Summit Treestands
Crossbow Reality in Indiana (Just FYI)
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
pav 23-Feb-21
Bowboy 23-Feb-21
tobywon 23-Feb-21
Bou'bound 23-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 23-Feb-21
powder 23-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 23-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 23-Feb-21
Glunt@work 23-Feb-21
RK 23-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 23-Feb-21
keepemsharp 23-Feb-21
keepemsharp 23-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 23-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 23-Feb-21
Glunt@work 23-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 23-Feb-21
P&Y400 23-Feb-21
Spiral Horn 23-Feb-21
GF 23-Feb-21
JL 23-Feb-21
Hopeless 23-Feb-21
JusPassin 23-Feb-21
JL 23-Feb-21
Spiral Horn 23-Feb-21
GF 23-Feb-21
Glunt@work 23-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 23-Feb-21
P&Y400 23-Feb-21
GF 23-Feb-21
Jethro 23-Feb-21
P&Y400 23-Feb-21
Glunt@work 23-Feb-21
grizzly63 23-Feb-21
bentstick54 23-Feb-21
RK 23-Feb-21
Spiral Horn 23-Feb-21
Spiral Horn 23-Feb-21
GF 23-Feb-21
JL 23-Feb-21
Ken Moody Safaris 23-Feb-21
Glunt@work 24-Feb-21
JL 24-Feb-21
Glunt@work 24-Feb-21
JL 24-Feb-21
Glunt@work 24-Feb-21
Bou'bound 24-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 24-Feb-21
pav 24-Feb-21
Bou'bound 24-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 24-Feb-21
Jethro 24-Feb-21
Catscratch 24-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 24-Feb-21
JL 24-Feb-21
Glunt@work 24-Feb-21
Zim 24-Feb-21
Hopeless 24-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 24-Feb-21
tobywon 24-Feb-21
Hopeless 24-Feb-21
JusPassin 24-Feb-21
GF 24-Feb-21
Catscratch 24-Feb-21
Zim 24-Feb-21
GF 24-Feb-21
Brotsky 24-Feb-21
wyobullshooter 24-Feb-21
Hopeless 24-Feb-21
mooseslayer 24-Feb-21
wyobullshooter 24-Feb-21
Hopeless 24-Feb-21
Zim 24-Feb-21
bentstick54 24-Feb-21
GF 24-Feb-21
Glunt@work 24-Feb-21
Slate 24-Feb-21
Glunt@work 24-Feb-21
bentstick54 24-Feb-21
Spiral Horn 24-Feb-21
Highlife 24-Feb-21
Grunt-N-Gobble 25-Feb-21
GF 25-Feb-21
Old Reb 25-Feb-21
pav 25-Feb-21
keepemsharp 25-Feb-21
GF 26-Feb-21
wyobullshooter 26-Feb-21
Glunt@work 26-Feb-21
Grunt-N-Gobble 26-Feb-21
Glunt@work 26-Feb-21
GF 27-Feb-21
Grunt-N-Gobble 27-Feb-21
Glunt@work 27-Feb-21
Matt 27-Feb-21
GF 27-Feb-21
Al Dente Laptop 27-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 27-Feb-21
Grunt-N-Gobble 27-Feb-21
pav 27-Feb-21
GF 27-Feb-21
Bou'bound 27-Feb-21
DL 28-Feb-21
Muskybuck 28-Feb-21
keepemsharp 28-Feb-21
WV Mountaineer 28-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 02-Mar-21
pav 02-Mar-21
Missouribreaks 02-Mar-21
RK 02-Mar-21
Missouribreaks 02-Mar-21
Ned 02-Mar-21
GF 02-Mar-21
WV Mountaineer 02-Mar-21
Tonybear61 02-Mar-21
From: pav
23-Feb-21
Originally, crossbows were legalized during Indiana archery seasons for those with a disability permit. Then came late archery season antlerless only, no disability permit required. In 2012, Indiana adopted full crossbow inclusion in all seasons. Prior to 2012, the annual crossbow harvest floated around 1,000 animals. This is what happened since 2012:

2012: 27,580 deer with bows, 8,452 deer with crossbows

2013: 24,288 deer with bows, 10,171 deer with crossbows

2014: 22,375 deer with bows, 11,723 deer with crossbows

2015: 20,309 deer with bows, 11,837 deer with crossbows

2016: 16,996 deer with bows, 11,260 deer with crossbows

2017: 17,034 deer with bows, 14,747 deer with crossbows

2018: 16,069 deer with bows, 15,623 deer with crossbows

2019: 15,884 deer with bows, 17,136 deer with crossbows

2020 harvest numbers by weapon have not yet been released.

Notice both the steady climb of crossbow harvests and the steady decline in bow harvests. We (the IBA) told the DNR...crossbow harvest would eclipse the bow harvest in ten years. We were wrong, it only took eight years. Keep fighting the good fight fellas...or this is what you get.

From: Bowboy
23-Feb-21
Yep, it won't be long and they'll want to shorten your states archery season.

From: tobywon
23-Feb-21
Pretty interesting numbers. I'm not a crossbow guy, but isn't it hard to fight the fight and argue about crossbow inclusion with any agency or organization when the overall numbers are showing the harvest decrease since 2012? Crossbow kills have increased and have overtaken bow kills, yes, but the overall harvest numbers have decreased during that time period. Now if the bow kills remained the same and crossbows kills kept increasing like that, I can see the argument. I'm just asking and making a point. Not supporting crossbows.

From: Bou'bound
23-Feb-21
Why would the DNR care. They are are managing a herd and the numbers have been unbelievably consistent in total. I love to hunt Indiana and have never shot a crossbow (did hold one once)...............that said the numbers by year are: 36, 34, 34, 32, 28, 31, 31, and 33K over 8 years. essentially the same number of deer are dying annually at hunters hands prior to and after gun and muzzleloader seasons so why would the DNR care?

in fact in the 8 year period the average annual kill was 34K in the first half of the 8 year window and under 31K in the most recent 4 year window.

23-Feb-21
The same reality is in Wisconsin and Michigan. Hard to believe so many deny the trends and say, "it ain't so".

From: powder
23-Feb-21
Them harvest numbers over the years prove that crossbows are not the boogeyman all you Karens think they are. Surprising how consistent the numbers are over the years!

23-Feb-21
Up, up, and up!

23-Feb-21
Up, up, and up!

From: Glunt@work
23-Feb-21
Increasing harvest isn't the issue. Crossbow hunters generally don't have higher success rates.

23-Feb-21
Pav,

The increase in xbows while decrease in other bows, could this be due to an aging hunter population?

From: RK
23-Feb-21
If I was shown these numbers and asked to give my thoughts on all of it,I would say it appears that a lot of "bow" hunters switched to crossbows. From a management standpoint there is no critical change in total numbers with the exception total harvest has gone down.

23-Feb-21
I agree, many bow and arrow hunters have quit bowhunting and are buying the scoped and cocked crossbows, and at an accelerating rate.

From: keepemsharp
23-Feb-21
The crossgun folks attack a state at a time and do not do it with the F?G side, they do it at the state legislature side and find people that want to sell wildlife for a price. And they have been winning state by state by spending money. Hope you have good luck but those of us that have fought it for years and lost don't have a lots of promise. Hang in there and do what you can.

From: keepemsharp
23-Feb-21
Seems to me the crossover crossguns are gun hunters wanting a longer season. Without the effort to hunt with a bow.

