Can the Crossbow Save Hunting?

Discussion in 'News' started by blake, Sep 2, 2015.

  1. blake

    blake Life Member

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    Article in Outdoor Life Magazine


    Can the Crossbow Save Hunting?


    by Craig Dougherty

    [​IMG]
    This 12-point Ohio buck was taken by OL reader Norman Troyer in November 2014.

    One of the biggest concerns in the hunting industry is a declining number of hunters. We are losing hunters faster than we can recruit them. In spite of an occasional uptick in hunter numbers, we’re losing ground—ground we can’t afford to lose. But one bright spot is the expansion of crossbow seasons across the country. State after state is making it legal to hunt with a crossbow and it is helping.

    Probably the single largest contributing factor to the decline in hunter numbers is the aging of America. One hunting industry insider, who happens to be a buddy of mine, has studied trends in crossbowhunting and how it’s impacted hunter recruitment and retention. He shared the following info with me:
    A quick look at hunting license purchases by age shows a rapid drop off in license purchases around the ages of 50-55. Bowhunters hang up their bows, on average, a full ten years earlier than all hunters combined. If we are to reverse the overall trend, we must retain hunters longer. Hunting (especially bowhunting) is a young man’s sport in a country that is steadily growing older. The percentage of people older than 65 in the U.S. grows every year and will continue to increase through the first quarter of the 21st century.
    Crossbows are one of the best hunter retainment tools ever invented. After legalizing crossbow hunting in 2003-04, Georgia took a hard look at the crossbow’s impact on hunter participation. What they found was a real eye opener: 47 percent of new archers using crossbows were older than 50, and bowhunting participation for crossbow hunters as extended 20 years compared to compound bow users. Or to put it another way: Crossbows were extending the age at which hunters hang up their camo! They also found that approximately 46 percent of new archers using crossbows were older than 50. Are crossbows becoming the hunting method of choice for senior citizens? State after state is reporting similar results for crossbows extending the number of years hunters remain afield.

    Next we look at the recruitment side of the disappearing-hunter equation. Industry studies report that at least 4 percent of all gun hunters will participate in crossbow hunting the first year it's legalized in the state where they hunt. Granted, it may not be recruiting new hunters to hunting, but it is introducing gun hunters to bowhunting. Back in the 70s, Fred Bear popularized modern bowhunting with his famous “Be a Two Season Hunter” advertising campaign. And now the crossbow is doing its part.
    We all know of physically challenged bowhunters who would never know the thrill of the hunt were it not for the crossbow. I also know men, women, and kids who started bowhunting with a crossbow. I once had an assistant who couldn’t draw more than 22 pounds using a compound. She took up the crossbow and, two weeks later, she shot a 200-pound wild boar. She couldn't legally bowhunt with a compound, but she was still posing with her first kill thanks to the crossbow. Now that’s recruitment.

    The list of recruitment and retention achievements continues to grow, yet some bowhunters continue to fight them. Isn’t it time we started to look at the big picture of declining numbers first and self-interest second? At least 32 states have seen the light and are acting in the interest of the common good of wildlife and hunting.
     
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  3. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    Took me one search in 30 seconds to find one of a million counterpoints to this garbage. (Found TONS of counterpoints on my phone so fast but general public doesn't realize what's really going on here behind the scenes and the motives). Those who don't want the crossbow lobby & manufacturer pimps to roll the agenda & dictate our future- we have vast facts, knowledge & common sense to fend off crap like this that is truly created by the crossbow folks.
    One of a million examples (I mean this is NOTHING but just posting 1 little snippet that counters this)...
    http://www.grandviewoutdoors.com/big-game-hunting/u-s-bowhunter-numbers-see-record-increase/
    Bowhunter numbers from above have INCREASED over a 10 yr period. This is one of a million other facts, logic and common sense that exposes the bullcrap these crossbow companies are putting out to the public through their sponsors, lobbyists, paid advertising, political alliances, etc.
     
  4. LYON

    LYON PMA Member

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    This was my first thought when reading the article. If hunter numbers are so vastly declining, why is it so tough for people to find ground to hunt on? Wouldn't access to hunting ground be easy to find? Not the case by any means.
     
  5. Truth&Honest

    Truth&Honest Member

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    That article is propaganda. Someone trying to get into the sport has a bigger problem than weapon choice- finding a place to hunt.
     
  6. Hardwood11

    Hardwood11 Trump 2020

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    Exactly, it would not hurt my feelings if the 200 guys from the metro area that come and hunt my county in MN, dropped to 150. Maybe a deer would survive on public land?

