Should the Airbow Be Legal for Archery Season?

By now you’ve probably heard all about the Benjamin Pioneer Airbow that was unleashed in 2016 as the “next big thing” in the world of hunting weapons. More than a year later many are still wondering if this new style of weapon will find it’s place in the hunting world as being valid for hunting big game? Some states have already okayed the concept for hunting, while others are fighting it with all they got.

Benjamin Pioneer Airbow

Bow, gun, or crossbow…what exactly is the Airbow?

The Pioneer Airbow from Benjamin is an all-new category of big game weapon featuring full length arrows and full weight broadheads, all driven by air. The Pioneer can be cocked with two fingers (and decocked just as easily), and fires 8 shots in the same amount of time it takes to fire three from a crossbow, all up to a blazing 450 FPS. The Airbow measures 33.5″ in length and 2″ wide.

Jim Shockey was one of the first big-name hunters to endorse the product. He even had the opportunity to put the Pioneer Airbow to test while hunting a buffalo in Texas.

“This little tiny thing is honestly gonna revolutionize hunting…archery, crossbow…its really, really fun!” says Jim Shockey.

Here’s the video of Shockey’s demo of the AirBow…

While some consider the Airbow just another cool toy, others are already pushing for it to be accepted as a viable weapon in the world of big game hunting. In fact, just last year, Pennsylvania state Rep. Marc Gergely, issued a notice indicating his plans to introduce a bill which would make airbows legal for hunting in Pennsylvania. The state currently does not allow air-powered devices for hunting.

“I recognize that it would be unreasonable to legalize the Airbow during archery season, considering that it is significantly more advanced and has greater firepower than current compounds and crossbows,” Gergely states. “Thus, this bill intends to permit the use of an airbow during firearms season only.”

Pioneer Airbow

The Benjamin Pioneer Airbow was a pretty hot item at the 2016 ATA Show in Louisville, KY.

But others are concerned that the Airbow concept will creep into the archery and bowhunting category. After all, the Benjamin Pioneer Airbow did make it’s debut at the 2016 ATA Show, archery and bowhunting’s leading tradeshow. And it does have “bow” in the name. That’s enough to scare the snot out of traditional bowhunting advocates, as well as encourage those who would love to see the Airbow accepted as legal archery tackle.

Here’s a look at the states where Crosman believes the Airbow is currently legal for hunting big game…

states allowing airbow map

There’s only a handful of states with regulations that seem to allow the use of the Airbow for big game hunting. Will that change in the years ahead?

So what do you think? Will the Airbow ever become standard archery equipment like the crossbow? Should it? Comment below and let us know what you think.

Comments

  1. First time I see someone in the woods with a speargun I’m gonna smack him.

    Reply
    • Randy K says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more. Even the first time I saw it I knew it was a spear gun and called it likeit is.

      Reply
    • ScottinVA says:

      Yep, it’s an air gun that uses arrows for bullets.
      The distinction here is MECHANICAL propulsion, vs. gas propulsion.
      I might be able to get behind a sling-bow or a spring-bow for archery season, but limit this to gun season only.

      Reply
    • I think Indiana has solved the issue with the rule that IF you hunt with a crossbow, you must buy a crossbow license, (bundled license include any weapon in season). If they want to make it legal, just make a separate license or include it in the crossbow license. We are all on the same team whether we are hunting with a rifle, shotgun, airgun, muzzleloader, crossbow, airbow, or archery. As long as it provides a quick and humane kill, why oppose it?

      Reply
      • ScottinVA says:

        James A Walls:
        IF you wish to do away with archery season altogether, that makes sense. And I agree that we are on the same team; but we are not on the same “squad”.
        But the archery season exists to give the lower-tech hunters the opportunity to hunt without competing with the scoped rifles and the shotguns.
        I would agree to allow these to hunt with the muzzle-loaders, as they seem to have similar skill-level and range.
        But they are not bows, no matter what the marketing says.

