Almost all 50 states allow hunting small game and coyotes with air guns right now, however big game hunting is more restrictive. Rossi says he anticipates more states moving toward adopting big game hunting with air guns in the next five years and also thinks it's quite possible that states could create special seasons for air guns just as they do for muzzleloaders and archery equipment. Why would a hunter want to use an air gun instead of a traditional firearm? Rossi says there are several reasons, but first notes that it's not about replacing firearms, but rather creating another avenue for people to get outdoors and have fun. A big reason for the increased popularity in air guns is that they aren't loud like traditional firearms and that is advantageous in more ways than one. First, it's better for a shooter's hearing, but secondly, in cities and towns where there are no-discharge ordinances or excessive noise ordinances, air guns often meet the criteria to skirt these laws. Another reason why many are turning to air guns is for the challenge. Archery hunting gained a lot of momentum quickly with hunters turning to it for a new and enhanced challenge and air guns provide that as well. Air gun hunters have to be able to get within close range of the animal like bowhunters do, plus they need to be skilled marksmen in order to make the very precise shots needed to ethically kill an animal. Another factor driving curiosity around air gun hunting is the world of big-bore air rifles, or anything larger than .25 caliber. These big-bore air guns certainly aren't your basic backyard plinking guns, they have a serious amount of power. In fact, they have more power than a black powder rifle, Rossi says, or the air guns that shoot arrows which are more powerful than any archery setup. At the top of the heap is the .50-caliber air gun that has been shown effective when taking deer, American bison and more. Rossi talks about the .50 caliber Umarex Hammer he used to shoot a great Scimitar Oryx.
Listen in as Rossi highlights the upcoming season of American Airgunner on Sportsman Channel - Thursday at 9:30 p.m. ET. He'll also explain how to select the right air gun for your needs and discuss Iguana hunting in Florida with air guns.