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Concern Over Legalization of Crossbows in North Carolina

August 18, 2010

RALEIGH, N. C. - New laws take effect this month for hunting and trapping in the Tarheel State. Among the most controversial is the decision by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to allow crossbow hunting any time a bow-and-arrow is permitted. Animal rights advocates — including Leslie Hayhurst, director of the Genesis Wildlife Sanctuary — are disappointed in the decision.

"I think that the more ammunition that we have to kill our wildlife is going to be bad. I mean, we allow 12-year-olds and 10-year-olds to have guns and go out and hunt. I don't think we should be letting them become bow hunters with crossbows."

State law requires that anyone buying or otherwise receiving a crossbow in North Carolina first obtain a pistol permit from the sheriff's office in their county of residence, or hold a valid concealed handgun permit.

Hayhurst is also concerned that the use of crossbows in hunting will encourage more hunters to kill for sport, and not put the animal to use.

"I know I've been in a lot of people's homes and that really is the only reason that they have killed the animal, was to put the head on their wall. I think that crossbow hunting is just going to extenuate that."

Supporters of crossbow hunting say it is the purest form of the sport, and can be as accurate as using a rifle. Another change that takes effect this month eliminates the limit on the number of deer a hunter can kill in one day.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC