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Author Topic: Legality of air rifles for hunting  (Read 20267 times)

Online Bob33

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Legality of air rifles for hunting
« on: July 23, 2010, 12:15:49 PM »
As a hunter education instructor, this question comes up from time to time.  I asked WDFW to clarify this for me.  Following is an an email sent to all WDFW enforcement officers in Washington, on which I was cc'd.

To All,
 
Over the past few months, I have been asked by several different Hunter Education Instructors about whether or not it is legal  to use “Pellet Guns” for hunting?    The reason that I am sending this to the field, is that again, I have had several of these instructors say that they have had a “mixed bag” of responses from our officers (Yes, No & Maybe) during the classes when this question has come up.  So, I want  to make sure that everyone has the right answer and gives a standard uniform response when they are at a Hunter Education class (or are asked in the field). 
 
The answer is;  “No” pellet guns are not legal to hunt with and this comes from two sources;
 
WAC 232-12-047
Unlawful methods for hunting.

(1) It is unlawful to hunt any big game with:
     (a) A fully automatic firearm.
     (b) A centerfire cartridge less than 22 caliber for cougar.
     (c) A centerfire cartridge less than 24 caliber for any other big game.
     (d) A shotgun, provided that a 20 gauge, or larger shotgun, using shells loaded with slugs or buckshot size #1 or larger, may be used to hunt deer, bear, and cougar.
     (e) A shotgun for any other big game, except that a 12 gauge or 10 gauge shotgun using slugs may be used.
     (f) A handgun during a modern firearm season that does not meet the following criteria: Have a minimum barrel length of four inches, per manufacturer's specification, and fire a centerfire cartridge.
     (g) Any rimfire cartridge.
     (2) It is unlawful to hunt game birds with a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells.

     (3) It is unlawful to hunt game birds or game animals, except bullfrogs, in a manner other than with a firearm, a bow and arrow, or by falconry, except in those designated areas where crossbows are allowed.

     (4) Rules pertaining to crossbows:
     (a) It is unlawful to hunt big game animals with a crossbow with a draw weight less than 125 pounds, a limb width less than 24 inches, a draw length less than 14 inches, and a trigger safety that does not work properly.
     (b) It is unlawful to hunt big game animals with any arrow or bolt measuring less than 16 inches in length and weighing less than 350 grains.
     (c) It is unlawful to hunt game animals or game birds with a crossbow that weighs more than 15 pounds.
     (d) It is unlawful to hunt big game animals with any arrow or bolt that does not have a sharp broadhead and the broadhead blade or blades are less than seven-eighths inch wide.
     (e) It is unlawful to hunt big game animals with a broadhead blade unless the broadhead is unbarbed and completely closed at the back end of the blade or blades by a smooth, unbroken surface starting at maximum blade width and forming a smooth line toward the feather end of the shaft, and such line does not angle toward the point.
     (f) It is unlawful to hunt big game animals with a retractable broadhead.
     (5) Hunters with disabilities may use a crossbow with a special use permit as conditioned in WAC 232-12-054.
     (6) It is unlawful to hunt game animals or game birds with a shotgun larger than 10 gauge.
     (7) It is unlawful to hunt game birds with a rifle or handgun, with the exception of blue grouse, spruce grouse and ruffed grouse.
     (8) A violation of this section is punishable under RCW 77.15.400, 77.15.410, or 77.15.430, depending on the species hunted.
And;
 
RCW 9.41.10      defines a firearm:

(7) "Firearm" means a weapon or device from which a projectile or projectiles may be fired by an explosive such as gunpowder.


A pellet gun does not utilize an “explosive” to fire the projectile, it is fired by compressed air so it is not a firearm. 
 
Thanks & Be Safe,
 
 
Sgt. Eric Anderson
WDFW  Enforcement
Olympia, WA
(360) 902-2426 Office
(360)640-0493 Cell
Nature. It's cheaper than therapy.

Offline Kain

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Re: Legality of air rifles for hunting
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2010, 12:57:57 PM »
Now we just need a list of what animals are considered "game" animals.  And then we need to get the law changed to include air rifles of fps for some small game.

