New bill would create deer hunting season for crossbow usersState lawmakers are grappling over a bill that would create a new crossbow hunting season for deer in Wisconsin.
By: Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
State lawmakers are grappling over a bill that would create a new crossbow hunting season for deer in Wisconsin.
Rep. Chris Danou, D-Trempeleu, one of the co-authors of the crossbow bill, acknowledges that some in the traditional bowhunting community don't care for the idea of a crossbow season. But Danou says the differences are minimal.
“Harvesting a deer with a broadhead that's on the end of a longer, thinner arrow, versus harvesting a deer with a broadhead that's on a shorter, stockier arrow — the deer is still harvested,” he says. “And it still requires a level of skill and commitment to be able to effectively hunt.”
Not everyone sees it that way. “Archers are proud of the way they hunt and this would represent a very distinct change in practice,” says Mike Brust, who is president of the Wisconsin Bowhunters Association.
Brust says the technology of a crossbow makes it less challenging than traditional bowhunting. He says the concern is that an influx of crossbow hunters could result in fewer hunting opportunities for traditional bowhunters. Brust says his group supports a new crossbow season — as long as it's separate from the traditional bow season.
“We feel it's important for the [Department of Natural Resources] and the public — the hunting public — to regulate both separately,” he says.
Brust says his group is hoping the plan will be amended to make sure the bowhunting and crossbow hunting seasons are eventually separate. While this bill received a unanimous vote in the state Assembly, a similar version died last session. A public hearing that was scheduled for this week was just canceled.