange County, in Southern California. I was thinking about buying an airgun but I first want to make sure there are places to hunt near Southern California. Thank you!

    • Jim Chapman

      Hi Tyler, I live in the Minnesota these days, but was born and raised in south OC. You can hunt in Cleveland National Forest, San Bernardino national forest, and there is a ton of BLM land on the other side of El Cajon pass. You can also go out towards Salton Sea and find land …. do a search for National Forest and BLM land, So Cal has a lot of opportunity and California Airgun hunting laws are very good.
      Regards,
      Jim

  12. jasper

    Hi jim can I hunt coyote in sc with my .25cal Sumatra carbine?

    • Jim Chapman

      Hi Jasper,
      I believe you can, though you need to check the up to date hunting regs to make sure….the gun is certainly up to it. Go for the brain shot, and keep your range to where you know you can hold a 1/2 group every time from field conditions/ positions.
      Regards,
      Jim

  13. Jon Groelz

    Jim,

    How do we go about getting the regulations changed with regards to airgun hunting? I live in Hawaii. As I understand it, the regulations here are a little ambiguous as to weapons approved on private land, but on public lands, airguns of any sort are not allowed.

    We have plenty of wild pigs, sheep, and goats here on the big island and I’d love to be able to hunt with a PCP, but currently it appears I can only do that on private property…and even then it’s a gray area.

    How did the regulation changes in other states come about and how would you suggest I could start that here?

    Thanks,
    Jon

    • Jim Chapman

      Jon, I’d suggest you get involved with other like minded hunters, and there are quite a few of you on the islands and file a petition with the state wildlife agency, get scheduled to present, and focus on the safety, efficacy, and potential to bring in more hunters. You should also be prepared to discuss other states such as AL, AZ, TX, MI, etc that have opened up their regs to airguns. Go over to Teds Holdover forum and ask for Michael or Manny, they both live in HI and hunt pigs on private land, they may be able to aim you at others that want to change the laws.
      Regards,
      Jim

  14. Andrew Millard

    i an wondering if it legal to hunt little critters like squirrel, rabbit, sparrow, dove, nonative birds, pigeons, etc with a daisy powerline 880s .177 cal duel pellet gun. Also can i hunt like deer, coyote, fox, etc with a licence in McHenry, IL.

    • Jim Chapman

      Hi Andrew, most states that allow airgun hunting of small game don’t stipulate caliber, power or power plant. The restrictions come as you move up to larger game. IL does not allow airguns for deer hunting ….. you’ll have to head up to MI.
      Jim

  15. Spencer

    We’ve made some strides here in Louisiana. Our rules now specifically list airguns as legal for small game. I’m working on getting Big game, ie Deer, approved.

    • Jim Chapman

      Spencer, that’s great news! I came down years ago to shoot nutria with my airgun, but would love to head back out there to hunt other species as the laws change. It’s great to see guys driving grass roots efforts to change the laws ….. congrats!
      Jim

  16. Vartan

    Hey Jim! Wondering if you know anything about air gun hunting in Massachusetts or New Hampshire. Been looking online and haven’t found anything about it. Thanks.

    • Jim Chapman

      Not sure off hand but will see if I can find some info and post it.
      Jim

  17. John Flores

    Good info, thanks! I live in Arizona and want to make sure I follow the law but I was curious to know why some states don’t allow quail hunting with airguns but some do? Is it just some sort of tradition?

    • Jim Chapman

      Two states I know for sure that allow quail hunting with airguns are Arizona and California. California has allowed it for several years, AZ is within the last couple years.
      Jim

  18. tim

    Jim,
    How would be the best way to approach changing game management rules regarding air rifle hunting? Hawaii prohibits the use of gas propelled projectiles which I have no clue as to when and why it was introduced.

    • Jim Chapman

      Him Tim;
      the best way is approach Fish and Game enforcement arm with a well thought out proposal, and support it with the literature and also precident set by Missouri, Virginia, Alabama, Arizona if you’re talking big game. There is a lot of material to support the efforts these days. On a side note, I’ve always been a bit confused by the laws in Hawaii, by my reading of the regs big game is not legal….. but there are a lot of guys hunting pigs on the islands and they have told me that on private property the landowner can permit any method of take they want to. I’ve been wanting to do a hunt there, but with the laws in the gray zone, can’t use it for print or broadcast so would love to see the laws clarified…… I’d be over in a flash (and think quite a few hubters would as well)!

  19. tim

    Thanks Jim. I agree the Administrative Rules in Hawaii are really wordy and get a lot of people confused on how to interpret them. Yes, it isn’t legal to hunt game mammals or game birds with “guns powered by compressed gas” on public lands according to Title 13 Chapter 123 Rules Regulating Game Mammal Hunting. And when it comes to private land nothing is stated whether or not the same methods of take apply to both public and private lands. Hope to clear these issues up and forge a way to legalize air rifle hunting here in Hawaii. Thanks again.

  20. Jerry

    Jim,

    I live in Mississippi and have read the regs on big game hunting with big bore Air rifles and can fine no specific statement on the subject. Can you help me out.

  21. John

    Hi Jim I live in California can I use a daisy pellet gun 177 for hunting a wild turkey is it allowed or not? Do they require tags? Where are hunting area that allowed pellet gun hunting for Turkey s ?

    • Jim Chapman

      Hi John;
      It used to be that turkey needed to be .20 or larger caliber, but I understand that as of last year a .177 was allowed. I personally would use at least a .22 and not take a body shot with anything less than a high powered .25. You can use a .177, I think you need at least 850 fps, stay close, and take only head shots.

  22. Willie Simeon

    Practical article . I Appreciate the insight , Does someone know if I might be able to find a fillable a form example to type on ?

  23. nolan knuth

    hey i live in illinois. i am under 18and i am wondering if i need a permit for airgun hunting small game. i couldnt find it on the dnr website

    • Jim Chapman

      I’m not sure in IL, but most states you need a license at 16 and need it for any type of hunting. There are exceptions. The only way to be sure is check your state hunting regulations. And do it frequently because they can change.

  24. Gerald Hardin

    I am getting ready to move to KY, I have contacted the Ky fish and game. But can’t get anyone to give me a clear answer or show me a law against hunting deer with Benjamin air bow , do you have any idea’s on air bow hunting laws in Ky. They have laws for air guns, nothing on air bows.

    • Jim Chapman

      Hi Gerald: First you need to understand; hunting regulations don’t need to say you can’t use an Airbow, it doesn’t work that way. The regulations have to explicitly state you CAN use an Airbow for it to be a legal method of take. So to remove any ambiguity, if you don’t find a regulation that states it is legal to use an Airbow, it isn’t.

  25. Matthew Chosa

    Hey is does Wisconsin allow big bore air guns to hunt white tail deer???

    • Jim Chapman

      Matthew,
      I don’t believe they do. See if anybody on any of the forums is starting a grass roots lobbying capaign and get involved….. I live one state over and would be buying an out of state license the day they open to airgun…. you all have a strong deer population.

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