So yesterday’s TRIGGERED post I made on social media about traditional bow hunters may have been misunderstood. It sparked good conversation and shined a light on the support or lack there of from the broader community of hunters for airgun based technologies.
Traditional bow hunters are a proud community of hunters and rightfully so. The skill of STICK AND STRING is one that takes time and commitment to one's craft to be proficient enough to enter the woods to hunt ethically. Traditional bow hunting pays homage to simpler times when the hunting woods pitted man against beast in close quarters engagements that meant the difference between feeding your family or going home empty handed.
With that said, in some of the Michigan hunting groups in which I participate this theme of HERITAGE keeps popping up as a reason hunting technologies like Airguns or air propelled projectiles / arrows and bolts are a lesser method of take vs. a stick and string. I have seen this also pop up in black powder hunting groups who ALSO stake claim to hunting heritage as a core tenant to their craft.
But these hunting groups DO NOT have a monopoly on primitive weapons and hunting heritage. When you really dive into the history of Airguns, you will find the story of pure American Heritage in that an Airgun was a pivotal technology used by Lewis and Clark during their 1803-1806 expedition to explore what would become the lands and regions that make up the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Literally from sea to shining sea.
Airgun technology predates many of the coveted "primitive weapons” many hunters hold over the heads of airgunners as “slobs” and “cheats” (literally have been called that in hunting groups). So the point to that post was to point out that we as a broader community of hunters need to start working together or we are only a generation or two away from the total loss of our way of life as hunters and outdoorsman. Much of the demise of our hunting sport population can be found from the attacks from within and from OTHER HUNTERS!
We are also a nation of laws. The friendly razzing of one type of hunting group to another with examples of traditional bow hunters teasing compound bow hunters having “training wheels” or 6.5 creedmoor jokes from other firearm hunters is all in good fun.
But..... when that friendly comradery becomes weaponized with legislative advocacy through associations and influential conservation groups to limit access to public lands because of specific methods of take for a given population of hunters, we need to start regulating ourselves from within the broader hunting community. This needs to stop.
As an airgunner, I was very happy to see that Safari Club Internaitonal (SCI) recently created a new category in their hunting records for airgun technologies which include air bolts. They even used an image of a hunter carrying a Benjamin Airbow as part of their press release. This signals broader hunting community support for us airgunner hunters. Read full press release...
But with that said, here in Michigan, there are coordinated efforts from other HUNTING GROUPS to fight against the use of pneumatic propelled methods of take to include arrow based technologies. It is bad enough that we have other HUNTERS fighting for laws and regulations against other HUNTERS, but what might even be more appalling is their elitist attitude towards a specific bill for DISABLED HUNTERS that is in the Michigan House of Representatives TODAY.
That is Michigan House Bill 4080 (2021). This bill would acknowledge pneumatic based projectiles within the Michigan Compiled Law (which it currently does not which means air bolts do not even exist). This bill would also give the Michigan DNR the ability to allow disabled hunters the option to use air bolt / arrow technologies as an adaptive device during the archery season as an approved method of take during all other firearm hunting seasons. As a U.S. Army veteran I support this bill 100%!
I have seen other hunters publicly say within online hunting groups, without hesitation, that we have done “enough” for disabled veterans and disabled hunters through the adoption of crossbow technologies. I have seen comments that literally say that hunting should be hard and is a skill that should be earned and if you’ve had the bad luck in life to sustain an injury or handicap or old age that makes it too difficult to hunt, tough shit.
As a hunter and as an AMERICAN, this should make you outraged and ashamed that we as a community of hunters have gotten to this point. So in my post yesterday about traditional hunters being TRIGGERED by these proposed hunting regulations and how PETA and anti-hunting groups should partner with them - I wasn’t kidding. This stance is doing the bidding of these anti-hunting groups to limit access to PUBLIC HUNTING LANDS without them saying a single word!
So to my brothers and sisters of the stick and string hunting tribe, I ask you to lay down your arms and join us airgunners who want to INCREASE hunter access to public lands. WE ARE ALL PUBLIC LAND OWNERS! Support Michigan HB 4080 (2021)!