Jake's Outdoors » Blog Archive » Gathering Opinions on Crossbows…

Gathering Opinions on Crossbows…

September 29th, 2008

I hope you all will be willing to share with me your opinions, and I know (or at least hope) that you will have varying positions.  I am working on an article on hunting with crossbows, and would like to know what you all think.  Here in WV, it is illegal to hunt with a crossbow, unless you are handicapped in some way and cannot use “traditional” archery tackle.  Right across the river in Ohio, it is perfectly legal to hunt with crossbows.  I know the debate on this issue has heated up in some states, so I’d like to see the pros and cons of the arguments.  So, if you will, answer for me the following questions in a comment at the end of the post:

  1. What state do you hunt in?
  2. Are crossbows legal, in any form or under any conditions?
  3. Do you think it should be legal to hunt with crossbows during the general archery season?

Feel free to expound on any of the questions, and give me a good argument for or against the practice.  I look forward to hearing from you all!

Thanks in advance for your opinions.  I’ll be sure to link my article when it is published so that you can see my opinion on the matter.  I have my ideas formulated, but this is your chance to change my mind!

11 Responses to “Gathering Opinions on Crossbows…”

  1. I hunt in Idaho where it is only legal to use a crossbow if you are disabled in some way. I think that’s a good way to go about it – but I am not really opposed to allowing anyone to hunt with a crossbow during general archery, either. I think the folks that are rifle hunters are rifle hunters. The bow hunters are bow hunters – I doubt you’d see much of an increase in hunting pressure, and who knows – it may open up another avenue to introduce people to the outdoors.

  2. 1. Michigan
    2. They are legal during the firearm season, and only are legal during the archery season if you have a disability that prevents you from using a bow (they just eased the restrictions on this as well.)

    3. I’m going to be honest. This has been a huge topic in our state in recent months because there was legislation on the books to change the law so that crossbows would be legal during archery season. That legislation has since stalled, and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, but it did make for a lot of different debates on the issue.

    I used to be against crossbows, but I have since changed my mind. I think that, as long as the weapon you choose to hunt with is legal, that you are welcome in my hunting woods. I think there is too much bickering between the hunting ranks, and that we all need to come together. And who am I to say that your style of hunting is wrong because it isn’t the way I hunt. That shouldn’t matter at all. What should matter, is that you’re hunting and we enjoy the same activities. That is the bottom line.

    The main arguments I hear against using crossbows are these:

    1. They are more accurate then archery equipment and thus will cause for a larger number of deer to be killed…

    2. That by allowing more weapons of choice into the woods it will allow for more hunters, and thus allow for more deer to be killed as well.

    All it takes is a few seconds to look at other states who already allow crossbow hunting-such as Pennsylvania-to see that the deer harvest numbers really didn’t increase that much. Even with the slightly increased amount of hunters crossbows caused, it only resulted in a slight increase in the number of deer taken.

    The only real difference I see between crossbows and archery equipment is the lack of having to draw in the presence of the animal. That being said, you still have to have them at close range, and be accurate with your shot.

    So, bottom line, and I”m sorry this has become so long–I think, if the weapon you choose to hunt with is legal in your state, I’m fine with it. I’m just glad both of us will share the same joys that come with the hunt. I don’t want to be the guy who decides your way of hunting is worse than mine, because it’s not the way I hunt.

    I can’t wait to read the article Kris.

  3. Missouri – legal with disability that hinders the use of a “regular” bow

    I think they are fine.

    The only thing I wonder about is since they do shoot significantly further than a traditional or compound bow should increased use of crossbows mean that safety orange rules should be extended to cover archery season as well as the firearms seasons?

  4. 1. California

    2. Legal (but I just had to look it up – I could’ve sworn they weren’t legal)

    3. I don’t do any archery, so I’m not the best person to ask this question. But from where I sit, I agree that squabbling amongst hunters about methods of take is not productive – it allows antis to peel us off one at a time to use against hunting in general. Who cares if you use a different weapon than I do? In a target shooting competition, that would of course be unfair. But hunting? It’s not like we’re all shooting at the same animal.

    Perhaps once I take up archery (which I know is inevitable) I’ll feel differently, but that’s where I stand now.

