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Crossbows, what's the big deal?

203ntyp

PMA Member
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Could you meet in the middle on this one somehow? Maybe allow crossbow hunting to anyone but restrict the range/draw weight (capabilities) somehow only making an exception for those that have the medical release. Change what can be harvested, antler restrictions maybe. I have an uncle (35 years bow hunting) who no longer can hunt with a bow, due to shoulder replacement, who refuses to use a crossbow. Not the same in the fall without him out there anymore. I also have a coworker/mentor who refuses to use a crossbow as well but is legally able.

I find it really hard to believe there would be 40% more hunters. Is that a statistic a bow manufacturer came up with? For one they’re too expensive and I believe there’s too much stigma attached of one being “soft” for using it, see two examples above. I’m not sold on the movement thing either, just as much movement with a gun or crossbow. I don’t hunt out of enclosed blinds and don’t hold my weapon to my shoulder constantly, movement required. Yes access is an issue, how many hunters do you know that do not go out near as much or quit all together due to access? Areas multiple hunters had access are now not allowed at all or down to one person or no one.

Allowing more weapon options does not mean that deer will automatically appear and chip shots will happen. Deer hunting is just not an easy sport, too many variables. Will more deer be killed? I’m sure there will and possibly to a point where restrictions will need to be put back into place to replenish the resource. If change is made one way it can be changed back another direction.
Good post & good ?’s.
“Crossbow lobby” used that “selling point” of 40% more hunters in archery season in Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin, etc. Places with a massive amount of habitat as well. Will it be 40% in Iowa? I don’t know. Let’s say it’s 20% more people & pressure during archery season..... is ground pressured and tied up enough now? IMO - it’s bad as it is. 6% timber - we cannot fool around with the regs without major unintended consequences!! (Or intended).

“Compromise”. “A new weapon, a new season, a new ______”. It never ends. Never will end. This is exactly how it works- one step at a time until everything & everyone can do anything. 4 months right now !!! 6-8 weapons. 6 seasons. It’s never enough. I can kill 3 bucks. Let’s increase it to 4!!!! NO!!!! We are way past the point of “opportunity” I wish we’d dial it back!!!!! Take a buck away from me!!!! The laws rarely if ever go the other direction. Just like taxes- once there’s a new one- rarely gets dialed back. Seasons rarely get eliminated & same with weapons. It usually (90% of the time) only goes ONE WAY.
A “legit” compromise would be: crossbows for all & a 1 buck rule period. Will that happen? No. Only way it does.... crossbows come out FIRST..... quality of deer herd gets destroyed & opportunity & access are further destroyed. Hunters have a total fit & we go from 2 buck limit to 1. That’s only way that happens!! The 1st scenario of crossbows during the whole season is a sad possibility because there’s $ & special interests at the table. Deer herd, access & quality will suffer from it. Chances we go to 1 buck is slim & most folks won’t want to give that up.

So- leaves us to our best option!!!!! LEAVE THE REGS, WEAPONS & SEASONS ALONE!!!!!! 4 months, 6+ weapons & 6 seasons is plenty!!! Use ur crossbow late season & elderly & injured can use them all season long as it is!! Keep Iowa Great!!! Leave regs alone!!!!!
 

northcedar

Active Member
I can just add a few personal comments. I've bowhunted since I was 15. Bowkilled my 1st deer on my 2nd sit ever. I always loved it, but bowhunting always came as a lower priority than our IL gun seasons. Why? Because we farmed and rarely ever had a chance to bowhunt much at all until usually mid November on an average year. At that point it was time to gear up for the short gun season and keep the property calm. So just on a personal level, we knew that in our best interest, devoting the game plan towards gun season was more beneficial. All through the years I witnessed the biggest bucks getting shot by bowhunters before we even had a chance to finish up in the fields and pick up our guns or bows. I suspect it's the same way for many farmers (landowners) across the midwest. Like clockwork, we'd pick up some big sheds, then get excited about eventually hunting the buck, but see him get shot on Halloween. Nature of the beast though. No worries.

