Crossbows are extremely popular and gaining in popularity every year. They are easy to use and extremely accurate. For kids and hunters on the go, they are especially appealing because after a crossbow is sighted in, you don’t have to shoot constantly to shoot accurately.
A CROSSBOW IS NOT A GUN
One mistake many hunters make when getting into crossbow hunting is thinking that a crossbow is a lot like a gun. A crossbow has a trigger and uses a scope, but a crossbow is not a gun. Tracker John noticed how easy it is to make a mistake when hunting with a crossbow. Tracker John is a well-known blood tracker who spends a lot of time tracking wounded whitetails. One thing he has noticed is that hunters in general push the limits of what they think their equipment can do. “Many crossbow hunters believe their crossbows are deadly out to extreme ranges. The truth is, it is still a bow,” Engelken noted.
A CROSSBOW IS NOT A LONG RANGE WEAPON
Can a hunter with a crossbow and a solid rest kill a deer at 70 or 80 yards with a crossbow in their hand? The answer is yet but the truth is most people shouldn’t shoot at a live animal past 40 yards, even when using a crossbow. If an animal takes a couple steps when it is 80 yards away and the trigger is pulled, chances are the arrow will end up some place other than the lungs.
NOT ALL BROADHEADS ARE DESIGNED FOR CROSSBOWS
Another reason hunters shouldn’t take extreme shots is because many broadheads aren’t very accurate at long distances. Most broadheads fly well out of a crossbow at 30 yards or even 40 yards. Many start to plane and fly erratically at longer distances. If a hunter is going to consider shooting at a game animal at yardages beyond 40, they better practice at those distances with their broadheads or practice broadheads to ensure they fly accurately.
PENETRATION AND ARROW DROP
Penetration and arrow drop can also be an issue at extreme distances. If a hunter misjudges a shot by a few yards, jerks the trigger, or has the slightest case of buck fever, the arrow will likely miss the mark. Arrows are not bullets and they drop quickly after the shot and are affected by the slightest movement during the shot.
ONLY TAKE BROADSIDE SHOTS
Gun hunters will often shoot a deer head on, quartering to them or even straight away. A crossbow hunter should never take these type of shots, but it is happening often because many hunters picking up a crossbow for the first time are long-time gun hunters who don’t realize a crossbow doesn’t shoot or penetrate like a gun.
NOT ALL TARGETS CAN HANDLE LIGHTNING FAST CROSSBOW BOLTS
Not all crossbow targets are created equal. Many of the popular targets on the market can’t handle the speeds that crossbows produce. As a result, the targets don’t last very long. Morrell Targets offers several different targets that handles speeds exceeding 400 FPS.
Hunting with a crossbow can be fun for kids and adults. Realize a crossbow has its limitations and like any weapon if you want to be accurate with it and regularly kill game, the more you shoot it, the better.