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Week 6 IBA legislative update part 1


Life Member
This week is a little long, but some very good reading, at the bottom is list of legislation and how to contact your legislators.

There have been several bills introduced in the legislature this year that would enhance our hunting opportunities and those that would make them worse.

One bill that the IBA supports would enhance hunting for non-ambulatory hunters. House File 325 would allow non-ambulatory hunters to use the weapon for the season they are hunting. Previously they could only use shot guns or muzzle loaders regardless of the season.

There are two other bills the IBA supports that would enhance not only hunters’ opportunities but outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. The Iowa Resource Enhancement and Protection Fund (HF77) and the Natural Resource and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund (HF114) would help fund several new initiatives that would increase opportunities across a wide spectrum of activities.

Along with the good comes the bad. House Study Bill 163 would allow the use of crossbows in late archery season with an archery license. Currently a crossbow can be used in late season as an alternate weapon using a license issued for muzzle loader not an archery license. HSB163 is an innocent sounding bill, but the unintended consequences of this bill could have onerous effects for deer and archers.

We spoke with legislators who support this bill. They promised that crossbows will never be allowed in the archery season. We are sure that is their intention. Unfortunately, they are on a two-year election cycle and the IBA measures cycles in generations. While we would like to see them retain their seats two things can happen, they could lose an election or retire. What happens then? Well-meaning legislators inadvertently opened the door to crossbows in archery only seasons.

Several states allow “full inclusion” of crossbows in archery seasons. These states passed the full inclusion laws based on the assumption that the crossbow would increase hunter recruitment and aid in deer population control.

What has actually happened is the inclusive crossbow laws shifted firearm hunters into the archery season using crossbows. Sales dropped for both archery and firearm licenses in states that sold separate crossbow licenses. The addition of crossbows in those states did not increase overall license sales.

We cannot show numbers and crossbow manufactures cry foul when this is brought up, but it stands to reason that the newly added crossbow hunters will displace current archers from lands they have been hunting for years and further over crowd what little public hunting ground Iowa has. It is entirely possible that part of the drop in archery license sales is due to archers buying crossbow licenses or is it possible that archers are buying fewer licenses because they are being displaced on hunting land by crossbow hunters and they elect to give up hunting?

In the states that do not differentiate between an archery license and a crossbow license comparisons are difficult but including crossbows as a method of take in any season did not increase license sales to the levels promised by the crossbow manufacturers.

States that allow crossbows in the archery season have seen a continued increase in the number of bucks being taken in archery season while the number of antlerless deer taken remains constant. This does nothing to support the claims of enhanced population control, it only means the age structure of bucks in those states is dropping. Iowa has taken years to build world class deer hunting that crossbows have the potential to ruin.

As previously stated, gun hunters move into archery seasons to use crossbows and most continue to gun hunt as well. This shift to taking two bucks a year by hunters who normally take one buck per year would have detrimental effects on buck age structure. To compensate for the alteration in age structure Iowa may need to adopt a one buck and done, earn a buck or some sort of antler restrictions to ensure our world class age structure remains intact.

Crossbows fall well short of the stated goal of new hunter recruitment and an aid in population control. We feel there is too much to lose in the long term if HSB163, allowing crossbows to be used with an archery license in late season, is allowed to become a law.

Our legislature continues to try and micromanage the Wildlife Division of the Department of Natural Resources as evidenced by the flurry of bills this year that would negate the gains in the Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund made last year by the more than fair license fee increases. These proposed bills would decrease the amount of revenue from the sale of licenses by approximately 4.1 million dollars. Last year’s increase was to gain approximately 4.5 million dollars for the Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund. Without adequate funding the Wildlife Division of the DNR cannot afford to support fishing, hunting and trapping in Iowa. Perhaps that is what some in the legislature are trying to accomplish.

There is a character limit on posts, this post blew right through the limit. Please see part 2 for the rest of the weekly update.
IBA week 6 update continued:

There are several other bills that the IBA is watching that could have a detrimental effect on hunting. One bill would alter what is currently allowed to be used as a pistol and the shape of the cartridges they can fire. This is a gateway bill for high power rifles in the gun seasons. Another bill would allow the atlatl, which is basically a spear, to be used in archery only season. We need to get back to letting the professional wildlife managers manage Iowa’s wildlife.

What can you do to help us help you? Contact your legislators and tell them your opinion on proposed legislation. Let them know that you support or disagree with a bill. A simple “I support/oppose (file number)” will be good enough. If you want to elaborate feel free to do so.

Of immediate concern and the main reason for this lengthy update is crossbow bill HSB163. Please contact your legislator and ask them not to support this bill. It is a short sighted bill that will only help the manufactures that make crossbows while hurting archers and changing the structure of the deer herd in Iowa.

Below is a list of bills that the IBA is following with links to the bill itself. Also is a link on how to find your legislators and how to contact them.

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find Find your legislators

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation Use this link to read legislation, just type in the bill number (HF215). I like to start at the bottom of the legislation and read the explanation

HSB 163 A bill for an act allowing a crossbow as a legal method of take during the late split archery season.

HSB 162 A bill for an act relating to the management of the spread of diseases in wild animals, making penalties applicable, and including effective date provisions.

HF 363 A bill for an act allowing the use of a leashed dog to track and retrieve a wounded deer and providing a penalty.

SF 215 A bill for an act relating to the residency of members of the armed forces stationed at specified military installations for purposes of hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges.

HF 300 A bill for an act directing the department of natural resources to develop and offer for use a mobile application for purchasing and displaying licenses and tags for hunting and fishing.

HF 219 A bill for an act relating to the age an adult child may hunt on a parent’s property.

HF 218 A bill for an act relating to using unfilled deer tags in subsequent seasons.

HF 189 A bill for an act requiring search warrants for certain activities under the jurisdiction of the natural resource commission.

HF 179 A bill for an act relating to firearms requirements for hunting deer.

SF 150 A bill for an act relating to the distribution of voter registration information by license agents and the department of natural resources.

HF 114 A bill for an act relating to water quality by increasing the sales and use tax rates and conditioning the use of moneys from the natural resources and outdoor recreation trust fund, and including effective date provisions.

HF 77 A bill for an act making an appropriation to the Iowa resources enhancement and protection fund.

SF 91 A bill for an act allowing an atlatl as a legal method of take during deer bow hunting seasons.

SF 86 A bill for an act requiring the department of natural resources to include anatomical donor symbols on certain licenses.

HF 50 A bill for an act relating to youth deer hunting season.

HF 49 A bill for an act relating to weapons requirements for nonambulatory hunters. (See HF 325.)

SF 50 A bill for an act relating to landowner wild turkey and deer hunting tags. (See SF 198.)

SF 47 A bill for an act relating to youth deer and youth wild turkey hunting licenses. (See SF 202.)

SF 45 A bill for an act requiring search warrants for certain activities under the jurisdiction of the natural resource commission.

SF 5 A bill for an act repealing the property tax exemption for forest reservations and including applicability provisions.

Thanks for reading the update and if you like what you see please join the IBA here: http://iowabowhunters.org/joiniba.html
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