I recently read an article in Outdoor Life magazine, entitled The Crossbow Controversy, discussing the current controversy surrounding the spread of crossbow use in America. Seems that crossbows are increasing in popularity and are being legalized in many states during their bowhunting seasons. One side believes that crossbows are a great new tool for hunters, increase accuracy and the amount of ethical kills and they bring more hunters into the woods. On the opposite side, traditionalists claim that crossbows take away the spirit of the hunt. Being that they are too easy and technically similar to guns rather than bows.
In this article, Ed Wentzler, the legislative director for United Bowhunters of Pennsylvania explained his issue with crossbows by saying, “Archery equipment should be defined as implements that are held by hand, drawn by hand and released by the motion of the hand in the presence of game,” he says. “If you are shooting a crossbow, you are not drawing the string in the presence of game. That alone gives crossbow shooters an unfair advantage. It is not bowhunting.”
On the side for crossbows, Ohio’s wildlife management chief supported crossbow use, explaining, “ Crossbows allow hunters to get out in the woods more often, and allow them to be more successful hunters,” says Risley. “For wildlife managers trying to kill as many deer as possible, crossbows have become a necessary tool.”
In my opinion I would have to agree with Wentzler, I feel that bowhunting is so special because it is so darn difficult. The key attribute of a bow is that you must pull back and hold the bow string when your target moves into range. This is the greatest challenge of hunting during archery season and it is part of what preserves this traditional way of hunting. I don’t have an issue with hunters using a crossbow, but I don’t believe they should be categorized or used during archery season. Instead they could be used during the firearm season, muzzleloader season or possibly in their own short period.
What are your thoughts? Should crossbows be allowed during bow season or do they pose an unfair advantage?