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Few Bowhunters Can Ignore This Case for Hunting with Crossbows

Crossbows are more popular – and legal – in more places, and statistics show they're not that much more effective than vertical bows.

Few Bowhunters Can Ignore This Case for Hunting with Crossbows
While crossbow use continues to increase, statistics show it doesn’t dominate vertical-bow use. (Photo by Wicked Ridge)

The perception – and legality – of crossbow hunting has changed markedly over the past two decades. In 2002, for example, only three states nationwide permitted their use for deer hunting: Ohio, Arkansas and Wyoming. Today, crossbows are allowed without caveat during archery seasons in nine of 13 Midwestern states, and across much of the rest of the country.

Ohio has allowed crossbows during its archery season since 1976. It remained the Midwest’s lone ranger until 2009, when Michigan eliminated its restrictions. Various states tried partial openings based on age, season schedule or physical limitations soon after, but most eventually declared crossbows legitimate...

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