Did crossbows have too great an impact on Wisconsin’s 2014 deer harvest?
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp told the Wisconsin State Legislature Joint Finance Committee that the state will consider selling naming rights to state parks to help the parks operate without tax support, as proposed in Gov. Walker’s biennial budget.
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“Deer hunters using crossbows in Wisconsin last year had a slightly higher success rate and were older than those using vertical bows.
In addition, the use of crossbows contributed to a record buck bow kill in 2014.”
Smith reports that crossbow hunters registered 15,768 bucks, compared with 30,433 bucks taken with vertical bows, and that the total buck harvest was 46,201, which topped the previous high of 45,988, recorded in 2012.
Smith quotes DNR wildlife bureau director Tom Hauge as saying, “When I stand back and look at the overall deer harvest, the 47,000 crossbow hunters didn’t change the overall trajectory of the season.”
In Michigan, where crossbows were legalized for all hunters in 2009, 49% of archery hunters used them. If that trend is matched here in Wisconsin, nearly half of archery hunters may be using crossbows in a few years.