  5. South Carolina: just legalized to use during archery season this year; before that, you could use them during gun season only – unless you were disabled.

    I don’t see any problem with using them during archery season since, just like Arthur pointed out, they don’t make that much of a difference in hunting pressure or harvest rates. All it does is allow a FEW more hunters in the woods, which is a good thing.
    And I have to disagree with Blessed – Crossbows DO NOT shoot further than compound bows. My friend has a 10 point, and it is only good for shooting deer at 25 yards. Beyond that, it drops too much and is too loud to shoot a deer with. However my friend can put 5 arrows in a 4 inch circle at 50 yards with his new Mathews.
    I think that most people aren’t familiar enough with crossbows to really form an accurate opinion of them, and that is why you hear so many bowhunters complain about them.

  6. Thank you all for your input on this subject. I am surprised that there aren’t any dissenting views so far. If you are out there, and think crossbows should not be used in the general archery season, let us know!

  7. Virginia; legal for anyone who buys the license.

    Most people I know still use compound bows so it hasn’t had much of an impact. I don’t mind if people use them and would have one myself if I could afford one!

  8. NJ; Legal for those with disabilities, looking like a crosbow season will be approved this year by Fish and Wildlife counsil as legal for everyone during archery season.

    I like the idea of hunting with crossbows- have not purchased one yet. I too was looking for input on the “cons” of these weapons.
    My cousin had blown-out his shoulder last year and was able to hunt with his new crossbow this year. He had 2 complaints;
    A) he hunts from a climbing stand, and complained that drawing the bow & then trying to lift through the uper portion of his stand was to cumbersome.
    B) he didn’t like lowering a fully drawn crossbow after his hunt, and lost a few bolts the times that he discharged the weapon before climbing down.

    Looking for input on these issues…

  9. I live in MO where deer hunting with crossbow is legal for disabled hunters during archery season. Back in the 80’s I was against using the crossbow during archery season because I viewed it as an unfair advantage. However, I now have a son with Spina Bifida. He is not able to draw and shoot a compound or recurve with the accuracy needed to harvest an animal. This said, I went through the proceedure to procure a permit. Since then I bought his first crossbow and we have started to practice. I have learned alot since I have shot the crossbow. If you are like me a bowhunter for 25 plus years the first thing you will realize is how much of a pain it is to shoot this thing in a hunting situation. I shoot a Parker compound set at 65lbs with Easton epics. My effective practice range is around 60 yards. Hunting range in the 40 yard mark. The effective hunting range on the crossbow is maybe 40 yards. It is cumbersome to haul around, hard to shoot out of a ground blind and forget about a quick follow up shot. Anyway I believe you are at a disadvantage using the crossbow. All that being said if it gets more people into the sport I am good with it.

    Good Hunting!
    Chuck from MO.

  10. I live in Ohio. Crossbows are good for anyone throughout the entire archery season. I have been using them since the late 80’s and don’t let anyone fool you, a crossbow is not like hunting with a rifle. An arrow is very sensitive to wind and rain no matter what type of bow you use. The only advantage I have found is, it is similar to a rifle only when you shoulder it to make a shot. Like any other bow, you have got to know your range. I made my first kill at 20 yards from a tree stand, and that one was a long time coming. I have owned 2 crossbows over the last 20 years. I learned the hard way a long time ago, don’t waste your time and money on cheap equipment. I spent just over $600 on my last outfit and it was well worth it for the confidence I have when I step into those woods on my precious hunting time. Happy Hunting to all, from Ohio, Land of the Monster Bucks.

  11. Replying to ChrisB
    1.It is perfectly O.K. to cock the bow on the ground before you get into the stand. It has a safety. Once you are at the desired height with your climber, carefully pull it up with your gear cord. [just don’t tie it around the trigger]

    2.Upon leaving. Remove the bolt, then reverse of number 1. I have left my bow cocked for several days without firing on long hunting trips.It will not hurt the bow. Put it behind the seat of your vehicle when you get home fire it into your crossbow target . If you do not have a crossbow target you can get one for the cost of about 4 Bolts. Happy Hunting Chris.

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