Thousands of Wisconsin Deer Hunters Head Afield – With Crossbows

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The opening of the early deer-hunting season in Wisconsin has always been a major event, but this year it’s especially noteworthy as it marks the first time hunters have the unrestricted use of crossbows during regular archery season. This week you’ll also read about a rare victory for hunters and firearms owners in California, and much more!

Wisconsin Crossbow Tags Make Up for Drop in Archery Licenses
As Wisconsin began its first year of simultaneous archery and crossbow deer-hunting seasons, officials say there’s been an expected drop in the number regular archery tags issued, compared to previous seasons.
Through Sept. 14, the state Department of Natural Resources reported sales of 102,422 archer licenses and 36,460 crossbow licenses. The archer total is down 16,609 — or 14 percent — from the same time last year. The 2014-‘15 Wisconsin hunting season marks the first time hunters of all legal ages and all physical abilities can use a crossbow to pursue deer.

Through September 14, Wisconsin sold 36,460 crossbow licenses.
Through September 14, Wisconsin sold 36,460 crossbow licenses. (Photo courtesy of Michigan DNR)

When all deer licenses are totaled (conservation patron, gun, archery, and crossbow), Wisconsin sold 288,508 through Sunday, September 14, which was 6 percent more than the same time last year.

This year’s new law in Wisconsin permits hunters the option of paying $3 for an “upgrade,” permitting the use either a crossbow or vertical bow.

DNR officials say it’s too early to tell how the news laws and permits will affect how total participation will play out by season’s end.

CWD Impacts Pennsylvania Hunters
The Pennsylvania Game Commission reminds those who hunt out-of-state that Pennsylvania prohibits importing specific carcass parts from cervids — including mule deer, elk and moose — from 21 states and two Canadian provinces.

The parts ban affects hunters who harvest deer, elk or moose in: Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland (only from CWD Management Area), Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York (only from Madison and Oneida counties), North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia (only from CWD Containment Area), West Virginia (only from CWD Containment Area, which includes parts of three counties), Wisconsin and Wyoming; as well as the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Pennsylvania hunters harvesting any deer, elk or moose in those areas, whether the animal was taken from the wild or from a captive, high-fence operation, must comply with rules aimed at slowing the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania.

Those harvesting deer, elk or other cervids in the identified areas out-of-state must leave behind the carcass parts that have the highest risk for transmitting the disease. Those parts are: the head (including brain, tonsils, eyes and any lymph nodes); spinal cord/backbone; spleen; skull plate with attached antlers, if visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; cape, if visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present; upper canine teeth, if root structure or other soft tissue is present; any object or article containing visible brain or spinal cord tissue; unfinished taxidermy mounts; and brain-tanned hides.

175 Tons of Meat Collected for Needy by FHFH
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH), based in Hagerstown, Md., reports it received more than 175 tons of donated meat during the past year, enough to feed 1.4 million servings to those in need!

Since 1997 FHFH has coordinated the donation and distribution of over 16 million meals of wild game, livestock, and poultry to the hungry across America.

“Food Banks, soup kitchens, and feeding ministries continually share how critical it is to receive donated meat like this,” said Matt Wilson, FHFH program and development director. “What an opportunity for the hunting and outdoors community to make a significant impact in the hunger relief effort across our nation.”

FHFH is thankful to all of the hunters and farmers, local FHFH Coordinators, financial supporters, participating meat processors, and prayer partners who make the ministry possible. With continuing support, FHFH has set a goal of providing 2 million meals annually through 200 local chapters by 2016.

Visit, or call toll-free 1-866-438-3434, or email for more information or to inquire about finding or starting FHFH to help feed the hungry of your state.

California Lawmakers Reject Background Checks for Ammo Purchases
When law-abiding firearms owners and shooting enthusiasts can claim a victory in the California General Assembly, it’s a newsworthy event. That’s what occurred last week when the California State Senate rejected SB 53, a bill introduced by incoming Senate president Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) effectively requiring background checks for ammunition purchases.

Sen. de Leon originally proposed a measure requiring residents who purchase ammunition to obtain a state permit and undergo a background check before the purchase to ensure they could legally own firearms, but Gov. Jerry Brown opposed it.

As a result, SB 53 was amended numerous times in an attempt to force its passage. The version that failed by six votes on August 30 would have required ammunition sellers to provide information on purchasers to the state Department of Justice after the fact, including buyer name, address and date of birth, in addition to the date of the sale, brand, ammunition type and quantity.

It was opposed by the National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation NRA and the California Assn. of Federal Firearms Licensees.

If passed, the measure would have created an ammunition registration list, just as California’s universal background checks for gun purchases have created a registry for all types of firearms. It also would have empowered police not only to confiscate firearms from those “disqualified from owning them,” but ammunition as well — after the fact.

The bill’s defeat came less than a week after a federal judge found California’s 10-day waiting period for firearms purchases unconstitutional.

In the decision issued August 25, Federal Eastern District of California Senior Judge Anthony W. Ishii, appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton, found that “the 10-day waiting periods of Penal Code [sections 26815(a) and 27540(a)] violate the Second Amendment” as applied to members of certain classifications, like Silvester and Combs, and “burdens the Second Amendment rights of the Plaintiffs.”

Quote of the Week
“Any sportsman who can kill a deer without the tingling spine, the quick clutch at his heart, the delicious trembling of nerve fibers when the game is finally down, has no place in the deer woods.”
– Lawrence R. Koller,
Shots at Whitetails, 1987

 J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear in numerous national publications. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors weekly for You may contact him at


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