23-Feb-21
The trend is like a snowball, the more it rolls, the bigger and more critical mass it gets. Bow and arrow hunting, and the associated culture, is in a big decline in this country. There is serious scoped crossbow momentum now.

23-Feb-21
Some of you should do your homework before you post. A little google search will reveal the nationwide trend, and by state.

From: Glunt@work
23-Feb-21
Obviously it's bowhunters switching to being crossbow hunters. If single shot rifles were allowed, many would switch to them.

23-Feb-21
One quick browse the archery section of a retail store will reveal the secretes. They carry what they expect the masses to purchase. I think some of the posters here are in denial, and for certain lack any form of reality and common sense.

From: P&Y400
23-Feb-21
If you are against crossbows in archery seasons you might consider joining the Pope and Young club and recommend your buddies to as well as they are a big voice to state hunting organizations discouraging the use of them in bow hunting seasons. Below is a snippet from their position statement on the subject.

The Pope and Young Club therefore recommends the crossbow should not be considered for use in any bowhunting only season. Also, the Club strongly recommends that crossbow hunting be abolished from all existing bowhunting only seasons. We encourage all states and provinces which desire to allow use of crossbows for hunting big game, to require mandatory crossbow specific education, licensing, seasons and reporting requirements.

From: Spiral Horn
23-Feb-21
Know a lot of you are passionate but really don’t get it, and know I’m not alone in that thinking. A few OBJECTIVE points: 1) The cross-over gun hunter thing - the vast majority of bowhunters I know (and that’s quite a big number over 40+ years) either began as gun hunters or gun hunted at some point and gravitated toward the bow - and most at least in some part took up the bow due to the ability to hunt extended early seasons. 2) A large % of folks who buy a license and bowhunt also hunt other weapon seasons - an extremely small fraction of those hunt “any weapon” season with a bow. 3) The numbers here and virtually everywhere I’ve ever checked where crossbows are legal during archery seasons don’t show any dramatic impact on overall harvest. 4) The objection to an age limit for inclusion of crossbows into archery season is just plain bias. Folks over 60 (there are exceptions) simply aren’t as fully physically capable as they once were - cumulative age-related issues such as orthopedic injuries, arthritis, visual impairment, etc are an aging reality. Those folks shouldn’t be forced to prove they cannot use a vertical bow and should be allowed to choose between bow & crossbow in archery season. Remember more than one totally anti-crossbow bowhunter showing up at the range a few years later with an xbow and explaining why it had become to difficult or unfair to the game. It will happen to all of us.

And, before all of the rage-mail begins - I still love and support bowhunting but my ability to shoot well in cold weather has noticeably fallen off in recent years. Don’t plan on giving up any part of the sport because someone else wants to dictate against what has already proven reasonable elsewhere.

From: GF
23-Feb-21
The important questions here are:

What is the trend in firearms/total harvest?

Is the state happy with the current level of harvest?

Are the firearms hunters protesting that “bow” season hunters are hogging all of the best bucks?

From: JL
23-Feb-21
At this rate....take the "comp-guns" out of all archery seasons and go trad only for any archery season. That would remove any wheel, scope/sight or trigger bias. The so called cross-guns and comp-guns can have the firearms and late seasons. Be careful about what you wish for....

From: Hopeless
23-Feb-21
Seems like the state gave people what they wanted. Assholes.

From: JusPassin
23-Feb-21
What a hoot, how is this any different than what happened in '72 when the compound was introduced? An easier to master weapon being introduced and accepted to make it easier for the masses to kill deer with less effort.

From: JL
23-Feb-21
^....and that is the humorous hypocrisy of it. The old school trad guys may have the last laugh in this if the circle fire keeps going. There could be a day when compounds and crossbows are removed from any archery season.

From: Spiral Horn
23-Feb-21
JL is probably on the right track, but I suspect there will be a slightly different twist. In states where the vertical crowd tries to fight this to the bitter end, there may be a bow season and a separate crossbow season prior to the any-weapon season. And, I’ll bet the vertical guys will insist on being able to also hunt the separate crossbow season.

From: GF
23-Feb-21
“ There could be a day when compounds and crossbows are removed from any archery season.”

Well, we can always hope, right?

Pretty sure that if, in 1972, someone had presented the governing bodies with a 340 fps, 85% let-off compound with an on-board laser rangefinder holo-dot sight and asked them if that’s what they had in mind....

LOL

Not likely we’d be having this debate, that’s for damnsure....

From: Glunt@work
23-Feb-21
They aren't "vertical guys" they are called bowhunters. :^)

23-Feb-21
Hunter numbers are falling as most are from an aging demographic group. Comment above about crossbows being used more as physical abilities decline with age is a reality states are dealing with trying to prevent an even greater exit of hunters and with that a loss of revenue and increased management problems with herd numbers.

I am 62 and waiting on delivery of a new compound, lower limb weight. I also have a tumor in my shooting eye, when vision gets challenging enough I will try switching to left hand, but if I am more comfortable with an Xbox I will go to it and hunt on my own farm and not care what anyone else thinks.

23-Feb-21
Many first time youth and adult hunters are using the scoped and cocked crossbow. It is not just for the seniors.

From: P&Y400
23-Feb-21
You traditional guys are super impressive at what you do and I am very impressed with your skill. I don’t think we should be dumbing down the skill of the compound archers. I think the x-bow hunters should have their own separate season outside the designated archery season and outside of rifle season so as to have a quality hunting season. I’d say give the first three weeks of October To the x-bowers.

From: GF
23-Feb-21
So who gets peak rut?

From: Jethro
23-Feb-21
Those total harvest numbers are so consistent that they can be used to show that including crossbows in IN has had no ill effects

From: P&Y400
23-Feb-21
Peak rut? I dunno archery, muzzleloader, proposed x-bow idea (currently 1st rifle) seems to touch all those time periods for Elk.

From: Glunt@work
23-Feb-21
"Those total harvest numbers are so consistent that they can be used to show that including crossbows in IN has had no ill effects"

True, unless you want to see bowhunting thrive.

From: grizzly63
23-Feb-21
They always use the declining hunter numbers as a reason for inclusion. How about working on access? That is the main reason we are losing hunters, the gradual movement towards the land owners owning the wildlife. The further commercialization of a once proud heritage. We are living in the land of capitalism. We have staved it off in South Dakota for another year but you can rest assured it will be back next year.

23-Feb-21
I have been a trad archer for 60 years, a bowhunter for probably 58, and a trad big game hunter for 50 years. Never shot a compound, no desire to shoot a crossbow.

That being said, crossbows are here to stay for many reasons. Aging bowhunters, easier and faster for young hunters to get into the game, easier for the lazy, big money to be made, and on and on.

That being said, my worry is that the harder everyone fights to force them out of “OUR” archery season, is we will lose our archery season. They may end up with their own season, taken out of the “REGULAR” archery season. Rather than sharing a season due to our prejudice, we may lose some season length so they can establish a separate crossbow season. If the OP’s original numbers are accurate, and the trend continues they will be the majority of the statistics and will have the loudest voice, and we will suffer.

While they are not for me at this stage in my life, I think it’s a losing battle, and we better accept that we can all play together, or we may lose more than we want to of our season.

Hopefully the game managers/biologists can continue to fight the legislators for game management to maintain healthy/huntable populations. If I can only shoot 1 deer, does it matter what it is shot with?

From: RK
23-Feb-21
Grizzly

Of course we are living in the land of capitalism. And the alternative is?