        Reply
        • James A Walls says:

          I agree. They are air rifles and should be classified as such. I’m not a fan of allowing crossbows during archery season as it is not archery. I see your point but believe they should be allowed a season.

          Reply
  2. Dumb.

    Reply
  3. Chad Brueggeman says:

    No way should these ever be considered leagal for bow hunting. I’m so tired of everyone taking the easy road. Bow hunting is about hard work and practice and being dedicated to the sport. These, much like crossbows, are just short yardage rifles. If you can’t take the time to be proficient with a bow than stay out of the woods until rifle season

    Reply
    • Totally agree 1000 %

      Reply
    • Darren Haverstick says:

      Amen, brother!

      Reply
    • Or some of us prefer to use all of the resources available to us to make clean, ethical kills for our harvest. Say what you want, but it’s statistically proven that crossbows have allowed for greater kill and recovery rates than traditional bows.
      Do I think this air bow is really a bow? No. I think it falls into air gun classification. But should we stick our noise in the air about technology advancements for harvesting game? Absolutely not.

      Reply
    • Um, let the individual hunter decide what weapon they choose to hunt with. The air bow issue is just more proof that the government is sticking it’s nose where it doesn’t belong..

      Reply
      • I could have used one of these a couple years ago when I broke my shoulder and hand.If it humainly distpatches an animal with an arrow I am all for it.Game always tastes better shot with an arrow than a gun.Technology is awesome.

        Reply
    • I disagree, and only hunt with a vertical bow. A crossbow allows many people to get in the woods and enjoy our natural resources that wouldn’t otherwise be able to. Children, Women, Parents, and the Disabled are now able to enjoy the archery season during the nice weather because they can become proficient shooting regularly for a month. I have been a finger archer for the past 36 years, I felt like I was cheating when I started using a release…it was so much easier than shooting fingers and my accurate range extended from 50 to 80+ yards. So to each their own, as little no as it is legal we need to support our fellow hunters.

      Reply
    • Hi Chad,
      I have to disagree with you on this issue. I was an excellent competitive archer with a recurve and a compound bow. A devastating shoulder injury forced me into using a crossbow. Even after 4 years, I am still not as proficient as I was before. I have tried out the Airbow and I was much more comfortable with it right out of the box than I am with a crossbow. You still have to use all the same scent control, watch wind direction, etc. that you do with “traditional” bows. I think it should be allowed during archery season possibly for disabled hunters or those who cannot manage the weight of a crossbow or the draw strength of a compound. I would like nothing better than to be able to once again use a compound bow but I cannot. Being in Illinois, I don’t see it ever becoming legal here with the draconian laws we have.

      Reply
  4. Full sized stock, magnification scope mounted on a picitiny rail, ar style grip, and a trigger….all characteristics of a GUN. Only archery part of this gun is the arrow but anyone who wants to lie to themselves and say that this thing is archery equipment is just a big of a joke as the airbow (gun) is itself

    Reply
  5. This is not archery. It should never be allowed on an archery hunt. I used to be a Shockey fan until I saw his bison hunt with the “airbow. What a sellout. Proof that money really can buy some people’s dignity. Please outlaw.

    Reply
  6. No way they should ever be used during Archery season.

    Reply
  7. Only recurve bows should be allowed in archery. Any bow with them fancy modern “cam” things is just cheating. REAL archery hunters will learn to pull a 60 pound bow and hold it. Letoffs and the whole compound concepts is a fad and will probably go away after a few years. Also, bows made of any material that is not wood are sellouts.

    Just making a sarcastic point here folks. Progression of technology has some serious thorns associated with it.

    Reply
    • Gary Barton says:

      You must be in perfect health! But don’t worry time will take its toll on you. I have not been able to use recurve bow for many years due to extreme shoulder pain. I had a choice to make at age 65 never hunt again or use a crossbow. I chose to use a crossbow for turkey and deer hunting. I have rifles and shotguns but don’t use them because it’s more of a challenge. My next birthday I will be eighty years old. I expect continue as long as I can walk. Almost every state in the USA has made it legal to hunt with a crossbow. So why is it so hard for you to have a little compassion on people like me who have lost the ability to pull and shoot a recurve bow?

