Archery advocates opposed the bill, noting that crossbows can already be used for hunting during other seasons, but allowing them during archery season could impact animals such as elk and antelopes when they are more vulnerable during the rut.
The bill was passed by the Senate Fish and Game Committee in a 7-4 vote, with Republicans supporting the measure, but it died in standing committee. Similar bills in the last three legislative sessions have also been rejected.
Starting in May, FWP attempted to help Molnar and the other plaintiffs obtain the necessary permit to modify archery equipment for use by disabled hunters, said Becky Dockter, chief legal counsel for FWP. This permit, however, does not allow the use of a crossbow during archery season.
Molnar said he tried to address the commission at its August meeting, but was refused, resulting in the complaint being filed.
“We expected them to be reasonable,” he said.
Dockter said FWP did not oppose the four disabled hunters’ request for a temporary restraining order as long as the commission retained its ability to hold a hearing on the matter and allow public comment before taking a decision.
Usually, an injunction would have given the judge the power to make a decision rather than the commission, Dockter said.