Yesterday, the state Assembly Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage Committee unanimously approved a bill of importance to sportsmen and hunters in the Badger State, Assembly Bill 194. AB 194, sponsored by state Representative Mary Czaja (R-35), would allow all hunters the opportunity to use a crossbow during the same time period as the big game archery season. This bill would help increase hunter participation and preserve Wisconsin’s rich hunting heritage. AB 194 is now eligible for final consideration by the full Assembly and a vote could be held as early as next week. Please contact your state Representative and urge him or her to support this common sense pro-hunting reform.
Experience in other states has shown that allowing the unqualified use of crossbows helps retain and recruit hunters. At a time when hunter numbers are declining, nothing is more important. Retention of older hunters with diminished physical capabilities is especially critical. If allowed to use crossbows, these hunters will remain in the field years longer than they otherwise would if restricted to vertical bows only. As a result, they would be more likely to recruit more family and friends into Wisconsin’s ranks of hunters. For youngsters who do not yet possess the physical strength to use a vertical bow, crossbows would allow them to go afield earlier and create more lifelong archery hunters.
In addition, experience in other states shows that archer success rates do not increase with the use of a crossbow as compared to a vertical bow. The goal of all hunters should be to increase participation because greater hunter numbers in the future will bolster defenses against the political attacks initiated by anti-hunting extremists and ensure the continuation of Wisconsin’s hunting heritage.