Crossbow Deer Hunting (The Definite Guide)

Discussion in 'Bowhunting' started by Robert Gate, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. Robert Gate

    Robert Gate New Member

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    Hey guys, I just published this article about "crossbow deer hunting", but wanted to share a short and sweet version here.

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    Chapter 1: Why Deer Hunt with a Crossbow?
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    1.1 - Weight Distribution
    A rifle puts most of the weight at the point of the rifle making it hard to get a solid bead on a target. A vertical bow does the same thing, but also requires you to strain your dominant shoulder pulling and holding the bow string.

    A crossbow eliminates both of these issues. The primary advantage is that you can secure a crossbow at your shoulder and then support the weight with both hands.

    The weight is more evenly balanced so you will have less trouble holding crosshairs on a target.

    In addition, a crossbow weighs less than a rifle making it a more stable weapon. This means you will typically be more accurate with a crossbow versus a rifle or vertical bow.

    1.2 - Scopes
    One of the biggest advantages of using a crossbow for deer hunting is a scope. Vertical bows must use either pin sights or crosshair sights.

    1.3 - Limited Movement
    The action of standing up and drawing the string of a vertical bow is enough to spook a deer. However, a drawn crossbow can be pulled up and aimed with minimal movement

    I actually have made every crossbow kill I have made with a seated shot.

    1.4 - Accuracy
    The crossbow will more accurately kill any deer. The added arrow speed also means more killing power. The arrow will penetrate deeper to create a more lethal wound.

    1.5 - Maneuverability
    A crossbow is smaller and lighter than a vertical bow. This means it will be easier to move in and out of brush.

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    Chapter 2: Which Crossbow Should You Use?
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    2.1 - Recurve Crossbows
    Recurve crossbows are light and efficient, but they do make some noise when fired.

    2.2 - Compound Crossbows
    Typically, compound crossbows are going to shoot bolts at a higher arrow speed with more killing power.

    They have a smoother release, so string noise is not a huge issue. They also allow you to draw back the string easier to lock it in place.

    2.3 - Reverse Crossbows
    Reverse crossbows are more expensive, but they provide more power and more overall balance. This means a more accurate shot and a more powerful kill shot.
     
  2. Robert Gate

    Robert Gate New Member

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    Chapter 3: Bolts and Tips for a Good Kill
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    3.1 - Wooden Bolts
    These bolts are flexible and strong but are more likely to break when faced with impact.

    3.2 - Aluminum Bolts
    These bolts are strong and lightweight, but they have the tendency to permanently bend when they hit a hard target. This could happen when a bolt hits bone in a deer.

    3.3 - Fiberglass Bolts
    These bolts are lighter offering more accuracy due to higher arrow speed. They can also take a beating and keep going. Fiberglass arrows will flex with impact making them much more durable than other types of bolts.

    3.4 - Fixed Tips
    Fixed tip points are the most common type for vertical bow hunters.

    3.5 - Mechanical Tips

    The ones I use are drawn in to the shaft with flares sticking out to catch the hide of the deer. This will then create a gash about three inches across so the animal dies quickly.

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    Chapter 4: Get Ready for the Hunt - Practice Before That
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    4.1 - Do Not Over Practice
    When I hunted with my vertical bow, I was practicing three times a week for months. Then I practiced five times a week the month before bow season. However, this is completely different with a crossbow.

    It requires no draw strength, and stability is much easier because of your stock, balanced weight, and using both arms for stability.

    In addition, bowstrings on crossbows will not last nearly as long as a vertical bow. You should practice just enough to sight in your scope and make some consistent shots.

    4.2 - Care for Your Bowstring
    • One way to care for your bowstring is to never fire your crossbow without a bolt present. This means you will need an unloading bolt to release the string when you are done deer hunting at the end of the day.
    • Also, you should wax your entire bowstring and anywhere it comes in contact with the frame after every five shots. You can get bowstring wax online or at any archery shop.
    • Finally, you may want to bring a backup bowstring just in case it starts to fray while you are hunting or practicing.
    4.3 - Use a Crossbow Target
    You will notice that most targets will be rated for either a vertical bow or a crossbow.

    For crossbow deer hunting you want a target that is designed for both field tips and broadheads.

    The wrong target will cause your broadheads to get stuck or possibly break.

    Broadheads are not cheap, so take the time to purchase a target rated for both types of tips.

    4.4 - Practice with Broadheads
    While you should initially sight in your crossbow scope and get some practice rounds with field tips.

    Field tips are ideal for most practice as they are easy to remove and there is no chance of cutting yourself. However, many broadheads will fly differently than field tips.

    This is because of both weight and wind resistance. If you can, practice with field tips with the same weight as the broadheads you will use.

    4.5 - Practice from Your Stand
    Most people skip this step. However, practicing from your stand is important for several reasons.

    One is that you will be shooting down on your target from a tree stand. This changes the distance and angle of your shot, so you will need to make adjustments for this type of shot.
     
  3. Robert Gate

    Robert Gate New Member

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    Chapter 5: Setting Up a Stand for Crossbow Hunting[/SIZE]
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    5.1 - Types of Crossbow Stands
    There are three primary types of stands for crossbow deer hunting. The most popular is a tree stand.

    The primary advantage is that deer rarely look up. Most of their food sources and predators are at eye level, so they have no reason to look up unless you give them one.


