Crossbows and Poaching?


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UpTheIrons
October 31, 2010, 12:28 AM
Here's a question for the non-Texans out there:

This year, for the first time, crossbows are a legal means of taking deer during archery season for the general population. Previously, they were legal only for those who had a medical reason for not using a traditional or compound bow.

I have a few acquaintances who are absolutely certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt that this legalizing of crossbows during archery season is sure to cause a rise in the poaching of whitetail deer.

I tried to reason with one of these guys, saying that crossbows have been for sale in Texas for years, and if poachers were going to use them, they would already be using them now - legalizing them during archery season isn't going to change that.

He counters that game wardens (who would normally be able to get close to where they heard a shot) would no longer be able to hear poachers shooting at night. I reiterated the above, but he was having none of it. :banghead:

For those of you in states where crossbows are legal:

1) Have they always been a legal means of taking deer?

2) If not, was there a rise in poaching after their introduction?

3) Do you know of any stats from your state about the number of possible/actual poaching incidents involving a crossbow?

I know it is likely a losing proposition, but I've known this guy for years and I'm done just taking his assertions at face value, and I'm going to call him on them. It would be nice to have some corroborating evidence, but I know it is a long shot.

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kbbailey
October 31, 2010, 01:54 AM
I bet poachers are too lazy to use a crossbow when a rifle is so much easier.

seal
October 31, 2010, 10:17 AM
like they couldn't use one before?
or they couldn't use a bow before?
does your friend think that suddenly because they are legal to hunt dear poachers and or others will some how become magically unignorant of their existence?

pure sillyness

Captcurt
October 31, 2010, 10:35 AM
Crossbows have been legal here in Arkansas for many years. I can't tell that poaching has changed. The poachers are going to take game illegally with or without crossbows.

I have seen more poaching in recent years because of Arkansas' online and telecheck systems of checking. We have 3 point rule here. An animal has to have antlers less than 2 inches or 3 points on one side and they should be over 1 inch long. It is hard to prove that a deer has 3 points on one side or over 1" when no warden ever sees it. Plus a button buck must be checked as a buck (no doe tags allowed on a buck of any kind.) Now I wonder how many bucks get checked as does on the telecheck?:rolleyes:

Sam1911
October 31, 2010, 11:03 AM
Your pal has a pretty dumb argument and he must not understand the limitations of the weapons very well. A crossbow requires a little less skill to shoot well than a compound bow and its range is a little greater. But that's about it.

If ultimate stealth is really a compelling issue to a poacher, than certainly they've been poaching for decades with archery equipment already. All a crossbow will do is about double their effective range so they can make shots out to 75 yds. or so.

(In truth, I've read and been told by game warden friends that a .22 rifle, often with .22 shorts or other subsonic ammo, is the preferred weapon of poachers year round. The sound of the shot just doesn't travel far at all. If you're shooting illegally anyway, why not make it as easy as possible?)

But the funny thing about folks who break the law is that they rarely break one portion of the law and religiously follow all the rest. If they're poaching then everything about their activities is illegal -- what do they care if they're using a long-bow, cross-bow, compound bow, .22 rifle, atl atl, truck bumper, etc.

Just the same as every gun control law in the world -- folks somehow think that making a weapon (or a certain use of a weapon) illegal for law-abiding folks will prevent law-breaking folks from going about their criminal activities.

Really makes no sense at all, but a great many folks (especially hunters? ;)) know what they know -- and it is true because they think it -- and no amount of logic will disabuse them of their special knowledge.

bang_bang
October 31, 2010, 01:13 PM
I bet poachers are too lazy to use a crossbow when a rifle is so much easier.

Bingo. Poachers are too cheap to buy $5 bolts and $20 broadheads and risk missing the deer when they can get their grandpa's 22 that they have had for years and a $20 bulk pack of ammo and hammer down.

JEB
October 31, 2010, 02:01 PM
a crossbow would actually make a pretty poor poacher's weapon. one shot, have to be close, fairly heavy, unwieldly in the woods,...the list goes on.

if they wanted to poach deer, a semi-auto .22 would be the better choice, and from what i have heard, it has been for many years.

crossbows have been around for a LONG time and they are still almost totaly unused by poachers. simply making them a legal means of hunting isnt about to change that.

HighExpert
October 31, 2010, 03:24 PM
Your friend is sadly misinformed. First, a crossbow makes a lot more noise than a compound bow. Second, the effective range of a crossbow is about what a compound bows is, around 45yds.
There are crossbows that will shoot accurately out to 100yds, but they cost $1500. Probably not a typical poacher's weapon. I hunt with a crossbow through the complete season in VA and have seen no increase in poaching since they became legal. If you want to poach deer, a .22 LR with a soda bottle on the end of the barrel to muffle it would work just fine....and a lot cheaper than buying arrows and broadheads.

