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South Dakota Loosens Some Archery Restrictions

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By NORA HERTEL | Associated Press

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota's hunting oversight board has passed changes that will loosen some archery restrictions and allow for the use of new technology.

The Game, Fish and Parks Commission took public testimony on the changes, which were developed with input from South Dakota Bowhunters, Inc. and the South Dakota Archery Association. The commission met Thursday and Friday in Yankton.

Dana Rogers, an outdoor writer and bow hunter, supported many of the changes. The rules respond to technology upgrades and will help draw new archers to the sport, he said.

The changes drew detailed comments from bow hunters, including critics who dislike incorporating new technologies in bow hunting.

Barbed points on arrows are now allowed, which critic Ronald Kolbeck said could negatively impact public perception of bow hunting because deer or elk could more likely be seen with an arrow stuck in their flesh.

Rules for mechanical broadheads, the tips on arrows that open upon impact, have also been changed.

“They fly better, they're more accurate,” Rogers said about mechanical broadheads. “They do require a larger transfer of energy.”

When hunting elk, mechanical broadheads will have to be used with 50 pounds of pull, or draw weight, in the bow. Forty pounds is required in bows for hunting other big game with mechanical broadheads.

Arrows with fixed broadheads do not require as much draw weight in the new rules, 40 pounds for elk and 30 pounds for other large game. This lower requirement could draw younger archers who have trouble drawing more weight in a bow.

Archers will also be able to use lights on their sights, which supporters said are necessary at ground level where visibility is limited. Rogers said manufacturers have been building them into sights already, which put compliant hunters in a tough position before the rule change.

Cameras and cellphones can also be used with sights for photographs now.

The commission did not change the rules that prohibit crossbows and arrows with explosive, poisonous or hydraulic points.

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