      Reply
  8. WHY did those morons shoot a buffalo ? Couldn’t find a deer ,Elk ,or moose?

    Reply
  9. Mark Green says:

    If they want to make this legal for use during a firearms season I don’t have a problem but don’t even try to pretend that it has anything to do archery hunting!!!

    Reply
  10. Fred C. Heller says:

    this is not bowhunting at all, just a short range rifle. get rid of it and put it with the firearms : it fires hot gas ->firearm not bow, not crossbow.

    SIckeningly easy to hunt too it seems, and the guy seems to enjoy it !

    Reply
  11. bill dapper says:

    i would have agreed with you all but I am disabled and this is the only way that I would be able to go out during bow season… so I do believe that there are exceptions to certain things.. if your able to use a bow then it should be illegal but if you can’t use a bow , then you shouldn’t have to sit out if there is a way for you to get out into the wilderness..

    Reply
    • Fred C. Heller says:

      DIsabled is a totaly other story, I understand your plight. and yes there can be exceptions, but otherwise it still is a gun to me.

      Reply
  12. Spencer Williams says:

    Everyone is freaking out about this however I believe that the missing portion of this is that people with disabilities could miss the whole archery season because even a crossbow may not be feasible for them.

    Reply
    • ScottinVA says:

      If someone is so disabled that he cannot use a crossbow with an electric recocker, then that person is too disabled to hunt during archery season.
      You need to use logic rather than emotion when arguing a drastic change to any paradigm, including this one.
      This weapon is a gas-propulsion system, just like other air rifles (and all rifles). That it projects a 20″ “bullet” is irrelevant.
      Use it during gun (or muzzle-loader) season, and enjoy.

      Reply
  13. John Uramkin says:

    What’s the difference between that and a crossbow? Personally I would like to see the DNR do away with all seasons. Technological advances in archery and muzzle loaders have taken away the sprit of the individual seasons. At least that’s the case here in Michigan where crossbows and inline scoped muzzle loaders are legal in their respective seasons.

    I would like our DNR to issue so many tags per area and set it up so you can’t buy another until the first is filled. Make it the choice of the hunter to decide what weapon to use. It’s either that or go back to long bows and cap and ball guns.

    Reply
  14. I have no problem with the Airbow in firearms season. I do not feel it should be considered for archery season. I am not a fan of Shockey….he goes to the $$$$$.

    Reply
  15. You guys are missing the point of hunting which is to be able to safely harvest an animal for food, period. Now, if someone can do that effectively, quietly, and with more accuracy, then I say why not. Let folks take advantage of new technologies instead of being close minded to new techniques.

    Reply
    • ScottinVA says:

      Then do away with seasons altogether and allow hunting year-round.
      There is a reason bowhunters are given time before the rifle season.
      I wouldn’t mind relegating crossbows to rifle season, or perhaps half the bow season.
      But to allow a gas-propelled projectile to be called an “air bow” is ludicrous.

      Reply
  16. Richard Stanton says:

    Better check your facts Missouri Dept. Conservation has not legalized this weapon. It absolutely doesnt belong in an archery season. Nothing about this thing is a bow. Shockey is a tool for even hyping this thing.

    Reply
  17. Maybe you shouldn’t show videos of a guy ‘hunting” on a preserve. The only thing that could have been lamer than this is if the buffalo was chained to a stake.

    Reply
  18. Bob kinneer says:

    It is an arrow being shot! It is a great for disabled people. I do not see any reason why not. I have crossbows any the air bow. They shoot about the same . The crossbow is heavy any harder to handle. You still got to be the right place at the right time. People doing baiting is less sportsmanship then using the air bow.

    Reply
    • ScottinVA says:

      It’s not a bow of any kind. It is a gun that uses gas propulsion (just like a rifle does) to propel a projectile that happens to be longer than your standard air rifle pellet.
      If you want to hunt with it, fine (I would like one), but hunt during the season that fits the tool: gun season (perhaps muzzle-loader season).