Was the proud heritage being able to hunt wherever you wanted to, damn private property rights

I'm not following your thought process here. You know there is another thread that addressing the process of just asking for permission to hunt from private property owners. Seems to work for a lot of people

There are so many reasons for the decline of hunting and for that matter many things that used to be the norm. Access may be part of the equation but not a big part.

From: Spiral Horn
23-Feb-21
I’m also pretty handy at driving vehicles with a manual transmission, but don’t feel traffic would be any easier or we’d all be better drivers if we outlawed automatics.

From: Spiral Horn
23-Feb-21
Well said Bentstick

From: GF
23-Feb-21
“ Access may be part of the equation but not a big part.”

Yeah..... Your mileage may vary on that one. I think it’s a mistake to presume that familiarity with any one state gives you any kind of a read on that issue. Where I live now, it’s a major deal. During shotgun, tags are limited by lottery to 1 gun per I think 20 acres. Might be tighter than that, and success in 2nd Shotgun is under 5%; then ML and it’s even worse.

But hey, Crossbows. Now the shotgun tags are easy to get because nobody has much reason to buy one anymore...

From: JL
23-Feb-21
Here's another speculative possibility about this ongoing circle fire. If the vert guys keep complaining about the crossbow guys and wanting to split them off......the DNR is going to come back with something that neither the vert guys or crossbow guys are going to like. If you have a 30 day archery season and the DNR is going to split it up, how do you think they will decide who gets how many days each of the 30 day archery season???? I can guarantee whomever has the majority of users gets the majority of the days in this new split season. The vert guys will get....say 13 days to vert hunt and the crossbow guys will get the other 17 days to hunt. You can pick the numbers but ya get the drift of where this can head.

Again...tread lightly about what you wish and politic for. Think about future outcomes.

23-Feb-21
The only reality reflected in those numbers is that the inclusion of crossbows has had zero effect on game harvests. Your argument then would be construed as one of pure bias. I think all you’re seeing here is that more “bowhunters” have simply switched over to crossbows.

From: Glunt@work
24-Feb-21
I agree. But no one should be surprised that folks aren't supportive of something that is detrimental to bowhunting when they are visiting a bowhunting forum.

From: JL
24-Feb-21

JL's embedded Photo
JL's embedded Photo

JL's Link
FWIW.....some recent reading material on the subject. One article and one chart. A lot of bowhunters are old. That might suggest the reason for an increase in crossbow usage.

""Few Bowhunters Can Ignore This Case for Hunting with Crossbows Crossbows are more popular – and legal – in more places, and statistics show they're not that much more effective than vertical bows.

September 30, 2020

By Patrick Durkin

The perception – and legality – of crossbow hunting has changed markedly over the past two decades. In 2002, for example, only three states nationwide permitted their use for deer hunting: Ohio, Arkansas and Wyoming. Today, crossbows are allowed without caveat during archery seasons in nine of 13 Midwestern states, and across much of the rest of the country.

Ohio has allowed crossbows during its archery season since 1976. It remained the Midwest’s lone ranger until 2009, when Michigan eliminated its restrictions. Various states tried partial openings based on age, season schedule or physical limitations soon after, but most eventually declared crossbows legitimate bowhunting gear: Indiana and Nebraska in 2011; Kansas in 2013; Wisconsin in 2014; Missouri in 2016; Illinois in 2017; and Kentucky in 2019.

The other four Midwestern states – Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota – forbid or restrict crossbows during archery season for most bowhunters. In fact, of the 37 states east of the Rocky Mountains, 29 (78 percent) allow crossbows during at least part of their archery deer seasons. That’s likely because baby boomers like using them, and harvest data show an increasingly clear fact: No matter how hard they try, crossbows will never grow up to be guns.

Categorizing Crossbows

The Internal Revenue Service, for example, has long defined crossbows to be archery equipment, even though the bow itself mounts atop a gunstock and releases the arrow with a safety-equipped trigger system.

Why does the IRS care? Because it collects federal excise taxes from manufacturers every time they sell a gun or bow. The IRS then channels those revenues to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for conservation efforts nationwide, as required under the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act. Congress made most archery gear subject to the P-R Act in 1972, and the IRS has ever since required crossbow manufacturers to pay an 11 percent excise tax on their products.

No Competition

Either way, even the most tricked-out crossbows can’t compete with centerfire long guns for stacking up deer. According to 2018 state-agency harvest data compiled by the Quality Deer Management Association, New Jersey is the only state in the nation where hunters using bows and crossbows registered more deer (57 percent of the total kill) than firearms hunters.

In the Midwest, bows and crossbows combine for 46 percent of Ohio’s total deer kill and 41 percent of Illinois’ totals. Kansas is next at 37 percent, followed by Indiana at 28 percent and Wisconsin at 26 percent. That combined-archery percentage jumped to 32.5 percent of the total deer harvest in Wisconsin after a subpar firearms season in 2019. Even so, crossbows accounted for only 18 percent of the Badger state’s 289,316 total deer harvest last fall and 22 percent of its total buck kill.

Room for Both

Meanwhile, even though crossbows are stable or climbing in popularity among bowhunters, they aren’t making other archery gear irrelevant. The QDMA’s analysis found that crossbow hunters in only three Midwestern states – Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin – took more deer in 2018 than did bowhunters using recurves, compounds and longbows.

Those reports don’t tell the whole story, of course. Wisconsin’s highest archery kill in the past decade was 94,267 in 2012, only slightly higher than the combined 94,084 archery/crossbow harvest in 2019. Crossbows became legal for all Wisconsin bowhunters in 2014. And even though Wisconsin’s crossbow hunters shot a record 30,004 bucks in 2019, that’s 35 percent below 2012’s archery kill of 45,988 bucks. Predictable Results

Still, no one should be surprised if or when their state’s crossbow hunters shoot more deer than “traditional” archers using compounds and other bows. C.J. Winand, a veteran biologist and longtime contributor to Bowhunter magazine, has studied crossbow trends the past decade. He notes two standard changes when states legalize crossbows, both occurring within three to seven years:

1. The crossbow harvest matches or exceeds the “vertical-bow” kill.

2. Crossbow versus vertical use levels off between 50-50 and 60-40 (crossbow-vertical), and then fluctuates annually.

Winand reports that within seven years of a state legalizing crossbows for archery season, roughly 51 percent of bowhunters choose them. But, many shoot both often, using compound bows early and crossbows in later seasons.

Little Difference

Mike Tonkovich, deer program administrator at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said it’s pointless to try “parsing out” differences between crossbow hunters and other bowhunters. Ohio has studied its bowhunters from every angle and concluded that bowhunters are bowhunters, no matter which bow they shoot.

The Ohio DNR, for instance, studied bowhunters’ shooting and wounding rates in 2014–2015, and found few differences between crossbows and compounds. Here are some of its findings by the numbers:

The average shooting distance for all bowhunters was 25 yards, but shots that hit the deer averaged 22.4 yards, almost 30 percent closer than shots that missed (31.1 yards). Accuracy decreased with distance for all bow types.

Most shots taken with compounds and crossbows were 20 to 24 yards; most shots taken with traditional gear (recurves/longbows) were 15 to 19 yards.

The average shooting distance for compound hits was 22.6 yards; the average for misses was 31.6 yards.

The average shooting distance for crossbow hits was 22.4 yards; the average for misses was 31.1 yards.

Compound bow archers released 1,015 shots and connected on 686, for 67.6 percent accuracy.

Crossbow archers released 719 shots and connected on 529, for 73.6 percent accuracy.

Crossbow archers recovered 60 percent of deer they shot at and didn’t recover 19 percent of deer they hit.

