Crossbows - Fact and Fiction

NCBA on Crossbows

The NCBA's Constitution and Bylaws state


The N.C.B.A. opposes legalization of Crossbows in North Carolina for anyone other than legitimately physically disabled persons.

The N.C.B.A. will not permit its members to use this type of weapon (Crossbows or "Draw-Lock" devices), to hunt legal game, unless the member is legitimately physically disabled. Members may not endorse such a weapon under any circumstances. If a member is caught using or endorsing such a weapon in violation of this article, he/she will be subject to immediate dismissal from N.C.B.A. membership.

Animals taken with crossbows, or bows with "Draw-Lock" devices, are not eligible for entry into any NCBA contests or "All-Time" record listings.

A "Crossbow Committee" has been appointed by the Executive Council. The purpose of this committee is to review all membership applications from persons who may have qualified for the special "Crossbow" permits issued by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. If the committee rules that an applicant does not have a permanent and legitimate physical disability, the application for NCBA membership will be denied.

Members of the NCBA Crossbow Committee are: Mickey Strader; Cody Reed; Tommy Kimball; Jim Jordan; Jeff Morrison, Don Moore. (Appointed: 6/23/2007)

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Definition and NCBA's Position on the Crossbow

The definition of a hunting Bow, Arrow, and Broadhead as defined by the Pope and Young Club is shown below. NCBA also has adopted these definitions.

The NCBA's basic position on crossbows has not changed. NCBA opposes blanket, "Across the board" legalization of crossbows for hunting in North Carolina AT ANY TIME, except as allowed by state law for legally handicapped persons who possess the "handicapped hunting permit" from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. The phrase, "AT ANY TIME", means just that! NCBA is opposed to legalization of crossbows for hunting purposes during all hunting seasons, except as provided by law for legitimately handicapped persons. Our Bylaws state, "Members may not endorse such a weapon under any circumstances." Endorsing crossbows, or any such a weapon, means that NCBA members who openly profess the legalization of crossbows "at any time" , during any hunting seasons, are in violation of this Bylaw. And, as the Bylaw continues to state, "If a member is caught using or endorsing such a weapon in violation of this article, he/she will be subject to immediate dismissal from NCBA membership."

Endorsing a crossbow for hunting purposes in North Carolina may be done in a variety of ways. The most common ways are to publish a statement in favor of legalizing crossbows via any media source, such as publishing a statement in a magazine, newspaper, letter, email, internet forum or chat-room; or by talking to a group of people, or individuals, in public or casual conversation. A member may have a personal opinion that differs from NCBA's position, and they have an absolute right to that. But, if he/she openly or publicly endorses the crossbow, or similar weapon, under any circumstances, the member is in violation of this Bylaw, and appropriate action will be taken by the Executive Council to enforce this Bylaw.

This is primarily because this weapon (Crossbow) does not meet the accepted definition of a "BOW", as described by the Pope and Young Club and the NCBA. That is, a bow is a weapon that MUST be drawn and held until the arrow is released by pure muscle power of the shooter. Any weapon or device that allows the arrow (or bolt, or other projectile) to be held at full or partial draw without the continuous exertion of muscle power by the shooter, does not meet the definition of a BOW as recognized and accepted by the P&Y Club and the North Carolina Bowhunters Association. For the same reasons, neither NCBA nor P&Y will accept crossbow kills into our bowhunting records systems.

Also.. this definition of a BOW, and our position on the crossbow, has nothing to do with hunting ethics, fair chase, one's legal right to simply OWN a crossbow and use it for target practice, and for a variety of other unrelated reasons. These are completely different and separate issues that apply to hunter behavior that are often utilized by crossbow proponents to "cloud" and "create confusion" about the crossbow issue. These arguments have nothing to do with the "physical nature" of the weapon they may be using at any given time. ALL hunters are required to obey the law and to exhibit ethical behavior while hunting, no matter what weapon they are using. Many proponents of legalizing the crossbow simply ignore this one, simple reason why we, NCBA and the P&Y Club, oppose the legalization of crossbows for hunting in North Carolina by alluring to hunter behavior, ethics, hunters rights, the U.S. Constitution and a variety of other diverse reasons that have no relationship to the nature of the weapon itself. They refuse to acknowledge this basic fact that a crossbow is constructed and operated in the same manner as a firearm. It is loaded and held ready to "fire" for an indefinite and unlimited period of time that requires no physical exertion other than pulling the trigger to fire it. It can be propped up on the shooter's knee, on a "pod", or any solid structure indefinitely.. aimed and ready, until the shooter decides to simply pull the trigger... same as with a firearm. Quite simply, it bears no resemblance to a bow, by definition, by method of operation, or by appearance.

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TAC 15 Crossbow PSE Archery..

Should this be legal for our "Primitive Weapons" and "Bow Only" seasons? Read the specs below..

