The bow is cocked and the bolt is in the groove. Members of the Pennsylvania Game Commission will decide in January whether to let fly a proposal that would make crossbows legal during big game archery seasons.
At last week's fall meeting, held in Washington, Pa., the commissioners approved a preliminary proposal to expand the use of crossbows during archery deer and bear seasons. Another public meeting will be held before the final vote.
The 5-2 preliminary vote, with one member absent, reflected the mixed concerns of hunters who testified at the meeting. Commissioner Tom Boop urged colleagues to "go slowly, we need to approach this on an incremental basis." Commission president Roxane Palone, whose term ends next month, said she suspects some people "don't want the crossbow because they don't want more does harvested." Commissioner Russell Schleiden, whose term ends in December, said with proper controls in place, "you're going to find in the long run [concern about crossbow impact] is a non-issue. This dog won't hunt."
If given final approval, the proposal would ban crossbows during the October muzzleloader and late flintlock seasons.