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John's Journal... Entry 268, Day 3


Ban Bow Hunting Or Promote It?

Editor’s Note: My brother, Archie, always considered himself a bow-hunting purist. He shot the longbow first, next the recurve and finally the cam-bow. He thought of a crossbow as simply a rifle powered by a string. But then when Archie's ATV fell on top of him and nearly crushed him, he wondered how he would bow-hunt during the upcoming bow season. At that time, Alabama just had passed a law enabling disabled hunters and older hunters, both terms that applied to my brother although he'd never admit it, to use crossbows if they made application to the state. To receive a permit to hunt with crossbows, hunters had to prove they had physical limitations that would justify the need for them to use crossbows. The idea of shooting a crossbow presented a real dilemma for my brother. Would he shoot what he had called a rifle powered by a string, or would he give up hunting deer from October 15th to the end of January during Alabama's deer season?

Click to enlargeThink about what's best for the sport of bow hunting and for you to continue to bow-hunt deer and other game -- either make the sport so restrictive that only a few can participate; or, grow the sport, knowing that the more participants in the sport and the bigger the sport grows, the more power and influence bow hunters will have and the less restrictive bow hunting will become. So how do we grow the sport of bow hunting? Do we teach archery so all can learn to shoot arrows, regardless of age, sex, strength and physical ability? Or, do we set up standards so that only the young, the strong and the highly proficient can shoot arrows? I, for one, believe that the crossbow has tremendous potential for growing the sport of bow hunting. Consider that . . .
* a sportsman simply has to hold the sight steady and pull the trigger to take a deer with a gun, making gun hunting for deer and other game much quicker and easier to learn than bow hunting.
* outdoorsmen learn to gun hunt long before they learn to bow-hunt.
* most deer hunters actually hunt for two, three or even four seasons by bow hunting before gun season, hunting with a gun during gun season, hunting with a black-powder gun during black-powder gun season and bow hunting after gun season, where permitted.

Click to enlargeDeer hunting has grown as a sport because no longer does anyone have to choose only one type of weapon with which to hunt. In the past, either you hunted with a bow, or you hunted with a gun. Now you can enjoy the status of an "and-also" hunter. You can hunt with a bow and also hunt with a gun. Possibly in the future, especially if deer numbers continue to grow as they have in the past, states may set up separate seasons strictly for crossbow hunters and designate special places where only crossbow hunters can hunt. For instance, biologists already have identified crossbows as extremely-effective and non-intrusive devices for taking deer in suburban areas, state and federal parks and any places the sounds of guns cause irritation or aggravation to the human population. The crossbow hunter shoots as accurately and as safely as the conventional bow hunter. The crossbow greatly increases the bowhunter's range and accuracy. As more states wrestle with the problems associated with deer over-population, I think the crossbow may become one of the solutions.

Click to enlargeAs these new seasons and new areas to hunt begin to develop, you may have to ask yourself, "Do I want to take more deer in areas where there are more deer by shooting the crossbow? Or, do I want to hold the position of 'I don't think crossbow hunting is bow hunting. So, therefore I won't purchase and learn to shoot a crossbow, even if I can take more deer, spend more time hunting and hunt more deer-rich lands.'"





Check back each day this week for more about DON'T SAY NO TO THE CROSSBOW...

Day 1 - My Brother’s Dilemma
Day 2 - Don't Think You Won't Ever Need A Crossbow
Day 3 - Ban Bow Hunting Or Promote It?
Day 4 - Be a Real Bowhunter: Shoot a Crossbow
Day 5 - Tight Quarters: The Crossbow’s Best

John's Journal