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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Devil’s Weapon?
Posted: October 1, 2015

It’s no secret that the use of crossbows is frowned upon by vertical bow hunters. Do they (and their users) deserve a bad rap?
Photo Credit: JT Fleegle
Photo Credit: JT Fleegle

If you want to tick off a bow hunter, suggest that crossbows and vertical bows are essentially the same. If you want to lose a friend, ask a traditional bow hunter what the big deal is over crossbows.

To a wildlife manager, the method by which a deer is harvested is irrelevant really. The important thing is a deer was harvested. However, the method by which a deer is harvested is of the utmost importance to the hunter. Each requires a skill set unique to its function.

Many hunters have a favorite and choose to specialize in that method. Most methods have their own season. Muzzleloader, firearms, flintlock, and archery – all have designated days on the calendar. All except crossbows.

Crossbows are a bit like the redheaded stepchild of the hunting world. Those with the strongest feelings against them are, of course, archery hunters. But are crossbows really that different? And when I say crossbows, I really mean crossbow hunters.

Well, there is one way to find out. Ask!

The short answer is crossbow hunters are different but not in the ways you might expect. One difference is age. The average crossbow hunter is 10 years older than the average vertical bow hunter (52 years old vs 42 years old) with 50% of them being over 55 years of age (as compared to only 19% of vertical bow hunters).

It appears that crossbows have re-opened the door to archery season for many hunters. Sixty-five percent of crossbow hunters have returned to archery hunting because of the crossbow. That doesn’t sound like such a bad thing.

Crossbow hunters are actually very similar to vertical bow hunters in many ways too. Over 85% of each group hunted during the firearms season; <span style="font-weight: bold">the same percentage harvested a buck during archery season (16% of crossbow hunters, 17% of vertical bow hunters); </span>the same percentage harvested 2 or more antlerless deer with a bow in one season (5% for crossbow hunters, 4 % for vertical bow hunters); and the same percentage say they have the same or more interest in deer hunting over the last 5 years (67% for crossbow hunters, 70% for vertical bow hunters).

The #1 reason listed for those with more interest in deer hunting for both groups: Time to hunt!

Maybe crossbow hunters aren’t that different after all. Looking closer, maybe crossbows aren’t spawned from the fires of [censored].

Maybe, just maybe, they are the savior of a hunting tradition lost to some as the years march on. Maybe now retirement is only job-related and not hunting-related. Maybe that father of 3 gets to spend more time in the woods reconnecting with his youth while still being able to foster the next generation of hunters.

For some, maybe crossbows are a gift from heaven.

-Jeannine Fleegle, biologist

PGC Deer and Elk Section
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Just some info from the PGC regarding crossbow use in Pa.
 

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Not a bad read but at the same time I am not sure what purpose the article actually serves ?

I think that inclusion has come a long way in the past 5 years or so, so is this statement really necessary ?

<span style="color: #FF0000">It’s no secret that the use of crossbows is frowned upon by vertical bow hunters. Do they (and their users) deserve a bad rap?</span>

Kind of fans the flames of the "elitist" mentality all over again in my eyes and lumps all verticle hunters in the same category.

Anyhow, good luck guys. Really looking forward to reading the success threads this season.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
steelhead125 said:
Not a bad read but at the same time I am not sure what purpose the article actually serves ?

I think that inclusion has come a long way in the past 5 years or so, so is this statement really necessary ?

It’s no secret that the use of crossbows is frowned upon by vertical bow hunters. Do they (and their users) deserve a bad rap?
Its not needed or necessary, I agree. We have come a long way in a few years and statements like that only take away from the positives. The meat of the article is a good read though.
 

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Thanks for the post. Since I never felt like I had the time to commit to traditional style archery hunting, and definitely lacked the accuracy to feel comfortable shooting a deer, to participate in archery hunting was something I put on my TO DO list for when I retired.
This year I purchased a crossbow and with the limited amount of practice I have squeezed in out back I feel very confident at taking a good, ethical shot at a deer 35 yards out.
If I like it fine, if not it is only a different kind of hunting and I still have my old true rifle season to fall back on.
This will add weeks of opportunity both early and after Christmas to hunt.
 
