One point here to join the above points, which are well-made. Your question wasn't dumb; it was legitimate. It is my experience in this communinity that anyone who flames a legitimate gun-related question on this board will receive far, FAR more trouble from his/her peers than he/she could dish out. DON'T be afraid to ask straight-forward questions!
BTW, if your question regards feasibility as well as legality of minimum cartridge, you might peruse the topics "Minimum cartridge for mule deer?" and ".223 for deer?" about 100 days back, in this forum. In summary, the consensus was that, while one could kill deer with a .223, technically, .243 was far better, and the .25s and 6 mm's are even better.
Will you, too, be one who stands in the gap?
[This message has been edited by Long Path (edited September 20, 1999).]