May 10, 2014

Crossbows, turning the next page                                

By: Marc Drewek

No matter which side of the fence you are standing on crossbows will be legal to hunt deer during the 2014 archery season. This controversial issue has stirred up some serious emotions over the past several years. There are many people that feel that this is a bad idea and I respect their opinion. Personally, I think it’s a great idea, if it get more people involved in the outdoors, I’m all for it. For those of us that have a passion for the outdoors, we should embrace the idea of having an opportunity to bring more people into the sport of hunting. Why has there been so much opposition? Is it because some folks believe you have more of an advantage, is it because it looks more like a gun than a bow. Do people believe that you can shoot farther, or is it the issue of how do we deal with a hunter harvesting a trophy deer using a crossbow? I have heard all of these reasons in conversations over years past. I would like to tackle a few of these reasons and give you my feedback.

First, you do have more of an advantage using a crossbow; they do have optics, cocking devices and can be held in full draw using a trigger mechanism. There are archery companies out there that manufacture optics such as red dot scopes, rangefinders and sights that have magnification lenses for vertical bows that could be used in a hunting scenario. I have been using a trigger release for many years, as most hunters do today. As for the issue of how far can we shoot a crossbow, I tell people they are deadly accurate, and 40 yards is where I would be comfortable. We have to remember that a crossbow is a bit noisier than your vertical style bows and you need to be aware of the deer’s reaction time to that noise. No different than in years past when the vertical bows were noisy and we had to be conscious of the deer jumping the string. Can you shoot a crossbow 60 yards? Absolutely, but a deer can react extremely fast to the lightest of sounds so be aware of that. With the technology of today’s vertical bows shooting that far is attainable but they are designed to be much quieter. As for the issue of a big deer being harvested with a crossbow and how do we deal with that here’s what I think. Have we as sportsman become that shallow to believe that if a big buck is harvested with a crossbow it doesn’t count REALLY. Don’t get me wrong here I will harvest a trophy animal any chance I get but that is not the reason I Hunt. My take on all of that trophy animal stuff is simple. If a hunter is able to take a trophy animal with any legal means, I want to shake his hand and extend my congratulations. To me any animal taken with any type of bow is a trophy. Let’s remember that we have to put ourselves in the right place at the right time. Putting your stand in the right spot, preseason scouting, planting food plots and maximizing your hunting opportunities is the recipe for success. It really shouldn’t matter what type of weapon you use as long as you know how to use it safely. Simply if you don’t like crossbows for archery hunting don’t use one.

I look forward to this next archery season and I will hunt using a crossbow. Trying something new brings on a whole new set of challenges. I have seen more families become interested in shooting crossbows and that is great to see. One of the aspects of shooting a crossbow is you could hand it to anyone and they could shoot it. That is not always the case with vertical bows; most of them need to be fitted to individual. I have been an avid bow hunter for over 30 years and have seen many changes over the years this change is no different. We all need to understand how important it is to continue to develop the stewardship of the outdoors and expose more people to the outdoor culture. Remember how powerful it is to touch someone’s life through an outdoor experience.