      Reply
  19. As a disabled veteran who cannot pull a bow back, I think this gives disabled vets and other disabled folks a chance to hunt the archery season. Everyone who is sticking their nose in the air should walk a mile in my shoes before you become so judgmental. Technology works wonders for those of us who can’t otherwise enjoy archery season. And please don’t forget, it’s vets, disabled or otherwise, who are the reason you are free to hunt in the first place. Please don’t deny us the enjoyment.

    Reply
    • Then maybe it is OK for people with legitimate disabilities. Not for those who do not have a disability. It is not a “bow”. It is a gun that shoots an arrow. Period.
      They have already dumbed down black powder/primitive weapon season to where people can shoot the equivalent of a modern rifle which does away with the concept of “primitive weapon”.

      Reply
  20. David N Wallis says:

    these should only be used if you have a disability, I have contacted my state they are illegal here, and so were crossbows but not now

    Reply
  21. Larry W. says:

    No way should this be allowed during archery season, there is nothing close to bow hunting here. Shockey’s a sell out in it for money only. Ban him from hunting also.

    Reply
  22. Jeff Wicke says:

    One of the reasons I started bow hunting for me was that less people bow hunted so on public land seemed safer to me and upped my odds of getting a harvest. I think this should fall into gun category. It takes no time to learn if your already familiar with scope and trigger. I felt the same way with my crossbow I got before I got my bow it still felt like shooting a gun.

    Reply
  23. Tom Martwinski says:

    As defined by webster: the art, practice, or skill of shooting with bow and arrow. My response is no to the air gun. Let keep the bow in archery season.

    Reply
  24. Buckdragger says:

    Not a bow.
    BOW:
    a flexible strip of wood or other material, bent by a string stretched between its ends, for shooting arrows
    As per Websters dictionary….
    This should never be put into the archery category. How would you feel if you practiced all summer with your bow and shot a nice pope and young, then your neighbor does the same and his name is right next to yours in the record book except his says WEAPON: AIR “BOW” That is where this is headed. Screw that! This should have a place in recreational shooting only and possibly small game and varmint hunting. It is a cool piece no doubt I would love to shoot one and it would be fun for young shooters. But it should never be used in big game archery harvests. Gun ONLY.

    Reply
    • ScottinVA says:

      “But, but but… it has the word “BOW” in the name! Doesn’t that make it a bow?”
      Duh. Of course you are correct.
      However, I would allow it during muzzle-loader season — but not ARCHery season.

      Reply
  25. Prandle62 says:

    Life is about advancement not being closed minded to innovation. I shoot a compound bow and i love it. Check when it came into existence. Use to be recurve and long bows or what ever primitive method that was used to hunt. Things have changed. Life has changed. You have changed. Things have changed. Innovations have brought us to the air bow. Call it a gun or what you will. It still shoots an arrow but more effective with much more speed. In life you have the choice to remain doing what you do or to change

    Reply
    • ScottinVA says:

      It’s not a bow of any kind.
      I uses gas to propel a projectile, just like a rifle does.
      No one is saying it should not be allowed, just not during bow season (perhaps in muzzle-loader season).

      Reply
  26. John Walker says:

    I’m all for it during gun season, but this is not an archery weapon. I have a .25 PCP airgun and it is fun to shoot, and that is exactly what it the “airbow” is–an airgun.

    Reply
  27. TheDude says:

    We are in the age of the pot calling the kettle a spoon and the kettle is now actually considering that it could be true. This is Bullshit.

    Reply
  28. Armando Sanchez says:

    I say no! In my mind your either a bow hunter or a rifle hunter. I’m not a big fan of crossbow hunting either. This is just my personal opinion!

    Reply
  29. Derek Craig says:

    Simply put … NO.

    Reply
  30. If you use a “cam” on your bow to help you out because you are a “weak” wimpy hunter you should be ashamed. “REAL” archery hunters pull their 60 or 70 pound wooded longbow and can hold their bow while they stalk their pray! All you compound crybabies…..

