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Crossbows legal, signature or not

Thu, August 24, 2017

SPRINGFIELD – While Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner had not yet signed a bill making crossbows legal for all hunters during archery season, that law will be in effect with or without his signature come Oct. 1 when bowhunters take to the timber.

“If it does get signed it will go into effect immediately,” said Ed Cross, director of communications for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “If it goes to the deadline date of Sept. 22, it will be the same thing and will be effective immediately.

“Either way, crossbows will be allowed to be used this season.”

House Bill 2893 amends the Illinois Wildlife Code as such: “Provides that any person may use a crossbow to take wildlife during the appropriate archery season. Repeals crossbow provisions limiting the use of crossbows to specified conditions, together with a related definition. Effective immediately.”

That wording will not appear in the Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, which has already been printed.

House sponsors of the bill were Rep. Jerry Costello, II (D-Smithton)  and Jeanne M. Ives (R-Wheaton). Sen. Neil Anderson (R-Andalusia) was the Senate sponsor.

“Expanding hunting opportunities for sportsmen and women in Illinois is crucial to the future,” said Rep. Costello. “Allowing the full-inclusion of crossbows in our state will help the recruitment, retention, and reactivation of hunters from all walks of life who may prefer to use a crossbow.”

Their bill passed with overwhelming support in the legislature – the bill passed 76-29 in the House and 51-3 in the Senate – if not from archery groups and some deer hunting groups concerned that crossbows will increase deer harvest.

The bill was sent to Rauner on July 22, which is late in the process according to Springfield insiders. He has 60 days to sign the bill before it automatically becomes law, Cross said.

Crossbow use has been steadily expanded in Illinois over the years.

Starting in 2012, any legally permitted hunter was allowed to start using crossbows from the second Monday following Thanksgiving through the end of archery season.

Prior to that, crossbow use had been restricted to persons age 62 or older or or those whose meet physical disability requirements and were issued permits.

After 2012, the law was changed again to allow anyone 18 and under to use crossbows during archery season.


Sad news for the already declining IL deerherd.
Just another way to kill more & more deer with with more & more hunters, using more effective weapons….8^(
Big money from the X-bow companies has finally bought it’s way into the IL bowseason.
To bad our IDNR & Legislatures only care about $$$$$$$$
IL deerherd loses again…..8^(

Posted by Lynn on August 24

Im not sure our deer management can get any worse.  Next thing you know its going to tax people for not killing a certain amount of deer each year.

Posted by clintharvey on August 24

15 years ago ago, I stated that someday,our DNR will charge say:$100 each and a hunter will be able to shoot as many deer as they want with whatever they want-we’re pretty dam close to that now!

Posted by walmsley on August 25

There goes my deer hunting spot cause all the guys that shotgun hunt the property are getting crossbows so they can pull up and put crosshairs on a deer and pull the trigger… **S big time…

Posted by Mazakbill on August 25

Yep….we now have a 3 1/2 month long gun season!

Posted by Lynn on August 25

Sad is an understatement. This is the continuation of the pu$$ification of America.  Get want you want with as little or no work as possible.  Crank the string back, load the bolt, wait for a deer to come out, put the scope cross hairs on it, squeeze the trigger.  Definitely not archery in my opinion.  Heck, some crossbows come with scopes with graduations out to 100 yards, so you know some idiot is going to let if fly.  Hope I’m not in the woods downrange.  Might have to rethink archery hunting public land now.  One manufacture has a commercial showing their minute of angle accuracy at 100 yards.  If you want to see how easy it is, just go to Presley’s Outdoors where they are selling crossbows like hotcakes.  They will take it out of the box, shot 2-3 bolts to sight in the scope, hand it off the the buyer who thens shoots a couple himself usually on in the x-ring.  Try that with a compound or recurve.

If you have a legitimate medical condition that prevents you from drawing a bow, I’m all for you being able to hunt.  I wasn’t even a fan the age limit set a few years ago.  Most 62 year olds I know are more than capable of pulling a bow back at the 40 lb min (guess its 30 now).  Youths that can’t pull back 40 lbs, probably are not ready to hunt anyway with a bow and arrow.  Took my son over 2 years to finally achieve 40 lbs.  He knew the limit, and continually worked till he achieved it at age 10. 