Fast forward to last fall. Again, related to my situation. I read in the local paper that the state just secretly bought over 2,000 acres of land adjoining our farm, adding on to the already large parks with abundant public hunting. With the wrath of public hunters about to be unleashed on our fenceline, the 1st thing I did was researched crossbows and bought 1 that day. When it came I started shooting on the range. It's a "100 yard" model. I've only practiced with it to 50, and set my top range at 40 yards for the 1st year. At 50 you can already see that bolt dropping, you can watch it in flight the whole way. It's not a bow, but it's most definitely not a rifle. I can never see myself taking a shot with it at a deer over 50 or possibly 60 yards. I'd say 50 seems about right. That's just me. Others obviously will be different. But there has to be other guys like me out there. Here's the kicker, last year I passed up 4 bucks with it that I would've easily shot with my old Mathews. All were in the 140's, and 3 of these bucks were at 25 yards. Again, I would've shot them with my compound bow, but I passed them up with my xbow. Analyze that any way you want, but it is what it is. I shot video and pics of them all. 2 ended up getting killed by neighbors. I found the sheds from 1, and the other 1 is a mystery. Maybe other guys will be like I was, and let deer walk.

I guess my only point is that everyone has unique circumstances. It's not a 1 size fits all. Skip is right that more and more seasons will not help matters. Iowa I'm sure watches it's neighbors happily reducing their herd sizes, and is paying attention.
 

bigbuckhunter88

PMA Member
Good points in here. The one point I personally wrestle with is the more hunters. I'm actually all for it. This sport is dying and numbers are down and there will come a time when we need the numbers, but with the public land Bill's being introduced and access already being hard I see the new hunters and seasoned hunters calling it quits because of the headache of losing land or ruined hunts becoming a wash. Nothing factual about it just a way I could see it playing out
 

gunrunr

Life Member
In states that have added crossbows to archery season the data shows that there really are no more hunters added - in fact license sales are dropping just like they are everywhere else.
If you are a non-hunter now you will not go out and buy a crossbow and start up hunting if they get legalized.
What they found was gunhunters moving over to crossbow and vertical bow hunters switching to crossbow as well.
Within a few years the majority of deer in the state were shot with crossbows and regular archery participation and kill numbers dropped dramatically.

Check out this article - lots of data in it from various states.

https://www.jsonline.com/story/spor...er-kill-surpasses-vertical-bow-ki/1016497001/
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
This will warrant another post and deeper subject... “why are hunter #’s decreasing?” Decreasing in states that have liberalized everything- all these new weapons and seasons. WHY do #’s decline? Is it due to lack of weapons, seasons, season length, etc? NO!!!!! It’s a garbage argument that allows Insurance to kill more deer & other lobby’s to sell more XYZ. Or even the allure of “more tag sales or revenue” for the state. It’s a garbage argument!!!!! “Oh, if little Johnny could shoot something that kicked less, he’d start hunting now!” Whatever. The argument is a fraud!!!

Could the true reasons for decline in hunters be other reasons?!????? 1) ACCESS. 2) A culture of electronics & kids that don’t spend time outside like they used to. 3) the same forces that pull kids out of farm communities (low recruitment of new young farmers) 4) instant gratification & guaranteed results culture. 5) part of society that preaches how bad hunting is- WHATEVER. 6) Poor quality hunting that these liberalized states created?? There’s a million reasons. Weapon choices ain’t one of em!!! What do u all think????
 

northcedar

Active Member
I think you're spot on, particularly #2. Why go hunting and get your hands dirty when you can stay in and play fortnight.
 
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iowavf

Active Member
Just my thought, but I've never been any good with a bow and yes i tried, but I just suck at it. So if I could buy a crossbow, have a nice red dot on it and go during the rut, hell ya. I don't see the need to make them legal during the regular bow season and leave it like it is.
 

150 Class

Moderator
Darn things are heavy, loud, and clunky. No desire to ever use one, but I would if my abilities forced me to use one because I could not use my bow. 400 fps over 340 fps bows is both significant, and insignificant. 100 yard capability, sure, just like my ML is capable of 500+ yards, and my bow is capable of 60 yards plus. More hunters in the woods? Isn't that a desirable outcome?
 

