Crossbows Legal This Year for Archery Deer Season

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Crossbows are now legal for archery hunting in Missouri. They gaining in popularity amongst young hunters.

Crossbows are now legal for archery hunting in Missouri. They gaining in popularity amongst young hunters.

The controversial crossbow is set to make its debut in the Missouri deer woods as archery equipment. Legalized as an official archery weapon by the Department of Conservation, crossbows are now an option for anyone to use during regular archery seasons. Some applaud the decision, while other staunch archers despise the move. Only time will tell of the crossbows impact.

When Early Archery Season opens in Missouri on September 15, for the first time any hunter who chooses to can hunt with a crossbow. They used to be limited during archery seasons to those with disability permits. I’ve seen a lot of ads in local magazines promoting crossbows. With the industry aggressively marketing to Missouri bowhunters, it’ll be interesting to see how many make the switch.

The argument against crossbows by the archery diehards is justifiable in historic terms. It took great effort to establish archery seasons and special regulations in favor of bowhunting. Now, as crossbows crash the party, bowhunters aren’t happy about sharing the spoils of what they worked so hard to accomplish. No one wants to give up what is believed to be theirs, defined by their principles, but times change.

Archers argue since you don’t have to draw a crossbow, thus eliminating movement in the presence of an animal, it’s much easier to be successful. There’s no question this is true. Drawing a bow at the right time to avoid being seen is a crucial element of punching an archery tag. Personally, I feel this is the crossbows only major advantage.

I’ve witnessed folks shoot bows and crossbows on the same range. If I were a buck within 40 yards of a competent fella holding a bow or a crossbow, I’d be in bad shape. However, once beyond 40 yards, if given a choice, I would much rather have the crossbow hunter taking a shot at me. Their effective range drops off much quicker than a quality vertical bow. At a recent shoot I attended, a few of the bowhunters were showing off by dropping arrows in the kill zone of a target at 100 yards. Things have changed quite a bit since Fred Bear hung up his quiver.

Crossbow proponents say the addition of crossbows to archery seasons doesn’t diminish the efforts of archery icons, like Glen St. Charles and M.R. James, who worked so hard to fight for our rights. It just moves our tradition in another direction. In the end, if we recruit more hunters, more women hunters, get youngsters out earlier and keep more old-timers in the field, we win. Many say crossbows should help with recruitment efforts.

Since crossbows have been added as a legal method during archery deer and turkey seasons and also during the fall firearms turkey season, MDC has removed the “hunting method exemption” requirement for hunters to use crossbows during the archery deer season.

According to MDC, “the regulation change will provide additional hunting opportunities for young hunters and help prolong hunting activities for older participants.”

Personally, I’ll stick to my vertical bow. I am the sort of hunter who has issue with the fact that technology keeps stacking the odds in the hunter’s favor. Sitting in a tree wearing scent suppressing clothing with an ozone busting computer contraption screwed in above my head with a laser range finder in my pocket and an app on my phone to tell me which direction the deer will come from simply doesn’t appeal to me. But, to each his own. Good luck to all, no matter what archery weapon you choose this fall.

See you down the trail…

Brandon Butler


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