Members of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA) have rejected a resolution calling for liberalized crossbow usage, including full access to the traditional archery season.

Sixty-five percent of voters opposed the measure during balloting at the group’s annual meeting Saturday in Grand Rapids. Two years ago, MDHA members voted against the same crossbow resolution by a much smaller margin of 52 percent to 48 percent.

Craig Engwall, MDHA executive director, said opponents of the measure discussed how crossbow hunters have disrupted the traditional archery hunt in Wisconsin. In 2014, wildlife managers in the Badger state opened the door for all crossbow hunters to share the archery season. As a result, more Wisconsin deer were killed by crossbows last fall than by traditional bows.

Engwall said archers in Minnesota want to preserve their traditions of heavy preparation and relative seclusion in the woods. The heart of the archery season precedes the opening of the firearms season. He said Saturday’s vote also was influenced by firearms hunters who said too many bucks would be taken during the archery season if crossbow users were allowed to join.

Minnesota has allowed older hunters and disabled hunters to utilize crossbows during the archery season. And even though the Department of Natural Resources has not attempted to change the regulation, the MDHA carries a degree of clout as the state’s largest organization of deer hunters.

If the resolution had passed, leaders of the association would have been obligated to call for a change. When state lawmakers recently allowed scopes to be mounted on muzzleloader rifles, MDHA was influential in supporting the legislation.

Fish house removals

Minnesota fish house owners face March deadlines for the removal of their structures. In the southern two-thirds of the state, fish houses must be off lakes by the end of the day Monday. For structures on lakes in the northern third of the state, the removal deadline is two weeks later, or by the end of the day Monday, March 19.

Violators are subject to fines and confiscation of property. Conservation officers also are urging fish house owners not to leave rubbish on the ice.