Have you ever fancied yourself as a hunter? If so, you probably already know that your choice of weapon is extremely relevant to the success of your hunt. After all, tools such as bows, rifles, and especially crossbows, have their own sets of quirks and requirements that need your complete and full attention in order for them to work the way you want to. In the case of crossbow hunting, using a crossbow definitely gives you the best of both worlds – the aiming capacity of a rifle and the arrow-based nature of the bow. However, what else should you know before getting into crossbow hunting?

Crossbow hunting has started to become in-season for a lot of areas around the world. For instance, in Illinois, there’s been a spike in crossbow sales, thanks to the legalization of crossbows for general use. This means aside from bows, crossbows can be used to hunt. As a result of this exciting news, a lot more people started to get “into” crossbows. In 2017, 28.91% of hunters that were successful during deer season were actually crossbow users.

Crossbow Hunting: What You Need to Know

Before you read crossbow reviews to get you the right hunting tool, you might want to check out some basic information about crossbow hunting before you get into it. Here are some of them:

Getting the right materials is just as essential as the crossbow: Like hunting rifles and bows, crossbows have their own set of “components.” Bolts and other accessories are important to make sure you get performance you’re expecting from them. Likewise, knowing how to use a crossbow properly with these parts also allows you to hunt to your optimum performance.

  • Crossbow arrows or bolts need to be chosen properly. Elements such as front of center, type of nock, fletching specifications, mass weight, diameter, spine, and shaft length are all taken into consideration to provide you the best performance you’re looking for.
  • Crossbow cocking aids can make cocking your crossbow much easier. They simply hook onto the string and give you the mechanical advantage you need.

Using crossbows needs a bit of technical knowledge and prowess: Like any hunting tool, using a crossbow to hunt does need a bit of technical knowledge and prowess. It’s not the easiest tool to use, although it does meet the fine line between a hunting rifle and a hunting bow.

  • Crossbows are short-range hunting tools, which means its recommended range is about 25 to 30 yards. This is also why short and lighter arrows, called bolts, are used. Moreover, bolts lose power and energy seconds after leaving the rail, so timing and range are important.
  • Crossbows, when cocked, are always in firing position. A lot of hunters tend to have their crossbows cocked for a while. Don’t leave them hanging in that position for too long. Stress on trigger mechanisms, cables, strings, and limbs can shorten the lifespan of these components.
  • Crossbow bolts need to be cocked properly. Make sure the string is locked properly, and check that each side of the rail has equal lengths of serving so that the arrow is released with equal amount of energy. If not, there can be inconsistency in strength and power.
  • Crossbows need to be kept level. Don’t canter the bow or hold one crossbow limb lower than the other. Try to be level the bow when you pull the trigger so that you can accurately determine the path of the bolt.  

Maintaining crossbows requires effort: It’s important to understand that despite their semiautomatic nature, crossbows do need a substantial effort for proper maintenance. Thankfully, maintaining crossbows can easily be learned.  

  • Crossbows are very sturdy hunting tools, as they can withstand heat and cold, making them optimal for hunting in almost any season. However, don’t leave them out in these conditions for long, as this can dry the strings and shorten their lives.
  • Crossbow components such as cables and strings actually stretch, which means regular lubing is required to get them fresh and prepared for another day of hunting. Also, make it a point to readjust or tune them every now and then. If you notice arrows frequently missing their marks, you might want to check the status of your components.

The Takeaway: Time, Training, and Commitment

Crossbow hunting is in fact easy to get into and fun to do, especially when you start “feeling” the moment and eventually getting used to the weight of your crossbow in tow. What perhaps can be tricky, as the above suggested, would be maintaining not just the crossbow itself but also the tools you use along with it. Take these factors into careful consideration so you will have a wonderful hunting experience this season.