October 21, 2014

Natural Resources Board approves new crossbow rules

File photo

File photo

More hunters using crossbows could be out in the woods this fall, after the state Natural Resources Board voted this morning to clear the way for more people to use the weapons in Wisconsin. Board members meeting in Hawyard have approved a  recommendation that a crossbow deer hunting season be run concurrently with the archery season this fall.

Crossbows were previously limited to disabled hunters or those over the age of 65, but a change in state law last year now means any qualified hunter can buy a license to use one. Scott Loomans, Wildlife Regulation Policy Specialist with the state Department of Natural Resources, believes it will prove to be a popular option this fall, when crossbows are allowed at the same time as the archery deer season that starts on September 13.

Loomans says it remains unclear if those hunting with a crossbow will be regular archers who are just trying it out this year or if there will be large number of new hunters for the upcoming season. Either way, he says the use of crossbows is not expected to have a significant impact on deer harvest numbers.