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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I was young, there was a 1,000 ft-lb energy minimum for hunting deer with a handgun in WI.

Looking over the current regs, I can't find ANYTHING about energy or caliber minimum.

I don't want to hunt with a handgun, but I may want to carry either a .38 Special revolver, .380 Auto, or .36 Cal Remington black powder revolver for finishing-shot purposes only.

Can anyone tell me if this is legal?
 

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The Shadow (Moderator)
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A 38spl, 380, or a black powder pistol..... Quite the diverse array of "finishing" shot guns.

If you don't know the hunting regs, I'd suggest you snuggle in and start reading them.
Every since I began hunting long ago, every year when the new regs and seasons come out I pouring over the newest book.

Here is Your states regs.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I already read them. Show me where my question is answered. Did you attempt to do that before posting?
 

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The Shadow (Moderator)
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I already read them.
Show me where my question is answered.


Page two contains a highlighted footer, eats up about 1/4 of the page that your read....
Rectangle Organism Font Slope Software



NR 10.09 -3 specifically defines what is considered a "reasonably capable firearm", and the minimum caliber requirement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was leaving for my trip and did not take any handgun as things still weren't clear. (As for the equipment list I presented as possibilities, it's what I own.)

For the benefit of the group, the referenced statute says the following:

(3)  Reasonable equipment. No person may hunt with any weapon or ammunition that is of inherent design, or used in such a manner, as to not be reasonably capable of reducing a target wild animal to possession. The following are prima facie reasonable equipment:

(a) A firearm with a caliber of at least .22.


It's difficult to believe that the state intends .22 rimfire handguns as legal for whitetail deer.

Other statutes that reference handguns, in relation to deer hunting or in general:

NR 10.09  Weapons and ammunition.
(1)  Weapons. No person may:
(a) Hunt with any means other than a rifle, shotgun, handgun, bow and arrow, crossbow, or falconry.
(b) Hunt with a machine gun or other fully automatic weapon.
(c) Hunt a game bird with or while in possession of a shotgun larger than 10 gauge.
(d) Hunt a deer during a muzzleloader-only hunt, such as described in s. NR 10.01 (3) (es), with any gun other than a rifle, shotgun, or handgun that is a firearm with a solid breech plug attached with threads and capable of being loaded only from the muzzle.


That's all there is, having searched the document.

The only restriction present on handguns for deer hunting is a minimum caliber of .22 - and that simply can't be legal (for deer) unless someone has really dropped the ball. (Again, I'm only personally interested in a weapon for a point-blank head/neck finishing shot, but the regulations have to cover general hunting.)

It seems to me that they've dropped any minimum energy requirements and are giving hunters leeway to decide what's "reasonable." That's fine, even laudable. I find it a surprising change, though.

I am going to call the DNR and see what they say. None of the people I hunt with are certain what the current regulations really mean either.
 

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From the deer hunting regulations, not general hunting regulations, pages18 19
Weapon Restrictions • possess while hunting, shot or shotshells loaded with shot larger than No. BB from
June 1– December 15 (unless legally engaged in waterfowl or bobcat hunting). See the
2018 Waterfowl Regulations for maximum shot sizes for waterfowl hunting;
• hunt deer with any ammunition loaded with shot other than a single slug or projectile.
Note: Hunters are encouraged to check with local governments for weapon restrictions
in the area they plan to hunt.
Shotguns
• Shotguns must have an overall minimum length of 26 inches with an 18 inch minimum
barrel length unless the hunter possesses a federal license to possess a “short-barreled”
shotgun.
• Rifled shotgun barrels of at least 18 inches in length are considered to be shotguns for the
purpose of hunting deer if they fire a single projectile and are in the following gauges:
10, 12, 16, 20 and 28.
It is illegal to:
• hunt deer with or while in possession of a handgun loaded with any .410 shotgun shell
ammunition or any shotgun with a bore of .410 or less,
• hunt with or while in possession of buckshot while hunting deer, except a hunter may
possess buckshot for harvesting a bobcat during a deer season if in possession of a valid,
unfilled bobcat harvest permit for an open bobcat season.
Rifles
• Rifles must have an overall minimum length of 26 inches with a 16 inch minimum barrel
length unless the user has a federal license to possess a “short-barreled” rifle.
It is illegal to:
• hunt deer with any center-fire rifle less than .22 caliber, any rimfire rifle, or air gun.
Muzzleloaders
• Muzzleloaders may be used statewide during any firearm deer season.
• Muzzleloaders that are discharged from the shoulder must be .45 caliber or larger if
smoothbore and .40 caliber or larger if the barrel is rifled, and must be loaded with a
single ball or slug.
• Muzzleloading handguns must be .44 caliber or larger with a minimum barrel length of
seven inches measured from muzzle to breech face and fire a single projectile weighing
not less than 138 grains. Black powder revolvers are legal during all gun deer seasons
except the 10-day muzzleloader-only season because they are capable of being loaded
by the cylinder instead of the muzzle.
• Telescopic sights may be used during all firearm deer seasons.
• During the muzzleloader-only deer season,all muzzleloaders must have a solid threaded
breech plug making them capable of being loaded only from the muzzle.
Handguns
Handguns must use center-fire cartridges of .22 caliber or larger and have a 5½ inch minimum
barrel length measured from the firing pin to the muzzle with the action closed. For details on
muzzleloading handguns, see “Muzzleloaders” section above.
It
 

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Read the entire thing so far. Only question that pops up in my mind is: why don’t you just use the same weapon you downed the animal with to finish it off? Ammo costs are going up, but one bullet doesn’t cost that much. Why do you want a handgun to finish it off?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
"Handguns must use center-fire cartridges of .22 caliber or larger and have a 5½ inch minimum barrel length" - Ok, that does about answer it. It's difficult for me to understand why the DNR, which used to require 1,000 FPE ME minimum from a handgun would reduce their requirements to around a TENTH of that, but maybe they did.

Super - I can now hunt deer with my .32 S&W Long, which manages right about 110 FPE.

If this is what the DNR did, Ok, but it's neither clear nor sensible.

P.S. I haven't called them yet. Deer season far away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Read the entire thing so far. Only question that pops up in my mind is: why don’t you just use the same weapon you downed the animal with to finish it off? Ammo costs are going up, but one bullet doesn’t cost that much. Why do you want a handgun to finish it off?
This is a great question which I should have spoken to in the OP. The reason is that I now use a muzzlerloader for the regular gun seasons too. I've put the most effort into it and have never needed more than one shot to anchor a deer, so why not? Plus, a .50 cal hole is really something - inside around 150Y these things are devastating.

So that's the reason. Almost all the deer I've killed have asked for a "mercy shot." They are worth it. With my Ruger .30-06 bolt that's no problem. But I haven't shot a deer with the muzzie yet, and, well, you understand.
 
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