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Outlaw Crossbows for Able-Bodied Hunters

  • Outdoor columnist Ben Smith says if we continue to allow crossbows to be used by able-bodied people, just get rid of archery season altogether.

Football season finally ended! Hallelujah! No more Taylor Swift junk. No more Kelce brothers love fest. I feel like I can finally turn on the television again. Of course, the one bummer that comes with the end of football season is deer season goes with it. If you live in South Mississippi and haven’t filled your buck allotment by now, you’re pretty much out of time…and you should be. I’ve seen several arguments lately calling for an extension of deer season through the end of February. Are you kidding me? If you haven’t sealed the deal by February 15th, you pretty much ought to find a different hobby.

It’s been a while since I’ve written a “soapbox” column, or a “get off of my lawn” column, so I’m due. And what better week to do it than the week of Valentine’s Day? Valentine’s Day…what a sissy holiday. However, it wasn’t always this way. The origins of Valentine’s Day possibly come from a couple of Christians named “Valentine” that were martyred by Roman emperors during the early periods of Christianity. Not very sissy-ish, right? But, as time passed we wussified it into its current state. Kind of like bow hunting…which is what I’m going to talk about this week.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Deer hunters years ago were way tougher than we are now. They had far less gear to make life comfortable, clothes probably weren’t as good, and there were a lot fewer deer in the woods. Bow hunters, in particular, were either far more advanced archers, or they didn’t kill much. Have you ever shot a compound bow made before 1995? There wasn’t a such thing as 100% let-off. And those big, heavy aluminum arrows flew about 150 feet per second compared to the 400 feet per second carbon arrows being shot today. Technology has obviously made bow hunting easier, and I’m not very good anyway, so thank goodness for that. But technology isn’t the only thing that’s made hunting easier.

I’m not sure if we did it in the name of “kill more deer” or “make it easier”, but we’ve almost effectively killed archery season. What am I blathering about, you might ask? Crossbows. Designed for the archery hunter with disabilities or age decline, the crossbow provided an opportunity to keep bow hunting when your body said you couldn’t. This is something that I never had an issue with. If you were an older hunter that could no longer draw your bow back, then by all means, use the crossbow. If you had an injury, or disability, that prevented you from hunting with a trad bow, or compound bow, use the crossbow. Somewhere along the way all of that changed.

Some candy, I mean wimp, cried about it not being fair that some could use a crossbow and others couldn’t. So, instead of telling that Beta to take up tiddlywinks for a hobby, we accommodated them and said, “go ahead.” Aside from poaching, there is nothing that makes me sicker to my stomach in the hunting world than watching an able-bodied man shoot a dang crossbow. And ladies, that goes for you too. Don’t you dare call yourself an archery hunter while you post up your crossbow on a rail, focus your scope, and shoot your projectile 450 feet per second at a deer eating out of a corn pile 85 yards away. You’re not an archery hunter. 

I’m sure there will be more than a few ruffled feathers after that. And you know what? Good. Because I’m getting a little tired of watching soft handed men and women in bikinis dominating the hunting industry on social media and television. Thanks to you folks, we can no longer use the word “kill” when we shoot a deer. We’ve got to soften it up and say “harvest” for fear of hurting someone’s delicate sensibilities. Wake up! We ain’t pickin’ corn. We are killing animals to eat! There’s blood and guts and tongues hanging out of the sides of the mouths. It ain’t pretty. It’s reality. 

And now you’ve got to cry when you kill a deer on television. What in the world? I’ve watched several different shows lately where the “hunter” kills a deer with a crossbow then bawls his eyes out on camera. Shoot, I cried too. I cried thinking of how sad it is that young people across the country watching this guy on television are going to think that this is what it’s all about. They’ll grow up thinking that paying $10,000 to shoot a pen raised buck eating out of a pile of corn with a crossbow is archery hunting. 

When are we going to stop making things easier? Our country is dying. It’s in desperate need of masculine leadership. Bow hunting was never, and shouldn’t be easy. It’s meant to challenge you. I’ve learned more about myself and exceeding what I thought were my limitations through trials than I ever will through doing things that are easy. If we continue to allow crossbows to be used by able-bodied people, just get rid of archery season altogether. Heck, let’s start allowing people to shoot deer at night with spotlights. It’s pretty much the same thing.

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