This is just the beginning of what is coming for X-Bows. Archery manufacturers will technologically advance these weapons just like gun manufacturers have done with muzzle-loaders. Who knows what's next?

Precision-built performance, ground breaking engineering, and a revolutionary concept... Introducing the new TAC 15T Crossbow by PSE. Forget everything you thought you knew about crossbows, the TAC 15T sets new standards for accuracy, performance and shootability.

A marvel of innovation and engineering, only PSE could bring you the new TAC 15T. Designed to fit on any AR-15 lower receiver, the TAC 15T is packed with innovative features that will have to be experienced to be believed. It all starts by incorporating the incredibly strong X TechT limbs into an extremely compact platform. The ultra-high performance twin-cam design shoots an amazing 412 fps and is capable of unprecedented accuracy. Plus, the TAC 15T converts any AR-15 quickly and easily from a gun to a crossbow! IMPORTANT NOTE: The TAC 15T is shown with the AR-15 lower receiver and scope which are not included and must be purchased separately.

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Pope and Young

Definition of Hunting bow, arrow, and broadhead

I. Hunting Bow

A. A hunting bow for big game shall be a longbow, flat bow, recurve bow, compound bow or any combination of these designs meeting the following requirements and restrictions:

  • A device for launching an arrow, which derives its propulsive energy solely from the bending and recovery of two limbs.
  • The bow must be hand drawn by a single and direct, uninterrupted pulling action of the shooter. The bowstring must be moved from brace height to the full draw position by the muscle power of the shooter's body. The energy used to propel the arrow shall not be derived from any other source such as hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical or similar devices. These limitations shall not exclude the mechanical leverage advantage provided by eccentric wheels or cams so long as the available energy stored in the bent limbs of the bow is the sole result of a single, continuous, and direct pulling effort by the shooter.
  • The bow must be hand-held. One hand shall hold the bow and the other hand draw the bowstring. The bowstring must be moved and/or held at all points in the draw cycle entirely by the muscle power of the shooter until release. The bowstring must be released as a direct and conscious action of the shooter's either relaxing the tension of the fingers or triggering the release action of a hand-held release aid.
  • The bow shall be no shorter than 30 inches.

B. Exceptions:

Physically handicapped bowhunters shall be excepted from the requirements of holding or shooting the bow with their hands.

C. Exclusions

1. The following shall not be considered a hunting bow:

  • A crossbow
  • Any device with a gun-type stock or incorporating any device or mechanism that holds the bowstring at partial or full draw without the shooter's muscle power.
  • Electronic or battery-powered devices shall not be attached to a hunting bow.
  • No portion of the bow's riser (handle) or any track, trough, channel or other device that attaches directly to the bow's riser shall contact, support, and/or guide the arrow from a point rearward of the bow's brace height.

D. Let-Off for Compound Bows:

Definition of let-off: That characteristic of a bow that results in a reduction of the force necessary to increase the draw length after the highest level of draw force has been reached. This is characteristic generally associated with, but not restricted to, compound bows.

The maximum let-off on a compound bow shall be measured at a point in the draw cycle after the peak draw weight has been attained. It shall be measured near the end of the draw cycle where the minimum holding force is reached. This point in the draw cycle on a compound bow is known as "the bottom of the valley."

Determination of the percent of let-off: The values of the peak draw force and the let-off force shall be used to calculate the percent of let-off. The peak force is the maximum force obtained during the draw cycle. The let-off force is the lowest force reached following the peak force during a single uninterrupted draw cycle. In all cases, both the highest and lowest force shall be read from a scale during a single and continual pull condition, without relaxation. This technique eliminates the introduction of hysteresis, which can distort the reading.

% Let-off = 100 X [(Peak Draw Force) - (Minimum Holding Force)] / (Peak Draw Force)

Effective January 1, 2004, animals taken with bows have nominal percent of let-off greater than 65 percent shall be listed with an asterisk (*) in the Records. It is recognized that variations in draw length and/or draw weight can affect the percent of let-off on compound bows. For these reasons minor variations in let-off are acceptable

II. Hunting Arrow

A. A hunting arrow shall have the following characteristics:

  • It shall be a projectile at least 20 inches overall length. The length of the arrow shall be measured from the rearward point of the nock to the tip of the broadhead.
  • Fletching shall be attached to the aft end.
  • A broadhead shall be mounted on the fore end.
  • The arrow shall weigh no less than 300 grains with the broadhead attached.

B. Exclusions:

  • No electronic or battery-powered devices shall be attached to the arrow.
  • No poison, drug, or explosives shall be attached to the arrow.

III. Hunting Broadhead

A. The broadhead for big game shall meet the following requirements:

Possess two or more sharp cutting edges, fixed or movable, that can be sharpened and/or replaced.

Be at least 7/8 inches wide at the widest point of the sharp cutting edges.

Weigh no less than 70 grains.

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