10 Best Tips for Crossbow Hunting

By Kevin Arnold | Hunting

May 14
crossbow hunting tips

A crossbow is an accurate, fast and powerful weapon for hunting. But crossbow hunting is an art that takes time to perfect. It is a skill that demands patience, knowledge of the fundamental principles of aerodynamics and a steady hand. Are you are new to crossbow hunting and don't know how to handle your equipment yet? You're in luck. We have compiled the following crossbow hunting tips to help you get the most out of your weapon.

1. Know the law

Before you can learn how to the crossbow, you should get familiar with the law first. Hunting regulations can be hard to understand. When you add crossbow to the mix, things can get quite complicated. Find out whether your state allows crossbow hunting and when it allows it. Also, find out if has requirements on the minimum draw. If you can't seem to find any information specific to your state, search for general regulations or ask other crossbow hunters around.

2. Observe safety

Before anything else, you should observe safety. Sure, crossbow related accidents are rare, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Treat the crossbow like you would a firearm. Assume it is always loaded and ready to fire. Never point it at something you don't intend to shoot, but always keep it pointed in a safe direction instead. Never walk around with a loaded crossbow if you don't have to. Only load it when in a hunting position. Never dry fire your crossbow when unloading and discharging, and always carry a first aid kit with you just in case.

3. Buy a good crossbow

There's a lot to consider when buying a crossbow. Price is an important factor, but it shouldn't be the only one. Buy the best you can afford. What's the point of buying a cheap crossbow that isn't well built if it will end up failing you when you least expect it? Draw weight is another important consideration. Different types of prey will demand different draw weights. For example, a draw weight of 35+ lbs is required for big game hunting. Some states also have specific draw requirements.

4. Pick the right arrows

Buy the right arrows for your crossbow. Check the crossbow's package for the manufacturer's recommendations on the weight and length of arrows appropriate for the crossbow. If they aren't the correct length and weight for your crossbow, they can break or fly in a direction that you didn't intend. Arrows are made from different materials including carbon, aluminum or a mixture of both. Aluminum arrows are more fragile and prone to breakage, but they are more accurate.

5. Know your range

Unlike a rifle, how far you shoot with your crossbow is determined by a combination of your ability and the type of arrow and broadhead you use. The further the arrow travels downrange, the more it loses its speed and energy. If you shoot from too far, you may only manage to wound the animal. The maximum range for shooting at game is usually 40-50 yards. But you can still take longer shots provided it feels safe.

6. Choose the right broadheads

Broadheads come in a wide variety of makes, models, and styles. Top quality broadheads might cost you a little more, but they will have sharper blades, tight tolerances and a great record of success. Make sure you practice your shooting using broadheads. Don't assume that a certain broadhead will fly just like your field points. Always test them before going out.

7. Learn to use modern technology

There are certain tools and equipment designed to make your hunting a lot easier. For example, although some crossbows still have open sights, many will have a scope sight--an optical sighting device designed to help increase your accuracy. A rangefinder is also another useful tool. It can tell you, with great accuracy, the exact distance between you and the target. A cocking device will also make it easier for you to draw the bow.

8. Take care of your gear

Just like any machine, your crossbow needs regular maintenance. Keep your bow, arrow and every single equipment you use while hunting clean and organized. Make sure your arrows are well sharpened before every session and ensure the strings and cables on your bow are not worn out. If they are, you need to replace them. But keeping them clean after each session can save you the trouble of having to replace them often.

9. Don't try to shoot off-hand

The crossbow is designed in a way that concentrates most of its weight on the front end. It is, therefore difficult for you to maintain balance when shooting off-hand. Even the expert shooters will only shoot off-hand if they have no choice. You'll be better off shooting from a kneeling or sitting position. You can also use rail or shooting sticks for support.

10. Practice regularly

You should not only use your crossbow when it's deer season. You need to practice continually if you expect your shooting skills to improve. Attend archery classes during the off-season if possible. Meet up with fellow crossbow hunters for target practice once in a while. Practice shooting in sitting and kneeling positions and climb into your ground blind or tree stand.

Try taking angle shots from elevated positions and practice shooting in low-light conditions. Learn how to range objects, and practice shooting at those ranges. Training all year round will not just make you an accurate hunter but a safer one too. Remember the crossbow can be a deadly weapon if handled in the wrong manner.

In summary

When it comes to crossbow hunting, there are no shortcuts; you have to mind all the details as explained in the crossbow hunting tips above. You should get everything right from the beginning including choosing the right crossbow, broadheads, and arrows for your specific needs. Ensure to follow all the safety rules, and never assume anything. Remember the key to learning how to a crossbow is practice. The more you do it, the more it will seem easier and natural.