On March 24, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism voted 5 to 0 to allow several liberal changes in the state’s wildlife regulations, including expanding crossbow use and ammo choices for deer and turkey hunters.
The commissioners approved KAR 115-4-4, which lists the following revisions:
All hunters may use crossbows during archery season next September. They also may attach rangefinders, cameras and new sighting devices to their bows. This is a major change from last year’s regulations, which stipulated no electronic devices – except lighted sight pins, dots or holographic sights – could be attached to a bow. Last year’s regs only allowed youth and hunters 55 and older with a valid permit to use crossbows.
Hunters may now use centerfire rifles and handguns in any caliber and all shotgun slugs. According to an NRA-ILA report, “Modern bullet construction eliminates the lack of lethality associated with the solid, non-expanding bullets of old. … The goal of all hunters is to recover the game they shoot and they will choose what they consider to be the most effective caliber to achieve that end within their physical limitations – such as their ability to handle the firearm’s recoil.” The NRA-ILA speculated that these changes would allow greater hunter participation – especially among youth and senior hunters. The state's 2012 regulation stipulated that centerfire rifles and handguns could not fire a bullet smaller than .23 caliber, and that shotguns needed to be 20 gauge or larger.
Last year, the Kansas state legislature tabled a bill that would have allowed crossbow hunting during archery season.
According to department spokesman Mike Miller, the new law will not affect this year's archery turkey season, which runs from April 1 through 9. It will be in place by April 10, in time for the turkey shotgun season, and that will affect shotgun gauges. Hunters may, as always, use a crossbow during the firearms portion of the season. Next fall, hunters may use a crossbow during the deer archery season.
Is this a trend that we will see across the country? Do you like it?
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Brian Lovett, Realtree's news blogger, has been an outdoors reporter, writer, magazine editor and book author for 27 years. Spring turkey hunting and autumn waterfowling take up most of his outside time, but he also enjoys fishing, deer hunting and upland-bird hunting. Lovett lives in Oshkosh, Wis., with his wife, Jenny, and their retriever.