    And don’t get me started on the “cheaters” that use tree stands….how is that for natural and fair chase?

    ALL of you “elite” archers that hunt food plots…you have no shame!

    Don’t get me started on the bow hunters that use feeders.

    The point of all this is that this is just another change in the sport……don’t like it…don’t use it. Don’t be so close minded that you can not see others using new technology or a way to maximize chance of success.

    Reply
    • Bob Kinneer says:

      Agreed 1000%

      Reply
      • Disagree 10000%. If it does not have a string, it is NOT a BOW. I am close minded about others using a rifle in “bow” season. One more time, No string = not a “bow”. What do you want next a bow rifle with heat seeking arrows?

        Reply
  31. Alex butler says:

    This thing is as retarded as those stupid razor scooters. Should be considered a rifle. Never should be mentioned when talking archery.

    Reply
  32. This is not a bow, if it has a safety and a a scope it should not be allowed during bow season, other then by special permit by someone with disabilities, I feel the same about cross bows.

    Reply
  33. Prandle62 says:

    Well i guess all of the nay sayers or riding horses to their favorite hunting place instead of driving your trucks or whatever. We all take advantage of new technology. Get ready for change or get left behind. I love wild meat by any means legal. Stop the judging and do whats best for you.

    Reply
    • Yes, many people do. But when I go to my farm to hunt and drive my truck I don’t call my truck a horse . It is a truck and not a horse and will always be a truck and never a horse.

      Change is often times good. But not always. The new rifle that shoots arrows looks like a fun toy. But it is not and never will be a “bow”.

      Reply
  34. David Lenz says:

    IMHO this is an airgun. If I am going to shoot an arrow and have to track the animal I shot I will use my bow. If the airgun is legal to hunt the animal, I don’t know why you would use an arrow instead of a pellet.
    I don’t think it should be legal for archery season just because it shoots an arrow, it’s the bow that makes it archery

    Reply
  35. I would like to call my Rem. 700 a bow and those things that come out the barrel “miniature arrows” and use it next archery season. Thank you.

    Reply
  36. Randy K says:

    It’s an airgun/spear gun throwing a 400+ grain projectile no different than any other firearm powered by compressed gas. Bows and even crossbows are human powered. I recall once when Hornady posted an ad in an archery forum, “Powered by Hornady.” I told them, “My bow is powered by me, not by Hornady.” They pulled the ad.

    Anyway, no airguns/spear guns during archery season.

    Reply
  37. Whitetaildeception says:

    Hunting is hunting no matter what legal method of taking game. Hunting is also a dying sport. Modern compounds have helped bring many younger people to our sport. The number of women is also on the rise. Compound shooters also are gravitating towards other “old ways ” of the stick bows. Isn’t that a good thing for all of the compound haters? Crossbows are currently in transition to another legal method of taking game. So if it takes a crossbow or even an airbow to bring a new or an old Hunter back to the sport, as far as I’m concerned bring it on. Quit crying about how it’s cheating or it’s too easy. The wedge that the anti hunters are driving between us is killing the sport of hunting. Be happy that someone wants to join the sport and maybe, just maybe we stand a chance. We need all the help we can get!

    Reply
    • ScottinVA says:

      I’m all for using air rifles like this one to bring new hunters to the sport — DURING RIFLE SEASON.

      Reply
  38. Steve M says:

    No, there’s no ‘bow’ in it and little ‘arch’. But I am really not thrilled about crossbow inclusion either even though I have a disability, am over 60 and use one. Let’s put some clear and meaningful restrictions on the definition of ‘archery’ hunting. Talk of 500 fps crossbows now…
    If it is allowed will it be legal to launch an arrow out of a shotgun propelled by a blank or from a .22 using a special barrel that the arrow slides over and a blank?
    Interesting implement that may have an application but like using a motor in a bicycle race, not within the spirit of the sport. Maybe have an ‘open implement’ season so folks who want can use anything but leave some semi-traditional weapons have their own season.
    Guess I am just an old far who would even love to see muzzleloader season only include non scoped, sidelocked weapons.