Compound archers recovered 56 percent of deer they shot at and didn’t recover 17.7 percent of deer they hit.

In other words, roughly 18 years into the United States’ crossbow awakening, researchers tend to keep finding more similarities than differences between bowhunters using compounds and those using crossbows when analyzing hunting data........""

From: Glunt@work
24-Feb-21
Patrick's article is obviously crossbow friendly but lays out some good facts. I disagree with statements like Mr Tonkovich's "...concluded that bowhunters are bowhunters, no matter which bow they shoot."

Nope. You can't bowhunt with a crossbow. You can hunt during what was once bow season with a crossbow in some places. I think saying "vertical" bowhunters and crossbow hunters is silly. If you are hunting with a bow, you are bowhunting. If you are hunting with a crossbow, you are crossbow hunting.

From: JL
24-Feb-21
I think Patrick's point was, at least in Ohio, the data between vert and crossbow show's they are very similar. The crossbow does not provide some great advantage over vert bows. If anything, the one piece of data shows compounds and crossbows have a bigger advantage than trad does. That would support my point about being careful what ya wish for....especially if you're a compound shooter complaining about crossbows.

From: Glunt@work
24-Feb-21
I agree. Its been shown many times that although crossbows are much easier to use, they don't result in significantly higher harvest rates. They do result in significantly less bowhunters - at least in midwest states.

24-Feb-21
"As whitetail states expanded crossbow-hunting the past 15 years, their wildlife agencies conducted studies and reviewed license sales to assess the crossbow’s impacts. Those analyses have thus far found no harmful impacts on deer herds, and most find the crossbow’s effectiveness differs little from compounds when used for hunting."

https://www.themeateater.com/hunt/gear-hunt/crossbows-surge-in-whitetail-country

From: Bou'bound
24-Feb-21
"^....and that is the humorous hypocrisy of it. The old school trad guys may have the last laugh in this if the circle fire keeps going. There could be a day when compounds and crossbows are removed from any archery season."

will never happen. there are only two reasons hunting is allowed. to manage game and the generate income for departments and fund the machine. It is not to provide recreation or make hunters happy. if it stopped generating income or controlling populations it would end. therefore it's not going to go away if departments and populations continue to benefit from it.

this movie has played before end we know how it ended and this will be the same. one groups biases and parochial wishes will be swamped by money and biological facts.

enjoy your woods this season as it is an absolute certainty that the number of crossbow hunters will never be lower than it will be this coming year. it's only going up from here boys...............no different than the traditional to compound movement 50 years ago.

24-Feb-21
None of it matters at this point, the ship has sailed in many states. Hunter's are making their choices for the easiest means to bag a trophy during archery seasons. Trophies are diminished, and bow and arrow hunting will continue it's decline. Scoped crossbow hunting will increase in popularity.

From: pav
24-Feb-21
To be clear, after crossbows were legalized in archery season with a disability permit, the Indiana DNR remained relatively neutral on the subject for decades. Crossbow manufacturers, with the assistance of a couple particular Indiana residents, came back year after year...and were turned away year after year. It was the Indiana Legislature that eventually pushed the envelope. DNR really had no choice considering their jobs were/are politically appointed positions. All it took was one tragic deer/vehicle collision involving a prominent family to change the face of deer management here.

There were other changes made in 2012 that affected Indiana's deer population. Increases in antlerless permits, non-weapons specific license bundles offered at a reduced price, late season antlerless firearms season, etc... So, while the numbers appear to reflect lower harvests, that is actually a product of a smaller deer herd.

Bow harvests leading up to 2012 consistently ran roughly 20% of the total harvest. In 2019, the bow harvest was roughly 14 % percent of harvest compared to 15% with crossbow. That represents more than a 40% increase in percentage of total harvest compared to pre-crossbow harvest figures...and a 30% loss for bow harvest alone.

Change is coming from all sides. We have gun hunters that now hunt archery season with crossbows. We lost existing bowhunters to the crossbow. Since the vast majority of new bowhunters have always come from the gun hunter ranks seeking additional opportunity, we have lost that pipeline as well.

Bowhunting...as defined in Indiana for 40+ years...is on a downward spiral. Reality is...it's not coming back. Bowhunters have always been outnumbered by gun hunters. Now, Indiana bowhunters are even being outnumbered in archery season. What's left of our once prominent voice is nothing more than a whisper.

From: Bou'bound
24-Feb-21
^ Exactly. Reality stinks, but it remains reality.

24-Feb-21
^^^^^

From: Jethro
24-Feb-21
"True, unless you want to see bowhunting thrive."

I feel bowhunting is thriving. Opportunities in PA right now are greater than they've been in the 35 years I've been bowhunting. For whitetails in states with unlimited tags, I don't feel crossbows hurt. As long as nobody starts to tell me I "have" to use a crossbow, I have no issue if somebody chooses to use one.

From: Catscratch
24-Feb-21
I would think this data is the last thing someone who is anti-crossbow would want broadcasted. It's easy to look at it and conclude 2 things; crossbows did not affect harvest management, and hunters are simply choosing to put down the vertical and pick up the horizontal. I would like to see; the previous 10yrs stats, the rifle season harvest numbers, buck vs doe harvest numbers, and age class numbers (for the same time frame). As it sits the presented numbers don't tell much of a story without assumptions. It does however effectively mute several talking points: crossbows have too much range, crossbows are too easy to learn, crossbows are easier to aim while in the presence of game, etc. If they are so effective in all these categories then why didn't harvest numbers go up? This data alone does not dispel or discredit any of those points. I think it would be very difficult to convince any DNR to reverse legislation based on these numbers. If you had proof that age class was dropping, or that buck harvests went way up, or that there was a huge decrease in rifle hunting during the same time frame then maybe you would have something convincing.

24-Feb-21
Harvest numbers really mean nothing. It may take two days to fill your whitetail tag with the scoped crossbow, and two weeks to do so with a compound bow. Either way, only one tag is filled. Now go west with the quota seasons and other species, time will tell.

From: JL
24-Feb-21
"""^....and that is the humorous hypocrisy of it. The old school trad guys may have the last laugh in this if the circle fire keeps going. There could be a day when compounds and crossbows are removed from any archery season.""

will never happen. there are only two reasons hunting is allowed. to manage game and the generate income for departments and fund the machine. It is not to provide recreation or make hunters happy. if it stopped generating income or controlling populations it would end. therefore it's not going to go away if departments and populations continue to benefit from it."""

Sure it could happen. Trad would get their own primitive season while compounds and crossbows get combined into some other season. The revenue intake would be the same, just split bow seasons. Because more archers use compounds and crossbows....they would get more days than primitive. In that case....did anyone really win?

From: Glunt@work
24-Feb-21
"I feel bowhunting is thriving."

I was talking about bowhunting as a whole. In PA, deer taken with bows during "bow" season has gone from 100% to around 40%. Thats a giant decline in bowhunting.

From: Zim
24-Feb-21
About the only thing I have to say about crossguns in Indiana is that the greased legislators made my decision easier. With a 16 day OTC November gun season for decades, and no state property daily hunter quotas, the quality on public was already sketchy. But crossguns for the last 8 years, especially early season, sealed the deal for me. I live only 20 minutes from what used to be one of the best public properties for deer in Indiana. The buck quality & quantity there has tanked so bad I no longer even consider hunting it. I deer hunt 100% out of state these days. I left the crowds of xgun hunters to sit in their wheeled ladder stands and pick over the spikes & fork horns by themselves. The 3 month gun season encompasing the entire rut ruined the herd for everyone..........bow, xgun & firearms alike. That's my take on it based on 40 years of observations. The CO's in the HQ building all agree with me, but don't say too much, other than it's a good property to doe hunt.

