Proposed Regulation Amendment

4VAC15-270-10. Game: Firearms. Size rifles for hunting bear and deer.

Summary

The proposal is to prohibit the use of air rifles for bear and deer hunting.

Text of Regulation

Rationale

Over the past several years, the Department has received a couple of questions asking if air rifles are legal for deer hunting in Virginia. The current answer is yes; according to § 29.1-519 hunting wild birds and wild animals with air rifles is allowed unless expressly prohibited. The only restriction related to deer hunting with rifles is the above 23 caliber restriction that dates back to fall 1946-47.

Also, in recent years there have been several models of large-caliber air rifles (.40, .45, .50 cal) that have generated some interest within the deer hunting community for use in areas where the discharge of firearms is prohibited. Staff recommends that air rifles should not be allowed for bear or deer hunting due to poor ballistics and terminal performance when compared to legal rifles that use an explosive propellant.

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