One of the many interesting, although less dramatic exhibits at the 2013 SHOT SHOW were the many slingshots or what Europeans would call catapults.
Among these new products was the “Bone Collector Extreme”, a fairly standard looking “wrist rocket” with folding wrist support, and the “Bone Collector Elite” which has adjustable sights, and built-in BB magazine. At the other end of this line of wrist rockets is the “Bone Collector Sport”, which like the others has a steel frame and built-in comfortably formed plastic handle, and ammo storage, but without the wrist support.
Probably the most interesting of all of these hunting tools was a version of the “Marksman”, that included an arrow guide, something like a “Whisker biscuit” without the whiskers, stronger rubber tubing , claimed to have a 42lb draw weight when pulled to the average man’s draw length of 28 inches, and includes some parachute cord that a hunting arrow can be nocked onto, and held in the leather pocket by compression of the pocket. The other end of the cord is attached to a standard archery mechanical release, or using two fingers in a modified finger release mode.
Needless to say this brings up the debate, is this archery equipment or is it a slingshot/catapult? If one looks at the definition of archery equipment in for example California (a State that does not allow Crossbow use during archery season), there is little that would prevent the use of such a device during archery season. California requires archery equipment to shoot an arrow 130 yds, which Jerry Ream, Vice President of Sales at S/R Industries, Inc., assures us it will meet that requirement.
As one can see below the California regulations mention “string” between the ends of the device, this device of course has flexible rubber between the ends and would probably be excluded on that basis, but that has yet to be tested in court. Since the rubber tubing is akin to the “cured latex band or other flexible material”, but is not attached to a stock, does not shoot a bolt, these slingshots have some of the characteristics of both a “Bow” and a “Crossbow”, begging the argument that they are neither, which is the probable path the Department of Fish & Wildlife in California will take to exclude them from legal hunting use. It is however an interesting discussion that will go on in many States to determine if they are a “legal form of take” and for which game if deemed to be legal. Particularly interesting because they meet all but one of the requirements for big game in California and that being the use of “String”. Most modern bows do not use string, rather a dacron fiber or some other composite, which by definition is flexible, and stretches, so that the term “string”.
The Dictionary definition of string leaves it somewhat open to discussion:
1. A slender line or strip, as of twine, cloth, leather ,etc., thinner than a cord and thicker than a thread.
2. The cord of a bow
§354. Archery Equipment and Crossbow Regulations.
- (a) Bow, as used in these regulations, means any device consisting of a flexible material having a string connecting its two ends and used to propel an arrow held in a firing position by hand only. Bow, includes long bow, recurve or compound bow.
- (b) Crossbow, as used in these regulations means any device consisting of a bow or cured latex band or other flexible material (commonly referred to as a linear bow) affixed to a stock, or any bow that utilizes any device attached directly or indirectly to the bow for the purpose of keeping a crossbow bolt, an arrow or the string in a firing position. Except as provided in subsection 354(j), a crossbow is not archery equipment and cannot be used during the archery deer season.
- (c) For the taking of big game, hunting arrows and crossbow bolts with a broad head type blade which will not pass through a hole seven-eighths inch in diameter shall be used. Mechanical/retractable broad heads shall be measured in the open position. For the taking of migratory game birds, resident small game, furbearers and nongame mammals and birds any arrow or crossbow bolt may be used except as prohibited by subsection (d) below.
- (d) No arrows or crossbow bolt with an explosive head or with any substance which would tranquilize or poison any animal may be used. No arrows or crossbow bolt without flu-flu fletching may be used for the take of pheasants and migratory game birds, except for provisions of section 507(a)(2).
- (e) No arrow or crossbow bolt may be released from a bow or crossbow upon or across any highway, road or other way open to vehicular traffic.
- (f) No bow or crossbow may be used which will not cast a legal hunting arrow, except flu-flu arrows, a horizontal distance of 130 yards.
- (g) Except as described in subsection 354(j), crossbows may not be used to take game birds and game mammals during archery seasons.
- (h) Except as provided in subsection 353(g), archers may not possess a firearm while hunting in the field during any archery season, or while hunting during a general season under the provisions of an archery only tag.
- (i) No person may nock or fit the notch in the end of an arrow to a bowstring or crossbow string in a ready-to-fire position while in or on any vehicle.