A few weeks ago, I wrote an article updating the shortcomings of the New York State crossbow hunting regulations which had to be approved by the legislature and the governor by Dec. 31 to be continued.
I also offered a way for New York hunters to voice their opinions of whether or not the current crossbow regulations could be improved by allowing the crossbow to be used during “all” big-game seasons, including the bow season, and for small game hunting, as well.
The answer was the initiation of the New York Crossbow Coalition website, where anyone can vote, and a New York Crossbow Facebook page where anyone can voice their opinions. The brainchild of Rick McDermott of Pulaski, these were both designed to advocate the civil rights of all sportsmen and women of New York, regardless of age, sex or physical abilities, by pursuing the classification of a crossbow as a legal bow for use in any season where archery equipment is permitted, including archery-only areas.
The quality of the responses that have been received in just these few weeks have been outstanding.
The question asked on the website is, “Do you support crossbow use during the New York archery seasons?” All that was required was a “yes” or a “no,” and as of Monday, there had been 769 responses, and 89 percent voted “yes.” I believe that “sleeping giant,” the hunter, has finally been awakened, and many are also voicing their opinions on Facebook, as well. What was also surprising is that when I clicked on the dashboard of the website, which gives the breakdown of these yes/no responses into voting trends (numbers and states), it appears that all the “no” votes were from out of state. What I did enjoy — and I read most of them — were numerous Facebook comments. It’s exactly what I was hoping would be said about the true feelings of hunters, and not just bowhunters. Here are a few of the Facebook comments.
A number of bowhunters were forced to give up the sport they loved, due to accidents, health issues and/or aging. But now, with a chance they could still enjoy the bowhunting season with a crossbow, were very excited. One respondent said it should be a matter of choice as to what a hunter uses to hunt with, as long as it’s legal, and obviously, the crossbow is. He also noted that obtaining any special license from a public agency where he would have to disclose his disability would be uncomfortable and embarrassing. A previously avid bowhunter wrote that due to a serious neuromuscular disease, he can no longer draw, hold and shoot a bow and therefore no longer enjoy “the peace and tranquility of being in the woods,” and that the use of a crossbow in all seasons would renew this enjoyment for him.
This “choice” issue was voiced by a number of other hunters, which included those who did not even hunt with a bow and who saw no reason why an individual hunter could not use a crossbow in “any” of the seasons. And one added, “As a gun hunter, I can use any caliber rifle, as long as it is a centerfire rifle, it doesn’t say it has to be a bolt-action, a single-shot, etc. So why would it be any different with the bow season? Stick bow, recurve bow, compound bow or crossbow, they all shoot arrows.”
There were also a number of hunters who have already enjoyed crossbow hunting in other states such as Pennsylvania, Texas and Ohio. I’ve hunted with crossbows in other states for more than 20 years and found the crossbow to be a fun, challenging and effective way to hunt.
And several old-time bowhunters who are in favor of the crossbow reminded Facebook readers of the big fuss made by the stick bow hunters in New York when the compound bow was introduced in the 1970s. Remember the Allen compound? I had one, and it revolutionized my hunting and definitely made me a better bowhunter. But when it first came on the scene, many “traditional” archers didn’t want it, and they claimed it was not a bow. I believe even the state wasn’t sure, first declaring it legal, then illegal and not legal for hunting.
One pro-crossbow hunter addressed a false assumption. “Too many times, I have heard the insinuation of the anti-crossbow hunters that it is a ‘poacher’s weapon.’ It has been proven many times that the crossbow has no advantage over a compound bow, in terms of speed, distance, etc. And if you are going to poach a deer, it is going to be with a rifle. Check the records and see how many illegally [poached] deer were taken with a crossbow. I don’t think you will find any. It is ridiculous statements like these that we have to address, but not with criticism, but rather through educating them with the truth.”
And for the gentleman who asked, “Are there any legislators prepared to introduce crossbow legislation either in the [New York] Assembly or the Senate this year?” I have good news. On March 16, Sen. Patrick Gallivan (R-Elma) introduced an amendment that, if passed and signed, will amend the environmental conservation law concerning crossbows. Basically, the ammendment adds the word “crossbow” to all areas of the bill that now pertain to using guns and/or long bows only. And also it has been added to small-game hunting law. I may get to shoot a turkey with my TenPoint in New York yet.
So what is the next step? Go to the www.-nycrossbowcoalition.com and cast a vote, to facebook.com and search for “New York Crossbow Coalition” and read some of the responses. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion there.
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