Crossbows Aplenty In Wisconsin Woods

The opening of the early deer-hunting season in Wisconsin has always been a major event, but this year it’s especially noteworthy as it marks the first time hunters will enjoy the unrestricted use of crossbows during regular archery season.

On Saturday, Sept. 13, Wisconsin’s first simultaneous archery and crossbow deer-hunting season officially opened, and the state, Department of Natural Resources says it experienced an anticipated drop in the number regular archery tags issued

compared to previous seasons.

“For those of us who love to bowhunt, it’s an exciting time of the year and anticipation runs high,” said Bob Nack, WDNR big game section chief.

Through Sept. 14, the state Department of Natural Resources reported sales of 102,422 archer licenses and 36,460 crossbow licenses. The archer total is down 16,609 — or 14 percent — from the same time last year. The 2014-‘15 Wisconsin hunting season marks the first time hunters of all legal ages and all physical abilities can use a crossbow to pursue deer. When all deer licenses are totaled (conservation patron, gun, archery and crossbow), Wisconsin sold 288,508 through Sunday, Sept. 14, which was 6 percent more than the same time last year.

In 2013, more than 266,000 licensed archery hunters harvested almost 88,000 deer, compared to 263,000 archery hunters and 94,000 deer harvested in 2012.

The DNR reminded first-time crossbow hunters to be sure to become familiar with the new regulations , as well as to review safety rules particular to “horizontal bow” use.

The new crossbow season, open to all hunters with an appropriate license, will create a new hunting opportunity for many hunters throughout Wisconsin. Hunters interested in using both a conventional bow and crossbow may do so by paying full price for one of the licenses and purchasing a $3 upgrade for the second license.

When all deer licenses are totaled (conservation patron, gun, archery and crossbow), Wisconsin sold 288,508 through Sunday, Sept. 14, which was 6 percent more than the same time last year.

DNR officials say it’s too early to tell how the news laws and permits will affect total participation by the time regular archery season ends on January 14, 2015.

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