What are the legal minimum caliber restrictions for big game in your neck of the woods?

Northern Shooter

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Much like with African countries having the 9.3 or 375 as the legal minimum caliber for dangerous game, I'm curious what similar restrictions you have in your home country?

I'm interested to see how it differs across North America, Europe, Australia etc.

Here in Ontario, Canada, the only restriction on caliber choice for big game (deer, elk, moose, black bear) is that it must be centrefire. So yes, technically you could hunt a moose with a .223 but I don't know of anyone who has done so.

I've been reading up on similar restrictions across the country. In the northern territories where you can hunt Canadian Bison, the minimum requirement is a 180 grain 30 cal bullet that produces a minimum muzzle energy of 2,800ft-lbs.

In the West where you can hunt Grizzly bear, the only restriction that I'm seeing is that it must be a centrefire cartridge 6mm or larger. That too seems grossly under- powered.

Do you have any similar requirements in your neck of the woods?
 
Here in Colorado a big game rifle needs to be a 243 or larger. Pistols pretty much need to be. 357 or larger. They go by muzzle energy.
For muzzle loaders, deer and pronghorn is. 45 caliber or bigger and elk and moose are 54 or larger

In Utah any centerfire is legal.
Pistols like Colorado go by energy.
Muzzle loaders are 45 caliber and up. But you can use the most modern muzzle loader and components along with any power scope
 
For whitetail deer in Illinois,
20 gauge shotgun with slug.
35 caliber handgun.
45 caliber muzzle loading rifle.
These are the minimums for firearms, I am unsure about the minimum draw weight for archery equipment.
 
For whitetail deer in Illinois,
20 gauge shotgun with slug.
35 caliber handgun.
45 caliber muzzle loading rifle.
These are the minimums for firearms, I am unsure about the minimum draw weight for archery equipment.
Are rifled cartridges not allowed for white tail? only muzzle loaders?
 
Here in Colorado a big game rifle needs to be a 243 or larger. Pistols pretty much need to be. 357 or larger. They go by muzzle energy.
For muzzle loaders, deer and pronghorn is. 45 caliber or bigger and elk and moose are 54 or larger

In Utah any centerfire is legal.
Pistols like Colorado go by energy.
Muzzle loaders are 45 caliber and up. But you can use the most modern muzzle loader and components along with any power scope
It sounds like the .243/6mm limit may be common in several jurisdictions. I love how you guys can hunt with handguns, that's a no-go here.
 
In Michigan I believe any centerfire is legal for deer (possibly a centerfire .22 cal and up) I believe the same holds true for bear.

It’s not my cartridge of choice but I’ve watched a number of deer get shot with .223’s. On average the blood trail was smaller but they didn’t run any further.

A lot of if not most deer hunting here is out of box blinds and at ranges inside of 100 yards. With time to pick a shot and over food plots to somewhat position deer and control movement most centerfire .22 cals work fine. The downside would be a wall hanger under less than ideal circumstances. Something like last light on a swamp edge, and rain coming down.
 
In Michigan I believe any centerfire is legal for deer (possibly a centerfire .22 cal and up) I believe the same holds true for bear.

It’s not my cartridge of choice but I’ve watched a number of deer get shot with .223’s. On average the blood trail was smaller but they didn’t run any further.

A lot of if not most deer hunting here is out of box blinds and at ranges inside of 100 yards. With time to pick a shot and over food plots to somewhat position deer and control movement most centerfire .22 cals work fine. The downside would be a wall hanger under less than ideal circumstances. Something like last light on a swamp edge, and rain coming down.
Is Michigan not one of those "straight wall" states for white tail? Maybe I'm mistaking it with another State in the NE. I wish we had some of those allowances here in certain regions that only allow shotgun on deer.
 
Is Michigan not one of those "straight wall" states for white tail? Maybe I'm mistaking it with another State in the NE. I wish we had some of those allowances here in certain regions that only allow shotgun on deer.
The southern 1/3 of the lower peninsula is straight wall cartridges only. The upper 2/3’s of the lower peninsula and all of the upper peninsula is straight wall or bottleneck cartridges.
 
270 for Elk and any centerfire rifle for deer. Can’t go bigger than 10 gauge shotgun for deer.
 
For whitetail deer in Illinois,
20 gauge shotgun with slug.
35 caliber handgun.
45 caliber muzzle loading rifle.
These are the minimums for firearms, I am unsure about the minimum draw weight for archery equipment.
What's the minimum for rifle calibers for hunting big game there?
 
