Even when most hunters prefer firearms or arrow hunting, there's an important number of them, especially the youngest who begin their experience on the field using airguns, but, which are the details behind this type of devices? Are they really effective and safe for hunting?
Well, the real fact is that airguns are pretty good tools for hunting but, as usual, you need to know how and when use them, otherwise they become useless, not because of their performance, but misuse.
In order to guarantee the best possible performance when you are hunting with an airgun, keep in mind the following considerations:
1. Are Airguns legal?
Yes! Airguns are legal in all states, however you still need a hunter license and comply with any other regulation to hunt with your airgun. Perhaps it won't be necessary to comply with the firearms safety training but you still need a permit and must comply with the bag limit, otherwise there will be legal problems for sure.
2. What kind of game may you hunt with an Airgun?
Airguns are intended for small games hunting, being the most popular cottontail rabbits, squirrels, racoons and some types of middle sized waterfowls. Overall, all games the size of dog or smaller are suitable to be hunt using an airgun.
Nevertheless, the most enthusiast, expert airgun hunters are able to shoot down even a deer using this type of weapons, but that's only possible after years of practice.
Warning! Never try to shoot down a wild hog using an airgun! These are tough, hard to kill animals and in most of cases an airgun won't be enough to kill them with one shot; in fact it might be dangerous because you will be in danger of being attacked by the injured hog.
3. Keep in mind the killing zone
Airguns are lethal only if you shoot the killing zone properly but this is not an easy task since in most of cases it's less than an inch wide; thus in order to assure a one shot kill you must have a clear shot on the brain or heart; otherwise the injured animal will run away to hide and die slowly, but you won't retrieve the game; being a waste of your time while the animal will lose its life for nothing.
4. How much power is enough?
Airguns may be calibrated to obtain certain muzzle power, and you must be aware about how much is required to kill the game you are hunting. Too few power and there won't be a killing shot; too much and there are risk of excessive damage to the meat and skin; then you must be familiar with the proper power to achieve a one shot kills without destroying your prize.
5. Airgun hunting is always a close range deal
Airguns accuracy and power are lost on middle and long ranges, so this is always a close range hunting. That's the reason because you need a lot of stealth skills when using these devices. If you are not close enough, the shot will be wrong almost for sure.
Then if you wish to succeed with airguns, it will be necessary to improve your camo and stealth capabilities, something that will be useful later when you decide to move towards fireguns.
Even when airguns have less power and reach than regular firearms, safety must be a major concerns always; not only because you could infringe damage to your hunting partners but also because if you proceed improperly with an airgun, you'll probably will do it also with a firearm later; thus safe handling of airguns is mandatory, same as any other weapon.
7. Don't shoot if there's not a clear shot
This is a very important detail since there's not too much side energy on airguns amo. If your game head is partially hidden, the killing zone is smaller than one inch; then if you take in mind that power is limited and you need to reach a very close range to achieve a good shot, it's easy to understand why a clear shot is needed to guarantee a killing shot, otherwise the odds of losing your game are high.
As you may see, airgun hunting is more demanding than one could think, but mastering the art of short range killing with a limited power gun will teach you valuable lessons for the future when scaling up to firearms; so give airguns a chance and improve your basic stealth and stalking skills.