Shooting and deer stalking stalking legislation is often proposed with the best of intentions but, because of the political shenanigans involved in getting agreement, it usually ends up like the proverbial silk purse from a sow’s ear.
Deer stalking legislation is no exception.
The proposal was that cartridges of the power of the .222 and above should be made lawful for shooting roe and smaller deer.
However, because of the ignorant but strident voices raised during the planning stages it seems to have been impossible to get agreement on practical and sensible changes.
So now we are left with the situation that in Scotland we can use a .222 to shoot roe (but not Muntjac or Chinese Water Deer) while in England and Wales we can use the same rifle to shoot Muntjac or Chinese Water Deer (but not Roe).
Dis-United Kingdom, or what!
I know there are some highly intelligent people in the relevant parts of the Home Office and Defra who must have been totally frustrated at trying to produce sensible legislation in the face of the mindless yammering of some of the self-important ignoramuses they were forced to consult.
But that’s politics, for you.
However, in answer to your question, I think it depends on what you call a ‘bunny gun.’
If you shoot rabbits with a .222, .223 or .22-250 – and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t – you may indeed now use the same rifle for Muntjac and Chinese Water Deer in England and Wales, subject to suitable conditions on your firearm certificate and choice of a suitable bullet.
The relevant legislation is part of the Regulatory Reform (Deer) (England and Wales) Order 2007 and came into effect from October 1, 2007.
It now means that for shooting deer of the species Muntjac and Chinese Water Deer ONLY, the rifle must be at least .220 calibre, and produce a muzzle energy of at least 1000ft/lbs and fire a soft-nose or hollownose bullet.
A .22 Rimfire, if that’s your ‘bunny gun’, would be okay on calibre and bullet design but woefully lacking in energy and therefore not legal.