Changes Proposed to Bow Equipment

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The Iowa DNR is proposing to restrict certain types of equipment used for bow hunting wild turkeys. The same regulations were put into effect for deer hunting this fall, said Terry Little, assistant wildlife chief. The regulations were proposed after consultation with the Iowa Bowhunter's Association.

"Bow hunters were originally given a longer season to hunt turkeys than gun hunters because archery equipment has historically been more difficult to master and requires far more practice to efficiently harvest turkeys than modern firearms," Little said. But advances in bow technology have spawned new equipment and devices that have negated much of the perceived difference between bow and firearm hunting.

The new regulations will prohibit crossbows; any device with a gun-type stock; any device that holds the bowstring at full or partial draw without using the shooter's muscle power (commonly called a draw-lock); any device such as a trough, track or channel that attaches directly to the bow's handle and supports the arrow to the rear of the string (such as an accurest); and any device that derives the energy to propel the arrow from a hydraulic, pneumatic, or mechanical device other than eccentric wheels or cams powered by the shooter's pulling effort on the bowstring. The regulations do not put any restrictions on compound bow let-off percentages or on the use of mechanical hand release aids.

A hunting arrow must be at least 20 inches long and weigh at least 300 grains. Broadheads must have at least two fixed or movable sharp cutting edges at least 7/8 inch wide at the widest point and weighing at least 70 grains. Blunthead arrows may also be used if they weigh 300 grains and have a minimum diameter at the head of 9/16 inch.

A complete version of the proposed regulation changes can be found on the wildlife bureau's home page at Persons wishing to comment on the proposed changes can write Wildlife Bureau, Iowa DNR, Wallace State Office Building, 502 E. 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50319-0034 or send email messages to All comments must be received by Nov. 1.