Q: Is there any way I could use a high powered air rifle for shooting Muntjac? If so, would it have to be a FAC weapon? What are the restrictions? I'm sure I saw a picture of someone who'd shot some form of buffalo or something recently with an air rifle. If that's the case, surely I could shoot Muntjac?

A: Oh dear, oh dear! (Or do I mean, “Oh deer, oh deer?”) Let us first lay this business firmly to rest by saying that 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. So that’s the end of that, I think.

Foreigners may get up to all sorts but we are British, dammit, and must abide by the ethics of the business.

There are certainly some very powerful air rifles available which are allegedly capable of killing a deer humanely, were it not illegal to do so. The last time I looked they cost about the same as a small car! They are nothing new because the Austrian Army used a .46 calibre 20-shot air rifle before and during the Napoleonic War. It produced about the same power as the flintlock muskets of the day but was apparently much more accurate.

Despite its innovative technology it proved a bit fragile for the exigencies of warfare but has a place in history as the first repeating rifle ever issued to any army.