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Is airgun hunting allowed in your state?

Is Airgun Hunting Allowed in Your State?

Airgun hunting is probably allowed in your state; however, you will need to check on restrictions and allowances with your state’s game and fish or hunting authority. This article provides guidance on general airgun hunting rules at the time of writing. Because regulations change frequently, check with your game and fish authority each season before you go air gun hunting.

Airgun Hunting Overview

After Rossi Morreale’s turkey hunting trip in California with American Airgunner TV and the Umarex Octane, we have been receiving a lot of questions. The biggest question is, Can I hunt with airguns in my state? The air gun hunting rules are different from state to state. Many states will only allow small game to be harvested with air rifles. While others, and the list is growing rapidly, will allow larger game, such as Whitetail Deer, to be taken. Some states don’t specifically allow airgun hunting. However, they do allow airguns to be used to “hunt” pest animals such as the crow, rabbit, and squirrel. As of right now, only one state does not allow airgun hunting of any kind: New Hampshire. There are at least five states that specifically allow airgun hunting for turkey: California, Maryland, Michigan, Tennessee, and Virginia. States that allow hunting for at least one big game species with big bore airguns is growing and includes, but may not be limited to: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington State.

Airgun Hunting Map

This map is based on interpretation of regulations. Keep in mind these regulations are changing rapidly as state agencies become more educated. Do not depend on this map for airgun hunting laws. Always check local hunting regulations with your state’s game and fish group before hunting.

The states marked in YELLOW may have special rules for airguns which are listed to the best of the author’s knowledge below the map.

New Hampshire does not allow an airgun for any type of hunting.

States in RED allow big game hunting with big bore air rifles. Consult state rules and regulations for caliber and other restrictions.

In many states, hunting exotic animals with big bore air rifles is legal.

For information purposes only. Regulations will change over time. Remember to check your game and fish group every season for updates.

Hawaii: Can only hunt with airguns on private property with permission from the owner.
Illinois: Can only hunt with airguns on private property with permission from the owner.
Kansas: Cannot use airguns to hunt bullfrogs or turtles.
New Jersey: Must use an airgun that is at least .177 but no larger than .22. Velocity must be at least 600 FPS.
New York: Must use an airgun that is .177 or larger. Velocity must be at least 600 FPS.
North Carolina: According to the North Carolina Wildlife website, air rifles fall in the rifle category. All restrictions that apply to rifles apply to air rifles.
Pennsylvania: Small game and furbearers .177 but no larger than .22, for woodchucks at least .22 caliber
Rhode Island: Must use an airgun that is at least .177 but no larger than .22. Velocity of at least 750 FPS and pellets 7.5 grains or larger.
South Dakota: Must use an airgun with a velocity of at least 1,000 FPS. Only hunting pellets are permitted. Read page 41 of the SD Hunting Handbook for legal game.
Texas: Must use an airgun that is at least .177 with a velocity of at least 600 FPS when hunting squirrels. New legislation is being considered that would allow for whitetail deer beginning 2018.

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