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Kansas Expands Crossbow Use for Youth, Seniors

Wildlife officials in Kansas voted last week to allow youth hunters (ages 15 and under) and senior hunters (ages 55 and over) to use crossbows throughout the state's archery big-game hunting seasons. The move continues a nationwide trend toward more liberal regulations that are increasingly allowing crossbow use during regular archery seasons. An Associated Press article about last week's vote is included below:

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — State wildlife officials have expanded regulations to allow hunters to use crossbows to take down big game in Kansas, though the change won't take effect until this fall.

The change will make it legal for hunters 55 and older and those with a youth big game permit to use crossbows during archery big game and turkey seasons.

The change was approved Thursday by the Kansas Wildlife, Park and Tourism Commission, The Wichita Eagle reports.

Chris Tymeson, a commission attorney, said the regulation would not be in place before the opening of archery turkey season on April 1, but it would be for fall seasons for antelope, deer and elk hunting.

Crossbows have long been legal in Kansas for those physically unable to hunt with traditional archery equipment. But in several other states, they are currently legal for all sportsmen.

Wildlife officials said they preferred to change Kansas' regulations rather than allow the Legislature to expand the rules.

"I think some may have underestimated the momentum of crossbows in this area,'' said Gerald Lauber, commission chairman. "I'd rather control our own destiny.''

Tymeson said two bills legalizing crossbows for hunters of all ages were progressing through the Legislature, though supporters seemed willing to let the commission take the lead. However, legislators still could act on the legislation even with the commission's action, he said.

Commissioners voted 7-0 to approve the change. There were requests to not include youth permits, which are sold to hunters age 15 or younger. Although they liked the idea of getting more youth interested in hunting, those opponents said they feared a push would be made for youth to keep using crossbows once they outgrew the regulation.

There also was concern about the impact on the Kansas deer population because of increased hunting during the November breeding period. Lloyd Fox, Wildlife and Parks big game program coordinator, had told commissioners at previous meetings that crossbows have had a minimal effect on big game harvest figures in other states.

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