Archery Trade Association Board of Directors Release Position on Airbows

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Although Airbows have been around for some time, the release of the new Crosman Pioneer Airbow at the last SHOT Show in Las Vegas, has put them in the middle of the debate of how far technology can enter into the sport of archery, before people start pushing back.  This week, the Archery Trade Association Board of Directors released their position on Airbows.  A day later, Crosman Corporation released a response to the ATA’s position statement.

You may be asking what airbows have to do with varmint hunting?  When I was younger, I used archery equipment almost 60% of the my time out in the field hunting varmints.  My equipment consisted of a compound bow, as well as a crossbow.  During that time, the same debate was raging on where crossbows should fall in the archery hierarchy.  My thoughts are this.  Unless we are prepared to go full Howard Hill, and use only “Traditional” archery equipment, then doesn’t everything after that time fail the test of “standard archery equipment”?  Let’s be honest, the industry is changing, modernizing and moving forward.  Making adjustments to include innovation will always benefit hunting.  Giving people a chance to expand HUNTING, and not just a particular tool we use for hunting, is always good for the future of our “sport”.

Archery Trade Association Board Releases Position on Airbows

WASHINGTON — At the request of its members and representatives of state wildlife agencies, the Archery Trade Association (ATA) Board of Directors has released a position statement concerning airbows. The statement was drafted immediately following the organization’s summer board meeting in Washington, DC, July 11-12.

The ATA’s full position statement on airbows is below:


July 16, 2016

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.

In addition, the airbow (unlike archery equipment) is not subject to federal excise tax, the basic funding mechanism for state wildlife agency activities, which means no portion of the proceeds from airbow purchases contribute to the state wildlife conservation activities supported by Pittman Robertson funds – at least not to the ATA’s knowledge. As a consequence, airbows do not appear to be treated as archery equipment by the Internal Revenue Service or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Currently, state wildlife agencies are considering if airbows should be included in hunting seasons and, if so, the seasons in which airbows belong. In general, the ATA leaves the hunting seasons and regulations governing the use of hunting equipment to each state’s wildlife agency and its hunters. Yet ATA also strongly supports the long-standing traditions of fair-chase hunting and equal opportunity for all hunters.


Crosman Corporation Response to ATA Position Statement on Airbows

BLOOMFIELD, NY — Since its introduction in January, Crosman Corporation’s Benjamin® Pioneer Airbow® has captured the attention of rifle hunters seeking a safe and efficient entry into the exciting world of bowhunting, and crossbow owners who are drawn to it for its safe and uncomplicated operation. The Archery Trade Association (ATA) recently issued a negative position statement on the Airbow® that contained misstatements about this revolutionary hunting weapon.

Contrary to what the ATA has stated, Crosman Corporation does pay the required excise tax that goes towards conservation efforts supported by Pittman Robertson funds. Although pneumatic weapons are currently exempt from this tax, the arrows used by the Airbow® are subject to the tax. Additionally, because Crosman wants to support conservation efforts along with firearms manufacturers and other archery companies, Crosman is proactively pursuing the removal of the tax exemption for certain large bore pneumatic weapons, including the Airbow®.

The Airbow® may not meet the ATA’s definition of “pure” archery equipment; however, hunters that currently use archery weapons and firearms continue to petition their state wildlife and legislative leaders to make it a legal alternative to use in their preferred seasons. Consumers are drawn to the Airbow® because its performance compares closely to, if not exceeds, most crossbows. Furthermore, both consumers and state officials that have experienced the capabilities of the Airbow® firsthand recognize it as a safe alternative to crossbows.

Professional hunter Jim Shockey stated it best in explaining his support of the Pioneer Airbow®:

“Despite equipment innovations over the years, we hunters have learned to coexist. I believe we’ve become more accepting of each other, no matter what type of hunting tool we choose. And this is a good thing for the future of our hunting heritage. As hunting equipment manufacturers have innovated, the hunting market has grown, more people have jobs in our industry, and wild places and wild animals are better off. More hunters mean more dollars for wildlife conservation.”

Two hundred years ago an airgun helped lead the expansion of the West as part of the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery expedition. Today, Crosman Corporation continues the exploration of new territory with pneumatic power and the Airbow® is leading the way.

For more information on the Benjamin® Pioneer Airbow® please visit For up-to-the-minute news from Crosman Corporation, follow us on Twitter (@crosmancorp).

Varminter Magazine
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