BHA's Position on the Use of Airbows for Hunting

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers maintains that hunting should involve an element of skill, woodsmanship and challenge. We must ensure that the ethical pursuit of fish and game is upheld and regarded as dearly as the wild backcountry landscapes that support their habitat. Hunting, fishing, methods of take and wildlife management policies are set by individual states, and BHA (including all of our state chapters) supports important wildlife management tools like hunting, fishing and trapping unequivocally where legally established.

Emerging technologies like airbows, however, represent unique challenges for state wildlife management agencies. It is BHA’s position that airbows should not be classified as archery equipment. They lack a system of limbs and strings consistent with standard archery features and are propelled by means that give the operator a distance advantage over all other archery equipment. We also are concerned that airbows do not fall under excise tax parameters set by the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937, which provides a critical stream of revenue to state fish and wildlife management agencies generated from the sales of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment. The Wildlife Restoration Program, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, uses these critical conservation resources to provide grants to every state in the country to restore, conserve, manage and enhance wild birds and mammals and their habitat.

BHA as an organization has consistently advocated for the ethical taking of fish of game, the principles of fair chase, the Public Trust Doctrine and the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. We have a collective obligation to promote our sporting heritage and protect the future of our hunting traditions by engaging in thoughtful conversations that consider new technologies like airbows to ensure that they are regulated appropriately by states and insular management agencies responsible for setting hunting regulations including method of take.

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