Ever since its introduction, the PIONEER AIRBOW™ has been intriguing hunters and frustrating wildlife regulatory agencies throughout the country. Most can agree that is an amazing device, while few see it as an archery implement, despite its name.
The innovative Airbow™ pulls its specialty designed arrows from the front, rather than pushing them from the back. This approach hurls arrows at speeds up to 450 fps and has proven to be wickedly accurate.
Crosman, the makers of revolutionary implement, anticipated states to quickly adopt the Airbow where air powered hunting implements are legal. But does it have enough in common with archery equipment to be regulated as a bow?
Now that the archery and hunting world has had a chance to ponder it, the answer appears to be a loud No. Although the Airbow does fire arrows, it has nothing else in common mechanically with compound bows. When you consider the fight we've seen over crossbows in NYS, an implement that has limbs and strings, it doesn't look good for the DEC to see the Airbow as an archery implement.
In fact, a recent statement by the Archery Trade Association should gives a pretty good idea of how hunting industry and state regulators are looking at the Airbow:
"The ATA was asked by its members and representatives of state wildlife agencies for its opinion regarding whether airbows constitute archery equipment. While the ATA certainly recognizes the airbow to be an innovative piece of shooting equipment, the airbow nevertheless lacks basic components of standard archery equipment (e.g., a string system and limbs). For this reason, the ATA does not consider airbows to be archery equipment. "
It went on to explain that the device would not be subject to taxation that funds many state wildlife activities, and therefore purchases of the Airbow would not contribute to critical conservation funds on which states depend.
There's no doubt that the Airbow is an interesting and deadly innovation. I personally would love to shoot one. It appears, however, that laws and regulations have a way to go before it can be a option for hunters in NYS.
We inquired if the NYS DEC had an official position on the implement. DEC's Lori Severino responded to our inquiry with the following statement:
"DEC is open to equipment that allows more people to participate in the sport of hunting and would consider any implements authorized to be used under the law. In the case of the airbow, an initial look would indicate that it has capability to take wildlife in an efficient and humane manner, not unlike legal archery equipment. As such and similar to air rifles and crossbows, we would need to take a hard look if the implement gains popularity among our hunting public. There is no pending legislation now for these in NYS."
Although the statement may sound like hedging to some, the DEC does not make the laws - only the regulations. If you'd like to see the Airbow considered as a legal hunting implement in NYS, the best thing to do would be to reach out to your state representatives and argue on its behalf.
For more on the PIONEER AIRBOW™, visit the crosman website and then watch a stunned Jim Shockey test it in the field: