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The Arizona Bowhunters Association was founded for the purpose of representing the growing number of bow hunters during the mid-nineteen seventies. Archers and hunters across the world have become immensely passionate about the challenge and reward associated with bowhunting. The time and dedication spent practicing, hours and days in the field studying the quarry, and countless failures involved trying to get into close-quarters with our bows. Archery and bowhunting require dedication, discipline, patience and skill which makes the reward even greater in the end.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department has passed an amendment to the crossbow permit which allows for a gun to be used in an archery season, R12-4-216 Crossbow Permit:  
“The Commission proposes to amend the rule to allow a Crossbow Permit holder to use a pre-charged pneumatic weapon, as defined under R12-4-301, using bolts or arrows for the take of wildlife. This change is proposed as a result of customer comments received by the Department.”
A “pre-charged pneumatic weapon” is not a piece of archery equipment, even if it discharges a bolt or arrow. If we define some of these important terms, it will create positive insights into what this regulation actually entails.
Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a “FIREARM” is defined as: a weapon from which a shot is discharged by gunpowder —usually used of small arms.  “ARCHERY “ is defined as:   1: the art, practice, or skill of shooting with bow and arrow, 2: an archer’s weapons, 3: a body of archers.   A “BOW” is defined as: a weapon that is used to propel an arrow and that is made of a strip of flexible material (such as wood) with a cord connecting the two ends and holding the strip bent.  “BOWHUNTING” is defined as: hunting, especially of large game animals (such as deer), done with bow and arrow.  An “AIR RIFLE” is defined as: a rifle whose projectile (such as a BB or pellet) is propelled by compressed air or carbon dioxide.
As we put the pieces together, it is easy to conclude that a “pre-charged pneumatic weapon” is not a firearm because it does not use gunpowder. Archery is the art, practice, and skill of shooting a bow and arrow. We can also conclude that a “pre-charged pneumatic weapon” is not a bow because it does not have an flexible material which places tension on a string. Since a “pre-charged pneumatic weapon” is not a bow, it should not be allowed for use in bowhunting. However, we can conclude that a “pre-charged pneumatic weapon” is an Air Rifle, because it propels a projectile via compressed air.
The Pope & Young Club has very clear, specific definitions for hunting bows and hunting equipment which exclude an “Airbow” from being acceptable for hunting.
The Arizona Bowhunter’s Association and bowhunters in Arizona are passionate about bowhunting because of the challenge involved. If this amendment passes, it will provide a tremendous advantage over not only traditional recurve & compound archers, but crossbow hunters as well. Bringing an air rifle into an archery hunt not only goes against the concept of an archery season/hunt but disrespects the animal’s right to fair chase in that season.
“FAIR CHASE”, as defined by Pope & Young Club and the Boone and Crockett Club, is the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals.
The Arizona Bowhunter’s Association’s Mission Statement for many years has been, “To foster, perpetuate, and expand bowhunting and bowhunting ethics in Arizona.”  Today we stand united as the voice of over 50,000 concerned bowhunters across Arizona who want to protect bowhunting ethics and preserve fair chase by preventing the use of a high-powered air gun during an archery hunt which would surely give a hunter an improper advantage over such animals during an archery season.
Here are the specifications of a “pre-charged pneumatic weapon” such as the Crosman Pioneer Airbow:
  • Powered by 3,000 PSI of compressed air
  • Integrated pressure regulator delivers 8 consistent shots at 450 Feet/Second
  • Utilizes a barrel with a barrel shroud
  • Capable of firing 8 shots in the same time a crossbow can fire 3 shots
  • Shoots 2” groups at 50 yards
  • Not currently legal during archery season in any other state
  • Capable of hitting a target accurately at 200 yards.

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Arizona Bowhunters Association