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John's Journal... Entry 268, Day 4


Be a Real Bowhunter: Shoot a Crossbow

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 enlargeNow, I know the slogan, "Real bowhunters shoot crossbows," slaps in the face of traditional archers, although the crossbow has a long and illustrious tradition like the recurve, the compound or the cam-bow. I also realize that when we say, "Real bowhunters shoot crossbows," modern archers with cam bows, compounds and even 3-D bows will bristle and say, "That ain't so." However, real bowhunters want everyone to participate in hunting, and especially bow hunting, regardless of that person's age, sex or physical condition. Too, real bowhunters have concerns about properly managing deer. If deer herds continue to grow in the future as they have in the past, then wildlife managers and state and federal game officials will search for acceptable ways to utilize the surplus of deer that won't offend the general population as gun hunting will. They may have to use the crossbow option. Real bowhunters also understand that no matter how hard they fight growing older, how many new breakthroughs occur in the medical field, and how much research drug companies conduct to develop new and better anti-aging drugs, they will grow older. Getting older goes hand-in-hand with losing muscle tone and strength. Real bowhunters who want to hunt until the day someone throws dirt in their faces realize that the crossbow may hold the future of bow hunting for them.

Click to enlargeBring In The Ladies and The Children

Charlie Smith, the former CEO of North American Archery Company, told me, "We've found that the crossbow is an excellent way to bring women into the sport of archery. Many women, who are concerned about not having the physical strength needed to draw and shoot bows, can overcome that concern by beginning bow hunting with a crossbow. By shooting a crossbow, a woman of any age and in any physical condition can go hunting. She also can be successful shooting the crossbow after just a few minutes of instruction and practice. "Our company also learned that the quicker and easier women are successful at shooting any type of bow, the more likely they are to come into the sport of archery and become bowhunters. Too, we've found that women, youngsters, oldsters and newcomers to the sport of archery generally want to learn to shoot the more-conventional bows once they take animals with crossbows."

Click to enlargeHowever, even if a crossbow shooter doesn't make the move from the crossbow to a conventional bow, if we can bring one more archer into the sport of bow hunting by allowing him or her to use a crossbow, then I believe the crossbow has served a noble purpose. Before you beat your chest and say "No" to the crossbow as a bowhunting purist, don't forget that in the not-too-distant future, you may find yourself just like my brother, Archie, a 35-year-old who loves to and wants to hunt, trapped inside a 70-year-old or older body. You may discover your only salvation in participating in bow hunting as you always have is choosing the crossbow option.






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