Can you use an airsoft gun to scare deer? Yes, getting hit with a projectile from an airsoft gun will likely scare off deer.
The real question is if this is humane and/or ethical? Personally, I feel this isn’t an appropriate thing to do to any wild animal for a variety of reasons that we will discuss further.
Why Do People Seek To Scare Deer Off?
There are many reasons why people seek to scare away deer, some examples as follows:
Overpopulation – This can lead to overgrazing which in turn leads to the destruction of habitat. It also causes damage to crops as well as other vegetation. Prolonged over populations can even lead to the death of many deer as food becomes scarce.
Deer damage – Deer can cause damage to cars or other vehicles when they dart in front of traffic. There have also been examples where deer have jumped through glass windows and doors.
Additionally, deer have been known to cause property damage by eating landscaping or destroying fences.
Disease – The deer could be infected with a disease that could spread to other deer. Deer have also been known to transport ticks. This can increase the chances of nearby humans getting bitten by a tick and potentially contracting Lyme Disease.
Will An Airsoft Gun Hurt Deer?
Yes, airsoft guns could hurt deer.
Proponents of airsoft as a deterrent claim that a BB from an airsoft gun is “felt” by the deer and will scare them off or cause them to move.
As far as pain is concerned, there is not much data available on whether this would cause pain to the deer. Theoretically, if anyone were hit in a sensitive part of their body, it could hurt.
The potential for pain is because an airsoft gun uses compressed gas to shoot around 250 FPS depending on what ammo you use and your air pressure (higher PSI gives more power). Basically, the force of impact depends on how fast the BB exits the muzzle and how close they are to the deer.
Why You Shouldn’t Use An Airsoft Gun To Scare Deer?
There is a multitude of reasons why you should not use an airsoft gun to scare deer. The most pressing reason is that it isn’t humane, as we stated earlier.
In addition, there are other reasons that we should not use airsoft to scare off deer:
Damage – An airsoft gun uses compressed gas, and a BB is made of plastic. Therefore there could be potential damage if you miss the deer.
Unethical – Using an airsoft gun on any animal regardless of intent is unethical as you will be causing distress to them. This act alone goes against hunting ethics. Deer might be frustrating when they are eating your garden or landscaping, but they are still wild animals who have no conflicts with humans, thus shouldn’t be treated like a nuisance.
Potentially illegal – Depending on your state laws, it could be illegal to discharge a firearm in the direction of a wild animal. Subsequently, your state may have certain hunting or pest control licensing or permit requirements.
Would You Be Better Off Using A Paintball Gun or A Slingshot?
Personally, I would use neither of these options. While there has been evidence that both are effective for deer management, it’s not something I’d recommend doing.
There are a number of well-respected deer deterrents, proven successful in scaring deer. These deterrents do not involve striking deer with an object that may cause injury.
What Are Some More Humane Ways Of Scaring A Deer Away?
One of the most popular ways to scare deer is by using deer whistles. Deer whistles contain a pea that produces sound waves. The sound waves will scare the deer away from your garden or property and encourage them to move to a less populated area.
Motion Activated Lights
Installing motion-activated lights are also great for scaring off deer as it illuminates and distracts the animal. There are solar-powered versions of these on the market today, so you won’t have to worry about replacing batteries.
Motion Activated Sprinklers
Motion activated sprinklers are also effective, but using them for long periods of time can be a waste of water. Usage could over-saturate your lawn and garden during times of frequent rain.
Deer Repellent Plants/Flowers
While we usually think of things that repel insects and rodents, plants also have a way to repel animals.
Some people will plant thorny plants around the garden perimeter to help control unwanted guests like deer from visiting the garden. This can work, but is really hit or miss and it’s not always an effective long-term solution.
Another option are plants with a strong aroma. These plants are unpleasant to the deer’s sense of smell. This can include mint, rosemary, some sage plants and then strong smelling plants like onion and garlic.
A deer’s sense of smell is extremely sensitive, which makes them more likely to leave your property or garden if they detect the scent of predators like wolves and coyotes in the area. Predator scents offer many different options, including sprays, pellets, dusts, and liquid urines (also useful for repelling raccoons).
While this may seem extreme, it has been proven highly effective at deterring deer from entering your property.
Ultrasonic Deer Deterrents
These products use high-frequency sounds that humans cannot hear. These devices project noises at a pitch that is uncomfortable to deer and drive them from the area.
A high-frequency, low decibel sound is also known to create a burning sensation inside the ears of deer when they are exposed to the product for any substantial amount of time. This may sound extreme, but it’s actually proven effective at deterring deer.
How Do I Know Which One Works Best?
Frankly, we don’t know the best option because there haven’t been a lot of studies done on each individual method. We’ll have to go by user experience and what other users have said about products while providing feedback and reviews.
It can also require some trial and error to see what works best for your specific scenario.
In conclusion, while using an airsoft gun to shoot at deer might work, it’s probably not going to be very effective. Though airsoft does work for many people, these are just some of the risks you may take if you choose to use it. There are alternatives and better ways of taking care of your deer problem without causing them harm.