The Iowa House approved a measure Wednesday to expand crossbow hunting of deer by allowing residents to use crossbows during the late hunting season, from Dec. 17 to Jan. 10.
They would not be required to purchase a separate crossbow hunting license.
Under current law, only muzzleloader and archery hunters can hunt deer during that season. But a physically disabled person incapable of shooting a bow and arrow can get a special crossbow license to hunt deer and turkey.
Rep. Scott Ourth, D-Ackworth, said the bill was a good one that expanded opportunities for people who want to hunt and wish to use crossbows.
“We’ve had no pushback from hunters groups,” he said.
Bill Harrison, vice president of Southwest Iowa Bow Hunters, said that although his group’s 100 members mostly do archery, some would do crossbow hunting if the law passed.
“Everybody thinks crossbows ‘ought to be allowed during gun season,” he said, adding that a crossbow is like a “glorified gun.” ”I think (the law) would be something people would bite onto.”
The House passed the bill unanimously and sent it to the Senate.
Kevin Baskins, spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources, said he wouldn’t expect an increase in crossbow hunters to significantly reduce the state’s deer population.