Online Bob33

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Re: Legality of air rifles for hunting
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2010, 01:11:12 PM »
Now we just need a list of what animals are considered "game" animals.  And then we need to get the law changed to include air rifles of fps for some small game.
" "Game animal" means wild animals that shall not be hunted except as authorized by the commission."
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=232-36-030
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Offline predatorpro

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Re: Legality of air rifles for hunting
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2010, 05:30:09 PM »
you mean i cant use my pellet gun for muleys this year? dang it!!!! j/k! so are pellet guns only legal to shoot the allusive pop can with

Offline high country

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Re: Legality of air rifles for hunting
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2010, 05:34:18 PM »
what about the air rifles that toss the 200gr .451 slug at 750fps....those are nuts!

Offline vmkeith

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Re: Legality of air rifles for hunting
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2010, 03:22:25 AM »
That means my potato cannon is good to go  :whoo:  It's portable, utilizes an "explosive" to fire a projectile (hairspray with a BBQ igniter), and is larger than .24 cal  :chuckle:
“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” -Calvin Coolidge

"The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle." -Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing, U.S. Army

Offline brewknife

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Re: Legality of air rifles for hunting
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2010, 06:53:36 PM »
OK, so that leaves my Daisy out, but what about my bazooka? :(

Offline NWHydroprint

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Re: Legality of air rifles for hunting
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2010, 10:17:41 PM »
Be carefull with those spud guns. This is directly from the ATF'S webs site:

Any person desiring a classification of a “potato gun,” “spud gun” or similar device must submit a written request (not e-mail) to the Director and include a complete and accurate description of the device, the name and address of the manufacturer or importer, the purpose for which it is intended, and such photographs, diagrams, or drawings as may be necessary to make a classification. A final determination may require physical examination of the device. Such requests for classification should be submitted to: Bureau of ATF, Firearms Technology Branch.

Since a potato gun uses a explosive to propel an object it can be classified as a firearm (crazy if you ask me).

Offline vmkeith

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Re: Legality of air rifles for hunting
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2010, 06:25:05 AM »
Are you kidding me...they actually regulate potatoe guns :DOH:  Doesn't the government have anything better to do  :bash:
“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” -Calvin Coolidge

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Offline jeepster

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Re: Legality of air rifles for hunting
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2010, 01:09:02 PM »
thats bogus about not being able to use an airgun... i have a benjamin sheridan in .22 with a tricked out valve that pushes a pellet around 980fps with an elcheapo 6.5-20x50mm lense on it....


i wonder if you would have to have an ffl to sell a spud gun..... :yike:
catch it. kill it. cook it. eat it.
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Offline MikeWalking

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Re: Legality of air rifles for hunting
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2010, 01:20:30 PM »
I think high quality Air Guns should be legalized for small game, Rabbit, Forest Grouse, Squirrel..

Saw a pretty wild video years back of a guy doing pest control for a Utility District. A custom .30cal Air rifle hooked up to 3 Scuba tanks, talk about spinning rabbits...

Offline alex77147

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Re: Legality of air rifles for hunting
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2013, 10:10:45 PM »
As a hunter education instructor, this question comes up from time to time.  I asked WDFW to clarify this for me.  Following is an an email sent to all WDFW enforcement officers in Washington, on which I was cc'd.

To All,
 
Over the past few months, I have been asked by several different Hunter Education Instructors about whether or not it is legal  to use “Pellet Guns” for hunting?    The reason that I am sending this to the field, is that again, I have had several of these instructors say that they have had a “mixed bag” of responses from our officers (Yes, No & Maybe) during the classes when this question has come up.  So, I want  to make sure that everyone has the right answer and gives a standard uniform response when they are at a Hunter Education class (or are asked in the field). 
 
The answer is;  “No” pellet guns are not legal to hunt with and this comes from two sources;
 
WAC 232-12-047
Unlawful methods for hunting.