MarkF

Member
Crossbows are legal in the state I live in, and the majority of people I know now use them. I asked a few of my buddies why they use them and was told by one that he spends all his time finding big bucks and he doesn’t want to take a chance with a vertical bow because killing the deer is the most important thing to him and by another friend that he doesn’t want to practice all the time and he only has to once a year with his crossbow. Almost every other person I’ve asked has told me they have a shoulder injury,Crazy how many 25-45 year old guys that have shoulder injuries now that crossbows are legal lol. Newer crossbows are not big, loud and clunky my friends fits in a backpacks and weights about as much as a compound. As for recruiting new hunters, we haven’t seen that, just gun hunters now hunting during archery season. Not sure more hunters would be a desirable effect anyway, less access means more people hunting near each other and I don’t know anybody that enjoys sitting right next to other guys but maybe I’m just greedy.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
More hunters in woods - desirable?
That’s a good ? & one carefully answered....
New hunters in general - yes. Again- why are new hunters NOT going out ? It’s NOT weapons & seasons!
More hunters in woods though.... 2 perspectives. One is PERSONAL: No. I don’t like looking at people while hunting. I don’t like hunts ruined. I don’t like spooked deer freaked out. I hunt for relaxing peace & quiet & the challenge of hunting deer in as natural a setting as possible.

REALITY TO THE PUBLIC: NO! Pack the woods - see how well NEW hunters like that. They won’t. Go find state game that’s pounded to death... it’s not much “FUN”. Quality is horrid, seeing deer is harder, people fighting over turf, access gets destroyed - no, that’s not fun. More hunters packed into Iowa’s woods will mean less access period.

The real issue is recruiting NEW hunters. Not just packing the woods. Again, weapons & seasons are already insanely wide open so that’s not the issue. I will say- having NEW HUNTERS have quality hunting (not filled with million hunters & having a great age class/balanced herd to hunt) is a huge deal! The second we do things that could degrade the quality of hunting & also make the new hunters unable to find quality land- that alone will DECREASE the amount of new hunters. Correct me if I’m wrong though. You made a great & fair post above - what do you think?
 

150 Class

Moderator
The number one thing that brings new hunters to the sport, is a mentor that is already doing it, usually a family member, or a friend. Sure, some join because of their own interest in the sport, but recruiting new hunters is more about keeping the existing hunter interested, and engaged.

To muddy's original question, what's the big deal? Will there be more hunters in the woods? Certainly. Will some bow hunters switch to the xgun? Most likely. Will it affect hunting compared to how it is today? Again, most likely. Will the change be significant, not likely. Pack the woods? Not likely, but let it happen if it does. Just my opinion.
 

Elvis188

Super Moderator
You know guys the biggest problem we all have in every state when it comes to deer hunting is Jealousy. Most guys will sit behind the keyboard and say the aren't jealous of other hunters killing a big buck but we sit here today trying to tell people crossbows are bad because they will kill all of the big bucks. Are any of you concerned about the big buck stock on Tom Johnson's farm 5 counties away? Of course you aren't. You want to protect your own hunting spots, but you want to tell everyone else what they can do on their places. Just because you don't want to crossbow hunt doesn't mean you should dictate to others that they can't on the ground they hunt. I mean do you tell your neighbor what he can do in his own house? Nope. You mind you own business and take care of yourself. Why should it be different on the other side of the fence line?

In Kansas we have crossbow open during archery season. I know a bunch have guys who now hunt archery (have always been gun only hunters) because they enjoy being out hunting but didn't want to learn to shoot a regular bow. Let's face it, it is hard work being a bow hunter but you also get the best time of the year to be in the field. (Rut) Most of these guys I describe are farmers who can find an evening here and there to slip into a ground blind. They now get to enjoy being outdoors and enjoy the rut action as well. Some have even killed their biggest deer this way. Others haven't. The point is it gets them out when they normally couldn't. Who are we to tell them tough luck, stay at home or go buy all of the equipment and stands and take up regular bow hunting? My .02 cents worth says let them get out and enjoy. It's their land or land the farmer lets them hunt. It's none of our business what they do as long as its legal and why shouldn't we be happy for them when they have success versus being ate up with Jealousy?

If you want to get kids hunting, start them out with a crossbow. They are still gonna shoot any deer just like with a gun but without the scary recoil. Once they enjoy it, they will want to go again. You talk about increasing hunter numbers but most here would prefer everyone else stay home so you can have the woods all to yourself. When was the last time anyone here took a new kid or person hunting? Point is, don't spout off about it if you aren't trying to be a part of the solution.

