On Thursday, Oct. 17, the state Assembly again voted to pass Assembly Bill 194, legislation that allows for the expanded use of crossbows. AB 194 initially passed the Assembly with a unanimous vote in June, was amended last month in the state Senate and with this final approval will now head to the Governor’s desk.
“This bill is a win-win for Wisconsin’s hunters and the outdoor industry, and I am glad to see the Legislature unite behind a commonsense opportunity,” said Rep. Mary Czaja (R-Irma). “Crossbows can encourage entire new groups of hunters to become involved; including women, the disabled, and both young and aging hunters. By removing the onerous proof of disability requirements, Wisconsin will show it welcomes hunters of all ages and physical ability levels. I look forward to the Governor signing this legislation into law.”
AB 194 lifts the current age and disability restrictions on crossbow use. Beginning in 2014, a season will be established to run concurrently to the traditional archery season. Upon the completion of the second season, DNR will evaluate the impact of crossbows and use its authority to establish future seasons. The introduction of a crossbow season follows a growing trend nationwide, where 29 other states have already allowed for the expanded use of crossbows. AB 194 garnered wide support from sporting and hunter’s rights groups, and thousands of citizens statewide signed petitions in support of crossbow use.
Statistics show that Wisconsin is in the bottom 20% nationwide for attracting young hunters, and that the hunter replacement rate has been declining. AB 194 aims to correct that trend and pass on the hunting legacy to future generations.