Wisconsin: Crossbows in Archery Deer Season

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From JS Online: One of the last top deer hunting states to tightly restrict the use of crossbows, Wisconsin appears on the threshold of change. A bill has been introduced in the Legislature to allow all hunters to use crossbows during the state’s archery deer hunting season…

The bill could be signed into law in time for the 2013 season.

I have covered the crossbow debate for years, here on the blog and back in my days as whitetail editor for Outdoor Life. I have reported on the positives from proponents like NRA: crossbows help recruit and retain hunters. I have documented the kicking and screaming of groups like Wisconsin Traditional Archers who remain staunchly opposed: crossbows mean more pressure in the woods…too many deer will be killed…

I have watched as states like Pennsylvania and Michigan have permitted the horizontal bow. The bottom line, as I blogged last year: the hunting community needs to come to grips with the fact that liberalized crossbow use is here to stay. I predict crossbows will be permitted in early archery season in every state within a decade (heck, we are almost there now).

What makes the Wisconsin situation interesting is the timing. 2012 was an incredible year for bowhunters in the state, one of the most impressive seasons I can remember anywhere. Beginning in September, hunters killed an incredible number of giants, like this 244-inch monster and this 197 2/8-inch state record typical. I blogged about many more monsters 160- to 200-class. How will more people in the woods with crossbows impact the big-buck hunting this year and beyond?

We have a lot of great hunters from Wisconsin and surrounding states on the blog. I want to know what you and your buddies think about this. Will you embrace the crossbow, or hate it?



8 thoughts on “Wisconsin: Crossbows in Archery Deer Season

  1. Indiana started allowing crossbows (for all who wish to use them) last season. There are those who love it and those who hate it…

    I look @ it with a bit of historical perspective. Back in the day when compounds first came out, the traditional guys were against it. The howled about how it was too easy, how it wasn’t really archery, and how the deer herd would be wiped out.

    In the end, compounds didn’t ruin bow hunting and crossbows won’t either……..

  2. The great debate continues. I agree with Hanback; they’re here to stay. The question is Mike: will you hunt with a crossbow anytime soon?

  3. The lazy American: “I want everything easy. I don’t have the will nor the time to practice with a device that requires me to use my strength and skill to get away with pulling and holding back on an animal that generally needs to be within 25 yards. Chances are that deer is going to get away and I just can’t have that.

    BTW: Looking ahead, I want to be able to use this device over my choice of bait, at night, 365 days a year, from a heated mini-house, with a fist-full of tags in my pocket, and I won’t eat any of what I harvest, I’ll donate every animal. That way I can brag to every one I know how I shot more deer than my neighbors.

    Scratch that, just let me use a rifle. Will ya????”

    Of course the crossbow is here to stay. It’s inevitable. Just happens to be that in WI it’s taking more repeated attempts by those that want it to get it run thru legislation.

  4. **CROSSGUN. not crossbow.
    The hardest Part of Bowhunting is Drawing Back the Bow. It has cost me numerous bucks. Take it away and im plus aprox. 5 P&Y Bucks. Bowhunting keeps the people that arn’t as dedicated out of the woods. Keep gun season easy leave bowseason to the guys that put in work. The deer are already nocturnal. Now kids under 12 that cant pull back a bow or guys that have inuurys or are older im all for it. Physical limitations should never impede on someone getting out hunting!

  5. FWIW, I have a friend who bought a crossbow last season. He didn’t care for hunting with it.

    According to him, a crossbow is……
    A pain in the a$$ to carry in the woods, difficult to maneuver in a treestand, and a pain in the a$$ to “unload” after a hunt.

    He’s switching back to his compound for the majority of his hunting. He is keeping the crossbow for hunting out of ground blinds.

    I think his experience is typical. Many will try a crossbow. Some will stay with it, some will switch back to the bow they were using and others will find the merit in using both types.

  6. I live in Texas, not Wisconsin. I started out with a recurve, then a Bear Whitetail compound, over the years I have upgraded as bow technology advanced. At 62 years old, with torn rotator cuffs in both shoulders and problems with C2-C7 in my neck and upper spine even my Drenalin can be difficult to hunt with on a bad physical day. I have been visiting retailers and trying out various crossbows in an effort to continue bow hunting with minimal discomfort. I also rifle hunt, taking advantage of every opportunity afforded me to spend time hunting. I don’t consider myself a lazy American, or a spoiled hunter looking for the easiest way out, taking short cuts to keep from having to prepare properly for hunting season, looking for every possible advantage over the game I am pursuing. We have donated in excess of 125 deer to the San Antonio Food Bank in the past several seasons as a result of our management program, not to be able to brag to everyone but to be able to improve the quality of the habitat and deer herd plus provide much needed protein to less fortunate folks.

    How can something as seemingly innocent as the weapon of choice become a lighning rod that divides our community of hunters and outdoorsman and makes us easy prey for the anti-gun, anti-hunting advocacy groups out there trying to limit or eliminate our right to hunt!!! We need to unite around the values that bind us rather than let wedge issues divide us.

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