By Ken Simmers
After what seems a very long wait, bow season for deer opens today. Rules are basically what they usually are. One antlered whitetail deer may be taken during bow season. In Region A, two antlerless deer may be taken during this season. However, in Region B (us), an unlimited number of deer may be taken during this season. Why would we need an unlimited number of deer?
Anyway, back to basics: crossbows are now a staple member of the weapons family. It used to be that a special license was required. No more. There are lots of misconceptions concerning crossbows. Just because you bought one does not make you an expert. You have to practice just as with any other weapon. Many people believe that the bolt from a crossbow does not drop, or drops just a little bit at fifty yards. These guys obviously have never shot and measured the drop themselves. Bolts drop furiously. Not a mere two inches at fifty yards, more like a foot and a half. Measure it yourself. Shoot at twenty yards, the shoot at the same point of impact at fifty yards and see for yourself.
Nonetheless, crossbows are deadly weapons, just as are regular bows. Hit the deer in the vitals and he is going to drop. Period. Keep the edges of the broadheads sharp, and they will be deadly.
Some crossbows may be bought for around $350; others cost $2,000. How deep is your wallet? Will an expensive crossbow do anything that a cheap one will not? No. However, consider shotguns for a moment. I would have very few qualms spending $1,500 for a shotgun. There is pride of ownership.
The same holds true with rifles. I gave my best rifle to my grandson. It is a Mannlicher Schonauer, light as a feather, possesses several extra features (even though it is 100 years old), and is worth $2,000. Would I buy another one? Show me $2,000, and I’ll show you the answer.
As with other types of hunting, there are several items to carry into the field: 20-foot length of rope, tree stand and safety harness, binoculars, knife, two flashlights, marking tape, water and snacks. Also, carry a pencil and field tag.
Bow season will run until muzzleloader season, so it’s a long chance to tag your deer. Holders of licenses may buy an additional antlered deer stamp tag, to be used during one season of their choice. Hunters must take two antlerless deer before a second antlered deer may be taken. Fallow deer may be taken in lieu of whitetail deer; they are considered escapees.
Get out, have fun and may your arrow fly true.