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I had a buddy compare crossbow inclusion to gay marriage. A lot of similarities!

I hunt with both. When it becomes too hard to use my compound in late season, I grab the crossbow.
 

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Wow who did they poll on that 1. Out of 5 of us Im the only compound user. The other 4 say crossbows are easier and they don't have time to practice like with compound or longbow.They must have been in the 65%. My bud will shoot bullseyes all day long at 50 yds and he tells you its easier.
 

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I gave up archery when the PGC started allowing them "easy button" compound bows. Bows with training wheels,,,,,,, who da thought they would ever be legalized.

Imagine the statistics of the numbers of older hunters in the woods that would not be there but for the easier to use compounds. And releases? OMG. you can't tell a bow hunter by callouses on the fingers anymore. Bet the average age of compound hunters is higher than stick bow hunters.

So crossbows should get their own dates? Well not before atlatls, bolos and spears get theirs.
 

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dpms said:
Many hunters have a favorite and choose to specialize in that method. Most methods have their own season. Muzzleloader, firearms, flintlock, and archery – all have designated days on the calendar. All except crossbows.

-Jeannine Fleegle, biologist

PGC Deer and Elk Section
I hope she never stops writing.
 

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Excellent reading...ive been bowhunting since the early 70s,shot my first buck in 1973 when i was 14 years old,Ive seen alot of changing over the years,I love bowhunting and i'll never give it up..but it bothers me too see us (bowhunters) squabble over this xbow [censored],we're both the same..we're both supporting out passion...Im 55 now..shoot a xbow,but got back into shooting the compound all summer and love it...its my choice what weapon,i choose to harvest my deer with legally,We just have to band together to continue to support our passion...cause if we don't it wont be there for the future...Rusty
 

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zimmerstutzen said:
I gave up archery when the PGC started allowing them "easy button" compound bows. Bows with training wheels,,,,,,, who da thought they would ever be legalized.

Imagine the statistics of the numbers of older hunters in the woods that would not be there but for the easier to use compounds. And releases? OMG. you can't tell a bow hunter by callouses on the fingers anymore. Bet the average age of compound hunters is higher than stick bow hunters.

So crossbows should get their own dates? Well not before atlatls, bolos and spears get theirs.
I,m proud to say I,m a finger shooter and will always be but have been considering a XBOW just to have another weapon to add to the arsenal.But that might be years away if ever.
 

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I'm old enought to remember when compounds were made legal (in '73, I think) and the "disturbance in the force" that it created. Many traditional archers lamented that since they were easier to shoot, the woods would be flooded with extra hunters. Well, in a way they were right, but I don't think the archery season suffered much for that. It is interesting to me how now that "the shoe is on the other foot," there is still concern from compound bow hunters that allowing crossbows will adversely affect the season.

I sometimes wonder how many of those that oppose crossbows simply don't want the additional competition during the archery season.
 

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Jeanie baby needs to stick to wackin dead frogs up instead of playing a peacemaker she's lousy at it.
 

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Bigfoot062 said:
I'm old enought to remember when compounds were made legal (in '73, I think) and the "disturbance in the force" that it created. Many traditional archers lamented that since they were easier to shoot, the woods would be flooded with extra hunters. Well, in a way they were right, but I don't think the archery season suffered much for that. It is interesting to me how now that "the shoe is on the other foot," there is still concern from compound bow hunters that allowing crossbows will adversely affect the season.

I sometimes wonder how many of those that oppose crossbows simply don't want the additional competition during the archery season.
I don't oppose them but I will openly admit that I don't like having the extra competition.
It's one of the reasons why I started hunting the mountains a few years ago. When it comes to archery hunting the thing I enjoy the most is the solitude which was getting harder to come by once inclusion took place.
 

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Thnx for the post and if it weren't for my crossbow I wouldn't be sitting in this tree right now.
 

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When those that dislike using a crossbow, get to the point that their shoulders say no more, then they will appreciate a crossbow, and be thankful.
 

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I never imagined owning one. And here I am 7 wks. after shoulder surgery with a brand new Titan Extreme. I'm hoping to get out with it before the end of arhery. My son says he'll come and help if I shoot something. Won't be climbing any trees or carrying a backpack. Just a fanny pack.
 
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