According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Missouri Department of Conservation approved the use of crossbows by hunters during archery season for the first time. The decision follows 25 other states that already permit crossbow use during archery season.

The Missouri Bowhunters Association opposes the use of crossbows because “it doesn’t feel like true archery,” according to the article. The group does, however, support older adults and people with disabilities that would make operating a compound bow difficult.

Bowhunters typically oppose the use of crossbows during hunting season because they are too similar to rifles and can take away from the sacred act of the hunt itself. These weapons can fire bolts at 350 feet per second or more, and the drawstring can be cranked back and cocked for hours, allowing the hunter to be ready to fire at any moment. Some bowhunters worry that with that trigger ready to go, deer and other wild game will be wounded more often than they are harvested from injuries and secondary infections.

According to the Post-Dispatch, other hunters, however, believe this decision is “a good thing” and look forward to more people getting out in the woods.

In the article, Missouri deer biologist Barbara Keller said that crossbows have been allowed prior to this decision for people with physical limitations, and approximately 10,000 hunters make a medical case to use a crossbow every year. Keller said that this decision came about from the desire to “remove that hurdle for hunters to participate in archery season, especially as [Missouri’s] hunter age is increasing.”

The Post-Dispatch reported that nearly 1.3 million deer permits are acquired in Missouri each year, and it is estimated that deer hunting contributes $1 billion to the state and local economies through the purchasing of licenses, gear, lodging, fuel and food. Last season, archery accounted for 18 percent of more than 274,000 of the deer harvested in Missouri, and that rate is growing.

How do you feel about this decision? Should crossbows be allowed during bowhunting season? Let us know in the comment section below or contact me at ahoward@grandviewmedia.com.