RE: Texas Deer Regulations: Centerfire Rifles
October 5, 2011 07:59 PM
It is against the law to HUNT whitetail deer, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, and pronghorn antelope with rimfire ammunition of any caliber.
If you have legally shot any of the above and upon approaching the down animal, you discover that it is still breathing and suffering, no game warden is going to ticket you for shooting it in the head with your .22 pistol instead of blowing another .30 caliber hole in it. This does not apply when bow hunting during archery season. Even though a CHL may carry his weapon while bow hunting, I think that using it to dispatch a wounded deer would be wrong. Neither does it apply if the animal is still mobile.
As for shooting deer sized animals, even adult hogs, with .22 caliber centerfires, although it is legal. I recommend against it. Yes, you can kill a deer with a .22 centerfire. Many deer are killed by poachers with .22 long rifle catridges. However, shot plaeement must be perfect. If you are off even a little bit, the chances of the animal being able to run off and die a lingering death are much higher with a small caliber with out much shock power than with a larger caliber. I have looked for too many deer that a hunter shot with his favorite .22 (.223, .222, 22-250, etc.) and failed to find them until days later. Not only did the deer not go down, it failed to leave a good blood trail.
If you are an expert shot and you really want to use your .22 centerfire, that becomes a personal decision. However, it it is the animal, not you, which must deal with a less than perfect shot and a lingering death.
In my humble opinion, a "deer cartridge" should deliver at least 1000 ft.lbs at the desired range. With the proper bullet, it should penetrate through the animal, while expanding and producing a wound channel that will deliver both traumatic shock and a visible blood trail.
Welcome to the hunting community! I wish you great success. Just remember, it is better to say, "Maybe I should have taken that shot." , than, "I wish I hadn't taken that shot."
Enjoy your time outdoors with God's nature and wildlife. Render it the respect that it deserves and you will have a life filled with good memories.
As the Jaegers (German hunters) say, "Waidmann Heil!" (Hail to the hunter!)
Ken Jayne, aka, Baldeagle6