Crossbow pilot program coming to the Summit Bechtel Reserve

Ready … aim … crossbow!

When Scouts and Venturers descend on the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base at the Summit Bechtel Reserve next summer, they’ll be among the first in the BSA to try this newly approved pilot program.

So, too, will Scouts and Venturers who attend the 2017 National Jamboree, also at SBR.

Crossbow, the exciting shooting sports activity with roots in ancient China, will become part of The Bows area at SBR. It joins static archery, sporting arrows and 3-D archery as options for Scouts and Venturers looking to hit the bull’s-eye.

So when and where can your Scouts and Venturers give crossbows a try?

For now, this activity is limited to SBR. That means you can’t use crossbows at council camps or with your troop or crew just yet.

Just add crossbows to the ever-lengthening list of reasons to visit SBR. (Let’s see… whitewater rafting, climbing, rappelling, canopy tours, mountain biking, skateboarding, BMX — I could go on.)

After the 2017 jamboree, the BSA will examine the success of crossbows and determine whether and how to roll it out wider.

Photo: Gary Hartley/BSA. Story idea: Danny Bell/BSA.


    • I believe it’s purely used to differentiate shooting at unmoving target vs all the other forms they have there where you shoot at a moving target.

  1. Is it just me, or is this just another Shooting Sports Manual rules ignored? Have to explain yet again how somehow this is different then the rest of us.

    • Typically, when the BSA faces requests to extend an activity to scouts it pulls together individuals who can set safety standards and form a pilot program. Sometimes this is at a particular council camp (e.g., quad riding). This time it’s at BSR.

  2. frankly, another reason not to attend the WV property….

    With all those projectiles, someone’s bound to get “their eye poked out”!!

    • An unrepentant STEM promoter – I think projectiles in the air is a good thing. Compare the speed and the kinetic energy in a bullet with an arrow or a bolt. (BTW, there is usually more energy in the arrow (slower, but with more mass) than in a bullet.)

  3. I am opposed to introducing crossbows to Scouts. I am a USAA level 2 coach who has been teaching archery to Scouts for 14 years, and training range officers for 12 years. I see the level of skill and knowledge of the sport that most adults do not have. I am very concerned that we would up the game on any level. The problem is that units, districts and even councils see this done at major events and assume that it is now OK to apply to their units. there is a huge difference in shooting a x-bow compared to a compound or recurve in skill and training and very few ARO’s will have a clue how to shoot one, let alone teach it. besides X-bows are illegal in the hands of anyone but a senior or disabled person in several states.

    • Cate Murschel I have been a Archery Instructor for over 20 years and have taught many Scouts Archery. I would like to throw in my support for the new crossbow event at the Summit in 2017. I would like to explain. If you look at the different gun shooting Sports you will see all kinds of different firearms events at the Jamboree example Shotguns are different, Rifles are different, Pistols are different yet all are taught at the Jamboree. One of the success’s of the Jamboree is to offer a variety of events to fill the needs of our Scouts. Crossbows will not take away the importance of traditional Archery both skills can be learned and supported by the choice of each participant. I hope that eventually that crossbows will be allow in all Scouting events. Sincerely,
      Trenton Spears
      National Jamboree Staff member 2017

  4. “besides X-bows are illegal in the hands of anyone but a senior or disabled person in several states.”

    To the best of my knowledge it is legal to own and shoot a crossbow in every state. Notice that I wrote “shoot” and not “hunt with,” two activities which I believe you are conflating. Although regulations for hunting use vary widely, crossbows are legal to use for hunting in some form in 49 states. Some states provide for the use of crossbows beyond the typical firearms season for senior and disabled hunters, so in many cases (e.g., ID, ME, MO, etc.) crossbow regulations are actually accommodations that expand the use of this gear, not restrict it. You can find an excellent summary here:

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