(1) It is unlawful to hunt any big game with:
     (a) A fully automatic firearm.
     (b) A centerfire cartridge less than 22 caliber for cougar.
     (c) A centerfire cartridge less than 24 caliber for any other big game.
     (d) A shotgun, provided that a 20 gauge, or larger shotgun, using shells loaded with slugs or buckshot size #1 or larger, may be used to hunt deer, bear, and cougar.
     (e) A shotgun for any other big game, except that a 12 gauge or 10 gauge shotgun using slugs may be used.
     (f) A handgun during a modern firearm season that does not meet the following criteria: Have a minimum barrel length of four inches, per manufacturer's specification, and fire a centerfire cartridge.
     (g) Any rimfire cartridge.
     (2) It is unlawful to hunt game birds with a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells.

     (3) It is unlawful to hunt game birds or game animals, except bullfrogs, in a manner other than with a firearm, a bow and arrow, or by falconry, except in those designated areas where crossbows are allowed.

     (4) Rules pertaining to crossbows:
     (a) It is unlawful to hunt big game animals with a crossbow with a draw weight less than 125 pounds, a limb width less than 24 inches, a draw length less than 14 inches, and a trigger safety that does not work properly.
     (b) It is unlawful to hunt big game animals with any arrow or bolt measuring less than 16 inches in length and weighing less than 350 grains.
     (c) It is unlawful to hunt game animals or game birds with a crossbow that weighs more than 15 pounds.
     (d) It is unlawful to hunt big game animals with any arrow or bolt that does not have a sharp broadhead and the broadhead blade or blades are less than seven-eighths inch wide.
     (e) It is unlawful to hunt big game animals with a broadhead blade unless the broadhead is unbarbed and completely closed at the back end of the blade or blades by a smooth, unbroken surface starting at maximum blade width and forming a smooth line toward the feather end of the shaft, and such line does not angle toward the point.
     (f) It is unlawful to hunt big game animals with a retractable broadhead.
     (5) Hunters with disabilities may use a crossbow with a special use permit as conditioned in WAC 232-12-054.
     (6) It is unlawful to hunt game animals or game birds with a shotgun larger than 10 gauge.
     (7) It is unlawful to hunt game birds with a rifle or handgun, with the exception of blue grouse, spruce grouse and ruffed grouse.
     (8) A violation of this section is punishable under RCW 77.15.400, 77.15.410, or 77.15.430, depending on the species hunted.
And;
 
RCW 9.41.10      defines a firearm:

(7) "Firearm" means a weapon or device from which a projectile or projectiles may be fired by an explosive such as gunpowder.


A pellet gun does not utilize an “explosive” to fire the projectile, it is fired by compressed air so it is not a firearm. 
 
Thanks & Be Safe,
 
 
Sgt. Eric Anderson
WDFW  Enforcement
Olympia, WA
(360) 902-2426 Office
(360)640-0493 Cell

what propels a projectile is pressure, I think as long as there is enough power an airgun should be allowed to hunt small game, there are big bore air guns out there that have enough power to take large game.  I myself want to hunt with my .22 air rifle capable of 60fpe shooting a 32grain pellet at over 900fps.  Did you guys know Lewis and Clark hunted with an airgun? here is a vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pqFyKh-rUI

 

Offline paytonma

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Re: Legality of air rifles for hunting
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2013, 10:27:15 PM »
ive seen ted nugent drop a 150 lb boar in its tracks with an air rifle  :o

Offline Fl0und3rz

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Re: Legality of air rifles for hunting
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2015, 08:37:44 PM »
Zombie thread, I know.

Air rifle for unclassified game, including some squirrels.

Note the game management plan link at the page below.

http://wdfw.wa.gov/help/questions/356/I+heard+about+hunting+unclassified+wildlife.+What+do+I+need+to+purchase+and+what+type+of+weapons+can+I+use+to+hunt+them%3F

Offline Firedogg

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Re: Legality of air rifles for hunting
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2015, 08:52:38 PM »
A coyote is unclassified and you can shoot it with a pellet gun, a raccoon or a cotton tail rabbit is a game-fur bearing animal and you cannot use a pellet gun to hunt them. Now that makes a whole ton of sense????

  I guess I will just stick to shooting the neighbors dog with paintballs when it raids my trash can.
There is no greater respect to have for wildlife than to harvest an animal fairly and use it's flesh to feed your family.  ~me

 


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