UpTheIrons
November 1, 2010, 12:09 AM
Thanks for all the replies. I thought I was on the right page with this, but you know how it goes - sometimes you just start second guessing yourself.

I didn't even think about the 'single shot' aspect of the crossbow - they take a lot longer to 'reload' than a compound bow.

I tried to get him to see that crooks will rarely follow any laws, instead of selectively following some of them, but that wasn't holding any water with him. Also, his son is a game warden, so he has a bit more invested in the argument, even though he's wrong.

Sam1911
November 1, 2010, 06:47 AM
Also, his son is a game warden, so he has a bit more invested in the argument, even though he's wrong.

There is a trend for some members of certain enforcement groups to become quite personally invested in the "truth" of the rules they have to enforce. Game wardens are probably more susceptible to this than most because the rules they are enforcing are completely arbitrary.

The prohibition on crossbows is a great example. No logical reason to prohibit them, but such laws have been on the book for generations. Most guys have to believe there is some truth or public good in the rule they're enforcing upon others. Repeating the "reasons," no matter how contrived or tenuous they may be, helps them accept their duty.

When those laws are finally dropped, you have hundreds of field officers who have handed out large fines and revoked hunting licenses for this grave offense -- who now might feel more than a little personally conflicted (even betrayed by their organization) when that "grave offense" just disappears overnight. They can say, "the new law is WRONG," or "I never agreed with the old law to begin with," or "whatever...it sucks but it's my job." Neither of those is a comfortable place to be.

Here in PA we have the exact same problem as our game laws prohibit the use of semi-automatics. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with shooting a game animal with a .308 Rem 7400, vs a .308 7600, or a .308 700. But if you ask a Game Commission officer about that you tend to get a lot of quasi-reasons and sloppy logic because they've been trying to explain it (even to themselves) for decades.

Omaha-BeenGlockin
November 1, 2010, 08:49 AM
The deer are like cockroaches around here---Game and Parks is almost paying you to come take an extra doe or 2.

Poaching wouldn't exactly be a bad thing around here---just sayin.

FLAvalanche
November 1, 2010, 10:09 AM
I have a few acquaintances who are absolutely certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt that this legalizing of crossbows during archery season is sure to cause a rise in the poaching of whitetail deer.

Let me guess...he's a bow hunting elitist.

I've had a couple raise the same complaints this year because Florida is doing the same thing next year. Each and every one of them shoot compound bows and think crossbows aren't sporting. Many of them still think that crossbows are magical weapons that overpower compound bows.

I show them the specs and they see that most of their bows are faster than crossbows. Then I remind them that they are doing the exact same thing the elitist archers did many years ago when compound bows were introduced. None of the long bow and recurve guys wanted them in the woods at the same time they were and though that compound bows were non-sporting.

They're just helping to make sure the circle of stupidity ensues.

UpTheIrons
November 1, 2010, 01:18 PM
Let me guess...he's a bow hunting elitist.

How'd you guess? :D

"They might as well get a rifle."

"It isn't sporting." And all the stuff above.

Yeah, I've heard it all. Even my dad has said the one about getting a rifle. In another context, the 5 older guys I hunt with (who are all 65+) would be considered "Fudds" by many of the younger hunters I know.

Compound bows are the only concession to modernity. Well, that and a belted magnum or two for these wimpy Texas whitetails. The rest of them can't seem to find a reason for semi-autos, or anything that doesn't have a pretty wooden stock.

I have to do the work of "gun evangelist" among them, and it is a slow road, but incremental progress is showing. My dad did finally get a Mini-14 a few years ago for coyotes, but God forbid anyone use a semi-auto or EBR for deer!

T.R.
November 1, 2010, 04:30 PM
A poacher in northern California pleaded guilty to over 100 poached deer. All shot from roadside within rural areas near farmed fields. His weapon of choice? 22 magnum rifle with illuminated cross hairs. Head and neck shots were his targets. This scoundrel was caught because of info provided by a concerned citizen. Apparently, the gunshot was never noticed by locals.

Doubtful if many serious poachers would consider the modern crossbow as efficient as 22 magnum rifle.

Every state has poachers. It won't stop until Jesus returns.

TR

rcmodel
November 1, 2010, 05:05 PM
$5 bolts and $20 broadheads and risk missing the deer when they can get their grandpa's 22 that they have had for years Not to mention that the .22RF head-shot deer will be DRT and easy to retrieve in short order.

A crossbow broadhead stuck deer will run some distance almost every time before dying, and require more time to track & find it, if they find it at all in the dark.

Also more time & work to drag it back to the road and make off with the carcass.

