Update 12/17/2013 Crossbows are now Legal in Wisconsin 2014
ASSEMBLY SUBSTITUTE AMENDMENT 1, TO ASSEMBLY BILL 194
Under current law, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issues hunting licenses and establishes open hunting seasons that allow the hunting of specified game animals. Among the licenses that DNR issues are resident and nonresident archer hunting licenses. An archer hunting license allows the holder to hunt all game, except bear, elk, wolf, and wild turkey, with a bow and arrow during the relevant open season established by DNR. An archer hunting license allows a person to hunt only with a bow and arrow and not with a crossbow unless the person is disabled and holds a permit from DNR that authorizes the use of a crossbow or unless the person is at least 65 years old. This substitute amendment eliminates the age and disability requirements for using a crossbow. Instead, the substitute amendment establishes a new resident crossbow hunting license and a new nonresident crossbow hunting license.The crossbow hunting licenses established in this substitute amendment allow a license holder to use a crossbow to hunt the same game animals that may be hunted under current law with an archer hunting license. The substitute amendment also allows the holder of an archer hunting license to obtain a crossbow hunting license at a substantially reduced fee and allows the holder of a crossbow hunting license to obtain an archer hunting license at a substantially reduced fee. As with other hunting licenses under current law, a person may not obtain a crossbow hunting license unless the person completes a course of instruction in hunter education or bow hunter education.Current law provides that if DNR establishes an open season for hunting deer, elk, small game, wild turkey, or bear with a bow and arrow but not with a firearm, DNR may not open that season for hunting with a crossbow unless the hunter is at least 65 years old or is disabled and holds a permit from DNR. This substitute amendment provides that if DNR establishes an open season for hunting any of those animals with a bow and arrow but not with a firearm, DNR must also establish a concurrent open season that allows a person to hunt the respective animal with a crossbow regardless of the age of the hunter or whether the hunter has a disability.The substitute amendment also provides that if DNR requires a person who kills an animal to register the animal with DNR, then DNR must make a record of the type of weapon that was used to kill the animal.