Sponsored by The Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America.
Hosted by Doug Bermel – Shooting Coordinator for the Disabled Archer & Bowhunting.net.

After reading an article in Bowhunter magazine about a disabled hunter shooting a black bear with a crossbow, I thought there should be more articles like this. Being disabled myself and using a crossbow for years I was glad to see it was getting some attention. What I was not ready for was all the negative reactions of my fellow bow hunters. Comments like , it’s a 30-06 on a string, crossbows kill too many deer, they are too easy to shoot. But the comment that hurt me the most was Disabled Hunters Should Not Even Be In The Woods.

First let me address some facts about crossbows. Today’s crossbows are more efficient than bows from even five years ago’ They shoot faster and flatter but that does not mean they can shoot any farther. Crossbows are strictly a short range weapon with an effective range from 20 to 35 yards. Sure you can shoot longer ranges but even 20 to 25 yards the arrow drops four inches. Enough to make it a miss or worst yet a bad hit.

From 20 to 40 yards the arrow drops over 18 inches so you must be exact in your range estimation. So when you are shooting long ranges this requires a lot of practice. Which is why you can’t pick up a bow and head for the woods. Crossbows are some what heavy and noisy to shoot and just try to get off a second shot. It requires a lot of effort to get the thing cocked and back into shooting position

Author Doug Bermel may be confined to a wheelchair but bowhunting is in his heart. His Barnett Crossbow keeps him hunting.

When people talk about my bow ( and notice I said bow because that is what it is) they say no deer is safe out to 100 yards. It’s plain and simple they do not understand that a crossbow has more poundage but it has a shorter power stroke. That is why it takes more poundage to produce the same energy as a compound to launch an arrow. The bottom line is this you can only shoot a light object so far.. When explaining this to someone I use this analogy, say you have a nerf ball and a baseball of equal sizes. Which can you throw farther? It is the same with a crossbow shooting a light weight arrow and yes I call it an arrow not a bolt, if it looks like an arrow acts like an arrow and flies like an arrow than it must be an arrow. The only real difference I see is that I do not have to pull back on the string to shoot. Well crossbows have a trigger that makes it easier shoot but what about a release does that not have a trigger system. Before you make a decision try out a crossbow and compare it to a compound. I think you will probably stay with your compound rather than hinder yourself with a heavy, noisy and clumsy crossbow.

The real reason for this column is about the comment from a fellow hunter. ‘Disabled people should not be allowed to hunt’. What can this guy be thinking. Aren’t we all just seconds away from maybe becoming disabled or years away from being not able to pull back a bow? Does this mean that if something happens to you, you should give up hunting? I think not. The disabled sprit and will to hunt is very strong it just means we may need a little help. So if I am a better bow hunter with a crossbow what’s the problem?

Why do some people feel that their way is the only way with no room for change? Is that not how an anti hunter is that if they do not like hunting then everyone should not hunt? More and more states are allowing crossbows for bow hunting. Crossbows are also being used as a recruiting and retaining tool. Some kids are not able to pull back a bow and the crossbow gives them a chance to get into the sport. The same with the elderly, the crossbow keeps them in the game. No one had better say to me that I am any less of a bow hunter because of my choice of bows. I will defend every ones right to use what ever is legal in their state as long as they follow the laws, behave in a safe, ethical and courteous manner and treat wildlife with respect.

Should we be attacking one another because of our choice of hunting equipment? How about picking on rifle hunters? After all rifle hunters have a much better success rate than bow hunters. Rifle hunters can shoot greater distances and most take their gun out of the closet, fire a couple of rounds and head off hunting. Not a lot of practice here. I have nothing against gun hunters. , I am one myself. I am just making a point. I believe that as hunters we should all be on the same team and fight the real enemy, the anti-hunters.

The bottom line is this. If the antis win and stop bow hunting it will not just be crossbows but all forms of bow hunting. So let’s all stand up and work together and defend our bow hunting rights.