NDA Members Overwhelmingly Support the Use of Primitive Weapons for Hunting

June 8, 2020 | by National Deer Alliance

Primitive weapons connect us to the origins of hunting in a unique way. Some hunters pursue game with primitive weapons to strengthen that connection or to provide an additional challenge. But, with modern advancements and technologies, some hunters feel modern weapons may be more effective or humane. In a recent edition of our On Watch Newsletter, we asked National Deer Alliance (NDA) members about the role they think primitive weapons should play in modern hunting situations and seasons. Here’s what they had to say.

An overwhelming majority (91%) of responding members support the use of primitive weapons for hunting. About 2% do not, and the remaining 6% are on the fence. “If one truly practices and masters the weapons before attempting to hunt, then I have no ethical problem with the use of primitive weapons,” said Michael from Virginia. “However, it is the responsibility of every hunter to take his/her prey in a quick, humane manner. Wounding an animal through stupidity and laziness on the part of the hunter does not rise to that standard.”

Jake from Wisconsin agreed, but added: “I do think an honest assessment needs to be made by the hunter to determine if they can be successful with that weapon.”

Michael from New Jersey sees the use of primitive weapons as an opportunity for hunter recruitment. “If it's going to get more people involved in our sport, why not,” he said.

When it comes to supporting the use of primitive weapons for hunting, responding members greatly supported the use of primitive archery and primitive firearms. About 92% supported the use of primitive archery weapons such as longbows and recurve bows. Nearly 95% supported the use of primitive firearms such as flintlock muzzleloaders. While the majority of members support the use of primitive weapons for hunting, many voiced the opinion that many primitive methods are getting away from their roots.

“Primitive seasons were created to give more hunters more opportunity. Encroaching technologies in both archery and muzzleloaders are now hurting the "primitive" aspect of those seasons,” said Jim from New Mexico. “We need to go back and open up opportunities for those willing to embrace real primitive weapons.”

With respect to special hunting seasons for primitive weapons, about two-thirds of responding members responded that primitive weapons should be legal weapons in all open hunting seasons. “Primitive weapons should be used in their respective season (bows during archery season, muzzleloaders during muzzleloader/gun season),” commented Dominic from Virginia. “All primitive weapons should be allowed in gun/shotgun/rifle season.”

Many members agreed, but many members noted that primitive weapons should not have their own seasons. “No special season should be allotted for primitive weapons, but primitive weapons should be legal in general archery and firearm seasons,” said Keith from Pennsylvania.

Still, other members noted that special late season hunts should remain intact. “I believe that there should be a late season of muzzleloader only,” Cary from New York noted.

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