You’re likely familiar with the rise of crossbows and crossbow hunting over the last decade, but have you heard about the airbow? The airbow is the latest controversial weapon that is digging its way into the hunting industry. The verdict is still out on the future of the airbow and its future among hunters, but a recent move in the state of Mississippi has legalized the use of airbows for hunting.
A recent bill passed in the Mississippi Legislature will allow the use of airbows and air rifles for deer hunting.
Senate Bill 2010, authored by Sen. Kevin Blackwell, R-Southaven, allows hunters to use airbows and air rifles during primitive weapons seasons for deer after Nov. 30 on private land.
While some liken the airbow to crossbow, there are honestly few similarities beyond the arrow itself.
The airbow is built more like a rifle with a piston inside the barrel that slides into the arrow shaft. A pull of the trigger sends a burst of compressed air to launch the arrow down range.
The design allows for greater accuracy than what you’ll find with standard archery equipment.
The airbow controversy is nothing new for the state of Mississippi. In 2020, a bill was introduced to allow the use of airbows in archery season. As you might imagine, the bill didn’t pass. Archery gear is clearly defined as crossbows or vertical bows.
However, when it comes to the regular hunting season, air rifles have long been allowed, despite not being specified. Now, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks has determined that airbows are legal in open gun season on private land as well.
“In looking at our regulations, nothing prohibited it,” said Russ Walsh, Wildlife chief of staff. “Our regulations say there is no caliber or magazine restrictions in open gun season. In reality, the bill doesn’t change anything. It just spells it out.”