NRC considers proposal to liberalize crossbow use

Lansing – Crossbow use in Michigan would be legal during any
hunting season by hunters age 10 and above under a proposal sent to
the state Natural Resources Commission by the DNRE Wildlife
Division. This full inclusion proposal is one of three being
discussed by the NRC.

“Basically, the commission asked us to bring up a proposal to
liberalize (crossbow use),”_DNRE Species and Habitat Section
Supervisor Mike Bailey told Michigan Outdoor News. “I believe it
was brought up because of legislative action. Since a bill (to
liberalize crossbow use) was introduced, they decided to take a
look at it and bring it up for discussion.”

House Bill 5922, sponsored by James Bolger, R-Kalamazoo County,
was introduced earlier this year. It would expand the definition of
a bow to include a crossbow, which would render useless any
crossbow-specific regulations. The bill has been referred to the
House Committee on Tourism, Outdoor Recreation and Natural
Resources.

Current crossbow regulations allow anyone 12 years old or older
who has obtained a crossbow stamp to hunt with a crossbow during
any season when a firearm is allowed, for big game or small game.
In addition, anyone 50 or older who has obtained a crossbow stamp
may use a crossbow during the Oct. 1-Nov. 14 archery deer season.
And in Zone 3 (southern Michigan), anyone 12 and older who has
obtained a crossbow stamp can hunt with a crossbow during any
hunting season as long as they have the appropriate licenses.
Anyone who has obtained a crossbow permit because of a permanent
disability can use a crossbow.

The proposal submitted to the commission contains three
options.

Option 1

n Allow crossbows to be used statewide in all legal hunting
seasons except during the October through November archery season
in Zone 1

n Allow crossbows where legal to be used by any individual 10
years of age or older.

n Remove the 350 feet per second restriction on bolt speed.

n Allow the use of a modified bow where crossbows are legal.

n Continue to require that all crossbow hunters obtain a free
crossbow stamp.

n Eliminate the sunset provision allowing the expanded use of
crossbows for a 3-year period beginning in 2009.

n Maintain the provision that crossbows may be used for game
that also may be taken with a firearm.

n Allow temporary crossbow permits for the archery deer season
in Zone 1 for hunters with temporary disabilities.

Option 2

n Maintain crossbow regulations that were enacted in March of
2009.

n Remove the 350 feet per second restriction on bolt speed.

n Allow crossbows where legal to be used by any individual 10
years of age or older.

n Allow the use of a modified bow where crossbows are legal.

n Allow temporary crossbow permits for hunters with temporary
disabilities.

n Eliminate the sunset provision allowing the expanded use of
crossbows for a 3-year period beginning in 2009.

Option 3

n Allow crossbows to be used statewide by any individual 10
years of age or older.

n Continue to require that all crossbow hunters obtain a free
crossbow stamp.

n Remove the 350 feet per second restriction on bolt speed.

n Allow the use of a modified bow where crossbows are legal.

n Eliminate the sunset provision allowing the expanded use of
crossbows for a 3-year period beginning in 2009.

n Maintain the provision that crossbows may be used for game
that may be taken with a firearm.

n Repeals section 5.95 of the WCO that addresses permits for
crossbow use by hunters with disabilities.

“The Wildlife Division has previously stated that the use of
crossbows would not have a detrimental effect on wildlife
populations,” the DNRE wrote in a memo to the commission. “The
removal of the sunset language will make the present WCO easier to
read and understand. Nevertheless, the division will continue to
target surveys to hunters who choose to use a crossbow as a weapon
of choice to determine the effect the crossbow has on hunter
recruitment, retention, and harvest.”

The NRC is accepting comments on the crossbow proposal through
its Aug. 12 meeting in Escanaba, when action may be taken.

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