I have been observing the discussion surrounding allowing crossbows in Wisconsin, as some advocate, during those seasons where other archery equipment is permitted. I do not happen to be a resident of your great State but, I have recently participated, along with a few others, in the process to get crossbows approved throughout the state of Michigan. Now, being on the outside looking in, shouldn't necessarily discount my opinions because, Lord knows, some rancid types from Wisconsin certainly chirped with their two cents worth during our crossbow expansion discourse here in Michigan. It's amazing to hear the same, old, tired rhetoric coming from those opposed to crossbow expansion. It is precisely the same drivel that we heard in Michigan, in Pennsylvania, in Oklahoma, in Texas, in New Jersey and throughout the country, specifically: "it's not a bow", "it has a trigger"; "hunting is supposed to be difficult", "it will decimate the herd" "Fred Bear would roll over in his grave." , etc, etc. Let me condense all their objections for you into one sentence: "We don't want you shooting our deer, in our woods, during our season!" Sometimes the truth hurts. And, here's one that I hear coming out of your corner; "We're unique, there's no other State like Wisconsin." No disrespect, but that has about as much scientific validity as saying: "There's no business like show business!" Just what is that supposed to mean? Frankly, I am amazed that there is even a discussion whatsoever on these matters there in Wisconsin. I recently read a quote from one of the top officials from the Wisconsin DNR stating to the effect that the crossbow is a "social issue" and that hunting with crossbows will not have a negative impact on the deer herd. Hello! Ding DING DING! Here is Michigan, we have a law on the books (yes, a law) by the name of "Proposal G". It was enacted by the MI legislature in the 1990's. Perhaps Wisconsin has a similar provision. "Proposal G" is a profound instrument in how policy is crafted surrounding the management of our natural resources. It is a two-fold mandate: (1) that decision makers are required to use principles of sound scientific management in making policy and, (2) that we must maximize (citizen) opportunity to the fullest degree so long as there is no negative impact upon the resource. In other words, "science" is the one and only criteria that can be used in creating policy. "Social and political" issues, such as what has been fervently inserted in to the crossbow dialog, are prohibited from being even remotely part of the decision making process. Secondly, "if" it is determined there is no negative impact on the resource (based on science) then the state is REQUIRED BY LAW, to make the opportunity available to any and all to the fullest degree possible. Let's circle back for a moment...Your own leadership within the WI DNR has stated that crossbows are "a social issue" and, that the use of crossbows will not have a negative effect upon the resource. Hello! DING DING DING! What we accomplished in Michigan can certainly be accomplished in Wisconsin however; it requires a new way of thinking on these matters. In fact, it is a paradigm shift, a sea change in the way of thinking about this issue. Instead of focusing on the limiting and negative concept of “exclusion” the focus should be on promoting and embracing the positive concept of “inclusion”. Two terms that are the direct by-product of the concept of “inclusion” are the words “Opportunity” and “Choice”. The former is necessary for the latter to be a possibility. “Opportunity” and “Choice” are the keys to developing a rational policy that can offer a substantial number of benefits over the current status quo of “Exclusion”. Think about it. Again, there will some who come forward to oppose this concept with fervent and emotional zeal. They will make statements like: “it isn’t a bow”, “archery was meant to be hard”, “that it will decimate the herd” or, “it violates our cherished traditions” and things like that. Consideration of an issue of this importance needs to be based on fact, not fiction. I suggest that you encourage your decision makers look past the rhetoric and the hyperbole. With each retort, push your decision makers to evaluate its validity with these three simple interrogatories: • Is the objection based on managing the resource purely on science? • Does it maximize hunter opportunity? • Does it allow you to be prudent stewards both fiscally and financially? I will leave you with one final thought. Perhaps the most common concern that is voiced by some surrounding full inclusion of the crossbow, and not necessarily those opposed to the crossbow, is that this will somehow result in the current archery season to be shortened. I can say categorically and with a 100% level of accuracy that, in those states that have enacted full inclusion, not one, has shortened its archery season by so much as one day. Not one! In fact, in Ohio, Georgia and Wyoming have expanded their respective archery season by as much as 45 days! Good luck to all.