Below is a plot of the Maryland bow harvest stats for the last 8 years, not including the most recent season...
Background: Allowing crossbow use by everyone in the whole archery season has only been around for a couple of years, and it was only 4 weeks out of 4-1/2 months prior to that, so there will clearly be more to this story as it plays out. Ask me again in 2-3 more years!
My thoughts relative to this data is:
Harvest of deer in Maryland is trending flat to lower. (This years results don't change this stat)
Crossbows had no impact to the overall deer harvest in Maryland.
Crossbows are rapidly being embraced by the general hunting population.Their use increased 178% from 2008 to 2010 season.
It appears that crossbow use is replacing vertical bow use, i.e. not in addition to vertical bow use.
We will know a lot more when this statistic get published for the 2011-12 season.
Here's a link to the 2011-12 overall result, but sadly no bow/crossbow/shotgun/muzzleloader breakout.
An excerpt from the above 2011-12 harvest link:
“Deer harvest results this year were the fourth highest on record and similar to last year,” said DNR’s Deer Project Leader Brian Eyler. “All data indicate that we have a healthy and abundant deer herd in most areas."
I love the 'only lazy hunters use crossbows' argument.
I hunt with a crossbow and yet find time to run an Izaak Walton archery range, be President of Maryland Bowhunter's Society Central Chapter, support Wounded Warrior Events, teach the Archery Merit Badge to Scouts, run a yearly two-day youth archery clinic, and still killed & processed 28 deer last season, many of which were donated to feed the hungry. I am soooooooooo frikin' lazy.