The Wisconsin State Assembly passed Representative David Craig’s (R-Town of Vernon) bill, Assembly Bill 377, on a bipartisan vote. Assembly Bill 377 defines Asian Carp as rough fish and allows the taking of rough fish with a crossbow.
"I am pleased that the Assembly has taken this important step to expand access to outdoor sports not only for disabled sportsmen and women but for all Wisconsinites” said Rep. Craig in a release. “AB 377 is a common-sense solution for those who would like to get on the water and take part in eradicating rough fish from our state, while also enjoying our state waterways.”
The bill also defines Asian Carp as rough fish, allowing the taking of Asian Carp by hook and line, by hand, by dip net, and by spear, which includes bow and arrow, and now crossbow under this bill.
Tom Zagar, Conservation Coordinator with Muskego called the legislation a "'no brainer.' Any non-native fish that is as ecologically invasive as these silver and big headed carp should obviously be considered 'rough fish.'"
He also felt that "allowing non-disabled persons to use cross bows for the harvest of rough fish is also a good idea. Why not allow their harvest with any reasonable means possible?"
Craig admitted, “While AB 377 is not a silver bullet for the impending Asian Carp problem, certainly every effort will help. AB 377 gives Wisconsin sportsmen and women the ability to help us address and control the damaging Carp problem while partaking in one of our many, popular recreational sports."
“This bill is a win not only for all sportspersons in Wisconsin,” continued Craig, “but also for the environment as we take this reasonable step to include our sportspersons in our efforts to keep Wisconsin waterways clean and safe for our most treasured recreational sports.”
However, as Zagar praised the vote, he expressed a wish to extend crossbow hunting to other game as well.
"I wish they had also considered allowing anyone to use cross bows for the harvest of wild turkey. In Wisconsin, hunters can harvest turkeys with a shotgun or with archery equipment. However only seniors and persons with a physical limitation as supported by a doctor may use crossbows rather than traditional archery equipment to hunt anything, which is why ab377 was written for the rough fish situation. "
"I see a cross bow as equipment that is somewhat between a traditional bow and a gun. So if both shotgun and bow are both allowable for a particular hunting season, why not let all persons use a cross bow to pursue that game?" Zagar asked.