If you’re planning to set out on a hunt in Maryland this fall, there are few things to consider beforehand. This is because new regulations could require a change in plans if you are looking to use a Benjamin Pioneer Airbow.
At the heart of the issue is how this weapon will be classified. Even though it has the word “bow” in its title, there is some debate over whether or not it should be considered an airgun as opposed to a crossbow. The thought is that the Airbow, made by Crosman, is not a true crossbow so much as a hybrid innovation that incorporates traits of a high-powered air rifle by using compressed air to fire full-sized arrows. Thus, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, it should be brought under the airgun umbrella.
Currently this type of weapon is already legal in Maryland for use in some bird hunts. Regulation changes could mean use during muzzleloader and conventional firearm season in the pursuit of deer and black bear. When looking at the bigger picture, however, the Airbow is legal in most of the United States for coyotes and predators (scroll down for interactive map), but in the case of other game animals, the nationwide legality is very limited.
An airgun is technically any gun that fires projectiles with compressed air as the driving force, which does in theory describe the Airbow. It is powered by 3,000 psi of compressed air, and it can fire eight shots 450 fps in the time a crossbow user could fire three. Unlike a crossbow, it is also unaffected by canting, hence the increased accuracy.
What it all boils down to is that the regulation making jury is still out on this particular hunting tool. If you plan to use one in the future, be sure to check your local regulations as you just might find yourself in for an unexpected surprise.
Check out the video below featuring Jim Shockey as he hunts buffalo with a Benjamin Pioneer Airbow.