Even though crossbow hunting is the fastest growing segment in hunting sports, it’s relatively new to most hunters. Because of this, there are a lot of misconceptions and questions about crossbows.
Probably the biggest misconception is that the crossbow is a long-range weapon. That’s not true! The crossbow is like the compound bow, recurve and long bow. Its performance is only as proficient as the person behind the string.
Obviously, as with the other forms of archery, the whitetail deer is the most popular big game animal pursued. However, as more people discover the excitement of crossbow hunting, additional hunting opportunities are being exposed from around the globe.
Crossbows have the same capability of their vertical counterparts. Where they are legal, crossbows can be used to hunt any game that is huntable with a vertical bow and can dispatch any game animal in North America just as proficiently.
Crossbows can also be used on small game, varmints and fish. I’ve successfully hunted a variety of game with a crossbow from the Hudson Bay to the Indian Ocean. After logging all of these miles one thing is for certain; a crossbow is just another challenging option for those of us who fancy bowhunting.
Like vertical archery equipment, it’s important to match your accessories with your individual crossbow. Each passing year more and more accessory options are available to crossbow hunters.
Even though it can be time consuming and somewhat pricey, the best way to find out what works best with your crossbow is through trial and error.
Because a certain broadhead/arrow combination works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work out of your set up. And just because someone else likes a certain scope doesn’t mean it will meet your standards. Only through experimentation can you find what truly works best for you.
One of the complaints that I frequently field from bowhunters who are crossing over from the vertical side is the lack of tunability you have with a crossbow. And they’re correct if the comparison is to a compound. There are many steps one can take with a compound to tweak it and make it perform better. That does not happen so much with a crossbow. About the only variances you can control come with arrow/broadhead combinations and F.O.C. (front of center) adjustments. The basic definition of F.O.C. is the percent difference between the physical midpoint of the arrow and the center of gravity (balance point) of the arrow as compared to the total length.
But this is also the beauty of crossbows. They’re ready to hunt with right out of the box!
Most of today’s crossbows are sold as packages and can be assembled, sighted in and carried around the world to hunt a variety of game animals. If you’re looking to add another bowhunting experience to your archery resume, I highly recommend crossbow hunting. Everyone should give it a try for one season to experience it and form their own opinions about it. If you decide it’s not for you, so be it. At least you’ll have made your decision based on experience and not hearsay.