    The future is the young guys and gals (age 30 or less) and they love their bows!! They shoot bows year round (deer in the fall...target...carp in the spring). Way more bow hunters than when I was growing up.

    No need for crossbows for young hunters, let the older crowd shoot crossbows when the can't pull a bow back.
     
  7. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    You gotta love that right at the bottom of this article in OUTDOOR LIFE MAGAZINE is the ADVERTISEMENT from a crossbow company. If you don't think this article is directly tied with the influence of advertisers & crossbow companies, that's defying common sense. The whole movement can be traced to the crossbow companies, $, lobbies, etc. - in my strong opinion. We don't have an "Opportunity problem" as far as weapons are concerned..... We have access issues, areas with few or no deer to hunt, a culture immersed in video games & being sissies & not going outdoors. Hunting isn't just "whitetail deer" which the crossbow companies seem to always go back to, it's small game, waterfowl, fishing, upland game, turkeys, etc, etc, etc. Somehow all the fights, arguments, $, lobbying seems to circle back to crossbows- very interesting?!?! :confused::rolleyes: Iowa's problems are not with weapon choices (shotguns, muzzleloaders, bows & crossbows late season) or its almost 4 month hunting season - I assure you that's not our problems here and crossbows would "compound" our problems.
     
  8. blake

    blake Life Member

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    While I certainly do respect each of you members opinions, and the “facts” that Skip posted, here is my take:

    I am 65 years old, for the last 5 years in a row I have had to reduce the poundage on my compound bow due to an old rotator cup injury. My bow is currently set at 42 pounds. I can’t draw it without a great amount of pain to my shoulder thus causing me to rush my shot. Once I release the arrow I am unable to hold my compound up for the follow through, I have to drop it to my side.

    Needless to say my arrows are flying all over the place. The last thing I want to do is wound a deer. I also don’t want to give up deer hunting!

    So after talking with my doctor and her being aware of my history of left rotator cup problems she signed a life time permanent disability wavier for me to hunt with a crossbow. The Iowa DNR has sent me a life time crossbow permit and life time hunting and fishing license due to my veteran’s disability.

    Therefore I do believe that the cross bow does have a place in Iowa for those individuals that are handicapped and still wish to hunt.

    I also believe that crossbows would increase the number of young hunters wanting to hunt but who are unable to draw a compound bow.

    I will get off my soap box now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015
  9. chipterp

    chipterp PMA Member

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    And like you state you can legally get a permit with your disability. That doesn't mean everyone else should get the same privilege I do not see the point whatsoever you are trying to make.
     
  10. jjohnson

    jjohnson Well-Known Member

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    I always wonder why everyone says we need to get kids hunting. Hunting's dying etc. I see far more youth hunting now and far more hunters in general than 10-20-30 years ago. Bowhunting has tripled in the last 10 years and kids are starting younger and younger any more. We absolutely do not need crossbows. IMO
     
  11. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    We already have Seniors able to hunt Statewide in Iowa with Crossbows unless I'm mistaken.
    My nephew has a disability & it was very easy for him to get a crossbow permit and I actually bought him the crossbow for his birthday (all I'm saying is, that should clarify my position on crossbows, that in this one man's opinion, I think they already have a place & cool with them for examples like disabled or unable to draw a bow). I sure agree they have a place for disabled & seniors and now they even have a 3 week hunting period during late antlerless so I guess I am not seeing the disagreement at all?!?!?

    Where I do disagree is with the youth.... Of course, all this discussion is OPINION, no doubt but common sense sure can come into play here!!.... I think a lot of hunters started hunting like I did (guessing here), the vast majority I would "guess" - started with SMALL GAME hunting. Pheasants maybe, squirrels, ducks, rabbits, etc, etc. It's kinda like starting a kid fishing - you usually don't start a kid on MUSKY FISHING, you start him/her with bluegill, crappie, etc- something that can occupy their minds & start the flame. SO, my point is, why isn't "OUTDOOR LIFE MAGAZINE" putting up articles "can getting kids into small game hunting save the sport"???? The answer, IMO - because the crossbow lobby & their advertisers (all boiled down to $) are behind that article and this whole push. Second, do we really think CROSSBOWS are going to change the whole hunting dynamic with Kids, really? Again, small game, IMO, has a far greater roll in this. Far greater than that is: kids who are stuck inside on video games or whatever, a different culture, kids that want to deer hunt BUT can't even get access because it's so over-filled with hunters/access problems OR they don't see deer when hunting. Those are half a dozen reasons, IMO kids have a harder time getting into the sport.

