Conservation Congress advances crossbow question
By Paul A. Smith of the Journal Sentinel
Dec. 22, 2010 3:48 p.m. |(8) Comments
"Should crossbows be legal hunting equipment during the Wisconsin archery deer season?
By the narrowest of margins, the question advanced Saturday from a meeting of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress' Big Game Committee.
The issue will next be taken up Jan. 7 in Wausau by the congress' Executive Council. If the council advances the question, it will appear as an advisory question on the ballot at the Department of Natural Resources Spring Hearings and Annual Wisconsin Conservation Congress Meetings in April.
Though legal for all hunters in the archery deer seasons in about 17 states, crossbows are restricted to older hunters and physically disabled hunters in Wisconsin.
"Our view is that it's time for the general public to weigh in on the question," said Mike Riggle of Medford, a member of the congress' Big Game Committee.
In a 2009 survey conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 59% of archery hunters were opposed to crossbows during the archery deer season. About 5,000 Wisconsin archery hunters responded to the survey.
The Wisconsin Bowhunters Association and Wisconsin Traditional Archers have consistently opposed the use of crossbows.
But crossbow use has been increasingly allowed in states during the archery deer season. Last year Michigan allowed crossbows in most of the Lower Peninsula. Pennsylvania and Ohio both allow crossbows statewide during the archery deer seasons.
At its Saturday meeting, the Big Game Committee threw out a more restrictive resolution that would have allowed crossbows to hunt deer in metropolitan areas. In its place, Riggle offered one that would allow statewide use of crossbows by all hunters during the archery deer season.
The committee voted 8 to 7 to advance the question. Rob Bohmann, congress vice chairman, abstained from the vote.
The vote has triggered strong reaction from the Wisconsin Bowhunters Association. WBH has about 7,000 members and is represented by the Madison law firm of DeWitt Ross & Stevens.
"We're committed to preserving the archery season as it is," said Ron Kulas of Delafield, legislative liaison for the WBH. "Crossbows are a superior weapon and we've long held they belong in a different season."
We'll have more on this issue in the Thursday paper."
One day my ship will come in!! My luck, I'll be at the airport.