Although my state is officially a lost cause, I am joining the Iowa Bowhunters Assoc. to lend support to the last domino, at least until it falls.

From: Hopeless
24-Feb-21

At times like this I refer to this passage from the amish prayer in Family Guy. "We solemnly believe that although humans have been around for a million years, you feel strongly that they had just the right amount of technology between 1835 and 1850; not too little, not too much. Please deliver us from Thomas Edison, the worst human being who ever lived."

24-Feb-21
It is not the same. Most hunters are buying right into the technology, in fact they are craving it. Some are up front about, while others are still in the closet. The scoped crossbow revolution did not happen without hunters buying in and supporting the movement. A minority of hunters have limited themselves.

From: tobywon
24-Feb-21
"Most hunters are buying right into the technology, in fact they are craving it"

I agree, it also applies to the compound guys that buy the new, latest and greatest compound bow every year (faster, more let off, etc.). Many must be craving even more and crossing over to the crossbow.

From: Hopeless
24-Feb-21
That's my point - the hypocrisy of it. Not to mention that the invention of the crossbow predates compounds by a couple millennia, and scopes predate compounds by 100 years. I see myself as a traditionalist by using a center fire rifle.

From: JusPassin
24-Feb-21
Or, we could just simplify the whole en devour, unsighted "bows" have one season, and sighted "bows" have another. It would soon sort itself out.

From: GF
24-Feb-21
“ If you have a 30 day archery season and the DNR is going to split it up, how do you think they will decide who gets how many days each of the 30 day archery season???? I can guarantee whomever has the majority of users gets the majority of the days in this new split season. ”

That might be the way it works out in a Mobocracy, but in a Republic, the correct way to allocate those days is based on hunter success rates, such that (statistically speaking) you have an equal opportunity to fill your tag regardless of which weapon you choose. Less efficient weapons (as determined by tags filled/hour of hunting effort) get more days in which to get it done.

Which is why CO allocates 4 weeks for Archery and (IIRC) about 4 DAYS for some of the Rifle seasons.

Where the entire conversation falls flat on its face is basically when Archery season becomes an Additional opportunity vs. an Alternative.

If you are forced to choose A weapon for the year, it rewrites the calculus for all of the “multi-season” hunters.

From: Catscratch
24-Feb-21
Spot on. For years and years I've watched bowhunters seek the newest technology to make bowhunting easier. The drive for easier never slows.

It is no surprise that the newest form of "easier" is being adopted hand over fist, been that way forever. Why should this be different? It's a very small segment who choose to draw their line in the sand behind the newest technology.

From: Zim
24-Feb-21
““ If you have a 30 day archery season and the DNR is going to split it up, how do you think they will decide who gets how many days each of the 30 day archery season???? I can guarantee whomever has the majority of users gets the majority of the days in this new split season. ” That might be the way it works out in a Mobocracy, but in a Republic, the correct way to allocate those days is based on hunter success rates, such that (statistically speaking) you have an equal opportunity to fill your tag regardless of which weapon you choose. Less efficient weapons (as determined by tags filled/hour of hunting effort) get more days in which to get it done.”

You don’t have to worry about the DNR splitting up anything. And it won’t necessarily be the majority of users who get what they want. Any season changes will be dictated by whatever special interest group lines the pockets of the most corrupt politician. You should have that figured out by now.

From: GF
24-Feb-21
Well, Scratchy, if you put it that way…

The PROBLEM is that the line was drawn in the SAND to begin with. On what constitutes archery equipment for hunting in the modern day, the line could have and probably should have been set in STONE in about 1950. What ruined everything is that they didn’t think to proactively outlaw stuff that hadn’t been invented yet; not that I’m eager to live my life in a society ruled by laws against things that might conceivably come to pass at some point in the future, but even then…

Those setting the definition looked at what was generally understood to constitute a “bow“ and they looked at the evolutionary dead end which was the crossbow, and they decided that the crossbow did not fit with their intentions.

The IOC recognized that a Compound puts an archer onto a different competitive plane and ruled against. The PGA has ruled that certain golf clubs & balls confer a competitive advantage and ruled them out. Same thing in virtually every sport. Don’t they even have a speed limit for compounds in 3D Competition? Horsepower limits on Bass Boats?

Bowhunting is one of a VERY few activities in which technological advances have been handed a blank check.

And you guys somehow think that you can keep gobbling up all of the advantages that time & technology have to offer without ever trading anything away, just so long as you don’t cross some imaginary line by adding a “gunstock” (even though in point of fact, I suppose it is more accurate to say that a “gunstock” is just repurposed parts from a crossbow....).

JMO, when the Gun-hunting majority has finally had enough, they’d be damned fools to stop at xbows...

And if you don’t think it will happen, let’s go fishing and talk about it; I know a really nice fly-fishing only stretch right nearby... Single, barbless hooks only, mind you....

From: Brotsky
24-Feb-21
I won't give you guys a word salad on why harvest rates don't change much. Guys who bowhunt that move to crossbows are shitty hunters and want it to be easy because they can't seem to kill with a bow. The crossbow doesn't all of sudden make them good hunters, it's just an equalizer.

24-Feb-21
^^^^Bingo!

From: Hopeless
24-Feb-21
So given that crossbow hunters are shitty hunters. Zero impact.

From: mooseslayer
24-Feb-21
Spot on Brotsky!!

24-Feb-21
“So given that crossbow hunters are shitty hunters. Zero impact.”

That’s not quite what he said. He also said crossbows are great equalizers, which are exactly what 6X scopes, shooting sticks, and the absence of drawing a bow in the presence of game are. Throw in the fact these same people compete for limited archery tags and it is anything but zero impact.

From: Hopeless
24-Feb-21
I'm just here for the self righteous indignation.

From: Zim
24-Feb-21
““ If you have a 30 day archery season and the DNR is going to split it up, how do you think they will decide who gets how many days each of the 30 day archery season???? I can guarantee whomever has the majority of users gets the majority of the days in this new split season. ” That might be the way it works out in a Mobocracy, but in a Republic, the correct way to allocate those days is based on hunter success rates, such that (statistically speaking) you have an equal opportunity to fill your tag regardless of which weapon you choose. Less efficient weapons (as determined by tags filled/hour of hunting effort) get more days in which to get it done.”

You don’t have to worry about the DNR splitting up anything. And it won’t necessarily be the majority of users who get what they want. These days deer management is dictated by whichever special interest group pays the most coin to the most corrupt politician. The DNR has no power to do anything significant.

24-Feb-21
I suppose the same could be said for compound hunters. When the compounds hit the scene in the early 70’s archery hunting across the country exploded in numbers. It made a lot of guys that couldn’t master hunting with longbows and recurves into almost instant hunters.

Tell me honestly, even though I have never shot a compound bow in my life, that I could go into a local pro shop tomorrow morning, get set up with a compound bow, sights, arrows, stabilizers, a release, a little instruction on the indoor range, drop some cash, and be proficient enough to go out the next day and shoot a deer.

My point is, crossbows are here to stay, just like the compounds once they were introduced, there’s no going back.

My point is that we all should be more worried about banding together with any hunting/fishing group that we can to protect our right to hunt and fish period. We need to put aside our elitist attitudes and present a united front or we all will lose.

