THE NEW BOW DEBATE
Okay, so I realize right from the start that my opinion on this topic may not be popular, but I’m going to speak my mind anyway. So, what is the topic? It is the Benjamin Pioneer Airbow. And, I’m guessing you’ve already figured out that I am not a fan. But, it’s not that simple. I have nothing against the Benjamin Pioneer Airbow, itself; my problem is with allowing this “supposed” bow to ever be used during deer archery season.
I can remember the big debate over using crossbows, and believe it or not, there are still a lot of archers against them. Why you ask? Well, many archers/hunters believe cocking a crossbow and then pulling a trigger makes it too easy. And, in some ways it may be a little easier than using a compound bow, but in other ways, it is just as difficult. As a hunter that has used both, I can tell you it is much easier to get off a second shot with the compound bow. The point is that they are both challenging. Regardless of which bow you use, it is much more challenging than using this new “airbow”.
THE BENJAMIN PIONEER AIRBOW
In my opinion, the Benjamin Pioneer Airbow is not a bow at all! This is nothing more than a fancy air rifle that shoots arrows. And, not just one arrow; that’s right, you get 8 shots. According to the manufacturer you will be able to fire off 8 shots in the same amount of time that it would take you to fire off 3 arrows from a crossbow. All of this is powered by 3000 psi of air which gives each arrow a whopping 450 FPS.
There is absolutely nothing about this piece of equipment that in any way resembles a bow of any sort! It has no limbs or strings. It much more resembles a rifle. The only difference is that it shoots arrows.
I was very disappointed to see that Jim Shockey has become the celebrity endorser of this “supposed bow.” And, maybe it does have a place in hunting, just not in the archery world! However, on the upside, the ATA released their statement on the Benjamin Pioneer Airbow, and in their opinion, the airbow is not considered a piece of archery equipment. Apparently the IRS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency do not consider this airbow to be a piece of archery equipment either, as it is not subject to federal excise tax (the primary tax which funds state wildlife agencies).
LEGALIZING THE AIRBOW
I was very disappointed to learn that several states have already legalized the use of the Benjamin Pioneer Airbow. It has been legalized for hunting whitetail deer, mule deer, hogs, bears, alligators, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, turkey, and for coyote/predator hunting. It is also legal at many hunting preserves, regardless of state regulations. While the airbow is legal in a large number of states for predator hunting, the list for big game hunting is much smaller. So, which states are on that short list? According to the Pioneer website, these are the states where the airbow may be legal (I have broken them down by animal type to make it easier for you):
- Whitetail Deer=Arizona, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina
- Bear=Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina
- Hogs=Oregon, Arizona, North Dakota, Texas, Arkansas, Ohio, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina
- Turkey=California, Maryland
- Mule Deer=Arizona
- Mountain Lions=Arizona, Texas
- Aoudad & Bighorn Sheep=Arizona
- Alligator=Georgia, South Carolina, Florida
- Hunting Preserves=New York, Pennsylvania, Texas
- Coyote/Predator=Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Texas, North Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine
Ouch! That list didn’t seem so short after all. Now don’t get excited because you see your state on the list. Remember, this information came directly from the Pioneer website. So, please get on your state wildlife site to check out the rules and regulations. While it is legal to use in some states, it is not necessarily legal to use during archery season! This is where the big debate comes in. Wildlife agencies are undecided as to whether or not to legalize the Benjamin Pioneer Airbow for archery season. And, just as the ATA has expressed its’ opinion to the wildlife agencies, Benjamin is asking hunters in favor of the airbow to express theirs. They have included a downloadable information packet on their site that is intended to be sent to state legislators and wildlife officers.
YOUR OPINION MATTERS
And, I agree; this is a topic that we as hunters definitely need to speak up about. You already know how I feel about the topic. I am 100% against the use of the Benjamin Pioneer Airbow during deer archery season! This is in no way shape or form a bow. So, now that I’ve told you how I feel, I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Please comment below, or as always, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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