View Full Version : I Just Want To Pick Up A .22 And Go Varmint Hunting - Can I ?

Mike H
June 1, 2001, 08:34 AM
Since I was a kid, I have always loved wandering around taking care of farmland "pests". In those days I was lucky enough (in the UK) to have a farmers permission to use an air rifle on his property. Rats, rabbits, crows, pigeons - at one time or another I got lucky with all these, and boy did you have to be accurate to drop a rat.

So now I find that I'm spending time in the US (soon) and I would love to take a little Ruger 10/22 out into the fields and hills to do some varminting, I've always imagined that there is still "common" land in the US where you could safely and legally do this, but now I'm not so sure.

Do you have to have a friendly farmer for a neighbor, or are there places where a guy can just go without any associated hassle.


Mike H

June 1, 2001, 08:42 AM
Lots of farmer-friendly around. The problem (sometimes) is getting access. And, plenty of Nat'l Forest land where you can plink to your heart's content.

One thing re plinking varmits - many states require a small game license to shoot any critter (you need one to shoot a rattlesnake in Colorado) and if it isn't listed with a season, it's a no shoot type of thing.

Art Eatman
June 1, 2001, 09:20 AM
Mike H, do you have your travel itinerary set up, yet? Is this to be extensive vacation travel, or a business trip limited to a smaller vicinity?


Mike H
June 1, 2001, 09:48 AM

The wife and I are moving to the US permanently (we hope), I have my final visa interview next week, the wife is a US citizen. The actual move will take place maybe 4 weeks after that when we have both served our resignation notice with our respective employers.

We haven't yet formally identified which state we intend settling in, but the wife has already beaten me to the drop with an interview in Dallas. We will be spending time with her relatives in Pennsylvania first off, so at present any general information that "should" hold true for any state (such as labgrade's suggestion re: National Forests) would be really useful.

Suffice to say that I fully intend to hurl myself back into the shooting sports when in the US, since it is a pleasure largely denied me in my country of birth.

This may be the dumbest question ever, but you aren't THE Art Eatman are you ?


Mike H

June 1, 2001, 10:37 AM
The laws here vary greatly from state to state. But they pretty much all require a license to shoot anything that's alive. Check the laws in whichever state you choose to live in. They generally have different rates for 'residents' and 'non-residents' and you usually have to live there for 6 months to a year in order to be considered a resident.

The areas you can hunt in vary greatly from state to state too. I think it's Vermont that has a law that states that, pretty much, you can hunt on any land that doesn't have a fence around it. Most states aren't that nice though. Out here in Arizona you can hunt in the national forests and on the land that the state leases to ranchers. But, going uninvited onto private property can get you in some hot water.

As for target shooting, out here in Arizona you can drive out to the desert, set up a target, and shoot to your hearts content. (Don't shoot the cactus) In Missouri, I think, you are only allowed to shoot at a designated range.

I guess the only real advice is when you get where you're going, ask.


Al Thompson
June 1, 2001, 11:24 AM
Mike, we think of him as THE Art Eatman...

Circumstances vary from place to place, but you can get some shooting in here and there.

Congradulations on voting with your feet!

Giz (aka THE Giz) :D

Art Eatman
June 1, 2001, 12:21 PM
I guess that's me. My father's still around, but nobody ever called him "Art". :)

Never thought of myself as "THE"; I guess there's a fair number of folks who are more likely to think of "that crazy SOB".

:D, Art

June 1, 2001, 12:38 PM
Welcome to a largely free country. Here in California, we also find the shooting rules more restrictive.


The Mike Ledbetter

June 1, 2001, 01:37 PM
In WI, landowners and those who live with them can shoot pretty much anything dog size or under without license year round. This includes all unprotected species (chipmunk, oposssum, etc), as well as small game like rabbit, fox, squirrel, crow, racoon, etc..

This is assuming, of course, that 1) the animal is not protected and 2) discharging a firearm is legal where you live.

because of this clause, I basically small game hunt year round for weekend fun.

Mike H
June 2, 2001, 10:45 AM
Thanks to all, it sounds like it shouldn't be too much of a problem, but I'll certainly tread carefully. Here's hoping the visa goes through ok. If not you'll be able to hear my wife scream on your side of the Atlantic ;) she has grown to hate Britain, who can blame her.

Abraham - I'm truly envious.

Art - Pleasure to finally meet you


Mike H

June 2, 2001, 08:12 PM
I live in PA and I'm pretty sure about most of this information (at least this is what the PA hunting booklet normally says...) We need a license to go after groundhogs and crows. And we're supposed to wear at least an orange cap and vest. Semi-auto rifles are not allowed to be used for hunting here. I'm not suggesting breaking the law here but people normally don't care what you use or what you wear when you go after woodchucks and such. The best way is to stroll into a gunshop and tell one of the people behind the counter that you just moved here from the UK and you're an avid shooter/sportsman. I'm sure they'll either take you out themselves or give you a ton of info on where you can go to hunt.