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The Pros and Cons of Crossbow Hunting

Last Updated: 04.02.23


In the past, crossbow hunting was restricted to hunters that had a physical handicap that prevented them from drawing a traditional or compound bow but nowadays, most states have opened crossbow hunting to any archer that wants to put his or her bolts for crossbow to good use.

If you have yet to try using a crossbow, the following informative article should give you all the information you need to judge for yourself if the hype for crossbow hunting is to be believed as well as to practice your skills with the help of targets for crossbows before going into the field.



Easy to use

One of the key advantages of using a crossbow is that unlike a traditional or compound bow, once the string is drawn to a given point, the trigger mechanism will lock it in place. This means that you are not required to hold the bow at a full draw since the mechanism will do all the hard work without requiring any physical effort from the hunter.

Once the arrow is placed on the rail, the leaf spring will hold it in place and ready to fire. The hunters will be able to focus their full attention to tracking and spotting the prey. With a traditional bow, you would need to focus most of your attention and energy on keeping the bow at a full draw as well as maintain a steady aim.

The ease of use makes hunting using a crossbow perfect for novice hunters since even experienced archers tend to be more accurate and more successful with their shots when using a crossbow.

In simpler terms, the crossbow works almost like a rifle, where all you need to do is press the trigger which in this case will release the arrow. The simplicity of this weapon makes it perfect for people with disabilities since it can be operated with a single hand.


Versatility and accuracy

It is possible to use telescopic sights with your crossbow and this feature makes it a very easy platform to transition to for more experienced hunters that are used with shooting rifles and shotguns.

Since most crossbows come with a scope fitted at the top that the hunter can use to aim at the prey accurately, you will no longer have to spend countless minutes trying to find the perfect shot. The scope can also assist the hunter when the light conditions are not very good.

The high precision of the weapon lends it unmatched versatility, especially in terms of how you can hunt a wide variety of game with it. You can use the crossbow to hunt from the ground leaning against a tree, from a ground blind, or you can even use it to spot and stalk the game.

In this sense, it is hard to find another weapon that compares to the lethality, precision, and versatility that a high-quality crossbow offers.



While for a standard bow the velocity of the arrows depends a lot on the technique that the hunter uses, with a crossbow once you release the trigger, the shaft will move at dizzying speeds which will make the arrow reach its target in a matter of milliseconds.

One downside might be that due to the high power, you might have to use a lot of force to remove the arrow from the surface that it hits. The velocity depends on many factors such as the draw weight and length, and the specific accessories and arrows that the hunter uses.

Generally speaking, most compound bows will shoot arrows at a speed of 250-330 feet per second while crossbows typically reach a speed of 350-450 feet per second. The additional velocity also translates into longer effective ranges, harder-hitting arrows, and flatter trajectories.


It’s quite heavy

Because a crossbow is a more complex weapon that consists of a miniature compound bow or recurve mounted on the end of a stock, its body uses more materials and that makes it heavy and bulky.

It can be quite awkward to carry a crossbow, and this extra weight can make it difficult for novice hunters to maintain a steady aim for long periods. The good news is that manufacturers are starting to use ultra-light materials such as carbon fiber for the bow stocks and bow risers.

This means that you can find crossbows that are lighter and easier to use but since the materials used are quite expensive, such alternatives won’t be available for anyone looking for an affordable product.

Reload time and noise

The overall size and bulk of a crossbow, as well as the heavy draw weight, can make it difficult for hunters to reload. This means that if the bolt does not hit the target the first time you shoot until you get to reload another bolt, chances are that the prey will have already made a successful escape.

Similarly, since the crossbow releases some noise when you press the trigger, it could easily spook the other prey if you are aiming at more than one. This does not happen with a standard bow, which means that if you want to hunt stealthily and at a short range, the crossbow might not be the best choice for you.


It is not as challenging

The last disadvantage that we want to talk about is quite subjective and it might not apply to everyone. While we did mention the ease of use of the crossbow as one of the primary advantages, many hunters view it as a big downside since it removes the challenge that is present when hunting with a bow, something that many hunters find very thrilling.

With that said, modern compound bows are still very far away from the traditional bows that hunters used hundreds of years ago. Even with the latest features and technology, crossbows can still be challenging for novices, but experienced hunters that look for a challenge might prefer a standard or compound bow.



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