As a resident of Ohio I never had to think about the inclusion of crossbows during our archery season as crossbow hunting has been a legal means of harvest here in Ohio since 1976. Our Nations bicentennial marked the time when Ohio’s deer herd got decimated by the crossbow…. Or did it?
Let’s take a look at some numbers. For the 2009-2010 Ohio archery season vertical bowhunters tagged 42,485 deer while their horizontal brothern tagged 49,065. Really, 6,500 more whitetail isn’t all that many. It’s only a 13% higher take in the total harvest. Now digging a little deeper, 55% of Ohio’s 330,000 archers are carrying crossbows into the woods each fall while vertical bowhunters account for the remaning 45%. Basically there are 16,000 more crossbow hunters than vertical hunters and those extra crossbow hunters accounted for the 6,500 more whitetail. Not as staggering as you may have thought…
Oklahoma and Mississippi are the latest states to allow the use of crossbows in their general archery season. Just last year (2008-2009 season) Pennsylvania, Texas and New Jersey allowed crossbows to be included in their archery seasons for the first time. A host of states over the past few years have amended their game laws for partial inclusion of crossbows in their archery seasons as well; Maryland, Kansas and Illinois to name a few.
Whether you like it or not, crossbow hunting is expanding, rapidly at that…. Love them or hate them, at this pace it is only a matter of time before they will be in a woods near you.