Rifles During Small Game for Hogs?

In the proposed regulations for 2021 - 2023 seasons that are published for review and comment (link), the ability to hunt fox, bobcat & hogs w/ centerfire rifles during small game season will be eliminated. Small game weapons only except during Coyote / Hog 'season' in May. The change appear at the top of pg. 6 of the linked document.

The DNR has opportunities to provide feedback on this and the other proposed changes, including a Facebook live event. Here is a link to the schedule... LINK
 
Hey all,

I was under the impression that you could use rifles during small game unless "no furbearer season" was delineated for that WMA.

I called the Social Circle office and they initially agreed. My buddy called when he got to the WMA, and as I was almost there, and said the warden told him no. I called the regional office and they told me you couldn't because fox and bobcat were not small game and the general regulations for WMA's mandated that you use small game weapons. I called the Social Circle office again and they told me that I was probably right yet again.

I pulled the code regarding legal weapons for small game and fox and bobcat are included in the sentence that outlines legal weapons for small game.

"(4) Weapons for hunting small game shall be limited to shotguns with shot shell size of no greater than 3 1/2 inches in length with No. 2 lead shot or smaller or federally approved nontoxic shot size of F or smaller shot, .22 caliber or smaller rimfire firearms, air rifles, muzzleloading firearms, longbows, recurve bows, crossbows, and compound bows;  provided, however, that in addition to the weapons listed in this paragraph, any center-fire firearm of .17 caliber or larger may be used for hunting fox and bobcat.  Nothing contained in this paragraph shall permit the taking of protected species;"

Can someone clarify this for me? Are fox and bobcat considered small game? Does anyone on here work for DNR that would message me or have a contact I can reach out to directly and confirm?

Thanks!
For the moment you can legally hunt fox and bobcat, and incidentally hogs, with centerfire rifles on a WMA during small game dates unless it states "No furbearer hunting" or "No fox or Bobcat hunting". Centerfire rifles are also prohibited at night.

Don't get used to it though, this is changing next season and only small game weapons will be allowed like it used to be.

I work for DNR headquarters in Social Circle and am intimately involved in developing regulations.
 
For the moment you can legally hunt fox and bobcat, and incidentally hogs, with centerfire rifles on a WMA during small game dates unless it states "No furbearer hunting" or "No fox or Bobcat hunting". Centerfire rifles are also prohibited at night.

Don't get used to it though, this is changing next season and only small game weapons will be allowed like it used to be.

I work for DNR headquarters in Social Circle and am intimately involved in developing regulations.
I guess I responded twice, didn't realize this was an old thread. Should have occurred to me that small game season is over!
 
For the moment you can legally hunt fox and bobcat, and incidentally hogs, with centerfire rifles on a WMA during small game dates unless it states "No furbearer hunting" or "No fox or Bobcat hunting". Centerfire rifles are also prohibited at night.

Don't get used to it though, this is changing next season and only small game weapons will be allowed like it used to be.

I work for DNR headquarters in Social Circle and am intimately involved in developing regulations.
Charlie, what’s the reason for the change back? Is it a safety issue shooting center fire rifles predominantly at ground level or something else? Was talking with a friend about this rule yesterday and we were wondering.
 
Charlie, what’s the reason for the change back? Is it a safety issue shooting center fire rifles predominantly at ground level or something else? Was talking with a friend about this rule yesterday and we were wondering.
Safety concern. We never should have allowed it in the first place. They changed the state law to make centerfire legal for fox and bobcat so folks wouldn't get ticketed for shooting them from the deer stand. That change is what made centerfire legal weapons during small game season once fox and bobcat season opened. At that time we chose not to limit it on WMAs despite my objections.
 

Mr Bya Lungshot

BANNED LUNATIC FRINGE
I had to let the largest bobcat I ever heard of walk passed me in the deerstand because back then it was not legal with centerfire. The law changed soon after and I didn’t have the heart to shoot those two foxes.
I would’ve mounted that bobcat in a heartbeat and still look back wishing I could have made the shot. Ain’t seen one of either since while huntin so I guess restrictions should be the way again. I personally would rather see em than shoot em dead.
 