    Personally, I don't even think starting kids on "Deer Hunting" is the best way to get kids into hunting (maybe I'm biased cause I started on squirrels & rabbits) and giving them 4 weapon choices instead of 3 is not going to make one lick of difference. They can go out mid September now with a gun (no drawing or strength issues) & shoot a deer. Our weapon choices are NOT the solution or the problem. It's far deeper than that and I actually think it's "COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE" to flood the market with crossbows because all that's going to do is further restrict access making it even harder yet for the kids to find places to go. It's BAD right now for access for bowhunting for the everyday guy, BAD! (DISAGREE????) Crossbows are going to improve that, really? We have them for seniors, disabled & a season for them now if you want to go out with them, quit messing with this fragile system, leave it alone. We're going about the discussion on how to get kids involved exactly the wrong way, IMO with Liberalizing all our regs and trying to make everything easier for everyone else. We can Liberilize the issue until it's 365 days of hunting with 74 weapon choices and I believe it will do nothing to deal with kids recruitment issue. There's also a point of diminishing returns the more and more we liberalize things, I think we've actually past that point already with almost 4 months of hunting and 4 weapon categories and 5 or 6 different deer seasons. STOP.
     
  12. I can pretty much say that it is very easy for anyone to obtain a LIFE TIME Crossbow permit. I know for a fact. I have had three people print the form off from the DNR and the Dr will sign them no questions asked. So with that being said it don't surprise me that soon more will be out there hunt all season long with crossbows.
     
  13. blake

    blake Life Member

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    Now how did I know that this article was going to ruffle some of you iowawhitetail members feathers! :rolleyes:

    I will be hunting this fall with my Ten Point Vapor and I will be posting photos of my kills. :D

    Good luck to everyone whitetail hunting this fall, and remember, I was not the one who wrote the article!
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2015
  14. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    Just for fun, my anecdotal story of my own (beyond my nephew who is disabled and crossbow hunting for life)...
    I had the crossbow permit lined up for myself about 8-9 years ago (**AND TO THIS DAY, I COULD GET A LIFETIME CROSSBOW PERMIT AT ANYTIME I WANTED BTW & THERE VERY WELL COULD BE A POINT IN MY LIFE I GO TO THE CROSSBOW IF I DO HAVE TRUE PROBLEMS WITH BOW & ARROW). I fell out of a tree while re-hanging a treestand in late June or early July and shattered my arm/wrist into fragments and broke my back. My hand & arm are now titanium pins. It was about Sept 15th I was able to somehow, with some pain, pull back about 35-40 lbs on my bow. Well, right then, I dropped my crossbow permit and said "I'm gonna try and make this work". (AND LET ME BE CLEAR: I SEE NOTHING WRONG WITH SOMEONE MAKING A DIFFERENT CHOICE, PROBABLY SMARTER ACTUALLY. GREAT & SMARTER FOR GETTING A CROSSBOW PERMIT WHEN TRULY DISABLED OR ELDERLY, ETC). I got a brace that supported my wrist & took all the strain off it. I went to the gym religiously building strength back in a "healthy way" without stressing my body. By about October 15, I was pulling 65 lbs with a minor amount of pain (yes, crossbow that season probably would have still been best idea so I wouldn't injure myself or risk it). By November I was back at 70 lbs. It was a lot of work & I did it through approved exercise & rehab. Personally, I wanted to be in game like everyone else BUT that's just me. I didn't want to shoot the crossbow even though I could. That's just me and I am not pushing those views on others who would have made a different choice when it comes to DISABILITIES, STRENGTH, >65 years old, etc. I think it's great we do accommodate those who are aging, over 65 & have disabilities. Wonderful tool for those folks & I wish good luck and the best for you guys/gals out there hunting this fall in that category. I absolutely am against expanding them to the general population in the bow & arrow season. For the reasons I've said many many times. Able-bodied folks who can use bow & arrow - it should stay bow & arrow season during our bow season period. We now have crossbows for 3 weeks at the end of the year for those wishing to have their own "crossbow season" for anyone. LEAVE IT BE.
    Good luck to all of you though. Good luck to you Blake! I hope you post a 250" beast you slay with your crossbow this fall, really do. Best wishes. & Best intentions for leaving Iowa with some of the best current regulations in the country that give more opportunity than any other place I can dream of for almost everyone. Let's leave it that way though!!!! :)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2015

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