Mainstream crossbow usage — a divisive issue among Minnesota deer hunters — will be debated once again by the state’s largest deer hunting organization.
A resolution calling for broad legalization of the increasingly popular archery weapon is headed for a vote Feb. 24 in Grand Rapids at the annual meeting of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA).
Two years ago, a similar resolution was narrowly defeated by traditionalists who don’t believe crossbows belong in the state’s bow hunting season for deer.
“People are very passionate on both sides of it,’’ MDHA Executive Director Craig Engwall said.
If MDHA passes the resolution, the association would lobby for any hunter to have the right to use a crossbow during the regular bow hunting season. When state lawmakers recently allowed scopes to be mounted on muzzleloader rifles, MDHA was influential in supporting the legislation.
Expensive new crossbows shoot with rifle-type accuracy at distances up to 100 yards. But standard bows are meant for shorter range hunting, and some traditionalists say the two styles shouldn’t be mixed.
Detractors say bow hunting season was created originally because it was more of a challenge.
Shooting crossbows during archery season should be limited to those hunters who are physically disabled, they have said.
Minnesota has held its ground on crossbow usage despite its popularity in other states. In Wisconsin, anyone has been able to hunt deer with a crossbow since 2014.