I'd say your friend should worry about zillions of 22 RF's, moreso then crossbows being legal hunting equipment now.

rc

kanook
November 2, 2010, 08:08 AM
I hunt with a crossbow for one reason, so I can hunt during archery season. (I can no longer draw a bow because of injury)

Why I hate hunting with a crossbow;

Heavy
Awkward
Slow for follow up shot
Need room to reload
Need tool to ease reloading
Need to stand to reload
Looses energy faster than a bow
Having to explain why I hunt with one

I could go on

wombat13
November 2, 2010, 11:31 AM
Let me guess...he's a bow hunting elitist.

I've had a couple raise the same complaints this year because Florida is doing the same thing next year. Each and every one of them shoot compound bows and think crossbows aren't sporting. Many of them still think that crossbows are magical weapons that overpower compound bows.

I show them the specs and they see that most of their bows are faster than crossbows. Then I remind them that they are doing the exact same thing the elitist archers did many years ago when compound bows were introduced. None of the long bow and recurve guys wanted them in the woods at the same time they were and though that compound bows were non-sporting.

They're just helping to make sure the circle of stupidity ensues.
I don't know how it is in other states, but in NY the rut falls completely within bow season. The bow hunters around here just want to keep the best part of the season to themselves with as few other hunters as possible.

My FIL has had a total of five surgeries on his shoulders and would love to hunt with a crossbow but it is not allowed in NY. He is not sufficiently disabled to qualify for a bow assistance device and can't really risk blowing out a shoulder again. The next time it happens he'll have almost no use of his arm.

My consolation as I watch this is that all the bow-hunting elitists will grow old and someday they will like to use a crossbow.

jmorris
November 2, 2010, 12:30 PM
I have a few acquaintances who are absolutely certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt that this legalizing of crossbows during archery season is sure to cause a rise in the poaching of whitetail deer.


Why? If you are already breaking the law why not use a suppressed rifle? It would be a lot more effective.

It is just the same old “us” vs. “them” BS that shouldn’t go on between like minded people. You see it everywhere, bow, black powder, rifle (don’t forget black ones), pistol and shot gunners in particular.

I haven’t shot my crossbow in a number of years but with our new law change I did loan it to a shooting buddy’s wife to use this year.

CoRoMo
November 2, 2010, 12:55 PM
...legalizing of crossbows during archery season is sure to cause a rise in the poaching of whitetail deer.
What is it about a crossbow that would only affect one species of game animal? I guess the pigs, mule deer, antelope, and whatnot will remain unaffected.

Seriously though, this is his claim, he needs to prove it. You don't need to disprove it. He's the one looking like a fool. Don't argue with fools. If you do, you can't be certain that they aren't doing the same. :)

Rail Driver
November 2, 2010, 02:35 PM
This is like arguing that legalizing open or concealed carry will cause blood to run in the streets. It's BS plain and simple.

FLAvalanche
November 2, 2010, 03:15 PM
Like I said, this same FUD was spread when compound bows hit the market.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
November 2, 2010, 07:56 PM
Like others have already said, Hunting with a cross-bow is actually harder than hunting with a compound. Bulky PITA, Noisy, Hard to reload in a climbing stand, and try going through thickets with one in your hand!!!!

Here in PA we have the exact same problem as our game laws prohibit the use of semi-automatics. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with shooting a game animal with a .308 Rem 7400, vs a .308 7600, or a .308 700. But if you ask a Game Commission officer about that you tend to get a lot of quasi-reasons and sloppy logic because they've been trying to explain it (even to themselves) for decades.

Sam, Having hunted in Pa for many years, as far as Game lands hunting, I am all for the no semi's in that damn sea of orange. Now for private land hunting it is retarded. But as far as public land I am glad for that rule actually. Too damn many idiots out there and even you have to admit that. Go to Mt. Gretna game lands on opening day and you will see what I am talking about. Makes WW2 sound like a pillow fight on opening day!! Imagine if those fools had semi's popping off 5 or 10 rounds at a running deer trying to drop it so the guy 50 yards down from him wont hit it and claim it as his.

oldbanjo
November 2, 2010, 08:09 PM
The few poachers I know refuse to hunt legal. They use 22 Mag rifles. They are loners and don't like to be around a lot of people. Its a lot harder to hide a bow than a rifle. Some only night hunt.

Sam1911
November 3, 2010, 07:19 AM
Sam, Having hunted in Pa for many years, as far as Game lands hunting, I am all for the no semi's in that damn sea of orange.

Ehhh, I'm unimpressed. A lever gun or even bolt-action can be operated plenty fast enough. And a wild shot from one of them does the same damage as a wild shot from a semi.

If the shots are on-target, what difference does it make if they're taken at 1.0 sec. intervals instead of 1.5 sec. intervals? If they're NOT on target... what difference does it make if they're taken at 1.0 sec. intervals instead of 1.5 sec. intervals?

The difference is truly irrelevant but many people do fall prey to the belief that a semi-auto is "more dangerous" in the hands of the other idiots out there. :rolleyes:

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