Arizona Airbows – Yay or Nay?
Just recently the Arizona Game and Fish Department set to reexamining rules, wording and definitions across a broad spectrum of topics but one that caught our eye was the proposed amendment to the department’s crossbow permit rule, see below.
R12-4-216. Crossbow Permit
The objective of the rule is to establish eligibility requirements, conditions, and restrictions for the crossbow permit. The permit allows a person, who cannot draw and hold a bow, to use a crossbow during an archery-only hunt. The Commission proposes to amend the rule to allow a Crossbow Permit holder to use a pre-charged pneumatic weapon, as defined under R12-4-301, using bolts or arrows for the take of wildlife. This change is proposed as a result of customer comments received by the Department. (http://s3.amazonaws.com/azgfd-portal…le-3-NPRM1.pdf)
Now, “pre-charged pneumatic weapons,” aka “airguns” or “airbows” in this case, have been around since Lewis and Clark set out to explore the West, so this is not new technology. What is new are the advancements that allow “airbows” to fire bolts at incredibly high velocities with very little effort and pinpoint accuracy on the part of the shooter. Understanding that a hunter must qualify for a permit to hunt with a crossbow in Arizona certainly limits the pool of folks who are even eligible to carry an “airbow” but there is a buzz surrounding this decision nonetheless.
Naturally, questions and opinions spring up around this topic like either spring flowers or toadstools, depending on your viewpoint. Do these weapons belong in the “archery” category? Do they represent the next evolution of hunting technology aiding in the clean harvest of game or do they cross the border from “fair chase” into unfair advantage? Do they get folks who would otherwise “hang it up,” participating and contributing to conservation via license fees and Pittman-Robertson money? We could continue ad nauseum but it’s time for your voice to be heard.
What say you? Let the debate begin…!