Tenpoint Crossbows Help Move Seasons Forward

By: - Hunting - June 23, 2011
tenpoint crossbows help move seasons forward

For years, crossbows have been the stepchild of archery.  Compound bow shooters turned up their noses at crossbows, and wildlife agencies wouldn’t allow hunters to use them.  But gradually, as compound bow shooters and biologists have understood more about crossbows and their ability to bring more hunters into the field, both groups have come to accept them.
Marlin and Forest Dance, owners of Dance’s Sporting Goods in Colonial Heights, Virginia, are part of the reason Virginia now allows crossbow hunting.
“Before crossbows were legal in Virginia, I called the game commission and asked if there was anything we could do to,” Dance said.  The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries liked the idea and encouraged the Dances to get involved.  They got in touch with a friend of theirs who was a state legislator at the time, and he introduced a bill proposing a crossbow season in Virginia.
That was the start of something big.  Because of the Dances’ efforts several crossbow companies, including TenPoint Crossbows, got involved and worked to get the legislation passed.  As a result, TenPoint Crossbows started working in other states as well, pushing for legislation to allow crossbow hunting in many states.
The results have been fairly spectacular.  In 2008 Michigan implemented a new, less restrictive crossbow regulation for disabled hunters, Louisiana added an archery and crossbow season, and South Carolina made crossbows legal during regular archery season.  Florida also has a crossbow season, and in 2010 started allowing crossbows during the regular archery season.  In fact, many states now are a least considering a crossbow season, and quite a few have already implemented them.
This controversy has a precedent; in the 1970s, hunters who shot recurve bows strenuously objected to the use of compound bows in the field.  Over time compounds became accepted, much as crossbows are becoming accepted now.
One reason for the increased use of crossbows, said Dave Robb, Director of Marketing for TenPoint Crossbows, may be that the general hunting population is aging.  Several years ago, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources started allowing hunters over the age of 65 to use a crossbow for hunting during the regular archery season.   After that regulation had been in effect for a couple of years, Wisconsin DNR surveyed hunters and learned some interesting facts.
“If you look at hunter numbers, particularly bowhunters, you’ll see decline in participation starting at about age 45,” Robb said.  “When you look at hunter numbers in Wisconsin, however, the trend is reversed.  At exactly age 65 there’s a big increase in bowhunters coming back to hunting.”
A look at statistics from states that allow crossbows for hunting all the time also shows some interesting trends.
“In those states, hunters start coming back into the field after age 50,” Robb said.  “In these states as well, there’s a drop between 45 and 50; our best explanation for this is time constraints.”
By themselves, all these numbers don’t lead to any solid conclusions.  But they do bring up some interesting questions.  For instance, do middle aged bowhunters stop hunting because they can’t shoot recurve or compound bows any more?  And do they come back to hunting with laws change so they can shoot a crossbow?
Right now there aren’t any solid answers to those questions, but over the next few years you can be sure wildlife agencies will be studying those questions.  If that proves to be the case, the trend toward crossbow seasons is likely to accelerate, with TenPoint Crossbows continuing to lead the way toward opening the door to more crossbow hunters in the field.