Crossbow hunting now open to all - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Crossbow hunting now open to all

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WESTON (WAOW) -- Some changes are on the way for the upcoming hunting season.

For the first time, it'll be legal for all Wisconsin hunters to use crossbows.

Crossbows have always been reserved for hunters 65 and older and for hunters with disabilities.

But with the Natural Resources Board opening them up to everyone, archery stores say crossbows are already becoming more popular.

"Crossbows are catching on a lot lately," said Jim Anklam, an employee at Antlers Archery in Weston. "We're selling a lot of them."

Crossbow licenses from the DNR are now available.

"Hopefully now this will draw more people in to doing both seasons so we're kind of looking forward to interacting with new people during archery season that we only see during gun and deer season," said DNR Conservation Warden Justin Darrow.

Experts say crossbows simplify the sport of archery.

"You don't have to hold all the weight back of the crossbow like you do a regular bow," Anklam said. "You just cock it and then it just stays there at full draw."

That allows older hunters to extend their careers.

"There comes a time when you cannot pull enough weight, especially like in winter," said Mike Cronk of Mosinee.

Cronk's been using a crossbow for five years, but doesn't think they'll become popular with the younger generations.

"Bowhunters that are true bowhunters, they're going to use a bow," he said.

Cronk's not the only Antlers Archery customer to have that attitude.

"They call them traditional guys," said Anklam. "They're the old recurve guys that won't shoot anything else, don't believe in anything else."

But for beginners, Anklam says a crossbow will be easier to shoot so it's not a bad place to start.

Experts say the added tension from having the crossbow always cocked makes it more dangerous than a regular bow.

Their most important tip is to never lower it toward the ground while it's loaded.

Archery season runs from September 13 to January 4.
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