That all said, the point of my post is not to criticize but rather to get people thinking. I don't crossbow or bow hunt. Why? Because I don't have the time. I can tell you I gun hunt and am proud of it. Some here look down on gun hunters because you think it is too easy. Well, it's what I enjoy and if it isn't your cup of tea then too bad. I didn't ask for your permission and I won't ask for you forgiveness. I could complain about bow hunters getting to hunt the rut and I have to wait until December and only get 12 days (Kansas) to hunt total but I don't. If someone kills a big buck during bow then good for them because they put in the effort. There are only so many of us in this sport and we should all encourage others regardless of their chosen weapon, not complain because it isn't our cup of tea!

One last thought, I keep seeing people comparing Iowa to Missouri, Wisconsin and Michigan. All 3 have gun seasons during part of the rut. If you want to fight for something in your laws, make sure guns stay out of the rut forever. If you do that, there will always be big bucks around to spread their genes!! Again, I am not pi**ing on anyone's boots but rather giving you some things to think and discuss about. We all have common goals and need to be happy for each other when we have success enjoying the outdoors they way we each choose that makes us the happiest!
 

bigbuckhunter88

PMA Member
One last thought, I keep seeing people comparing Iowa to Missouri, Wisconsin and Michigan. All 3 have gun seasons during part of the rut. If you want to fight for something in your laws, make sure guns stay out of the rut forever. If you do that, there will always be big bucks around to spread their genes!! Again, I am not pi**ing on anyone's boots but rather giving you some things to think and discuss about. We all have common goals and need to be happy for each other when we have success enjoying the outdoors they way we each choose that makes us the happiest!
I agree with the majority of what you said and that's exactly what the majority are trying to do. Speaking for myself, it isnt crossbows that are going to ultimately be the demise IMO. It's that our state seems like it is aiming for the death by 1000 cuts tactic. Little changes every year until one year the residents wake up and wonder "how the hell did we end up with rifles during the rut." They started with the straight walls and are gonna keep attempting to add to and manipulate seasons every year. The majority of us on here just want seasons left alone and the government to keep their hands off of what is already a working system
 

Fishbonker

Life Member
Are any of you concerned about the big buck stock on Tom Johnson's farm 5 counties away? Of course you aren't.

Doesn't matter if it's just over the fence or on the opposite side of the state. None of us own the deer and what happens anywhere across the state happens to me.

There has been some chatter about how long the bow season is and it's unfair for bowhunters to get such a long season. Last I knew I could only get one buck during archery season regardless of how long it is.

Add the gun hunter turned crossbow hunter to the archery mix and then add them back into the gun mix and pretty soon you have a lot more deer being taken every year. If Tom Johnson now kills two deer 5 counties over that's fewer deer that will eventually disperse from that area. Or you could look at it the other way, Tom Johnson kills two deer a year for several years creating a potential vacuum for other deer to disperse to. The dispersing deer will be the 1.5 to 2.5 year olds and eventually Tom Johnson will only be shooting 1.5 to 2.5 year old deer and wondering why he is only seeing small deer. I put a graph on yet another crossbow thread from Ohio that shows the age structure of deer kills continually going down since crossbows were allowed. Sure they still kill a few big deer every year but the average age has dropped yearly.

On the other hand, if states are truly concerned with slowing the spread of CWD then by all means allow crossbows during regular archery season. It's a well known fact that bucks disperse more than does and interact with more deer than a dispersing doe and bucks have a higher incidence of CWD than does. So I guess there is that. Huh, I wonder if I just gave the crossbow (and gun) industry their new sales pitch. Like I said, what happens anywhere in the state has an effect on us all.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Would any of u FOR CROSSBOWS change your mind if it could be reasonably demonstrated that it did any of the following:
1) reduced access to land for the every day hunter.
2) reduced the age class & balance of the deer herd.

3) Even throw into #2 a less biological issue BUT still of importance to SOME... if it caused more of the young best genetic bucks to be killed.
4) made YOUR opportunity to hunt better quality land less available + reduced your chance after some years of implementation, your ability or chances/success rate at killing a buck.

One more question..... how many Iowa residents (YOU or SOMEONE U KNOW) travel to MO, MI, WI, IL or MN to either deer hunt or to hunt with a crossbow? Genuine question, i’d suspect not many but would like to understand or learn here.
 
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