From: GF
24-Feb-21
Disagree. Most of the non-hunters I talk to have far greater respect (conceptually) for Bowhunting than for firearms.

Of course, they aren’t envisioning a crossbow or a vertical all-but-equivalent.... You say “bow” to anyone who doesn’t keep up with the hook & bullet crowd, and they go straight to a recurve or longbow...

From: Glunt@work
24-Feb-21
I agree we have bigger fish to fry than crossbows. Unfortunately, the crossbow contingent doesn't agree. They spend a ton of time and energy driving a wedge between folks by relentlessly forcing their way into bow seasons.

From: Slate
24-Feb-21
Always worried what the other guy is doing. Just hunt the way you want and enjoy yourself. As long as It’s legal. You won’t stop the inevitable.

From: Glunt@work
24-Feb-21
And if its not legal, skip the "just hunt" part and spend a bunch of time, money and energy making it legal even if there are a ton of fellow hunters opposed to it.

Its common to call out folks who don't want full inclusion as the ones who are causing a fuss and wasting time when they are simply reacting to a dramatic change being forced upon the way things are. Maybe the ones proactively pushing the issue are the ones who are spending time and energy that would be better used on the bigger issues facing hunting.

24-Feb-21
Matt, I see 3 types of people. Hunters, non-hunters and anti hunters.

Most non-hunters don’t necessarily have anything against hunting, they just don’t have the desire to do it themselves for whatever reasons. The majority don’t care if you or I do. Few will fight for our right to hunt because they don’t have a dog in the fight. I know many that would not hunt or field dress a deer unless their life depended on it. But they will eat all I want to supply them with, so I just try to keep them happy.

Anti hunters ,PETA, Friends of Animals, Humane Society etc., want to ban all hunting and fishing. They put animals on the same level as people. These people, organizations, are the loud vocal ones we need to fear. They’re the ones filing lawsuits, getting different hunts and seasons closed down. And being so vocal, tv commercials etc., their numbers are growing.

My point is, we as hunters would best be served with a United front, instead of all the internal fighting that constantly divides us. I would rather sit in my treestand with selfbow across my lap, and have a buddy sitting in a tree or blind 100 yds away from me with a compound bow or a cross bow. I would rather share my woods than lose them. Trad bow, compound bow, crossbow, shotgun, pistol, muzzleloader, centerfire rifle, IT REALLY DOES’NT MATTER to the animal we are hunting. Dead is dead. The concern for different seasons should be as much about safety and herd management.

I repeat, we need to ban together, the real fight needs to be hanging on to our seasons all together, to protect our right to hunt from the Anti’s. JMHO

From: Spiral Horn
24-Feb-21
Bentstick is 100% correct. Fellow hunters are not the enemy and shouldn’t be treated as such. But during my hunting life it’s now come full circle - back in the 70s/early 80s was told by members of the club that declared folks weren’t real bowhunters if they used a compound; now the compound guys are saying you’re not a real bowhunter if you’re not against crossbows during archery season. And, of course there were condescending judgements about everything inbetween = letoffs, releases, sights, vanes, carbon arrows, mechanical broadheads, laser rangefinders, Satellite imagery, GPS, Trail Cams, ad infinitum. Whoever taught us to have such contempt for our fellow hunters over such crap?

From: Highlife
24-Feb-21
Same people that were against compounds IMO

25-Feb-21
We as hunters are our own worst enemy. The constant infighting proves this every single day.

Can anyone and I mean anyone show where the inclusion of full crossbow use in the general archery season has shortened said season?

From: GF
25-Feb-21
“ The concern for different seasons should be as much about safety and herd management”

I’m assuming you’re talking to me here, but I realize how dangerous that is now that there is a “mat“ on every doorstep… The odd thing is that when my parents told their friends what they had named me it was sort of a “oh… That’s… ‘Interesting’“...

Anyway...

As one who prefers hunting from the ground and staying mobile, I see the vastly expanded popularity of “archery“ seasons as a very significant safety concern for me, personally.

But as far as “herd management“ is concerned…

In the beginning, brothers and sisters, the idea was it archery season and would have no appreciable impact on Herd Management whatsoever.

Now we have roughly 1/2 of the country where the deer managers are dependent on archery harvest to provide some degree of population control, and in the other half, the expanded popularity of archery seasons is creating levels of hunting pressure which are creating management issues by pressuring deer and (more often) Elk down onto private property prior to the first rifle season, which is making it difficult to hit harvest targets.

So in effect, a season which was intended to have no appreciable Effect in INCREASING annual harvest is now potentially DECREASING potential harvest for the firearms seasons. And that is NOT SUSTAINABLE.

So if it’s your job to make sure that X number of Elk are killed in your state every year, you are faced with the choice of either reducing participation in Archery seasons or introducing an alternate form of herd control… Such as.... oh I don’t know… Maybe wolves?

From: Old Reb
25-Feb-21
Presently I use a compound bow. I am not anti- crossbow. Maybe some day age will put one in my hands so I can stay in the deer woods. I'm from Ohio and crossbows have been included in archery season since 1976. Over the years our archery season has been lengthened. It now usually starts the last Saturday in September and runs through the first Sunday in February. Fortunately our tags are OTC and no tag quotas. Crossbow use has basically replaced gun use and annual harvest rates have basically stayed the same.

From: pav
25-Feb-21
To be clear, a crossbow is a viable weapon. I take no issue with the weapon, only how the weapon is managed...i.e. the affect on bowhunting. My dad used a crossbow his last two deer seasons due to a prior shoulder surgery. There may come a day when physical limitations dictate that I either use a crossbow or stop hunting entirely. Indiana had a crossbow disability permit for decades...primarily for aging bowhunters...and it had a place IMO.

I'll turn 60 years old this year. Been bowhunting since my teenage years. Compounds were legal archery equipment in Indiana long before I was physically able to participate. When I first started bowhunting, our archery season was three weeks long with a one deer limit. In the early 80's, WE (compound and stickbow hunters) worked with the DNR to establish a late archery season...and extend the early season by a week.

In the mid-90's, when antlerless only tags were introduced, the state did not allocate any of those tags for the early archery season. It took a few years for US (compound and stickbow hunters) to convince the state to allow antlerless only tags during early archery season.

About that same time, the state began deer reduction hunts in state parks. Bowhunting in the state parks was forbidden. WE (compound and stickbow hunters) were eventually successful in opening state park deer reductions to bowhunting by targeting state parks located in urban areas. The establishment of bowhunting in urban deer zones followed.

Point is, compounds have been legal archery equipment in Indiana for roughly 50 years. Compound bowhunters had a big hand in the evolution of archery deer hunting in this state. I highly doubt Indiana is alone in that regard. Some states added compounds to existing archery seasons. Other states established archery only seasons after the compound became popular. In both cases, compound bowhunters played a significant part in the evolution of archery only seasons.

Crossbows, unlike compounds, have been around for centuries. Yet crossbows were not considered an acceptable weapon during archery season until crossbow manufacturers saw the potential sales and began pushing the envelope. Full crossbow inclusion in archery season has always and always will be their target. That is the ONLY way to maximize profits. Unfortunately, we're losing ground to crossbows more often than we're winning. Bowhunting will not vanish because of crossbows, but as bowhunter numbers drop...because of crossbows...we become more and more irrelevant to those entities making decisions which affect our future.

From: keepemsharp
25-Feb-21
The NRA magazine just had a report on a new Ten-Point rig for $3600.00. That might thin the crowd some?

From: GF
26-Feb-21
And does Ten-Point have an ad covering the entire back cover?

