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 barnetarchers/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”.


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.

pioneer-airbowBenjamin Pioneer Airbow


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).


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 pioneer airbowwhitetail 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
  • Javelina=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.


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 pioneer airbowuse 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


For more information, please check out the following:

Pioneer Airbow

ATA Board Releases Position Statement on Airbows



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Comments (6)

  1. Scott


    I own the airbow and am 100% against using it as a hunting bow. This is no different than my stance on crossbows. There are going to be more injuries to deer this year with a crossbow than one that are hunted and killed. To kill with a bow takes hours of practice and patients true hunting. To hunt with a crossbow or airbow takes a the time to lock the string or pump up the 3000 psi. My local bow shop had a guy buy a crossbow and wanted to know how long he could leave it cocked since he could not pull back the string. Never hunted in his life. Absolutely stupid to allow these people “not hunters” in the woods. If someone has an injury and is a hunter I am ok with crossbow but if he is just starting bad idea.

    • Reply

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic! I agree with you. I am not against the airbow in general; I just don’t think it should be included in archery season. However, I do not have an issue with people using crossbows. Though, I believe people need to practice and become familiar with their bow. Technically the crossbow does fit into the archery category as it does have strings and limbs, and the crossbow has allowed many people to get out and bow hunt that would not be able to otherwise.

    • Reply

      Thank you! And, it’s not that I am completely against the airbow; I just don’t believe it has any place in archery season!

  2. Len


    I am a big fan of the air bow and hope it will be approved in New York as soon as possible for use during archery season and gun seasons. Before you start sending me your hate mail, let me say I have been a vertical bow hunter for over 40 years and stated with a recurve. I remember when some archers hated the introduction of compound bows saying they were too easy to use. Then it was crossbows that are still being attacked and now air bows.
    Over my 40 years hunting in New York, we’ve lost over 25% of our deer hunters and it is still falling. Any new products that make it easier and more fun to entice new hunters into the sport is a good thing for our sport. That is why I support crossbows and now air bows for use in archery and gun seasons. It is all about getting more people out to enjoy our sport….before us hunters become the endangered species. My thoughts.

    • Reply

      Don’t worry. No hate mail here! I love hearing other peoples’ opinions, and you do bring up some good points. And like I said in the article, it’s not that I’m completely against the air bow, I’m just not sure it really qualifies as a bow. I’m all for getting people out and hunting. I just feel the air bow would fit more into the gun hunting season that true archery season. Just because it’s called a bow, doesn’t really make it a bow.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

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