Legal Hunting Weapons for Game Mammals

Hunting Regulations Icon Oregon Hunting

Below are the requirements for weapons that can be used to hunt game mammals. In addition to these restrictions, some controlled hunts or special areas may have further weapon restriction.

General Weapons Provisions for Hunting Game Mammals:

Centerfire firearm

It is unlawful to hunt game mammals with:

  • .22 caliber rimfire (except for western gray squirrel).
  • Fully automatic firearms.
  • Semiautomatic rifles with a magazine capacity greater than five cartridges (except for western gray squirrel).
  • Tracer or full-metal jacket bullets.
  • Infrared, night vision, laser or any other sight that projects a beam to the target, including scopes with electronic rangefinders and scopes that receive information from any electronic device.


Shotguns (see Definitions) with rifled barrels are considered shotguns when used for hunting game mammals when centerfire rifles or shotguns are legal weapons.


  • Only recurve, long, or compound bows are legal for hunting game mammals.
  • Broadheads must be unbarbed and at least 7/8 wide. Broadheads with moveable blades that fold/collapse when withdrawn are not considered barbed. Western gray squirrel may also be hunted with small game arrow points/heads.

It is unlawful to hunt game mammals with:

  • Bows having a draw weight of less than 40 pounds (except no minimum draw weight for western gray squirrel).
  • Any device secured to or supported by the bow that maintains the bow at full draw.
  • Any electronic device attached to the bow or arrow, except lighted arrow nocks that have no function other than to increase visibility of the arrow.


During muzzleloader only seasons and 600 series hunts where there is a weapon restriction of shotgun/muzzleloader only or archery/muzzleloader only:

It is unlawful to:

  • Use scopes or sights that use batteries, artificial light or energy except for visually impaired hunters with a permit (see Disabilities Hunting & Fishing Permit Information). Open and peep sights are legal, including open and peep sights with fiber optics or fluorescent paint on them.
  • Hunt with or have in possession while hunting, sabots or bullets with plastic or synthetic parts. Cloth, paper or felt patches are allowed.
  • Hunt with centerfire primers as an ignition sources; the muzzleloader must have an open ignition. See Definitions.
  • Hunt with pelletized powders or propellants. Granular (loose) black powder and black powder substitutes are the only legal propellants.
  • Hunt with a revolving action muzzleloader.

During centerfire firearm seasons, hunters may use muzzleloaders with any ignition type (except matchlock), any legal sight, any propellant, or any bullet type provided the weapon meets caliber restrictions for the species.

Species Specific Weapon Restrictions

Deer, Pronghorn, Black Bear, Cougar

Minimum Centerfire Caliber .22 caliber
Minimum Muzzleloader Caliber .40 caliber: Round ball or legal bullet

#1 or larger buckshot allowed for deer, bear, and cougar

Shotgun #1 or larger buckshot or slugs

Elk, Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Goat

Minimum Centerfire Caliber .24 caliber
Minimum Muzzleloader Caliber .50 caliber: Round ball or legal bullet
Shotgun Elk, slugs only. Shotguns not legal for Bighorn Sheep or Rocky Mt Goat

Western Gray Squirrel

Any rifle; handgun; shotgun; muzzleloader; or long, recurve or compound bow.