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Your Opinion: Allow crossbows for hunting

Your Opinion: Allow crossbows for hunting

January 22nd, 2011 by Marvin Phillips, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

This is an open letter to the Missouri Conservation Department Commissioners.

You are to be commended for being open minded and considerate of hunters' desires by approving the "atlatl" as an allowed weapon for deer hunting this year. I had to go to the Internet to find out what this thing is. Now I know it is a spear, or dart, launcher. It requires a throwing motion. It is definitely an historic, or primitive, weapon.

Since you are so supportive of primitive weapons, please explain to me and all the hunters, or would-be hunters if they could use crossbows, why you have not allowed the use of crossbows for spring and fall turkey seasons. Crossbows were developed as far back as the fifth century B.C. That makes them primitive, historic weapons. I am almost certain there are currently more crossbow enthusiasts than there are spear chuckers.

Crossbows are not that much different than compound bows in that you shoot one arrow at a time, the arrow range is similar and you generally get only one shot at game before it spooks. I don't own a crossbow, but I have shot two of them in the past. They require lots of practice just like other weapons to be proficient with them. I've hunted deer and turkey with bow and guns for 43 years and I've never read, or heard, why crossbows are only allowed for deer during the firearms portion of the Missouri deer season.

I think it is time for the commission to re-think the use of crossbows and approve their use for turkey hunting (spring and fall) and perhaps for deer during archery season.

I am aware that disabled hunters can get a special permit that allows the use of crossbows during archery seasons. This approved method would provide even more opportunities for hunting in Missouri. Other states have approved them. Who knows non-resident crossbow hunters might come to Missouri and spend their hard earned dollars to buy game tags and otherwise improve the state's economy. I hope other hunters will take time to contact you regarding the use of crossbows in Missouri. I know you will be open minded when they do.