Gun laws for hunting can be different for different parts of the deer hunting season. For example in Virginia, you could not hunt with a muzzle loading pistol,(during early and late muzzle loading season, because of the way the law is written. But, during the general firearms season, you could, hunt with a bow, a flintlock, a crossbow, shotgun, pistol (as long as it is .38 caliber, with 350 foot lbs. or more), but early and late muzzle loading season, say it must be a single shot rifle, at least 45 cal. loaded from the muzzle. And, then there are areas, where only shotguns are allowed. There's a lot in the game law descriptions. Even reading the law, I would be uncertain, because of the words, "manufacturers rating".