Mississippi legislators passed a hunting bill that officially allows hunters to use air rifles and air bows for select game, during specific seasons on private land. Technically, this was already legal, but not spelled out in the letter of the law.
According to the Clarion Ledger, part of the confusion is over air bows. In 2020, a bill allowing air bows during archery season failed to pass, leading people to believe that their use was not legalized.
But that was only for hunters during archery season. Like air rifles, air bows are legal to use during the open season on private land.
“In looking at our regulations, nothing prohibited it,” said Russ Walsh, Wildlife chief of staff. “Our regulations say there is no caliber or magazine restrictions in open gun season.”
“In reality, the bill doesn’t change anything,” Walsh said. “It just spells it out.”
Air bows typically use a pneumatic charge to drive a piston to launch arrows at targets. Because they don’t rely as much on strength to use, they can be shot more easily and accurately than conventional bows.
They’re more compact than traditional bows and even some crossbows, and can often be used with optics for additional accuracy.
The newly passed Senate Bill 2010 goes into effect on July 1, 2022. The bill also allows a state commission to add special hunting seasons to deal with deer surpluses as well as to take game to sample for chronic wasting disease.
“The extended season we had in 2019 in that North Mississippi zone,” Walsh said. “We had that special two-day season to increase hunting opportunity and to gather more samples out of that zone. It just spells out we have the authority to do that, but it doesn’t really change anything.”