The DEC has adopted a new regulation that allows small game hunters to use air guns. Before the recent change, DEC regulations did not clearly allow their use for hunting.
The new regulation permits the use of air guns that shoot a pellet that is .17 caliber or larger, using either a rifled or smooth bore barrel. The air gun must produce a pellet velocity of at least 600 feet per second.
Air guns may be used to take any small game species that may also be taken with a .22 caliber rimfire firearm. This includes rabbits, squirrels, ruffed grouse, and hunted furbearer species, such as fox, coyote, and raccoon.
Modern air guns are also available in “big bore” calibers and are very suitable for larger mammals, including furbearers. At the present time, air guns are not allowed for hunting big game.