DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Members of an Iowa House panel rejected a bill that would have expanded when children can use a crossbow to hunt deer.
The natural resources subcommittee tabled the bill indefinitely, which means it won't advance this session.
The bill would have allowed children ages 16 and under with a youth deer hunting license to use a crossbow during other deer firearm seasons. The minor would have needed an unused tag.
Minors currently can use a crossbow during the late muzzleloader season between parts of December and January if they're accompanied by a licensed adult. In that scenario, the adult needs a muzzleloader license and the minor needs a youth deer hunting license, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.
The Iowa Bowhunters Association, which supports archery through bow and arrow, expressed concern about expanding crossbow use to other seasons, including the archery season, which is around the end of the year.
Association member Don Avenson called a crossbow a complicated mechanism for a minor.
“I would not let a child of mine shoot a crossbow,” he said. “Intentionally, they're as dangerous as a shotgun.”
A crossbow involves a bow being mounted on a mechanism that can be shot from a farther distance than a bow and arrow. It is also heavier, a point that members of the bowhunters association say can make it more dangerous for minors to use.
Representatives of the group emphasized that they're very supportive of minors hunting, as long as they do so responsibly.
Bill sponsor Rep. Matt Windschitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, said he will work with interested parties to reword the bill for a future session.