by Daniel E. Schmidt
I’m either too close to the situation or possibly too old to have a dog in the fight, but it seems as though crossbow hunting for deer is becoming a commonly accepted practice across the country.
Many states have entered the fray and have allowed crossbows to be used during their regular archery seasons. I’ve never hunted with one, but I’ve shot them regularly. My initial opinions have certainly changed. Fifteen years ago, I thought crossbows should be limited to older hunters and hunters with disabilities. Those opinions changed drastically in 1999 when my dad obtained a crossbow permit after undergoing surgery to remove his colon and rectum. He had never bowhunted in his life. Since then, he has used the opportunity to bowhunt like a demon; and he loves it. He’s whacked and stacked countless antlerless deer near his home in suburban Milwaukee. Deer that would have never been managed had he not been given the opportunity.
But my support for crossbows goes much farther than that isolated experience with my dad. I’ve learned by shooting crossbows that they are one-and-done hunting tools way more than any compound or traditional bow. Crossbows, for me anyway, also do not provide a distinct distance advantage over other bows. In fact, I am way more confident shooting broadhead-tipped arrows out of my Mathews Heli-M than I am out of my dad’s TenPoint.
It’s for these reasons and many more (expanded opportunities to bring other sportsmen, women and children into the deer hunting community) that I now wholeheartedly support any proposition that calls for including crossbows in regular archery seasons. Modern compounds are tech-advanced tools. Why not allow crossbows?
Those are some of the same questions being asked in my home state of Wisconsin these days, as supporters will be seeking pubic input at this year’s annual fish and game hearings. To learn more about this specific issue, check out my friend Paul Smith’s article in today’s Milwaukee Journal.
What are your thoughts? Do you think crossbow hunters belong in the general archery crowd?