I hadn’t thought about it before, but that certainly does explain why the NRA was backing Crossbows in Archery seasons, doesn’t it?

26-Feb-21
Well stated pav. I never thought I’d see the day that those of us that feel crossbows should not be legal during archery season would become the minority on Bowsite.

From: Glunt@work
26-Feb-21
Agreed. Allowing in bow season may not effect a guy's experience who has his spot and someone 800 yards away is hunting with one. I get that. But they have proven to result in being the biggest cause of decline in bowhunting in whitetail states. This is a site fueled and focused on bowhunting but the biggest immediate threat to bowhunting has a lot of support.

26-Feb-21
Here is some food for thought.......

Your version of bowhunting isn't necessarily or has to be the same as someone else's version.

From: Glunt@work
26-Feb-21
True. I'm looking at the issue with the idea that bowhunting means hunting with a bow.

From: GF
27-Feb-21
“ This is a site fueled and focused on bowhunting but the biggest immediate threat to bowhunting has a lot of support.”

Yep, because most people who hunt with arrows are only in it for what is in it FOR THEM. Longer/additional seasons, more tags, better timing and no requirement to give up any more tech than they want to.

I mean, I dunno... Are crossbows out-selling compounds in any states where there is no blanket inclusion Archery Season???

And are compounds still out-selling crossbows in any states which DO allow unrestricted use of them during Archery??

Yeah. Didn’t think so.

If Bowhunting is going to survive, it will have to mean more than just extra chances to fill more tags.

27-Feb-21
Here's something else.

Is a person who hunts with a crossbow during archery season somehow less than the person who hunts with a vertical bow? Should they not be considered bowhunters? Are we or should we be that elitist of a group?

From: Glunt@work
27-Feb-21
They aren't less of a person, thats silly. They also aren't bowhunting. I do lots of stuff besides bowhunt. I rifle hunt, muzzleload, shotgun birds, fish, ride snowmobiles, watch my kids hockey, backpack, build bows, etc.. Just like hunting with a crossbow, they are activities that aren't bowhunting.

From: Matt
27-Feb-21
"Here's something else. Is a person who hunts with a crossbow during archery season somehow less than the person who hunts with a vertical bow?"

Crossbow use by the fit in archery season is equivalent to Kim Kardashian entering a "girl next door" competition. Does that answer the question?

From: GF
27-Feb-21
Really?? You’re going to play the “elitist“ card yet again??

Spare me. The rules are what they are. Or maybe I should say they were what they were, and least in the beginning… Accepting the rules and playing the game as it was conceived at the outset does not make you an “Elitist“. Expecting those who come into the game after you did to stick to the same rules that you accepted when you came in does not make you an “Elitist“. That’s just basic Sportsmanship. Square Dealings. If you don’t like the rules, just choose a different game.

This one has gotten too damned crowded as it is.

27-Feb-21
Crossbow technology is limitless, unlike a compound which only has let-off advances. As seen in the latest crossbow models, where the axle to axle length when cocked is less than the palm of your hand, electronic cocking and uncocking systems, a rangefinding scope that can range game out to 250 yards and set an aiming point at 175 yards, and a crossbow with 2 sets of limbs, and triggers that allow 2 shots to be fired within "milliseconds". Even the most advanced compound is still hand drawn and hand held. That is the major difference and advantage. Game agencies have prostituted themselves to the crossbow manufacturers in order for more revenue, not biologically sound game management. Crossbow manufacturers have dangled the carrot to firearms hunters that entices them to purchase and utilize a familiar platform that will make them "a 2 season hunter". Crossbows are not, and never will be archery tackle.

27-Feb-21
Bowhunters hunt with a bow and arrow, crossbow hunters hunt with a crossbow and bolts, gun hunters hunt with a gun and bullets.

What kind of person you are is determined by how you voted.

27-Feb-21
GF..... 1st time I myself used the word elitist, but whatever. Ya yes, the rules. Let's go back in time to the original rules, to the original season lengths, to the original legal equipment. We'll all be so thrilled then.

Just for the record, I use a compound bow for 95% of my bowhunting. But did take out my dad's crossbow during late season at times and also my flintlock at times. But that flintlock makes me a true muzzleloader hunter verses the guys that hunt with percussion guns and even more so than the inline guys. :)

But hey........ ya'll keep fighting against your fellow hunters. It's worked out so well in the past.

From: pav
27-Feb-21
GF - "Spare me. The rules are what they are. Or maybe I should say they were what they were, and least in the beginning… Accepting the rules and playing the game as it was conceived at the outset does not make you an “Elitist“. Expecting those who come into the game after you did to stick to the same rules that you accepted when you came in does not make you an “Elitist“. That’s just basic Sportsmanship. Square Dealings. If you don’t like the rules, just choose a different game."

Hmmm....pretty sure you are a few years younger than me. That would mean compounds were likely legal archery hunting equipment before you ever had an archery tag in your young pocket. Point being, the rules of the game had already changed before you decided to play. Maybe YOU should have chosen a different game?

From: GF
27-Feb-21
“ Let's go back in time to the original rules, to the original season lengths, to the original legal equipment. We'll all be so thrilled then.”

As long as you’re talking about Archery seasons... SOLD!

Let’s DO go back to when we were allowed to hunt only ONE season per year. Let’s DO go back to when the technology was so limiting that only a handful of hunters were willing to bet their ONE season on their ability to have a satisfying year with a bow. Let’s DO expand the Any Weapon season dates and bag limits enough to meet the harvest goals.

I’m in.

Hunting’s future will be secure as long as the majority of non-hunters are willing to believe that it is about more than blood-lust and bragging rights and that the conservation/wildlife management aspects are more important than their own ambivalence about killing an animal in the woods instead of a slaughterhouse. Hunting’s future SHOULD be secure under the NA model just on principle, of course, but there’s a lot to be said for popular support at the voting booth.

It is BEYOND abundantly clear that the vast majority of bow hunters… or I guess I should say Bowhunting Season Participants… would rather be using firearms in the first place. I’ve been saying for 25 years that sooner or later, the Riflemen - representing the vast majority of all hunters - would grow tired of seeing the bar for entry to archery season continually lowered and more and more deer taken from the woods prior to THEIR preferred season and that eventually they would lose their tolerance for Archery seasons AT ALL. And if it should ever come to a point where we don’t even have rifle season hunters willing to speak up on our behalf, how long do you think Bowhunting will last when some anti-hunting group gets it onto a ballot measure?

Seems to me that you can’t expect to be respected if you’re not willing to act respectably in the first place. And from a gun-guy’s perspective, there is absolutely nothing worthy of respect in cashing in on extra tags and extra days in the woods just by buying a crossbow.

From: Bou'bound
27-Feb-21
Theses are the good old days of crossbow participation. It will never be less than it is now. Enjoy the relative lack of crossbows in the woods. Every year will set the new record just like the last 21 have

From: DL
28-Feb-21
Coming from California the biggest enemy of bowhunting here is not crossbows but the constant bombardment of anti hunting issues trying to be passed. Be careful you don’t let this scum sneak in on you while you’re fighting to keep bow seasons. When the recent anti bear hunting law was proposed we needed every voice we could to complain and counter this bill. Over 20,000 people called or wrote in to stop it. At that point no one cared what you hunted with. Me personally at 71 my shoulders are shot elbow issues as well as fingers. I bought a crossbow 4 years ago to use. Went bear hunting with it once. I was so disgusted with everything about it that I haven’t bow hunted since. Last year was the first year since 1958 that I haven’t been out hunting. I believe that their might possibly be a drop off in crossbows because of dying off of a lot of us old farts. This should be a major concern for hunters. We/you will need to have a recruitment of young hunters to fill that loss to insure the future of hunting. In my observation of years of hunting there is in a lot of cases an evolution in individuals and hunting. Many of started out rifle hunting and after a while wanted a bigger challenge and to to bowhunting with a compound bow. Years go by and they jump into using a stick bow. It would be interesting to see the age and experience(years) of hunting of those using Xbows? I feel the biggest push for using them are by the manufactures of them. Lots of large adds out there pushing the use of them. Maybe Bowhunters should write them and say because you are making them I will no longer buy your equipment.