I had to let the largest bobcat I ever heard of walk passed me in the deerstand because back then it was not legal with centerfire. The law changed soon after and I didn’t have the heart to shoot those two foxes.
I would’ve mounted that bobcat in a heartbeat and still look back wishing I could have made the shot. Ain’t seen one of either since while huntin so I guess restrictions should be the way again. I personally would rather see em than shoot em dead.
If it's deer season that coincides with fox & bobcat season on the WMA you are hunting then it would still be legal to shoot a fox or bobcat with a centerfire. You just won't be able to use a centerfire when the WMA is only open for small game.

Another new proposed rule it that small game is open season long on all WMAs, unless otherwise specified and except during quota hunts.
 

bfriendly

Senior Member
This is a great discussion. I have always Hog Hunted during small game season with a Remington model 597 in 22 Mag. I am also going to get a muzzleloader just for these WMA small game hog hunts.
If you put a Simmons 22mag scope on it, it would be the spitting image of mine! I love my 22 mag! Still on the fence about a ML........I need more targets than guns!
 
Safety concern. We never should have allowed it in the first place. They changed the state law to make centerfire legal for fox and bobcat so folks wouldn't get ticketed for shooting them from the deer stand. That change is what made centerfire legal weapons during small game season once fox and bobcat season opened. At that time we chose not to limit it on WMAs despite my objections.
Why is it not safe? Very little traffic on wmas in the winter when this season takes place. This rule allowed people to go after hogs in the winter with the proper guns to do so. Is there any middle ground available here? Maybe a rule allowing for slugs or buckshot if safety is the issue? Imho hunting hogs during fox/bobcat season is far safer than most wma deer rifle hunts. Maybe just add hunter orange?
 
Why is it not safe? Very little traffic on wmas in the winter when this season takes place. This rule allowed people to go after hogs in the winter with the proper guns to do so. Is there any middle ground available here? Maybe a rule allowing for slugs or buckshot if safety is the issue? Imho hunting hogs during fox/bobcat season is far safer than most wma deer rifle hunts. Maybe just add hunter orange?
The lack of a requirement for all hunters to wear orange was the issue I had with it, so my recommendation was to either require orange for everyone or go back to the traditional rule. They decided to go back to the original rule. The downside to hunter orange is it negatively affects waterfowl hunters during those small game dates.
 
Well, regarding all this lack of clarity regarding centerfire rifles during small game season, I did what any responsible hunter would do - I used it as an excuse to get a new rifle and scope. I'll be trying out a Savage A22 Magnum and Leupold rimfire scope when small game opens back up. Of course, not as powerful as a centerfire, but I have seen videos of hogs dropped with the 22 mag cartridge. And with a semi auto 22 mag, I have the option of quick follow up shots.
 
Well, regarding all this lack of clarity regarding centerfire rifles during small game season, I did what any responsible hunter would do - I used it as an excuse to get a new rifle and scope. I'll be trying out a Savage A22 Magnum and Leupold rimfire scope when small game opens back up. Of course, not as powerful as a centerfire, but I have seen videos of hogs dropped with the 22 mag cartridge. And with a semi auto 22 mag, I have the option of quick follow up shots.
I have the least expensive savage .22 mag with Accutrigger and an inexpensive scope. It will drop a hog DRT with a head or neck shot and it is light to carry!
I do not feel uindergunned at all with a .22 mag and a semi auto should be awesome!
 
I have the least expensive savage .22 mag with Accutrigger and an inexpensive scope. It will drop a hog DRT with a head or neck shot and it is light to carry!
I do not feel uindergunned at all with a .22 mag and a semi auto should be awesome!
Good to know. I have not shot my A22 yet. The accutrigger isn't terrible, but I do wish I could get it lighter. I feel like mine at its lightest is around 5 lbs or so. I bought it as a beater gun though, so I'm just going to roll with it.
 
Interesting read as the hunt camp I belong to down here in Florida follows basically the same rules, rim fire only during small game season, even for hogs.
So like guitar. Guy I also used it for an excuse to buy an inexpensive .22 Mag rifle (Rossi) which I caught on sale at PSA. Mounted a Primary Arms scope and zeroed @50 yards. Now if I can just get the hogs to cooperate.
 
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