Posted by Huck on August 25

While I’m not thrilled with this at all, I decided to do some research before I started making comments on various sites.  Neither Michigan or Wisconsin saw an increase in harvest numbers when Crossbows were allowed.  Basically, whatever the crossbow harvests were, that is the amount the archery went down.  I’m sure some people will be negatively effected but not too many.  My archery store said they haven’t seen much of an increase in crossbow sales yet and don’t think they will.

Posted by Bigb on August 25

BigB…..we have been researching this for yrs.
Xbows harvest has already been steadily increasing here (in IL) for yrs.
Gun & bowharvest have been going down for the most part.
Other states usually show an increase in total harvest by X-bows AND an even bigger increase in BUCK HARVEST !!!
Wisconsin did it’s first year!
Here is the little know fact, that they really like to keep quiet….X-bows do NOT have a high retention rate, like bows do !

X-bows have been the fast growing sector of market shares the last several years !

heck….just look at any hunting magazine at Walmart & you will see more Xbow adds the bows…..all about the $$$$$$$$$$$

Posted by Lynn on August 25

I have been crossbow hunting for 7 years.

Not by choice but from having 2 shoulder and 1 neck surgery.

The only deer I killed with it was in 2013.

I am picky and will only shoot mature bucks for one and the only advantage is you’re already cocked.

You still have to get into position for a good shot, which to me was harder than a compound bow.

The damn thing weights a ton and is a pain to maneuver thru the woods or in a ground blind.

I’ve missed several chances at deer because of this.

As far as distance I would bet mine (tenpoint) is actually worse than a regular bow.

It is so picky on what broad head it will shoot consistently and Is only good out to 50 yards.

Which is 10 yards farther than I will even try and shoot.

They are just a pain in the A$$!.

The modern compound bow is lighter , faster, and easier to shoot.

I really don’t think this will increase but in the beginning and then you will see them all for sale on craigslist.

Because people will see there is no advantaged over a bow and you cannot shoot 100 yard groups like a 7mm mag.

If I could go back to a compound I would in a second.

Posted by knoxcounty on August 26

You are correct, Crossbow harvests have gone up but archery harvests have decreased in that same amount of time.  From what I’ve seen, a lot of it is gentleman in their 50s and 60s that archery hunted but couldn’t draw back a bow to ethically kill a deer anymore.  They were able to get back in the woods to Archery hunt because of the crossbow.  I know of this happening to a few of my dads friends in Wisconsin and Michigan.  I have no problem with them crossbow hunting since they were archery hunters before.

My dad is 74 and hunts with a crossbow.  He was never an archery hunter but got into it because he lives i the suburbs of Chicago and has a small spot to hunt in a county where shotgun hunting is illegal.  He really is into crossbow hunting now and its fun to hunt a few nights here and there when I’m not busy with kids/work.

I’m happy to hear all the negative people like to talk about with crossbow but I tend to look at the more positive sides of things.  Until I can see clear cut evidence that the crossbow is going to be the downfall of the Illinois deer herd, I’m going to think of this as glass half full.  As of right now, everyone is just giving worst case scenarios.

Posted by Bigb on August 26

Now compound shooters know how traditional archers feel about their setups.

Posted by mountain man on August 28

As a traditionalists I have also felt the same way about compounds instant bow hunters.

Posted by jswamp on August 29

Now compound shooters know how traditional archers feel about their setups.

Posted by mountain man on August 28

I under stand your point to a certain extent, the only difference between the two are you get a little longer hold time and distance out of a compound. Not unlimited and a much greater distance like with a Xbow.IMO

Posted by Mazakbill on August 29

People must be more proficient with or have a better quality xbow than I have access to. I am pretty certain I can kill a deer out to 60 yards with my Mathews. I am very conservative with my Ten Point without a shooting rest. There is no way I or maybe most people can free hand a crossbow

Posted by chrismaring on August 29

Another differences are sights, mechanical releases, let off, and speed. Huge difference between the two.

Posted by jswamp on August 29

As a guy that spent a summer back in college trying to learn to shoot a bow very unsuccessfully (I’d have to be in petting range to ethically shoot at anything with a bow), I consider this new crossbow rule great.  If I had some land I could hunt, I would consider buying a crossbow to allow myself some time in the woods.

