LAST UPDATED: May 1st, 2015
One of the hottest topics in the archery industry right now, and for the past two decades, is the crossbow controversy that continues to rage on. In spite of the fact that 25 states currently allow the crossbow during the entire archery season, the other half still bans crossbow use, to varying degrees, in some or all of the bowhunting season. Change is coming however; but it is definitely not moving at breakneck speed.
Todd and Justin have asked me to be their crossbow columnist for the launch of their new and improved website. My assigned task is keeping you, the reader, up to date on the latest crossbow legislation or any breaking crossbow news and answering any questions that you might have about crossbows and crossbow hunting in general.
And now for a little background… For those of you that have never heard of me, I am the Editor/Publisher of the Horizontal Bowhunter Magazine (HBM) which was founded in 2001 and is the official publication of the American Crossbow Federation (ACF). The ACF is kind of like the NRA for crossbow hunters and has been hard at work since its inception in 2001 helping to promote and educate folks about the crossbow while striving to expand the crossbow hunting opportunity for all.
The author with a fine whitetail buck harvested this past season.
When the ACF began, there were just three states that allowed the crossbow during the entire archery season. Wyoming, which has allowed the crossbow as archery equipment since its very first bowhunting season; Arkansas which made the crossbow a legal option in 1973; and Ohio, which jumped on the very short Crossbow Train in 1976.
For the next 25 years these three states not only allowed bowhunters to use crossbows during the entire archery season, but more importantly they proved by actual experience and documentation that all of the awful things that the anti-crossbow folks claimed would happen if the crossbow was allowed during the bowhunting season were nothing more than myths and had no basis of truth what-so-ever. Even today with 25 states allowing the crossbow, not one crossbow myth (we will discuss the crossbow myths in more detail in the months ahead) has come to pass in any state where the crossbow is a legal hunting option… not one!
For a quarter of a century things remained the same and then in 2002 Georgia joined in the crossbow movement. In 2004 Alabama threw its hat into the crossbow ring followed by Tennessee and Virginia in 2005 and Louisiana in 2008. In 2009 things picked up as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas jumped on the Crossbow Train followed in 2010 by Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Oklahoma bringing the grand total of crossbow states to 18.
In 2011 Florida, Indiana and Nebraska boarded the train, followed by Rhode Island in 2012; Connecticut and Kansas in 2013; and Wisconsin in 2014 bringing the current total to 25. So as I write this column the crossbow train is speeding down the tracks half full… or is it really half empty? Who cares, just as long as it is a whole lot fuller than it was just a decade ago.
During the past 20 years now, it has been my task to help educate, gather information and share the positive side of the crossbow and of crossbow hunting. My crossbow hunting experience began at Horton’s Camp Opportunity back in 1995 where I successfully missed two deer standing broadside at 20 yards to make my first crossbow hunt one that I would never forget because of the stark crossbow lessons that it taught me.
Since that first hunt however, I have taken deer, antelope, bear, wild hogs, exotics, wild turkeys and predators with my crossbows. As the Publisher/Editor of HBM it has been my privilege to field test and write in-depth reviews about crossbows from every major manufacturer. Those hands-on evaluations are always conducted from a bowhunter’s point of view, both on the range and in the field. Because of my position as a reviewer, once I have taken an animal with my current crossbow-pal, I quickly move on to the next putting it through its paces and analyzing its performance in the field from initial assembly to its first harvest. Once blood has been drawn, I move on to my next crossbow, starting the process all over again. As a matter of fact, on just about every hunt, I have a different crossbow cradled in my arms, seldom using the same crossbow for more than one successful hunt. So many crossbows and so little time. I am a tramp… The Crossbow Tramp or at least that is what I am called. It is a dirty job, but someone has to do it.
I’ve traveled across North America testing crossbows and dispelling crossbow myths one at a time.
So, in the months ahead, I will share crossbow industry news, some of the hunting experiences I have with various crossbows as I come into contact with them and anything else that I feel you might find interesting about the Crossbow Train as it speeds down the tracks towards the goal of being 100% full with all fifty cars hooked up and rapidly moving across this great land of ours.
And please, if there are any questions that you would like to ask or problems that you think I may be able to help you with, please email me at [email protected] and I will try and assist you in any way that I can.
Until next time, please take care, be well and God bless.