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Can I shoot a muntjac with my air rifle?

A recent air rifle owner asks the question

Muntjac deer

What can I use for shooting muntjac?

Q: There are loads of muntjac around where I live and I know you can shoot them all year round. My neighbours have asked me to do some culling because the muntjac are eating everything in their garden. I have recently bought a high powered air rifle. Can I use this for culling the muntjac?

A: It is against the law to shoot a muntjac with an air rifle.  In England and Wales section 4(2)(a) of the Deer Act prohibits the use of any air weapon to take, kill or injure any deer. 

Sporting Gun contributor Charles Smith Jones advises: “For shooting muntjac under normal circumstances in England and Wales, the law requires that you use a rifle:

  • Of at least .220” calibre
  • Which generates a minimum of 1,000 ft/lbs of muzzle energy
  • And fires a bullet (designed to expand on impact) of at least 50 grains in weight.

“If the rifle cannot meet all 3 of these criteria it is not legalso some .22 centrefires may not fit the bill.

“While there is no close season for muntjac, you do need to be careful to avoid orphaning dependent young.

“Before discharging any firearm close to any built up area I would also strongly advise considering the safety aspects carefully.  It might well be prudent to seek advice of the police first, and to check the conditioning on your FAC which will specify how the firearm may be used.”


Shooting deer near houses