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Let's Talk Crossbows!


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Poll: Should all states remove the ban or limited use of crossbows for archery season (10 member(s) have cast votes)

What do you think

  1. Yes (7 votes [70.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 70.00%

  2. No (3 votes [30.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 30.00%

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#1 In-Hoc

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 04:01 PM

It seems to me that crossbows get so much negative press or that most States Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have a complete ban or restrictions on the use of crossbows. I personally don't understand this and can't see the argument any longer. With compound bows shooting in excess of 330 feet per second, the only advantage that a crossbow has is that you don't have to hold the draw weight. All the other challenges that exist for a recurve or compound archer exist for a crossbow archer.

I Live in Ohio and there are no restrictions on the use of crossbows here. Still more deer are killed with traditional archery then there is with crossbows. Shotgun Season still harvests the most deer every year.

I would like to hear everybody else's thoughts on the matter

#2 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 05:53 PM

I live and do most of my hunting in your neighboring state to the east. In most of the state it is illegal to hunt with a crossbow without the medical permit submitted through your doctor and approved by our PA Game Commission. The only problem I see is my permit is only good for hunting in PA as I know of no other state that has any sort of reciprocal agreement to accept my PA permit to enable me to hunt in their state with my crossbow. That is quite restrictive to me as I can only hunt in my state or somehow go through whatever the other state(s) has as a regulation. I can no longer hunt with a regular bow so the only option I have is a crossbow.
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#3 irinman2424

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 06:34 PM

Paul just a note Minnesota is the same way you must have a Dr. statement and get a permit to use one for hunting (dont know if you plan to go there to hunt there is some beautifull country up in Northern Minn to hunt and fish) but its just a heads up if you do want to try it there
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#4 Spirithawk

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 07:11 PM

Ok, lets look at the subject from a practicle stand point. First, the plus side of using a crossbow......wait a minute I'm thinking. Oh yeah....it's held mechanicaly at draw. Can't think of another plus. Now lets look at the down side. Besides what my buddy Paul said, they are bulky, noisy, a pain to carry and hard to manuever in a tree stand and brush. Because of the bolts, yes I said bolt not arrow, short length they lose energy fast and thus your range is greatly limited. No you're not going to make 70 yard shots like you can with a compound. You'd think they were made of gold if you price a good one. And you can mess up the accuracy of your shot if you don't get an even side to side pull on your string when cocking one which brings up the strength needed to do so. Think your strong? Try drawing a 150ld crossbow without a device to ease the effort. I can, sometimes but it wears me out to do so. Try cocking one of the newer 175 lb crossbows. If you can do that, un-aided then you don't need a bow. You can just reach out and snap the deers neck! Sooo, like any weapon they have there good points and bad but they are most certainly not the evil that some like to portray them. In many cases, myself and Paul for instance, they offer the only route to us still being able to archery hunt and yes I said archery because what ever you think of one it's still a bow. It's not called a cross rifle folks.

Edited by Spirithawk, 28 December 2008 - 07:13 PM.


#5 mudduck

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 09:11 PM

Although I live in Minnesota, I was born and raised in Wisconsin, where I still do the majority of my hunting. Wisconsin allows the use of cross bows by people with a permanent medical disability. I'm fine with that. The law allows everyone who wishes to archery hunt an opportunity to do so. Cross bows are certainly no more lethal than a compound, and I seriously doubt that if the law were changed, hordes of new hunters would rush out and buy one, but in order to change the law, one would need to demonstrate that no biological damage would be done to the herd, and, perhaps most importantly, that a need exists to change the law. I think that might be the hard one. http://dnr.wi.gov/or.../Disability.pdf I guess I'm kind of in the middle on this. If you have disabilities, hunt how ever you can. If you are able bodied, then I couldn't care less about your cross bow argument, because as I said earlier, everyone would still have the opportunity to archery hunt. I know my shoulders won't last forever, I'm glad x-bows will be available when I need em, I just don't need em quite yet.

#6 Jeremiah

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 12:55 AM

...the only advantage that a crossbow has is that you don't have to hold the draw weight.


