While for every 2 shots taken by each compound bowhunter each crossbow hunter took 3, on average, I agree with your assessment that more statistically significant sampling is required.This study says nothing about compound bows verses crossbows. If I read it correctly, 5 out of 100+ participants shooting crossbows is barely statistically significant for trying to compare groups.
I was one of the founding members of a group in Northern Virgina (SWMNV) that puts bowhunters on very small private properties for population control. These guys hunt year round under kill permits from the game department. They are run through much tighter qualifications than the local area military bases like Indian head. This group keep very good statistics with every hunter reporting every hunt. They have a recovery rate greater than 90%. Because of the sensitive nature of the areas they hunt and the small property sizes in the suburbs (5-15 acres typically), they limit themselves to 20 yard broadside or slightly quartering away shots.
Several years ago, I lobbied the governing committee to allow crossbows and they agreed. I watched individuals in that group that switched multiply their harvests by a factor of 4 or better while improving their recovery rate.
Granted, these are very experienced bowhunters and I would not expect the same proficiency from a gun hunter who picks up a crossbow to extend his season. However, in the hands of an experienced bowhunter, a crossbow can be a much more effective tool than a compound. The crossbow hunters in this group are all very aware of the string jumping issue and do all they can to quiet their crossbows as well as limiting their shots to calm still animals. I attributed the increased proficiency largely to the fact that you do not need to draw in the presence of game.
We knew that some wounded deer on Indian Head survived, and that buzzards would sometimes point out deer that did not survive. While it is a great question, there was no way we could (economically or feasibly) determine the percentage of wounded deer that die and are not recovered by bowhunters. The few published research studies on the mortality of wounded deer showed that most unrecovered deer survive arrow wounding.I think a great question is what percentage of unrecovered deer died within 24 hours.
I am not sure how you would qualify that - I am open to suggestions. The report does note that "experienced" volunteer trackers were available (I am one of the volunteers), and that dogs were not used.What this report does not include is the TRACKING ability of the hunters........
I do understand your point on the sample size. However, three of the four University Wildlife Professors who refereed the Study and I would disagree with your statement. The fourth Professor commented that the crossbow and compound bow user data should be combined because there were only 5 crossbow users in the Study.This study says nothing about compound bows verses crossbows. If I read it correctly, 5 out of 100+ participants shooting crossbows is barely statistically significant for trying to compare groups.
I am not sure how MD DNR could augment the Whitetail Deer Wounding Rate Study. (MD DNR did provide me comments on the draft). I will probably do a update to the Study in four or five years. The harvest data Maryland collects does not reflect hunter accuracy, hunter recovery rate, nor amount of hunter effort.Maryland DNR has been taking some stats on crossbow kills for several years now and may well be in a position to augment the Indian Head report, when it comes to success, but not in wounding rates.
Traditional archery equipment users were not included in the Indian Head Study because I had no data. No bowhunter had ever passed the annual pre-season shooter qualification test with traditional equipment, though only a few individuals have ever tried (I do mention this in the Study).No traditional equipment (recurves/longbows)?
You could ask Maryland to ask more questions over the next 4-5 years...
I am not sure how MD DNR could augment the Whitetail Deer Wounding Rate Study. (MD DNR did provide me comments on the draft). I will probably do a update to the Study in four or five years. The harvest data Maryland collects does not reflect hunter accuracy, hunter recovery rate, nor amount of hunter effort.
-Andy Pedersen, aka "fsh"