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Data shows impact of crossbows on Archery harvest.

With crossbow deer hunting becoming more and more popular, and an increasing number of states passing ordinances allowing the use of crossbows for the general public during the bowhunting seasons, many are wondering what the success rates are going to be compared to standard vertical bow hunters.

This article detailing Wisconsin’s first crossbow hunting season points out some of the success rates and compares harvest numbers for the 2014 bow hunting season.

The article points out how older hunters are staying out in the woods longer and taking up crossbow deer hunting. This is great news, as it points out how crossbow hunting can open up new hunting opportunities for hunters of all ages.


Deer hunters using crossbows in Wisconsin last year had a slightly higher success rate and were older than those using vertical bows. In addition, the use of crossbows contributed to a record buck bow kill in 2014. That according to 2014 Wisconsin deer harvest and license sales information recently compiled by the Department of Natural Resources.

But in a season with overall decreases in deer harvest and hunter participation, the impact of the state’s inaugural crossbow season was minimal. In the first season, 47,449 hunters purchased “crossbow authority,” according to the DNR. These are hunters who either bought a crossbow license or an archery license plus a $3 upgrade to allow the use of both types of bows. Patron license-holders also were able to use crossbows.

According to the DNR data, the mean age of crossbow hunters last year in Wisconsin was 52, while vertical bow hunters averaged 38.

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