As I am a bow hunter and regularly hunt all across North America, I wanted to provide some additional information to Deirdre Fleming’s article on crossbow hunting in Maine during the archery season on deer.

The question before us is, “Do we allow crossbow hunting in Maine during archery season for deer?” Currently 25 states allow this, and a handful more allow crossbows to be used during part of the archery season. Here in Maine we allow crossbows during rifle season on deer and anytime during the moose, and bear seasons.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife struggles to control the deer population in rural areas and on the islands along the Maine coast. Their stated goal is to use hunting to help control these populations; however our hunter numbers are not increasing, so we are falling behind in controlling the whitetail population in these areas. Studies from around the country show that allowing crossbow hunting will improve this situation.

Additionally, the current archery season on deer is four weeks long, and the average whitetail take number during that season is 500 deer taken by approximately 10,000 hunters. This is a pathetically small number and does little to help our management issue, as opposed to the thousands of deer taken during the four-week rifle season.

Certainly, there is room for more hunters during the archery season, and doubling or tripling the take number would have little effect on the department’s allocation numbers. As studies show, allowing more crossbow hunting would add to our hunter recruitment numbers, not to mention the positive economic impact increased hunting has on our state. More crossbow hunting is good for our wildlife and for our state.

Gary Hilliard
(The writer is a former legislator and member of the Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.)


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