Don't kid yourself. Therein lies the beginning and end of the entire conversation for most...
At least in my home state of Pennsylvania. Ever since the inception of an archery season, the legal weapon for that season has been a "bow" and the definition of a "bow", as set forth by the game commission, has involved some form of the words held by the shooter's own strength at full draw. It wasn't a mistake or gross oversight that they worded it that way.

Approximately 4 or 5 years ago now the state of Pennsylvania DCNR changed their definition of archery equipment to include the crossbow. However, the game commission (which is a separate entity specifically in charge of all state hunting issues) still has not. Personally, I don't see a need for a change. Anyone who can no longer draw a bow, but wishes to hunt the early archery season is provided for in this state under the current regulations. But, then again, unlike many in this state I really don't care if it is changed either.

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#7 Geoff / TBow

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 10:38 AM

In my province of Ontario, crossbows are considered "archery equipment" under the fish & game hunting regulations. You are allowed to hunt with a crossbow in any of the "archery only" seasons (a medical disability certificate is not required).

The use of crossbows has not reduced the hunting seasons for archery equipment in Ontario. In fact, during the times that crossbows have been allowed during "archery only" seasons in Ontario, the duration of archery seasons and the number of WMUs (Wildlife Management Units) has significantly increased over the past 20 years. The increase in bowhunting opportunities in Ontario is a result of wildlife management personnel deciding to enhance hunters' times afield (liesure time) and to manage an ever growing deer population. Any reductions in hunting opportunities, such as the cancellation of the spring bear hunt and the significant reduction in moose tag allocations in traditional moose territory, has been a result of political pressure by uninformed politicians and anti hunting groups, a loss or alteration in wildlife habitat, increased natural predation (ie: wolves, coyotes, etc.) or disease.

I personally feel that the success ratio for bowhunters (xbows users included) in Ontario has grown over the past 30 years, but I don't attribute that to the increase in the number of crossbow users. I would rather attribute it to an overall efficiency in all archery related equipment and in particular to the enhanced knowledge of the bowhunters themselves to hunting techniques, woodlore knowledge and an understanding of big game behavior.

I personally don't use a crossbow, but my son and many of my friends use them. I don't have a problem going out and hunting with crossbow users, as I don't see them as a threat to my sport, nor do I think they have some bionic advantage over me that will see them clearing out the game populations.

They certainly have many of the same disadvantages, or should I say challenges, that all bowhunters have such as the short distance to game to make ethical shots and humane kills.

There are many misconceptions surrounding crossbows, such as, "it's just gun". It is not! Outside of the fact that it has a gun shaped stock that butts up to your shoulder and a trigger, that's where it ends. Not all crossbows use bolts. If the back end of the projectile has a nock that slips over the string, then it is called an arrow. Most crossbows use bolts (with a blunt end), but not all do. Bolts (and arrows) have been lengthened from the old 16" lengths to 23" (plus or minus) and with the added prod (limbs) lengths, the cast and energy storage capabilities has increased significantly.

The crossbows of 20 years ago were typically in the 100 to 120 lb range, and were inadequate in my opinion. About the lowest poundage that you can purchase these days for a crossbow, is 150 lbs, with 175 to 225 lbs being the vast majority. Yes a 225 lb crossbow is a "manhandler" to pull back, but most manufacturers recommend a pulling assisted system, which I would personally endorse as well. It will save the muscles and enhance accuracy as the string is pulled to the exact same location (right and left) every time which translates to consistency.

And as for the misconception that you can take a crossbow directly from the store to the woods, is ludicrous. You require every bit as much practice and equipment tuning as you do with any weapon, archery gear included. This is the single greatest misnomer that I believe has turned many bowhunters against the inclusion of crossbows into "archery only" seasons.

So, I guess back to the original question. "Should all states (and provinces) include crossbows in all archery only seasons?"

I don't think anyone can say emphatically that ALL territorial jurisdictions should include any one particular weapon right across the board. I think that's a decision that fish & game authorities in each territory have to decide based on sound management strategies that meet the needs of their locale. But, it is imperative that regulations should be as a result of biological data for that area, not a result of political mayhem or outside influence.

Geoff / TBow

Edited by Geoff / TBow, 29 December 2008 - 10:47 AM.