In Alabama 22 centerfire with "Mushrooming bullet" for deer. The only other big game species would wild hogs and they can be hunted with any rifle.
 
Here in Colorado a big game rifle needs to be a 243 or larger. Pistols pretty much need to be. 357 or larger. They go by muzzle energy.
For muzzle loaders, deer and pronghorn is. 45 caliber or bigger and elk and moose are 54 or larger

In Utah any centerfire is legal.
Pistols like Colorado go by energy.
Muzzle loaders are 45 caliber and up. But you can use the most modern muzzle loader and components along with any power scope
Minor points for clarification; muzzleloader deer, pronghorn, and bear are .40 caliber. Elk and moose are .50 caliber or larger. They do change if using round ball, .50 and .54 caliber respectively (think that's to make the minimum bullet weights).
Pistols, 4" or longer barrel and 550ft/lbs at 50 yards.

I always find it odd, the inconsistencies with different weapons or seasons; 1000ft/lbs at 100 yards for a rifle, but a pistol only has to make 550ft/lbs at 50 yards. Sabots are not legal during muzzleloader seasons, but perfectly fine if used during a regular rifle season; same with pelletized powders.
 
In North Carolina we have no caliber or barrel length restrictions on either rifles or pistols. Shotguns cannot be larger than 10 gauge. This is for all big game including deer and black bear.

i was a little surprised because we did have a greater than .22 caliber requirement in the past and handguns had to have barrels at leas 6 inches in length.
 
Are rifled cartridges not allowed for white tail? only muzzle loaders?

What's the minimum for rifle calibers for hunting big game there?
The only big game we have is whitetail. No rifles allowed for deer. Coyotes and varmits are not restricted.
Allegedly we are to become a strait wall cartridge state, only with single shot rifles soon. I will believe it when I see it.
 
From the Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Annual app

Game animals and non-migratory game birds may be hunted with any legal firearm, except:

  • Rimfire Ammunition (of any caliber) may NOT be used to hunt white-tailed deer, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, or pronghorn.
  • Fully Automatic Firearms
  • Shotguns are the only legal firearm that may be used during spring Eastern turkey season.
  • Magazine Capacity (number of shells/cartridges allowed): there are no restrictions on the number of shells or cartridges a legal firearm may hold when hunting game animals or game birds (except migratory game birds, see Legal Shotgun).
  • Muzzleloaders: muzzleloader deer seasons are restricted to muzzleloading firearms only: any firearm designed such that a bullet/ projectile, and powder can be loaded only through the muzzle (as opposed to breech-loading firearms). A cap and ball firearm in which the powder and ball are loaded into a cylinder is not a muzzleloader.
  • Suppressors (aka “silencers”): may be used to take any wildlife resource; however, all federal, state and local laws continue to apply.
 
In Sweden the requirement for big game is that the bullet weights at least 9 gram/10 gram and that the energy att 100 meters is at least 2700/2000 joule. This means that the energy requirement is lower at 100 meters for the heavier bullet.
 
In France, shooting ungulates is only allowed with cartridges caliber 5,6mm or above, cartridges that have a minimum energy of 1000 Joules at 100m.

In Germany, for hunting seals and roe deers, only cartridges with an energy of 1000 Joules at 100m are allowed. For shooting other ungulates, cartridges of caliber 6,5mm or above must be used, cartridges with a minimum energy of 2000 joules at 100m.
 
The laws regarding the minimum caliber are very different in the European countries.

The most extreme is the legal minimum caliber restriction of the Kanton Graubünden in Switzerland. There is the minimum caliber for hunting ungulates 10,2mm and that only in a single shot rifle. Scopes are allowed since a not too long time, but shooting longer than 200m is forbidden.
 
In Italy the national law imposes:
-centerfire rifles, with a bullet minimum diameter of 5,6 mm and case minimum length of 40 mm
-no minimum caliber for ungulates.
Regional laws include minimum caliber for red deer and wildboar (e.g. in some places .270 Win.)
In the region where I live and hunt the minimum bullet diameter for red deer is 6,5 mm. In other words, it is legal to use the6,5x54 Mannlicher, while the .243 Win. is forbidden.
Kinetic energy is unknown to law makers, law enforcement and most hunters
 
Here in Victoria Australia we have many species of deer, the most illusive and biggest is Sambar Deer a large stag can get around 200 kg+ the Legal minimum caliber is .270 Win.
 

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