From now on, this is to inform all the crossbow bashers, haters, and critics that it’s time to stop! Crossbows are here to stay and are growing in popularity every day. The terms like “cross gun” or “that’s not a real bow” need to cease being used when refer- ring to crossbows. Crossbows are legitimate weapons that are legal to use in most states, so it is time to be accepted as such. Some people say, “it is not bowhunting” but most all states say “it is bowhunting” in some form or fashion. They also say it’s “cheating” and not “challenging.” I will admit, there is a definite advantage to not having to draw and hold the bow when the animal is coming in. And using a peep and pin is not as precise as using a magnified scope. Likewise, instinctive shooting is a definite disadvantage, but is that a good thing? It also does not take as much practice to become proficient when shooting a crossbow with deadly accuracy Is that a bad thing? I do believe they are correct when saying, “shooting a bow is an art that has been practiced for generations, centuries, thousands of years.” I admit to that as well, but crossbows have been around almost for the same amount of time, according to the history books. I have even heard the statement, “the Indians didn’t hunt with crossbows” as a way to justify their need for not being used. Yep, I have heard it all in the last 27 years of being in the archery industry. I agree with just about everything. Shooting a compound bow with pin sights is more challenging than shooting a crossbow with a scope; and shooting a long bow and recurve bow is significantly harder than shooting a compound bow. Let’s face it: very few people can become good enough at shooting long bows or recurves for hunting and can never reach the accuracy level of most compound bow shooters or crossbow shooters. But being accurate is a great thing when shooting animals, right? All that being said, here is a “Did you know?” moment.
Did you know that there are countries that do not allow “bowhunting” and shooting a bow is to be done on targets only? The “powers that be” decided that bowhunting was cruel, inhumane, and it is less likely to make a clean, quick kill with a bow, so, the most ideal thing was to use guns to make it as easy as possible to harvest animals. These laws have been on the books for many decades with very little support to have them changed.
The difference here in America is that we have very relaxed laws, laws that allow us to use whatever type of a bow we choose — from the hardest, most challenging to the easiest, most precise weapon. Here, it is okay to make it as difficult as you want to give the individual the self-satisfaction of “doing it the hard way.” While that may be good for the ego, it is not the most humane and the most ethical way when we are dealing with the well-being of an animal. Most people, in general, think that the taking of an animal is wrong to begin with. So, we as hunters need to watch how we talk about one another’s way of hunting. We as hunters are a very small group in the larger picture of activities, and it would not take much to get things swinging in an unfavorable direction where we could lose bow- hunting all together! It’s being done in other places.
I know there are a lot of people that do not like crossbow hunting and say it should not be allowed as archery hunting, but if you look at it from the ethical, clean, quick kill standpoint, there is nothing more ethical, archery related. Furthermore, to a lot of people, there is nothing less ethical than hunting without peep and pin sight, whether it’s compound bow, long bows, or recurve bows. Some say those primitive means of bowhunting should not be allowed and should be used only for target shoot- ing. They feel it would save the animals from potential long, slow agonizing expiration. It is ironic that the fastest growing group (crossbow hunters) never say anything about the way others bow hunt yet the smallest, fastest shrinking group (long bow, recurve and compound bowhunters) scream the loudest against the largest, fastest growing group.
To sum it up, it would be very easy for crossbow hunters, gun hunters and some compound bowhunters to turn their anger against the irresponsible hunters that choose to do it “the hard way,” the ones that are making bowhunting as “challenging as possible” to feed their egos, which could be running the risk of the elimination of our bowhunting seasons. In fact, one day, we as hunters, may have to eliminate “the challenging group” to save a segment of bowhunting. Now, wouldn’t that be some- thing, if crossbows would be allowed because they are easier and more accurate? As hunters we do not want to eliminate any group of hunting if possible and the more groups of hunters that stick together the stronger we are. We do not need to fight each other; it makes it too easy for the non-hunters to take it all away.