    Reply
  39. Gary Hosier says:

    Do I consider it a bow? No. Being 50 now and having a friend that went to crossbow because of shoulder issues I’ll say that If I ever Can’t draw my bow I will use a crossbow or even air bow to continue to hunt during archery season. I doubt seriously it would increase overall harvest driving down populations. Indiana just added select high power rifles and harvest didn’t flux much. Don’t ask if I think it’s safe. That’s another discussion.

    Reply
  40. Bob Kinneer says:

    Times and Technology has changed !! Until you have shot one, do not knock it. Everyone has there opinions. It is still an arrow driving in an blade . It’s only air driving the arrow, not hot gas, not any gas at all. It take like 250 to 300 pumps with the hand pump to fill the air chamber. Use what ever you like and enjoy the hunt, I ulwould rather use something that makes a good clean kill. If you not using an hand make bow and arrow with a flint blade, you have nothing to cry about.

    Reply
    • graham limbrick says:

      IF you actually looked you would have seen he filled the air chamber from a dive bottle, not from pumping 200/300 strokes.Its a spear
      gun plain and simple.Its got a gun stock and telescopic sight.Could you show me the bow in this device,.

      Reply
      • Bob Kinneer says:

        Again I have one, I have the pump, I shot it . It is very much like an crossbow , just easier to cock. The scuba tank is easier then the pump. It still is just compressed air 3000 psi. at max. I am disabled it will be a way for me to still be able to hunt… It is new Technology , the same as cams , carbon shafts, Broadheads , fiberglass bows, etc. I don’t think anyone is throwing spear’s . Bottom line go hunt, have fun, take an youth with you, make a clean kill, respect the Environment . Have an great day, God bless…

        Reply
        • Whitetaildeception says:

          Exactly my point. Get out there and Hunt!

          Reply
  41. ScottinVA says:

    Bob Kinneer wrote:
    Times and Technology has changed !! Until you have shot one, do not knock it. Everyone has there opinions. It is still an arrow driving in an blade . It’s only air driving the arrow, not hot gas, not any gas at all. It take like 250 to 300 pumps with the hand pump to fill the air chamber. Use what ever you like and enjoy the hunt, I ulwould rather use something that makes a good clean kill. If you not using an hand make bow and arrow with a flint blade, you have nothing to cry about.
    ——————————————————————-
    I’m sure it’s great fun to shoot, but that doesn’t make it a bow.
    The whole point of a bow is mechanical propulsion.
    This is a gun that shoots arrows.

    BTW: air is a gas, so, yes, it is a GUN.
    So, use it to your heart’s content — IN GUN SEASON.

    Reply
  42. ScottinVA says:

    Gary Hosier wrote:
    Do I consider it a bow? No. Being 50 now and having a friend that went to crossbow because of shoulder issues I’ll say that If I ever Can’t draw my bow I will use a crossbow or even air bow to continue to hunt during archery season. I doubt seriously it would increase overall harvest driving down populations. Indiana just added select high power rifles and harvest didn’t flux much. Don’t ask if I think it’s safe. That’s another discussion.
    —————————————————————————————————
    If it’s not a bow, then it is unsuitable for archery season. Using a crossbow is sufficient advantage over a bow already; to classify a gas-propelled gun as a “bow” simply because it shoots arrows is ridiculous. I would agree to allowing this during muzzle-loader season, but not bow season.
    The point is not about reducing deer populations, or else we wouldn’t have designated seasons. It’s about giving those who choose low-tech hunting options a chance to get out there before the high-tech hunters arrive.

    Reply
  43. John Botts says:

    Most of us bowhunters agree its a gun that uses gas to shoot an arrow (a gun that shoots a projectile designed like an arrow with a broadhead on the end). It should be only used during muzzle loader and or gun season. The main reason I say this is the way technology advances so fast. The next thing you know they will be finding ways to increase its power and range. Once you allow it into archery season you will not be able to get it out of that hunting class.

    Reply

Speak Your Mind

*