Kansas Deer Hunters Get Expanded Regulations For Rifles, Crossbows

The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission has approved sweeping changes in its wildlife regulations, including the approval of more centerfire rifle ammunition and crossbows in archery seasons.

big bucks/dan schmidt/whitetail wisdomThe commission met March 21 and approved numerous proposals that remove some previous roadblocks for deer hunters. Michael Pearce, reporting in The Wichita Eagle, outlined the changes that include:

– Crossbows will now be legal for all hunters during archery deer seasons in Kansas.  Previously they were only legal for those with approved physical limitations, those 15 and under and 55 and older, in four deer management units  involved in a two year study.

— Any centerfire rifle or handgun cartridge can now be used for big game hunting during the appropriate firearm season. Previously, rifle cartridges had to be at least .22 caliber and handgun cartridges had to be at least  1.28-inches long.

— Slugs can now be used in any gauge shotgun for deer hunting in Kansas, rather than 20 gauge or larger.

— The restriction saying all crossbows had to have at least 120 pounds of pull was also removed.

—  Most electronic devices attached to bows are now legal, including such things as attached cameras, and rangefinders. Also, radio frequency devices attached to arrows, that stick to an arrowed deer to ease in retrieval, are also legal.

Pearce reported that Robin Jennison, Wildlife and Parks secretary, was in approval of the changes. This is a welcome change from a year ago, when a Kansas Senate committee shot down a proposal to allow crossbows during archery season.

“It’s always been a societal issue, and never been a biological issue,” Jennison told the Eagle of the crossbow and caliber changes that drew lengthy debate for several years at commission meetings. “The crossbow (becoming legal) doesn’t take away from the experience of anybody who wants to use a (vertical) bow.”

The same arguments and issues about crossbows have hit just about every state where their full inclusion has been proposed. As Jennison noted, the arguments are societal — not biological. A deer doesn’t know it’s getting whacked by a crossbow, compound or recurve, and until biological aspects necessitate regulatory changes, providing hunters with options for killing deer — not mandates — is the best course of action.

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