Should crossbows really be considered a form of archery? This is the debate being had by hunters and the Missouri Department of Conservation after the Department decided to allow hunters to use crossbows during archery season for the first time this year.
In Missouri archery season for deer starts a full week before firearm season, which begins on November 12. The debate is intense because archery is viewed as sacred experience to hunting purists because of its primitive roots:
Some say shooting a deer with an arrow is a sacred experience because it’s primitive, a method that takes brute strength. The animals need to be scouted, then drawn in so close even a leaf crunch will spook them.
Some of the hunting purists, including the Missouri Bowhunters Association have argued that the crossbow more closely resembles a firearm as described by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Crossbows are held like rifles. The devices fire arrow-like projectiles called bolts, some at 350 feet per second or more. There’s a scope and trigger. The drawstring can be cranked back and stay cocked for hours, ready to fire at any moment like a firearm.
No matter the end result of the crossbow debate in Missouri, deer hunting is a “massive” industry in the state, “contributing $1 billion to the state and local economy.”