Hunting season is around the corner and it’s the perfect time to learn something about crossbow hunting. Many people believe that crossbows are an old-fashioned weapon, but the modern-day crossbow is very technologically advanced and convenient to hunt with. It provides you the thrill of using a gun with the ammunition of a traditional bow.
With more and more states legalizing the use of crossbows for hunting, a lot of people are leaning towards them. Using crossbows is a fun sport, which needs lots and lots of practice to master.
If you are a first-time hunter and eager to learn some basics of crossbow hunting, this article is for you.
Table of Contents
1. Choosing the perfect Crossbow for Beginners:
The first step is to choose a perfect crossbow for your hunting experience. There are thousands of options to choose from, varying in size, draw weight, length, power stroke, and accuracy.
Firstly, identify your needs; whether you are starting with the large game hunting or small. Cost is another important factor to consider as crossbows come in a variety of price ranges. All the leading brands offer crossbows in different price ranges from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Always choose a bow with a limited warranty and good customer service to avoid future problems.
Choose the crossbow that is comfortable to carry and well balanced. Also, study your state’s law and rules about crossbow hunting before buying one.
2. Choosing the Perfect Bolts and Broad heads:
The bolts for crossbows are usually made up of aluminum or carbon and come in a variety of sizes, depending upon the model you are using. Try to use the bolts whose size and weight are compatible with your bow. Heavier bolts are more impactful and provide more penetration than the lighter ones.
Smaller versions such as pistol crossbows usually come with small metal shaft bolts. Whereas the larger crossbows have bolts similar to arrows. They are larger in size and have removable tips, nocks, and fletching.
As far as crossbow hunting broadheads are considered, always choose them by keeping your weapon in mind. Broadheads can vary in speed, size, weight, cost, and number of blades. Try to choose a broadhead that is perfect for the game you are hunting.
3. Assembling the Crossbow:
Once you have bought your starter crossbow, the next step is to assemble it properly. The crossbows usually come partially assembled; all you need to do is attach the bow section to the stock, mount the scope, and attach the accessories if required.
Many crossbows come with a ready to use a mounted scope. You just need to fine-tune it before using it and make changes in elevations and angles as required.
If your crossbow doesn’t come with a pre-installed scope, always make sure to mount the scope with proper orientation. It is important to ensure that the scope is installed straight with the proper adjustments for better sighting.
4. Shooting the Crossbow for Beginners:
Once you have assembled the crossbow according to the manual, you are ready to shoot. Crossbows are as dangerous as any other weapon, so all the gun safety rules also apply here.
- Cocking and loading:
Beginners, who are learning crossbows hunting for the first time, should know that most of the crossbows have the same cocking and loading mechanisms. It is important to note that you should never cock your crossbow until you are ready to shoot and always use the provided cocking device to cock your weapon.
First stabilize the crossbow against the ground by foot stirrup, pull the string from the limbs and hook it to the groove of the cocking device and then draw the cocking device back with your hands until you hear a clicking sound. This clicking sound ensures that now the safety is engaged.
After cocking the device, you can place the arrow into the barrel. The end of the arrow should make contact with the string; make sure that the arrow is nocked securely. Once the weapon is loaded, do not point it towards an unintended target and do not press the trigger until you are properly lined up with the target.
As a new crossbow user, knowing how to aim is very important as a good aim leads to higher accuracy and less danger to others around you. Most of the crossbows come with a mounted Scope on top, which can assist in the aiming process. Inside the lens of the scope is a small cross mark which is used to pin your target.
Depending on whether factors like cross winds are at a bare minimum and the target is within the range of your crossbow, the coincidence of the scope’s mark (also called crosshairs) over the target would render a highly accurate shot.
- Drawing the Bow and Taking a Shot
Knowing how to draw a bow can be very important since it can affect the speed and power with which the bolt will travel and hit the target. For new beginners draw assists such as crankshafts and rope pulls can be very handy as they can help conserve the energy utilized in drawing the bow manually.
While taking a shot, the following considerations must be taken:
- Keep the target within sight of the scope at all times. If the Target is not clearly visible, don’t take the shot.
- For close up shots, an upright firing position of the shooter is preferable, however for a long-distance shot, a seated or lying position would be more preferable for increasing accuracy of aim.
- Always be mindful of your environment. A crossbow user should be extremely cautious especially in case there are people roaming around.
- Grip the crossbow firmly with both hands and place the stock over your shoulder to minimize the impact of the jerk.
5. Safety First:
Keep the safety your topmost priority while shooting with a starter crossbow. Always wear proper safety gear and take your first aid box along while going for hunting.
Make sure to clear all the obstructions so that limbs of the crossbow would not strike anything when you pull the trigger as it can damage your crossbow and can affect the precision of your shot.
Crossbows are already equipped with built-in safety features to prevent accidents, but it’s a good practice to follow some safety guidelines. Always carry an unloaded crossbow while stalking in the wild and keep the safety ON. Keep your fingers below the barrel and point the crossbow in a safe direction.
Crossbows usually have an anti-dry-fire system in them to prevent accidental dry fire. If your crossbow lacks this system, never dry-fire as it can damage your crossbow.
6. Practice before Hunting:
You cannot just start hunting professionally after reading from the internet or some manual. Hunting requires massive practice and training to master it.
Practice taking shots from different angles and lighting conditions on archery targets. Always practice in an open area so that the trajectory of your arrow is clear.
7. Abide by the Rules of the Law:
Some states allow the crossbows only during the hunting season while others allow them only for specific regions. Before starting your hunting adventure, know the rules of your state and follow them to avoid getting caught.
If you are an ex-convict we advise you to contact a lawyer who can guide you about your inherent rights in the United States Constitution. Don’t try to hide your previous track records during background checks. This can be used in a court of law against you.
8. Hunting Ethics:
Now you have complete knowledge of how to start crossbow hunting. Before you start your adventure, there are some fundamental ethics you should behave upon. Observing them will help you to protect yourself, the environment, nature, and fellow hunters.
- Choose your target intelligently, don’t kill the endangered species.
- Protect natural resources while hunting.
- Avoid injuring and hunting young animals.
- Avoid drugs and drinking while hunting.
- Always take permission from the property owner, do not trespass.
- Follow state and land rules.
- Avoid using prohibited baits and lures.
- Don’t pollute the environment, reduce wastage.
- Take care of nature, don’t kill animals for fun.
Like any other sport, crossbow hunting also has a lot to learn about if you are new to this game. You cannot just buy a crossbow and start hunting; there are many other aspects of it which you need to consider before going for hunting.
We would highly recommend you to study the guidelines and tips thoroughly, watch hunting tutorials on the internet, seek guidance from experienced archers and accompany them in hunting sessions to have prior hands on training before going solo.