Michigan anglers would be allowed to fish with crossbows under a bill passed by the Senate Wednesday morning. The measure, introduced by Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, passed with a vote of 34 to 4. It now moves on to the House for consideration. Michigan already allows the use of a spear or bow and arrow to fish in certain waters during certain times of the year. Senate Bill 897 would authorize the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to regulate crossbow fishing as well. Senate Democrats Bert Johnson, Virgil Smith, Rebekah Warren and Coleman Young Jr. voted against the bill.
The Bowfishing Association of Michigan officially took a neutral stance on the bill, but expressed some safety concerns. A cocked and loaded crossbow could pose safety risks on a moving boat, said Steve Winters, group president. Winters acknowledged that the bill gives certain people an opportunity to fish when they otherwise might not have been able to, such as people with physical impairments. "If it would allow them to get out and enjoy the sport, then absolutely, we're all on board for that," he said. The bowfishing group is excited for new bow and spear fishing regulations to take effect on April 1.