Hunting with a Crossbow
By Ronda Engman
The crossbow is a cross between a long gun and a longbow. It has a
gun-type stock, can be outfitted with a spotting scope, and can be left
in a cocked position while the hunter moves around. It has a similar
range to that of a shotgun.
The crossbow can be transported in a vehicle while cocked and,
because of its small size, can be brought quickly out the window of a
vehicle so that the hunter need never leave the vehicle to make a kill.
For this reason, and because the crossbow is basically a silent weapon,
it is likely to become the deer poaching weapon of choice.
The cheapest crossbows start at about $150, the most expensive cost
being more than double that price.
When the trigger of a crossbow is pulled, the bow, which has a draw
of about 125 pounds, propels the arrow, called a bolt, at speeds of up
to 200 mph. As with the longbow arrow, the wound of a crossbow bolt does
massive damage to its victim. Deer usually die within four minutes from
hemorrhage. It takes little strength to use and can be used over long
distances. Hunters need not sit patiently for quarry to wander by, as
longbow hunters must, so the crossbow appeals to the less patient. Deer
hunters who like working in groups and conducting deer drives would find
the crossbow appealing. Longbow hunters must be close to their quarry.
Crossbow hunters, on the other hand, can be hundreds of feet away from
their quarry, so the same types of injuries involving shotguns and
rifles that one sees during deer hunting season (hunters shooting other
hunters, hunters shooting cars, etc.) will be seen if crossbows are
The bolt from a crossbow is more likely to kill a human than just
inflict a wound. In addition, wildlife rehabilitators, who have learned
to treat birds shot with small BB-sized pellets will now have to develop
techniques to treat birds shot with crossbow bolts. Some birds shot in
the wing with birdshot can recover without aid. Birds encumbered by a
crossbow bolt in the wing would be unable to fly and would likely die an
Despite the fact that the sale of crossbow licenses is likely to
bring more money into the Conservation Fund, NYSCA believes that the
crossbow is an extremely dangerous weapon that is likely to add to the
risk of both hunter and non-hunter.
NYSCA believes that the legalization of the crossbow could lead to
more poaching, particularly of deer and bear.
NYSCA has never approved of the use of an arrow or a bolt as a
projectile and believes that allowing an animal to bleed to death or to
die of shock due to hemorrhage is inhumane.
An average distance for these arrows was approximately 1,506 yards.
Not every hunter will be able to obtain these distances, but certainly
the crossbow is capable of propelling the bolt extremely long distances.
Several letters should be sent to your state assembly member and
senator, and to:
Richard Brodsky, Chair
Assembly EnCon Committee
Albany, NY 12248
Carl Marcellino, Chair
Senate EnCon Committee
Albany, NY 12247
In addition, be sure to write letters to local newspapers, get
neighbors and organizations (hiking clubs, etc.) involved.
The above was sent by Ronda Engman, VP, New York State Coalition for