i had no idea but i was just told on here that hunting with an air rifle is illegal in PA. that doesn't really make sense to me considering as far as range and muzzle velocity go they're much safer than even a .22 short.
Its not so much about safety as it is about ethics relative to the "gun's" ability to cleanly kill. The summer before last one of the farmers on whose farm I snipe woodchucks approached me and asked if I would please go to a patch of land he custom farmed and clean out the chucks there. So, following his directions, I hopped in the car and found this plot of land. He had in a crop of soybeans there and the chucks were all over the place. I counted about 14 in the first half hour I was there. However, the land was very close to an industrial park and on the other side was the turnpike. What to do - what to do? So I figured I would get a powerful air rifle and solve the problem. Luckly, I describe my plan on this board and was set straight before I got set striaght by the law. I regrouped and manged to reduce the chuck problem with a bow.
that's exactally what the warden i called said. it's about the guns ethical ability to make a clean kill. he said they have had some folks shooting deer with them to keep them out of gardens and wounding them badly.
to me, any gun could be used unethically in the hands of the wrong person. so why outlaw airguns? they have a time and place in hunting just like any other firearm. in this case, it probably shouldn't be shot at anything larger than a rabbit. personally, i don't like them for groundhogs because they have thick skin and i like a clean kill with an .17hmr the best for them. in jimsdad's case, the bow is the legal and ethical way to deal with the situation for sure.
There are air guns, and then there are air guns. Lewis and Clark killed an antelope with an air gun.
The typical Daisy BB gun is fit only for mice and rats.
Some of the more modern air rifles are certainly good for rabbits and squirrels. In another state, I killed dozens of crows with an a pellet pistol. Shot them out of the tree in the back yard, range about 40 feet. The problem is regulating which are sufficient to kill and which are just dangerous toys.
Most of them are the latter. A few are serious target guns, but not really effective for small game. Maybe a dozen of the 120 makes and models out there are sufficient for rabbits and squirrel.
As for ground hogs, I use a cap and ball revolver. For other small game, the standard 22 rimfire is sort of the standard that the 30-30 used to be for deer.
The PGC permits the 17hmr, but not the less powerful 32-20. Makes no sense.
In some states, folks are legally permitted to live trap rabbits as a form of hunting. Not in PA.
The fact than you found lead pellets in an urban deer, means land owners who are not hunters shot them to scare tham off. Many pellet guns are more than adequate for small game. they allow a 22 short for small game and yet it could also wound deer???
Just an old law made by people that didn't know much.
in other states you can hunt with them. i've seen folks shooting feral hogs and coyotes with them. for me, that's unethical. there are better firearms to use for that type of game. even with muzzle speeds of close to 1500 in some of these air guns, just because you can doesn't mean you should.
i've got a gammo that says up to 1200fps on it. i highly doubt im getting that much velocity but it is adequate for small game for sure. i will admit, i made the mistake of assuming that they were legal to hunt with and i took a few squirrels with them in my backyard. i will not do it again, lesson learned. i just thought i'd pass it on because i had a feeling that there were probably some folks that also didnt' know that air guns were illegal and that they could learn from my mistake.
Dirt, therre are a few air rifles out there that pack more oomph than a 22rf. There is no reason why they are illegal for small game, except that the PGC would have to figure out how to separate the "men from the boys". Why is it illegal for me, as a licensed flintlock deer hunter in the late season, to shoot a squirrel with my 50 cal flint lock rifle. A licensed deer hunter can use his firearm to shoot a coyote that happens along. Why not also for small gamee when the seasons overlap. A 22 WCF is legal for deer. It packs about 17 ft lbs of energy. "Just because you can" is only one side of the equation. If a type of firearm/weapon is reasonably capable of killing an animal with a single shot under hunting conditions, why should it be illegal to use? I am not talking about the average 10 yr old's Daisy Red Ryder. There are some very serious wallop packing air rifles being manufactured. Some are 50 cal. Keeping them out of the woods is more a matter of convenience and has no rational basis. for instance, the 41 Swiss is a rim fire cartridge that is slightly larger and just as powerful as factory 30-30 loads. It is illegal to use for deer in PA. However, with a slight modification, such guns can be switched to centerfire and the same cartridge in centerfire is perffectly legal. In facct, I have a gun that is both centerfire and rim fire at the same time. Is it legal for deer? If I were to hunt with rim fire ammo, the gun is still also centerfire. (38 XL Ballard, exact same case as the 357 Maximum) I wouldn't use it for Deer, but groundhogs for sure.
Believe me a 32 cal pellet at 1100 ft per sec, packs more wallop than many legal guns. You are bassing your opinion on the standard fare sold at Wally world.
I shoot chipmunks in my yards with airguns and squirrels off my roof with them. In the rural area it is pretty safe and quiet to use where a firearm can not be discharged unless your shooting someone for self defense.
Like Zim said, it's due to the broad range of airguns available. Any .22 rifle you shoot will kill small game as long as the right ammo is used. There are a TON of lower priced air rifles that would barely break the skin or penetrate. It would be tough to come up with (and enforce) regulations or specs for all the different air rifles.