I’m Lazy

Research is a big part of what I do. I enjoy research most of the time but not always. I’ve been trying to find out how many states allow .22 caliber centerfire rifles for deer hunting. I started looking up state regulations on line and after about a dozen I realized this was a job for someone that has absolutely NOTHING ELSE TO DO!

So, in the interest of protecting my laziness and with no intent on starting a debate about the suitability of .22 centerfire rifles on deer, I’m looking for help. Please let me know what you know about state regulations on this subject. Conventional wisdom is that it is illegal in MOST states but I know this to be false.

I’ll post the results if I get any. Hopefully, readers are not as lazy as me.


About gunwriter

Born and raised in the West Virginia hills, Richard literally grew up in the woods. He has chased coon hounds until daylight, waited out whitetails perched high in an oak, canoed the New River and hunted from the Montana Mountains to the Green Hills of Africa. During service in the Army and later as a municipal police officer and Special Agent with the railroad police, Richard obtained numerous certifications in small arms instruction. He has trained military personnel, law enforcement officers and civilians in the application of firearms for defensive, competitive and recreational use. Richard won the West Virginia Governor’s Twenty Award for law enforcement, the West Virginia National Guard State Pistol Competition and earned his Distinguished Medal with pistol. Badge turned in, Richard is now a contributing editor for several magazines. He was the compiling author of the book, Rifle Bullets for the Hunter and conceptualized and contributed to Selecting and Ordering a Custom Hunting Rifle. Richard also contributed a chapter to the John Velke book, The True Story of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency. Richard has patents on a riflescope reticle and a revolutionary bullet testing media. A hillbilly at heart, Richard lives on Shadowland - his shooting range in West Virginia - with the most understanding wife in the world, their three kids and a very protective ridgeback hound.
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9 Responses to I’m Lazy

  1. Gary Powell says:

    Kentucky allows any centerfire caliber.

  2. Mash says:

    From Game and Inland Fisheries Website:

    Rifles used for deer or bear must be .23 caliber or larger.


  3. Doc B says:

    Texas allows any centerfire caliber. Here’s the reference-

  4. NickS says:

    This from SC DNR’s website : “State laws and regulations prohibit the hunting of deer with .22 rimfire rifles on all WMAs. However, a .22 rimfire rifle is inadequate to harvest deer and can result in wounding or unrecovered deer. RESPECT for the animal hunted should always be a common sense guide for ethical hunters. Use only a weapon that allows the animal to be cleanly harvested. Generally speaking, a .243 or 6mm is the smallest caliber normally recommended for deer. For more information, call SCDNR Law Enforcement at (803) 734-4002.”

    It does not mention centerfire.

  5. gunwriter says:

    Mike Barham over at Galco shared this link: http://www.huntingnet.com/forum/whitetail-deer-hunting/227252-legal-rifle-calibers-state.html I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information but based on the three comments so far and those I have confirmed, it has proven accurate. Summarized (below) we see that out of 50 states, only 11 do not allow the .22 centerfires to be used for deer hunting and five of those are shotgun only states. Thanks Mike! Great info!

    1.Alabama- centerfire
    2. Alaska- centerfire
    3. Arizona- centerfire
    4. Arkansas- .22 and up centerfire
    5. California- centerfire
    6. Colorado- .24 and up, 70grn or larger bullet/ minimum of 1000ft/lbs at 100 yards
    7. Connecticut- .243 and up if legal in your area
    8. Delaware- shotgun/muzzle loader
    9. Florida- centerfire
    10. Georgia- .22 and up centerfire
    11. Hawaii- Any rifle with at least 1200 ft/lbs of ME. This would start at around .223 I think
    12. Idaho- Centerfire (cannot weigh more than 16 lbs?)
    13. Illinois- Shotgun/ML/Pistol only
    14. Indiana- Rifles with pistol calibers/shotgun/ML/Pistols
    15. Iowa- .24 or larger centerfire only for antlerless season in part of the state.
    16. Kansas- .23 or larger centerfire (actually says larger than .23 so maybe .24 is the minimum)
    17. Kentucky- centerfire
    18. Louisiana- .22 and up centerfire
    19. Maine- .22 magnum rimfire and up!
    20. Maryland- ME of at least 1200 ft/lbs
    21. Mass- Shotgun/ML
    22. Michigan- centerfire in certain areas
    23. Minnesota- .24 and up centerfire
    24. Mississippi- No restrictions that I could find
    25. Missouri- centerfire
    26. Montana- No restrictions
    27. Nebraska- Rifles with 900 ft/lbs or more at 100 yards
    28. Nevada- .22 centerfire and up
    29. New Hampshire- centerfire
    30. New Jersey- shotgun only
    31. New Mexico- centerfire
    32. New York- centerfire
    33. North Carolina- No restrictions
    34. North Dakota- .22-.49 centerfire
    35. Ohio- Shotgun/ML
    36. Oklahoma- centerfire with 55 grn or heavier bullet
    37. Oregon- .22 centerfire and up
    38. Pennsylvania- centerfire
    39. Rhode Island- shotgun/ML
    40. South Carolina- centerfire
    41. South Dakota- rifles with 1,000 ft/lbs or more ME
    42. Tennessee- centerfire
    43. Texas- centerfire
    44. Utah- centerfire
    45. Vermont- centerfire
    46. Virginia- .23 centerfire and up
    47. Washington- .24 centerfire and up
    48. West Virginia- .25 rimfire and up and all centerfire
    49. Wisconsin- .22 centerfire and up
    50. Wyoming- .23 centerfire and up
    Alberta- .23 and up centerfire
    Manitoba- Centerfire, but it says .23 and below not recommended. Does not say illegal though
    Ontario- centerfire
    Quebec- 6mm/.243 and up
    Saskatchewan- .24 and up
    Nova Scotia- .23 and up

  6. Doc B says:

    I also looked up my neighbors, since I hunt there on occasion.

    New Mexico allows any centerfire caliber- http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/publications/documents/rib/2012/sections/deer.pdf

    Colorado has a 24-caliber minimum- http://wildlife.state.co.us/SiteCollectionDocuments/DOW/RulesRegs/Regulations/Ch02.pdf (they also have a 70-gn bullet-weight minimum, and a 1000 ft/lbs at 100 yards minimum)

    Oklahoma allows any centerfire caliber, but has a 55-gn bullet weight restriction- http://www.eregulations.com/oklahoma/hunting/deer-season/ (gee, why bother?)

  7. Mark says:

    I use .223 with 69 grain bullets. It has worked every time I tried it.
    Accurate too! Legal in NC and SC where I hunt.

  8. rubibrock says:

    Georgia allows any centerfire .22 caliber or greater. This means you can legally shoot deer with anything from a .22 Hornet or a .25 Auto to a 20mm Lahti. It seems to this old redneck, that the regs could stand some tweaking.

  9. Dan says:

    Michigan does have certain areas that rifles can be used, unfortunately .22 caliber rifles can’t be used. But for some reason I want to say 22-250’s can be. Here is our new website the DNR and Michigan State University put together http://deer.fw.msu.edu/ It not only covers regulations but deer biology and everything else under the sun they could think to include.

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