The Wisconsin Senate Natural Resources Committee held an important public hearing yesterday on a bill that would allow hunters to use a crossbow during the big game archery season. Assembly Bill 194, sponsored by state Representative Mary Czaja (R-35), passed this Committee today by a 4-1 vote and now heads to the state Senate’s floor for approval. Therefore, it is critical you begin contacting your state Senator NOW and urge him or her to SUPPORT AB 194 when it comes up for consideration on the Senate floor.
AB 194 already passed the state Assembly in June; therefore, the full Senate will be this bill’s last hurdle before it can be signed into law to benefit sportsmen and hunters in the Badger State. Experience in other states has shown that allowing the unqualified use of crossbows helps retain and recruit hunters, particularly older hunters with diminished physical capabilities. If allowed to use crossbows, these hunters will remain in the field years longer than they otherwise would if restricted to only vertical bows. 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. At a time when hunter numbers are declining, nothing is more important than retaining and recruiting hunters.
Experience in other states also 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 rich hunting heritage.