Editor’s note: the proposed legislation would allow crossbow hunting during the regular bow season. Crossbows are already allowed in Kansas during the regular firearms season.
A proposal that would legalize crossbows in Kansas during deer hunting season is stirring passionate debate just as it has in several other states where similar measures have been introduced.
The battle lines have been drawn with many bowhunters leading the fight against making crossbows legal. Those opposed say crossbows blur the lines between what is a bow and what is a firearm. Those in favor of legalizing crossbows say “traditional” archery has left the sport decades ago and the crossbow is just another technological advance.
“When you can walk in the woods with the string already locked in the shooting position and the bolt already on the weapon, at that point in time it’s a point-and-shoot weapon no different than a rifle in my opinion,” Shawn Harding, the former president of the Kansas Bowhunters Association told the Topeka-Capital Journal. Harding plans to testify against the bill.
Not all agree.
“If you don’t want to allow technological advances, why don’t you make bowhunting where you have to carve the bow yourself, then go down and get some river cane and fashion arrows out of it?” Paul Maglionico, owner of Straight Path Archery in Topeka told the newspaper.
“It’s nothing like a rifle,” he said. “A lot of people think you could shoot an animal at 200 or 300 yards (with a crossbow). You can’t do it. The range is about the same as a regular bow.”
The crossbow bill is getting some support because of the overpopulation of deer in the state. A similar bill passed the House a few weeks back with the help of Rep. Anthony Brown who switched his vote to a “yes” after he had a collision with a deer the night before the vote.
Several bowhunting organizations across the U.S. have passed measures that define a bow as a device in which the string is hand-drawn and hand-held. That was done to exclude crossbows that use a crank to draw the string and a lock that holds the string in place until fired with a trigger.
The Senate bill is scheduled to come before the Senate Natural Resources Committee on Thursday.