From: Muskybuck
28-Feb-21
In Wisconsin in most counties, crossgun kills during the archery season overtook bow kills within 2-3 years of the 2014 inclusion of the crossbow.

From: keepemsharp
28-Feb-21
Its just gun hunters going to a longer season without having to learn a new weapon.

28-Feb-21
I hunt with trad bows and a compound. I hunt with rifles too. Up until I lost half my vision in my right eye, I mostly carried a hawken style muzzleloader when black powder hunting. That’s the way I was raised. With these weapons. It’s what I feel is adequate. And, they fit the definition of legal weapons for game departments country wide, during my raising.

Enter the crossbow. Their inclusion into bow season wasn’t my choice. I’d rather that not be the case unless medically needed. However, they have been greeted with open arms by a vast majority of hunters.

It’s time to get real. Crossbows are not going to shorten anyone’s season. In any state or, for any animal. That variable gets hung on the new mantra of predators management. Not the crossbow. Don’ t confuse that.

The chance of drawing Elk tags as a whole, are decreasing as we speak. For lots of reasons. Crossbows aren’t one of them. Mule deer numbers have been going down for 20 years. Making tags for hunting them decrease. Crossbows aren’t the cause. Moose numbers are declining now. Crossbows aren’t the issue. Etc....

I keep hearing how the crossbow is going to shorten our bow season. Yet, there is already things in play to ensure that. None of which are related to crossbows. Instead, it’s a direct correlation of the protection of predators versus prioritizing ungulate populations.

I wish the crossbow wasn’t an option. But, it is and it’s here to stay. I’m not sure it attracts new hunters as much as it lets half hearted, back forty whitetail hunters be more efficient. It lets kids start earlier. And, it helps to keep older hunters in the whitetail woods. Because I don’ t care what anyone says, they are limiting when you gotta carry one of them to hunt with. So, it’s definitely catered more towards the one tree stand bait hunting whitetail guy versus a fella that hunts differently. And western hunting being at the top of the list of different ways to hunt.

Anyways, I figure we better get serious about how to recruit new hunters. That’s what is going to save us. Not sectors of existing hunters arguing over morality concerning their weapons choices.

02-Mar-21
It is not mostly gun hunters going to the scoped crossbow. The main driver is former bow hunters laying down their bow and replacing it with the crossbow. Bow and arrow hunting is in a steep decline in states where the crossbow is legal for all.

From: pav
02-Mar-21
Missouribreaks - It is not mostly gun hunters going to the scoped crossbow. The main driver is former bow hunters laying down their bow and replacing it with the crossbow.

Based solely on observations here in Indiana, not sure I agree with that? Lots of gun hunters have taken up the crossbow here. Some may have eventually became bowhunters for added opportunity, but there is zero incentive for that now.

02-Mar-21
Pav, for certain gun hunters are coming into archery seasons. The third issue (rarely mentioned) is we have a new generation of archery season hunters who start and stay with the crossbow. Only a very few will ever become proficient with a bow and arrow.

Right now, the only reasons even more have not flocked to the crossbow is the fact that some western states still do not allow crossbows, and the P&Y club only allows bow and arrow kills. Once those barriers are removed, the collapse of bow and arrow hunting will accelerate.

From: RK
02-Mar-21
Missouri

All the data points to what Pav is saying

Makes no difference what people WANT to believe. Truth is what it is

Walking is easy-riding a bike is easier- driving in a vehicle is even easier. All get you where you are going-just depends on how easy you want to make it

Humans usually take the easiest method

02-Mar-21
There is some truth to that, however I believe in states such as Wisconsin bow and arrow kills are way down. These hunters quit using their bows and arrows. I know quite a few former midwestern bow hunters who now use crossbows. As far as exact data it is lacking and I could be wrong on which segment has the largest use of the crossbow. For sure the gun hunter migration has the greatest "influence" as the former bow hunters were already hunting the archery seasons, they are now simply using a different weapon.

From: Ned
02-Mar-21
a couple years ago the archery ( crossbow included) harvest in Ohio surpassed the gun harvest. Isn't that wonderful. Crossbow hunting has ruined bowhunting in this state, at least on public land it has. I personally think they should be permitted on private land only.

From: GF
02-Mar-21
“ The chance of drawing Elk tags as a whole, are decreasing as we speak. For lots of reasons. Crossbows aren’t one of them. ”

That’s because they’re not legal in most western states… YET. And in the meantime, compounds are doing plenty of damage as it is.

The difference is that with whitetails, Compounds crossbows are a boon to herd management, because they increase the harvest total and there are just too damn many of them. Just about every place that has whitetails… has TOO MANY whitetails...

In a place like Colorado, the additional pressure brought on by compounds becoming easier and easier to use (and issuing cow-only tags for Archery) apprars to be having an adverse effect on the harvest total for the first RIFLE season, because the Elk are getting pushed down on the private property earlier and earlier. So there, the problem is the PRESSURE, which could be alleviated by restricting the technology permitted.

Call me crazy, but if the perceived “effective range” and the ease of use of the modern compound have caused a Hunting Pressure issue, then it’s time to roll back the ease of use until the Bow season no longer affects the Rifle harvest.

02-Mar-21
GF, do you just talk to hear yourself? Or, do you really believe that technology in hunting weapons is causing undo pressure? No bow is going to be a weapon that affects harvest numbers enough to put a hurting on any big game animal in the west. Period. End of story.

It really doesn’t matter what weapon is being used by people in Colorado pressuring animals onto private ground. They would still be there hinting. Not to mention, biking, hiking, fishing, etc.... Let’s not get into the droves of sheep, cattle, dogs, and cowboys in the woods at the same time. Or, the fact that many of these grazing operations are purposely running those elk onto private ground. Where the landowner who owns that livestock, is selling hunts.

None of the issues you referred to matters due to technology. It just ain’t so.

From: Tonybear61
02-Mar-21
Al Dente said it best "Even the most advanced compound is still hand drawn and hand held. That is the major difference and advantage." Why do so many people have trouble with this concept, especially on a bowhunting forum?

Hunt with a gun, muzzle loader finger on the trigger game approaches, boom... bullet is shot. GAme dies due to energy transfer, maybe blood loss. Hunt with crossbow, stock is up finger on trigger game approaches , slam.... bolt is launched. Game dies due to blood loss. Flat parabola; judging distance not critical, scopes typically in use. Hunt with hand- held hand released bow, game approaches, need to draw, (1 game sees you is gone, 2- game doesn't see you) hold, (longbow shoots), hold, hold (recurve shoots), hold, hold, hold, hold, (compound shoots..) All you gain with a compound is perhaps more time, a flatter parabola (depending on the long bow or recurve) and in all cases animal dies of blood loss. Proper yard estimation critical, body angle, tracking skills all come into play. Any questions??

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