Airbow – In the Name of Accessibility

Traditional or compound but no to the airbow

We have a “thing” for words and feel that a particular one is tossed around far too often in the bowhunting community. The word we are referring to is “accessibility”, which is defined by, as something that is easy to approach, reach, speak with, or use.

It is a positive term in most cases, creating opportunities for those who wouldn’t have them otherwise. Ramps make buildings more accessible for the physically disabled. E-readers make browsing the Web accessible for the blind. Interpreters make communicating possible for the deaf. This kind of accessibility is necessary because of the conditions that require it. Conditions these people did not choose. In these cases, accessibility isn’t a privilege, but the right thing to do.

Accessibility, in regards to the bowhunting industry, isn’t the same thing. Rather, it’s a marketing term used to cover up the elimination of challenge that hunting with a bow and arrow presents.

The most current offender is the Pioneer Airbow by Crosman, whose launch article includes gems like:

  • Generating more speed and power than a crossbow while being safer and easier to operate, the Pioneer Airbow by Crosman is a revolution of traditional archery equipment. 
  • The convenience of a trigger firing mechanism, top cocking lever with only two pounds of cocking force and compact profile means anyone, regardless of size or strength, can handle the Pioneer.  
  • Arrows from the Pioneer stabilize quickly, giving shooters an expanded kill range for any game animal. The Airbow features a cocking lever that can be operated with only two fingers and decocking is just as easy. Its accuracy is not affected by canting and it does not require the complex maintenance of crossbows.
  • Simply put, the Pioneer Airbow enhances everything enthusiasts enjoy about archery hunting while making the sport safer and more accessible.

For the sake of staying on point, we’re going to ignore the fact they had the nerve to somehow work “traditional archery equipment” into the mix and chock that up to poor word selection, but we find the rest of the article equally disturbing.

Why? Because the overlying message here is that the difficulty of hunting with the bow and arrow is a problem and the solution is to make it easier by turning it into a gun. It’s as simple as that.

Hunting with a bow is inherently difficult because:

  1. Bows have less range, requiring hunters to get close.
  2. Bows require movement to operate.
  3. Bows store energy in their limbs, which require room to maneuver.
  4. Bows of all types require more tuning and practice than firearms do.
  5. It takes longer for an arrow to reach the target than a bullet.

The crossbow was designed to tackle the bulk of that list and achieve the same effect. The Airbow is one, giant step closer.

Now here is the issue…

Bowhunting was meant to be difficult. It was supposed to be challenging. The idea was to limit yourself, to give the game the advantage and heighten the experience of a hunt. These are all positive things, yet somehow a percentage of us have become convinced these were negatives in need of correction. Weapons like the airbow, and even the crossbow, eat away at the fabric of bowhunting – the intention. Once that is gone, bowhunting will cease to exist.

Plus, the airbow is not a bow by any definition. It’s an air-powered dart gun with a broadhead for a tip. There is absolutely no place for this weapon during archery season. If someone wants to pursue game with an airgun than the firearms season is the proper place. The line has to be drawn somewhere.

Unfortunately, the bowhunting industry is just that – an industry – and is out to make money; money that will influence legislation; money that will make this ridiculous weapon legal for the masses to hunt with during archery season.

The fact of the matter is bowhunting, as we know it, is under fire. Like a bad apple, the core is being eroded away, though the outside appears fine. By the time a bite is taken, it will be too late. The hunting will be gone and the harvesting will be all that is left.

Thankfully, it isn’t too late to act, and any bowhunter can do so. You can start by joining your local bowhunting organization. They are your front line of defense in preserving the integrity of bowhunting. Be sure to let them know where you stand and ask how they are addressing this issue. Offer to help or even take the lead on their actions. Next, there are several national organizations that have always fought for the rights of bowhunters. Let them know how you feel and consider joining them as well. Your membership helps strengthen their numbers and fund their efforts (links to two such organizations are below). Lastly, contact your state’s Department of Natural Resources and State Representative. We’ve even put together a letter for you to download and customize. You can download it here. Get ahead of the manufacturer’s lobbying to get these weapons into archery seasons. 

Pope and Young Club –
Professional Bowhunter Society –


Simply Traditional Field Staff

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  1. I get where you are coming from, but you are pretty much arguing that your choice to hunt traditional is more important than someone else choice to use modern tech. I understand you get more satisfaction out of hunting this way, but I don’t understand advocating for the government to take options away from people who don’t feel the same way. This isn’t even remotely close to as effective as even a crappy $200 deer rifle or muzzleloader.

    If you are so concerned about bow hunting not being ‘traditional’ enough why are you sitting in a tree stand? I’m sure you don’t use game cameras either? Knap all your own broadheads? Go out in the woods wearing nothing but moccasins and a loin cloth? We need to draw the line somewhere after all…who gets to decide where?

    • John,

      Thank you for your comment. I do want to reply to a few things that you have stated in your comment. First of all you obviously make the assumption that because this is primarily a Traditional Bowhunting site that I am against modern equipment. We most certainly are not. I build arrows for and have good hunting friends that shoot modern equipment. I shot compounds myself for many years and like many people that now hunt with traditional gear I switched because I wanted more of a challenge and I wanted to return to the more primitive side of the sport. Do I encourage others to try traditional gear? Absolutely but I do not discourage hunters from using a compound if that is the way they prefer to hunt. The Airbow on the other hand is not archery! This is a gun that just happens to fire an arrow. I assume that you must be intrigued by new or perhaps any form of weapon and I fully support that but I feel archery season is not the place for such weapons. If the airbow is legalized for use during gun seasons I have no objection to its use. As a shoulder fired weapon this is where it belongs.

      As for your other comments about tree stands, game cameras, using stone points. If I stretch my imagination I can see how you could align those as modern tools and if I say those are fine for use while at the same time carrying a simple stick and string into the woods then the Airbow would fall into that same category. I strongly disagree with you here. Our argument goes to the very core of what defines archery seasons with regards to hunting. These seasons were established for those that desire the additional challenge of hunting with a weapon that limits effective range, requires the mastery of additional skills and adds movement on the part of the hunter to execute a shot. This weapon eliminates that challenge all together. It makes the “hunt” more about the “kill”. This is a weapon to empower individuals who lack the dedication or desire to shoot year round to effectively master their weapon. This attitude is NOT what archery seasons are about.

  2. Well put! This shouldn’t be a touchy subject…the reason archers have in and past enjoyed lengthy seasons is purely and especially due to the severe limitations of our equipment.
    If we eliminate the limitations the foundations that established archery hunting as we have known it will be destroyed.

  3. No string, no bow = no bow.
    It is just an air rifle that shoots an arrow. Shot guns, and rifles do the same and can with arrows also.

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