Deer stalking with smaller calibres
What's the law on it?
Q: When deer-stalking I thought the smallest calibre rifle I could use would be a .243? However I’ve been hearing my .22 bunny gun is acceptable. Is this true?
A: In Scotland you use a .222 to shoot roe (but not muntjac or Chinese water deer).
In England and Wales you can use a .222 rifle to shoot the same rifle to shoot muntjac or Chinese water deer – but NOT roe.
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 which 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.
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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.