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#8 Spirithawk

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 10:51 AM

I may not have gotten it across well but my main point was.....why hunt with a crossbow if you don't have too? You'd be changing the better weapons, longbow, recurve and compounds, for a weapon that is cumbersome, has less range and is noisy. I guess it was my last comment about an xbow still being a bow but I stand by that. It's a type of bow just like the others are types of bows. The game commision may have it's own definition but Webster begs to differ;

Crossbow - A POWERFUL BOW fixed crosswise on a wooden stock

Now I'm not blaming the game commision for not allowing them, if they choose not to, but to deny a crossbow is a type of bow just don't make sense. As far as my opinion on using them archery season, it's kinda mixed. One part of me says that everyone should have the right to choose. The other part says that if the game comissions only allow a certain type of bow then you have to either abide by the law and be satisfied, or, you need to do whats neccesary to change the law. Now if enough people can do that then the rest have to be satisfied. Unless I'm mistaken....the majority rules. As far as states that allow crossbows archery season I doubt seriously if the number of deer taken has increased significantly simply because they changed the law.

Edited by Spirithawk, 29 December 2008 - 09:14 PM.


#9 irinman2424

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 10:58 AM

there is another alternative for people with restrictions also "BUT" again it is an aid for those that cant hold the draw weight for any period of time. they sell them at Bass pro and Cabellas they mount to your compound and hold the string back for you with a release. I tried to find one but not sure what they are called but have seen a few people use them it mounts on wher your slide rod mounts and extends out to full draw I was told they were about 60 for the setup
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#10 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 11:25 AM

As a crossbow user I agree with needing to jump through a few hoops to be certified to use one. What I do not know is do any other states/countries accept a permit issued by my state to allow me to hunt in their state/country with a crossbow. For instance I may desire to archery hunt Elk in Colorado. Do I have to go through another special permit to be allowed to do so or does Colorado accept the permit I already have. I have lived through the change from stick bows to the compound and many of the current arguments against the use of crossbows are somewhat the same as the arguments held over the compound. If I could get a hunting weight compound over the hump without the pain I would still be using one but I cannot so my only option is a spear or atlatl or a crossbow. As far as I can tell right at the moment though I am restricted to hunting with a crossbow only in PA. There is a monetary cost to obtaining a permit. It costs to have the Dr complete the application and also costs a fee to submit the application for approval. The time it took for me to process the application was well over a month and a half.
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#11 mudduck

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 12:45 PM

Webster begs to differ;

Crossbow - A POWERFUL BOW fixed crosswise on a wooden stock

Now I'm not blaming the game commision for not allowing them, if they choose not to, but to deny a crossbow is a type of bow just don't make sense. As far as my opinion on using them archery season, it's kinda mixed. One part of me says that everyone should have the right to choose. The other part says that if the game comissions only allow a certain type of bow then you have to either abide by the law and be satisfied, or, you need to do whats neccesary to change the law. Now if enough people can do that then the rest have to be satisfied. Unless I'm mistaken....the majority rules. As far as states that allow crossbows archery season I doubt seriously if the number of deer taken has increased significantly simply because they changed the law.


Actually, a cross bow probably has more in common with a catapult than it does with a bow, but I digress. Wisconsin allows them, so does Pennsylvania, so does Missouri, so does some Canadian Provinces at the very least. Very few states recognize Mr. Webster and his dictionary as the last word on defining anything when it comes to hunting and fishing. I don't support banning them, I intend to use one someday if I need to, and the law aleady allows for this. I don't support their unrestricted use however, much like I don't think in-lines should be allowed during the traditional muzzle loader season. And again, I have no problem with cross bows, or those that use them, and I enjoy seeing their pics of trophys as much as anyone elses. The original question of this topic,Should all states remove the ban or limited use of crossbows for archery season , left me with 2 answers. Yes, remove the ban. No, don't remove the limited use. http://www.huntersfr...regulations.htm

Edited by mudduck, 29 December 2008 - 02:49 PM.


#12 Jeremiah

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 01:51 PM

Webster begs to differ;

Crossbow - A POWERFUL BOW fixed crosswise on a wooden stock

Now I'm not blaming the game commision for not allowing them, if they choose not to, but to deny a crossbow is a type of bow just don't make sense.


