By Gabriel Gledhill
Capital West News Service
SALT LAKE CITY— A state senator has introduced a bill that would allow hunters to use crossbows during archery hunts in Utah.
SB45, sponsored by Sen. Scott K. Jenkins, R-Plain City, seeks to change state wildlife regulations to allow for the use of a crossbow in addition to standard archery equipment during the dedicated archery season dates. Currently in Utah, a hunter who is disabled may be certified to use a crossbow to hunt big game, cougar, bear, turkey, waterfowl or small game during the respective archery or any weapon hunting seasons.
The option to hunt with a crossbow compared to a standard bow makes the sport much easier and accessible for non-experienced hunters. A regular bow’s average range is accurate to roughly 30-40 yards, while a crossbow allows a hunter the ability to shoot at distances greater than 100 yards. In addition, cross bows can have optics attached for enhanced aiming.
Jenkins acknowledges the change would affect hunters’ success, Jenkins said, “I anticipate the kill rate will go up.”
Rick Kreuter, and avid bow enthusiast and host and producer of the Outdoor Channel’s award winning production; “Beyond the Hunt,” said, “No question the success rates will go up… Potentially way up. (Crossbows are} amazingly accurate out to much longer ranges, therefore increasing kill opportunities.”
Kreuter said, “Crossbows should be legal in the regular archery season only for pioneer hunters (licenses for senior citizens), handicapped or under a doctor’s recommendation.” As is the current law. “Otherwise, use during a muzzleloader or firearm season would be allowed… On another note, they are dangerous!”
A general push back from archery hunters is anticipated. “I expected it.” Jenkins said, “It will benefit the people who want to use crossbows.”
Jenkins did say that he did receive a donation from an unnamed pro-hunting organization in 2012 when he was up for re-election.