Editors Blog

Another State Considering Wide-Open Use of Crossbows for Deer Hunting

Best way to shoot a deer hunting crossbow

The modern crossbow is a serious tool for deer hunters. Many states have realized their place in deer management, and are now expanding opportunities. (photo courtesy of Tenpoint Technologies)

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?


4 thoughts on “Another State Considering Wide-Open Use of Crossbows for Deer Hunting

  1. hot tamale

    I can appreciate your thoughts, but the crossbow is not an advantage over the vertical bow other than it has a rifle style grip. They are cumbersome, heavy, and take a bit more to re-cock the bow rather than pulling an arrow from your quiver, pulling back and letting it fly. If anything, compounds are faster to reload and shoot multiple arrows in a shorter period of time.
    Many hunters will complain of not seeing deer for many different reasons. Baiting on different lands, they don’t go further than 100yds off the roads, the DNR wiped them out with liberal seasons and the list goes on and on.
    As Esoxer states, the crossbow is a one shot and done type of weapon, sort of like a muzzle loader.
    I am very much for the crossbow as it can bring kids and others to our sport that normally wouldn’t have joined our ranks.

  2. esoxer

    XFactor, If you would take the time to get the facts, you would find out that you are very incorrect. In all states where crossbows have been allowed full inclusion, NOT ONE OF THEM has noticed any difference in numbers of deer killed. The kill rate WILL NOT change. Don’t blast something you do not understand.

  3. X Factor

    Interesting. After reading the story and being an avid archer I’d selfishly say I’d much rather see Wisconsin give in to 55 and under than full inclusion or even a separate season. The bow kill is high enough that the hunters who only use guns have been complaining more every year especially with big bucks dropping during the rut. It’ll get even higher if crossbows are included for all as we’ll see more people take up the sport and perhaps higher success rates.

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