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Crossbow hunting has had an off-target relationship with the state for the last decade at least. Except for a two-year trial period which ended at the start of 2013, it’s been illegal, making crossbows only useful for target practice.

That is, until the state budget passed this month. It had the support of the governor and the state senate, but it was held up for some time by the Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee.

“It’s an exciting time. It’s been a long, hard battle. Now we finally have got it into a season,” Hunter’s Landing on Lewiston Road, Batavia, sales associate Jack Kahler said.

On Wednesday’s Main and Center program on WBTA, Hunter’s Landing owner Paul Grefrath and Kahler said there are several benefits to crossbow hunting’s official restoration.

“Other states where it’s been already implemented for years, that history says that 8 percent of hunters will buy a crossbow the first year,” Grefrath said, “so that’s going to generate a lot of money in the state and that’s going to generate a lot of money for our store.”

“With all the gun laws these days,” Kahler said, “it’s nice to have something we can kind of fall back on. The nice thing about a bow or a crossbow is you can go retrieve your arrow. You see a lot of guys gaining interest in that with all the new ammo laws coming into effect.”

Besides the financial and political, it can also benefit hunters who are uncomfortable with standard bows, but are still eager to get back outside with the equipment.

“It’s no different than a bow except for you can put it up to your shoulder, fire it, it’s easier to cock. If somebody has a bad shoulder and can’t bow hunt anymore, they can use a crossbow and use it legally,” Kahler said.

Hunters will not be able to use crossbows during the upcoming turkey season as the Department of Conservation processes the regulations. However, it will be fully legal for big and small game season in the fall.

Grefrath says the store has 150 crossbows on order in the next two weeks to amp up the selection for hunters just starting out or looking for practice.

(photo via

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