posted on November 05, 2009 01:35
2009 GREAT YEAR FOR CROSSBOWS
This past year has been a banner year for the expansion of the crossbow hunting seasons. The first state to add the crossbow to their bowhunting season was North Carolina. For some unexplainable reason, the southern states have marched at the very front of the movement to include crossbows into the archery seasons. Wyoming has always (since the very first day of its archery season) considered the crossbow to be just another piece of archery equipment. The South answered back in 1973 when the second state to include the crossbow in its archery season was Arkansas. In 1976, Ohio was the next state to jump on the “bandwagon of common sense” making the crossbow just one more choice for its bowhunters.
For the next 26 years, a struggle was waged against a very small and dedicated group of pro-crossbow advocates (many of whom I am privileged to call friend) by a very large and vocal camp of anti-crossbow bowhunters. Throughout that time, the crossbow movement gathered data from the states that allowed crossbows, using that information to inform and educate the general-public, as well as legislators and state game management agencies. In 2002, the growing bloc of crossbow advocates had their next expansion victory when the state of Georgia moved to the crossbow side of the ledger. In 2004, another State from the Deep South, Alabama, joined the slowly swelling ranks of the crossbow camp. In 2005, it was Tennessee and Virginia that threw their support behind the crossbow by including it in their archery season.
As the struggle intensified, gains stalled out until 2008 when two more Southern States, Louisiana and South Carolina joined the enlightened and added their names to the pro-crossbow roster. That brought the total number of states that consider the crossbow to be just another archery tool to nine.
This year has been a whirl-wind rollercoaster ride for the crossbow movement as the names of five more states have been added to the list. North Carolina went first carrying on the great tradition of the South leading the way. The North finally got busy by adding Pennsylvania and the lower two-thirds of Michigan after long and intense struggles that were intellectually argued by the local pro-crossbow movements. The South spoke loudly once again, when Texas stepped across the line by legislating crossbow inclusion nearly unanimously in both their House of Representatives and their state’s Senate. The cherry on the sundae in 2009 was the sweet little state of New Jersey, which is the most recent convert to the crossbow cause. Those victories expand the crossbow hunting opportunity to approximately 2 million additional gun hunters and 618 thousand bowhunters. It is our sincere hope that these new crossbow seasons will help recruit thousands of individuals that have never hunted before to help bolster the shrinking numbers of hunters nationwide. Overall, it has been a good and successful year for the crossbow brotherhood. One fact is clear, the more direct and personal contact the hunting community has with the crossbow, the more ineffective the crossbow myths are that have been used to malign this unique hunting tool. It should be obvious to all, the snowball is picking up speed as it rolls towards the bottom of the hill. There is little doubt in the minds of those that have fought so long and hard for the crossbow and the expansion of the crossbow-hunting season, that there will be no rest until all states and provinces accept this unique implement as just one more option for the bowhunting season
STATE ACF CHAPTERS CONTINUE TO BE FORMED
New York State Crossbow Hunters, United Crossbow Hunters of New Jersey, Minnesota Crossbow Federation and Pennsylvania Crossbow Federation are all established chapters of the American Crossbow Federation. Currently in various stages of formation are the Mississippi Crossbow Federation, the Michigan Crossbow Federation and the Wisconsin Crossbow Federation. Where is it going to end? Ideally, it will end with 50 American state chapters and 13 Canadian provincial chapters all united under the single umbrella of the American Crossbow Federation.
Are things falling into place smoothly? Is every step of the building process being completed without a hitch? Of course not! This is, after all, the real world. We are learning as we go, but learning is exactly what we are doing and much is being accomplished - very quickly. I am receiving many questions that I am not prepared to answer or commit to, at least not until we have held our first national conference of the delegates elected by each state chapter in winter of 2010. That is when and where much of national policy and many of the national guidelines for state chapters will be established. As each chapter is formed, one delegate and one vice-delegate will be chosen by whatever means the chapter determines acceptable. Those delegates will then represent their chapter at the national conference, which will be held annually during the first quarter of the year.
It is important when nominating and selecting these delegates that consideration be given to the delegates ability to travel to and from, while being able to cover the expenses required to attend the national conference. It does not do the national organization much good to have the chapters represented by delegates that cannot attend. At least in the early years of formation, delegates will have to be responsible for their own expenses.
MISSISSIPPI FUNDRAISER HELD IN AUGUST
The first weekend in August, it was my privilege, along with HBM Staff Member Randy Archer, to join the Mississippi Crossbow Federation in their first fundraiser held at the Bass Pro Shop in Pearl, MS. The event was expertly organized by Harold Webster and John Collins, both of whom completed their duties of the project making the event both successful and fun for its participants. Horton and TenPoint provided crossbows, arrows and manpower, while Bass Pro Shops provided the backstop, targets and tents to shelter us from a very interesting assortment of weather (all of which was hot!) we experienced. And for three days our hearty band of sweaty volunteers made it possible for the fine folks of Mississippi to see just how much fun it is to fling arrows with a crossbow. An awful lot of people went through the line as they were provide with sample copies of the HBM, had their questions answered and were even allowed to purchase raffle tickets for one of the three crossbows that we gave away on Sunday evening.
“Thank you for your help” go out to Bass Pro Shops and especially C. T. Clark for arranging our shooting lanes, targets, backstops and shelter. It was a pleasure to meet you and work with you during setup. A very special thank you goes out to Harold Webster and John Collins for so skillfully organizing this event and seeing to even the most minor of details. A wink and a nod are offered to TenPoint’s Barb Terry for her contribution to the early stages of the effort and to TenPoint’s Wayne King for providing us with his lively companionship over the three-day period. Horton Reps, Win Stevens and Jim Nicholson added their special charm to the mix and for that we thank both of them. To Barnett, Excalibur, Horton, Parker and TenPoint (alphabetically listed) our entire crew offers a heartfelt thank you for your generous support of our mission and this project. We could not do what we do without your kindness and dedicated support.
And last, but definitely not least, thank you to Randy Archer for tagging along on this very long and rigorous pilgrimage, watching over me and making sure that my ailing spine and disks did not prevent me from doing what I had promised to do. Randy, you are a good friend and I thank you for helping me out when I needed a “back-up” to get the job done.