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Jeff Lampe
Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors


A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Is it legal to bowhunt with a gun?

December 30, 2009 at 10:10 PM

OK, so the title of this sounds ridiculous.

But here’s the question: Since the late-winter season and archery season run concurrently, is it legal to be in a hunting situation with both bow and gun at your side, provided you are dressed in the appropriate blaze orange?

Earlier today, I thought it was legal, since I had seen nothing to the contrary published about the late-winter hunt. I even loaded the truck with bow and gun.

But after discussions with fellow Elmwood deer hunter Eric Trone this evening, I’m not so sure. Eric notes that on page 14 of the Hunting Digest, the book clearly says, “It is unlawful to have any firearm in possession while hunting deer with a bow and arrow or crossbow.”

I agree with Eric that the language seems pretty clear. But it also seems pretty clear that those words were written prior to bow season overlapping with gun season. Even so, I’m not going to argue the point. I seem to recall somebody getting in trouble for shooting a turtle with a bow once who argued with the book.

So it looks like my grand plan of having both weapons in the woods this weekend is off. So which will it be now: Shotgun? Muzzleloader? Or bow?

Either way is a loser. If I take the guns, a buck will walk within 5 yards. If I take the bow, every deer will be 50 yards away. Darn it. I hate decisions like this.


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