A .22 cartridge is one of the smallest on the market. Because of its size and strength, it’s a practical choice for farmers or ranchers who need a gun for practical use. But can a 22 kill a deer, and should you use this kind of gun for deer-hunting? Keep reading to find out.
Since a 22 is so light, maybe you’re wondering if you could use one on your next deer-hunting trip. We’ll find out below.
Can a 22 Kill a Deer? (Answered)
It’s illegal to use a .22 cartridge for hunting purposes in most U.S. states. While it’s possible to kill a deer with one, it’s unethical.
Let’s take an in-depth look at .22 caliber bullets and why they aren’t a good choice for hunting deer.
We’ll also talk about some better gun options for deer hunting.
Where to Shoot a Deer With a 22 for a Clean Kill?
As we’ve already stated, using a 22 for hunting deer is unethical (and illegal in most states). However, it’s technically possible to kill a deer with a 22 under ideal conditions.
The wind and weather, as well as the clearness of your shot, are key factors.
Taking this shot won’t be worth the risk if any of these elements are out of balance.
Generally speaking, the parts of the deer you should be aiming for remain the same as with any other caliber.
The heart and lungs are easier to aim at because they are bigger and easier to target. A perfect shot to either of these organs will result in a quick death.
Ideally, you want a shot that passes through both lungs.
However, doing this with a .22 is extremely difficult because of the bullet’s size and velocity.
Should You Kill a Deer With a 22?
You shouldn’t shoot a deer with a 22 unless you need to for self-defense. If using a 22 for deer hunting is legal in your shot, you should o only do so if you can get an ethical shot.
Ethical shots do the least damage to the deer and kill it as quickly as possible. This saves the deer from unnecessary suffering.
Since it is hard to shoot a deer ethically with a .22m you should never try and kill a deer with a 22.
There are stories of it being done, and .22 calibers have been used to take out larger animals for self-defense.
A .22 was used to kill an adult elephant in Thailand, and in the 1950s, a .22 took down one of the largest grizzly bears on record.
However, these shots were probably taken at a closer range than is standard for deer hunting. If you hit a deer in exactly the right spot, you could ethically kill a deer with a .22.
However, unless you are very lucky or extremely skilled, this probably isn’t going to happen.
Why Is It Illegal to Hunt a Deer With a 22?
Hunting laws exist primarily to protect hunters, but they are also written to protect the animals. There is no reason for deer to suffer unnecessarily.
Hunting restrictions require a higher caliber than a .22 so that deer will only be shot ethically.
It might seem like a restriction on your rights, but it also is better for you. Even though a higher caliber is heavier to carry, you’ll be saving yourself time and money.
If you have to take more shots at the deer, you’ll need more bullets. It also increases the likelihood of the deer getting away.
What Should You Use to Hunt a Deer Instead of a 22?
There is no single right answer to this question. First and foremost, you should only be using a caliber that feels comfortable for you and fits your gun properly.
Check out the specifics of your rifle before investing in ammunition that isn’t going to work.
Generally, the recommended caliber for deer hunting is .30. Everyone has their own preferences, and there are some hunters who swear by using a smaller caliber.
There are several options in the .30 range. A .35 is also a popular option and is one of the easiest calibers to use.
It’s ideal for beginners or less experienced hunters since you’re more likely to make an ethical kill than with a lower caliber.
Experienced hunters have better aim and understand the conditions necessary for an ethical shot. They’re more likely to be able to make an ethical kill with a .22 caliber.
What is the Smallest Caliber Legal for Deer Hunting?
Restrictions on calibers vary from state to state. Some states are stricter than others, and legislation on deer hunting can be changed.
Make sure to check with whatever the local laws are before you go out hunting.
In most states, the legal minimum is usually around .27 caliber. While this is legal, it’s still on the lower end of what you probably want to be using unless you’re pretty confident in your rifle skills.
If you have very good aim and feel comfortable using a lower-end caliber, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t.
But this isn’t a good option for beginners or less experienced hunters. If you’re new to hunting, you should use a higher caliber.
The type of caliber you’re using could also depend on the type of game you’re hunting. For bigger species of deer such as elk, you’ll probably need stronger equipment.
If you haven’t gone hunting in the area before, ask your friends or more experienced hunters what they recommend.
Don’t Use a 22 for Deer Hunting: It’s Unethical
A .22 caliber is great for many reasons, and there are a bunch of practical advantages to having .22 caliber ammunition.
However, you shouldn’t use a 22 for hunting. In fact, it’s illegal in most states. That’s because it’s unethical to shoot a deer with this kind of gun.
Use a larger caliber like a .30 caliber, instead.