MBI has established position statements on issues that affect bowhunting in Minnesota. Some are long- standing positions while others are established as a result of bills being introduced in the State Legislature. Others are in response to concepts or ideas brought about by state agencies, local governments, conservation groups and other organizations.
1. Expanded Use of Crossbows in the Archery Season
Back in 2015 we conducted a members survey to gauge the temperature from you all on crossbows and hunter satisfaction. Needless to say the responses we got were great and about what we the board expected. The vast majority of you did not want to see crossbows fully allowed into the archery season. And overwhelmingly many of you were unhappy with the hunting experience MN is producing as of late.
Through many contacts across the state and talks with other hunting organizations we caught wind of a crossbow movement just after the first of the year. To the point that the Brainerd MDHA put up a resolution to the state meetings to get legislation going this spring to full adopt crossbows into the archery season. While MBI has always supported crossbow use during the archery season for individuals with a disability, we do not believe crossbows should be opened up to full inclusion of everyone during the archery season. They are already allowed during firearms, bear and turkey seasons. And because of legislation last year, those 60+ years in age can use a crossbow during bow season in MN effective Fall 2015. This most recent push motivated us to write our own resolution on crossbows and we will be distributing it on our Facebook page, on this website as well as printing it and handing it to specific elected officials. Our goal is to lay the ground work to further head off any future pushes to fully incorporate crossbows into the bow season. Oh, by the way, the MDHA voted down the Brainerd chapters resolution at their state meeting and will not be pushing for crossbow legislation, this year…..next year though, who knows.
A RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE EXPANDED USE OF CROSSBOWS IN MINNESOTA’S ARCHERY SEASON
WHEREAS, Minnesota law currently allows for the use of crossbows during the archery season by special permit for persons permanently or temporarily disabled, a provision that Minnesota Bowhunters, Inc. (MBI) fully supports; and
WHEREAS, current Minnesota law also allows crossbows to be used by persons age 60 years or older that have a regular archery license, and by all licensed hunters during the regular firearms seasons for deer, bear, and turkey; and
WHEREAS, hunter satisfaction with the number of deer seen on stand has reached lows not seen in decades; and
WHEREAS, Minnesota’s deer management program is currently being audited by the Office of the Legislative Auditor; and
WHEREAS, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has yet to draft a written plan on how to manage deer in the state; and
WHEREAS, expanding the use of crossbows in the archery season would be premature to the findings of the audit and the drafting of the state’s deer management plan; and
WHEREAS, some organizations believe that allowing crossbows in Minnesota’s archery season will result in an increase in hunter recruitment – particularly persons that may not have the strength to draw a traditional or compound bow, a claim that is misguided since this issue was addressed by legislative action in 2007 that reduced the minimum draw weight from 40 to 30 pounds, making it easier to draw a bow and still retain the necessary energy to effectively harvest deer; and
WHEREAS, crossbows would remove the challenging heritage of bowhunting in Minnesota, which because of this difficulty, warranted a longer season; and
WHEREAS, a crossbow is similar in characteristics, and how it’s used when hunting, to a gun and should be limited to firearms season or warrant development of a separately managed and monitored crossbow season, with the length of the season determined based on the difficulty of the hunter to harvest their game; and
WHEREAS, the crossbow manufacturers are the only group desiring the expansion of crossbow use in the archery season and, barring any group desiring the change, additional opportunities are not needed;
NOW, THERFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Board of Directors of Minnesota Bowhunters, Inc. that Minnesota Bowhunters, Inc., a Minnesota 501C-3 corporation, opposes the expansion of crossbow use in the Minnesota archery season from what is currently allowed in state law and urges the Minnesota Legislature to not allow additional provisions in state law that would expand crossbow use in Minnesota’s archery season.
ADOPTED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF MINNESOTA BOWHUNTERS, INC. THIS 9TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2016.
Brooks Johnson, President
Matt Johnson, Vice President
2. Baiting for Deer
MBI opposes baiting for the purpose of harvesting deer and supports the Minnesota DNR in its efforts to eliminate baiting of deer.
Baiting for deer is currently illegal in Minnesota. However, the Minnesota DNR is discovering that the practice of baiting is increasing. Some individuals, as well as some wildlife and conservation organizations, support a seasonal ban on recreational feeding as well. MBI is aware of the difficulties in differentiating between baiting and recreational feeding and understands some people’s desire to recreationally feed deer during the non-hunting season and in residential yards. With this, MBI has decided not to take a position on the recreational feeding issue but, instead, continues to oppose baiting for hunting purposes.
3. Youth October Firearms Deer Hunt
MBI opposes the 4-day October youth deer season.
The Minnesota DNR proposed a statewide October deer season for youth during the 2010 Legislative session. That proposal was later changed when the youth season was adopted for two regions of the state only. MBI supports the recruitment of youth in all aspects of hunting but for small, specific youth hunt areas only – not statewide or in large regions of the state. Additional hunters in the woods when others are out pursuing other game during concurrent hunting seasons (upland birds, waterfowl), especially during MEA weekend, will create additional safety risks. Also, MBI understands that blaze orange will be required for all archers during that season and believes this will negatively affect a bowhunter’s ability to conceal themselves from a deer’s vision.
4. Party Hunting/Cross-Tagging
MBI supports the elimination of cross-tagging of deer.
On a trial basis, the Minnesota DNR is eliminating party hunting, or cross-tagging of deer, in the southeast zone in the fall of 2010. MBI believes hunters should only tag the deer they harvest themselves as cross-tagging places undue pressure on harvesting bucks.
5. Poaching Restitution
MBI opposes implementing graduated restitution values for trophy deer but, rather, supports a higher, uniform restitution value for all deer.
A bill was introduced during the 2010 Legislative session that would impose graduated restitution values for trophy-class deer. In other words, the greater the antler score, the greater the restitution value. MBI is concerned that such a measure places too much emphasis on the pursuit of “trophy” deer. MBI agrees with increasing the restitution value for deer; but the increased value should be the same for all deer whether trophy class or not.
6. Portable Stands on Public Lands
MBI opposes allowing portable deer stands to be erected and remain unattended on public lands for the pursuit of deer.
MBI believes the general principle of “public use” is being usurped by private claims associated with stand locations.
Attached is a PDF version of our Bylaws