The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says hunting deer with crossbows is becoming more popular, even as the overall number of hunters is slightly declining.
Survey results announced Tuesday show the number of hunters obtaining a crossbow stamp has climbed steadily the past four years. Last year's total was 88,565.
Regulatory changes encourage crossbow hunting to attract more people to the sport. Prior to 2009, only hunters with disabilities could use a crossbow. Then the privilege was extended to hunters ages 50 and older in most of the state, and in 2010 the age restriction was abolished.
The archery deer season runs statewide on public and private land and is divided into early and late season segments. In the Upper Peninsula, crossbows are allowed only during the early archery season.