I don't know too many people who say or try to argue that a crossbow isn't a bow in the sense that it consists of a "stick and string" and flings "arrows". (Because it is and does.) Again, the issue for most in my neck of the woods is the fact that the weight of the bow is held for the shooter by the weapon itself and the fact that the crossbow is not drawn and locked in the presence of the game animal being pursued. This is precisely why the "Draw-Loc" (a device used to hold a compound at full draw) is illegal in most states as well as bows with higher than 80% let-off in many states as well. That's truly where the conversation begins and ends. Folks can argue it out any way they wish and I'd like to think I've seen every angle covered. But, in the end, not drawing and holding the draw weight by your own power is, again, the beginning and the end of the whole subject of whether or not a crossbow is "in the spirit" of what established archery seasons are/were all about. :)

As far as my opinion on using them archery season, it's kinda mixed.


This is really where things get "interesting" in my state. To be honest, most hunters here just want in on the "fair weather" time of year that is archery season when the deer are still mostly calm. (An early muzzleloader hunt added smack in the middle of archery season is proof of this "greed". I guess folks don't realize the reason most deer were always calm throughout archery season was the fact that there were no "bangs" all around them. :lol: )

When I turn to Merriam-Websters.com or Dictionary.com (thanks for the suggestion :P ) I don't see the crossbow or a crossbow shooter mentioned in the definition of "archery". (Only "bow and arrow" and "bowyer" - a shooter of bow and arrow - is mentioned.) Now, one could clearly interpret a crossbow's lath and bolt as being a "bow and arrow". (Personally, I do. But, my opinion doesn't even really matter.)

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As it's not clearly defined as "archery equipment", indeed it is left up to the definition set forth by each state. (Perhaps those who wish to see the crossbow in "archery season" across the country should lobby Webster's. LOL)

Where my perspective, that I truly don't care either way, comes from is that a crossbow is still a fairly silent weapon and the effective ranges are about the same for a crossbow and a compound. (Any claim that either one can lethally shoot farther than the other is off base. They're about equal in my testing.) To me, I would think a crossbow hunter has his best chance in early archery season here and he isn't going to hurt my chances at all. (Unlike the guy trouncing through the woods blasting his smoke pole 100 yards away from me while I'm trying to be non-existent!) I know that I will shoot a "bow" (recurve, longbow, stick-n-string, compound = anything I have to draw and hold back by my own strength in the presence of the game animal) as long as my body permits regardless. If the next person doesn't, that's up to them. :)

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#13 runNgun

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 06:52 PM

Make them legal during archery season (and maybe firearms season like here in MN). Hunters then won't have to argue about this. Use what you want to use, hunt safely, shoot some deer, and have fun.
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#14 Spirithawk

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 09:10 PM

Jeff, Missouri doesn't allow them without a doctors statement and a permit for the disabled. You can use one firearms season but without the permit that's it. The way I see the argument over crossbows is like Paul said. Stick Bow hunters didn't like Recurves. Both didn't like Compounds. All three don't like crossbows. Traditional muzzleloaders don't like inlines. So what does that tell you? It is really a matter of preferance what a person chooses to hunt with. The main, and only realy important issue, is that it's legal and if so then more power to you for whatever you choose as long as you use it ethicly and strive for a clean kill. Meet those three issues and I've got no problem whatever you use. Remember, just because someone else chooses a particular weapon don't mean you have too.

Edited by Spirithawk, 29 December 2008 - 09:19 PM.


#15 mudduck

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 01:38 AM

Norm, you confuse me, lol. Your first post talks about the differences, arrows vs, bolts, draw weights etc. and you point out how they are less effective. Your second post starts off by saying why hunt with one if you don't have to. In every one of my posts on this topic, I have said I intend to use one some day, if I need to. 47 states already allow the use of cross bows in one form or another. In 47 states, that means that those who need to use them, can. Nobody here has said they were against the use of crossbows by those that need them, before its dirt nap time, we all might need them. So, I whole heartedly support those that need to use them. However, I do not support their unlimited use by those who simply want to use one, because it is not a bow, was never a bow, nor ever intended to be a bow. As I have repeatedly said, I have no qualms about using one, I intend to, but I ain't gonna kid myself either about what I'm using.

Edited by mudduck, 30 December 2008 - 01:43 AM.





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