Now if you knew me, I’d like to think you wouldn’t lump me in with the yahoos you all are scared of.

But I can definitely understand your fear.  There WILL be yahoos out there ruining some of your fabulous spots.

Hopefully these yahoos will realize after a few years that a crossbow is not a magic wand and things will go back to normal.

I would caution all of you bowhunters that the holier than thou attitude is very off putting to us outsiders.  Complaining about additional harvest from other groups does not look good when you don’t advocate for reducing your own group’s harvest.  I mean no offense and the I understand the math is in your favor, but we all know truth doesn’t matter as much as perception in these cases.

Posted by huntorski on August 29

Look put a limit upon the number of deer a person may harvest no matter the weapon, and problem solved. A dead deer is a dead deer no matter if you kill it with a slug, or a stick. Why are so many blinded by the obvious ?? As outdoorsmen/women we are at each others throat over our tools, and that is just enough of a distraction to kick most off the trail of the real problems that keep getting ignored. Brilliant folks, just keep playing into the mess.


Posted by Ringtailtrapper on August 30

Two deer a year per hunter no matter the weapon, and permits still would be issued by county, and the number of permits per county still set by the DNR, and toss the archery tags back into the lottery, and instead of and archery, or firearm permit, the you just have a deer permit. You could still have the separate seasons for archery, firearm, muzzleloader, but just one permit with the set limit in place. Would simplify a lot of BS, but some are more than willing to make it where you have a law degree to hunt in this state.


Posted by Ringtailtrapper on August 30

You know people someone is always thinking someone else is going to get the upper hand, or that a person is cheating somehow. I have news people that thought process plays right into the hands of those that oppose hunting so religiously. Playing into the anti hunting establishments agenda is not something many of us would desire I bet, but with this type of rhetoric that is exactly what happens.


P.S I’m Done

Posted by Ringtailtrapper on August 30

Bowhunting orgs & deerhunting orgs HAVE been begging our IDNR to limit bow tags!
Our IDNR wants NO part of any limits on archery harvest!
They want as many deer killed in IL as possible. More effective xbows for all, has been strongly supported by our current IDNR.
REMEMBER…..we also got the 2 buck limit put on ourselves, after a couple years of begging IDNR.
IDNR never supported the 2 buck limit, even after it was implemented! They told us this several times.
Sorry to say, but our IDNR cares next to nothing about the quality of deer hunting in IL.

Posted by Lynn on August 30

@ RTT I have been for a 2 tag limit for all seasons like you said for a long time but since we cant get that it does seem like we are heading to 3 1/2 month long gun season like Lynn said by adding Xbows to all archery season ,what happen to the proposal for having Xbow season after the first shotgun season ? I didn’t mind that as much at all and always liked Xbow if you where handicapped or older.. just my 2cents.

Posted by Mazakbill on August 30

Lynn, I understand what your saying completely, but restricting people from using crossbows is not the answer to the problem you have described. Don’t blame the tool for the actions of those managing the resource. Yes I understand that you feel many of the things needed for our deer herd are not in place, and I would agree.
Lynn, someone is going to have to take the legislative approach to make things right, that’s your only hope, and delaying that action only hurts the herd.


Posted by Ringtailtrapper on August 30

In the long run technology trumps tradition so I guess this was just inevitable.  Heck most of us use updated technology for our hunting trips, whether its using the phone for wind direction and speed to round up ready beans and corn. I wish the DNR would impose harvest limits, but won’t happen.
I hope they keep (and share) Xbow kills to monitor the impact or when you call them in does it just go under an archery kill?

Posted by BIGPOND on August 31

Everyone knows the state doesnt care about the deer herd.  Politicians get more money from Allstate and State Farm than they do from deer tags.  They only care about where the money is coming from.  Rosenthal doesnt care about the deer herd, just being a puppet for his bosses.

Posted by Bigb on August 31

I tend to stay out the deer debate. Due to more leased properties and less than capable hunters, my deer herd is as good as 15 yrs ago. Crossbows will increase pressure but will help me in long run because deer will end up hiding on the properties I hunt.

Posted by chrismaring on September 01

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