    Therefore, you are less likely to spook a deer with any movement that you make. In addition, deer are less likely to smell you when you are sitting in a tree instead of on the ground. You can also build your own tree stand if you like.

    5.2 - Stand Placement
    A game trail is a great sign that deer have been coming through the area.

    If you are specifically looking for that big buck, look for rubs on trees and scrapes on the ground.

    If you will take a doe, tracks and scat are good signs to consider.

    5.3 - Shooting Lanes
    I like to pick a location for a tree stand or ground blind that gives me at least three primary shooting lanes.

    Basically, I only want my view to the rear to be blocked if anything. You may have to cut out some branches in advance to ensure you have these shooting lanes.

    Keep in mind that you only need to see about 50 yards in each direction to consider it a shooting lane.

    5.4 - Allowing for Movement

    You need to account for rotating your crossbow to get the best shot possible.

    If you set up your tree stand with a branch to your right, the arms of your crossbow will not allow you to move very far in that direction.

    If you sit in your ground blind too close to the walls, you will hit the sides of the window when trying to take your shot.

    5.5 - Comfort
    If you are not comfortable, you will not stay in your stand as long.

    Be sure you either have a good pad on your tree stand or a quality seat in your ground blind.

    If you have a pack or individual items between your feet, it will be tough to adjust for a shot. Installing a hook on your tree or tree stand is a good idea to be sure you have a place that is out of the way for your gear.
     
  4. Robert Gate

    Robert Gate New Member

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    Chapter 6: Must-have Gears for Crossbow Deer Hunting
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    6.1 - Rangefinders
    6.2 - Tree Hooks
    6.3 - Pull Up Cord
    6.4 - Bipods and Stick Rests
    6.5 - Silencers

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    Chapter 7: Bonus Tips for Crossbow Hunting
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    7.1 - Take Several Bolts
    This may seem obvious, but if you do not have a quiver it may be a difficult choice. However, it is not uncommon for a deer to stay put even after you fire and miss.

    This gives you another shot, if you have another bolt.

    7.2 - Take a Draw Device
    Take something with you that makes this easier...

    7.3 - Don’t Move
    Keep your movement as limited as possible to reduce the chances of spooking the deer.

    7.4 - Keep your Crossbow Loaded
    It is not uncommon to stumble upon a deer while walking to or from your stand. I always load mine on the way to the stand and do not unload until we get to the truck.

    7.5 - Keep your Scope Zoomed
    If your scope has several settings for the zoom, keep it on the highest setting. I have never had a deer so close to me that this became an issue. You can always adjust if you absolutely need to.

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    Would love to know what you think... :)
     
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  5. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Welcome, and I appreciate your efforts and lengthy article, i like reading stuff like this. But you better head back to the drawing board and do more research, the guys here are going to pick you apart. You tripped me up at=a crossbow weighs less than a rifle? Better go weigh some, a mountain rifle is 6 lbs, a highspeed xbow often 7. A crossbow is better balanced? More powerful models tend to be heavy towards the front, which is one of the main advantages of the newer reverse draw design. The reason crossbows almost died out after the middle ages is probably because they are one of the most unwieldy handheld weapons there is. Easy to move in brush? Again, you should have tried it first, they are a struggle to get through thick stuff. A crossbow is more accurate? Nope, accuracy is in the hands of the user. 1.4= a crossbow doesn't shoot arrows, they shoot bolts. More killing power? Nada. Not significantly. Lighter bolts generally offset the higher speeds. A crossbow weighs less than a vertical bow? Not even close, modern verticals weigh almost nothing. Silencers as a field gear item? Really, did you research anything...
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
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  6. Jack Terpack

    Jack Terpack Active Member

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    I agree with everything that Mennoniteman said. But, modern crossbows shoot arrows, not bolts. Bolts, by definition, are almost never longer than 8 inches and were normally made of metal. Todays crossbows shoot arrows than fall between about 17 and 22 inches long made of the same types materials as top arrows have been for years. Do some research before you start putting out bogus information.
     
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  7. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Sam Coalson, director of marketing for Bowtech Archery, a center-of-mass compound company that is reaching into crossbow accessories, notes the divide between terminology used by the masses vs. that used by passionate users.
    "Technically, either term is correct," he says. "Most people still call them bolts, but more and more crossbow enthusiasts seem to be calling them arrows."
     
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  8. Jack Terpack

    Jack Terpack Active Member

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    Historically he is wrong. In midieval times when crossbows were invented, they were almost always made of a single short piece of metal and no fletching. They were designated as bolts to pierce armor. Longbowmen shot arrows made of wood and fletched with feathers or fur. Arrows always have fletching bolts do not. This discussion has been going on for quite a few years. Several history experts have claimed that the distinction is almost as old as crossbows themselves. For more disussion check out Crossbow Nation Forums. there is a wealth of info on the history about this subject.
     
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  9. dogghr

    dogghr Well-Known Member

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    Great reply. Especially the last sentence. I read the whole thing shaking my head. But since I've ran my mouth enough on here lately about another self proclaimed expert, I shall remain mute. Welcome to the forum Robert, and might I ask where was this article published.??
     
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  10. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Don't let my critiques get under your skin, you have great potential as an outdoor writer. Being an outdoor writer is easy, just go hunting and fishing every day for 20-30 years for experience and get a brother in law who owns an outdoor magazine.
     
  11. Cap'n

    Cap'n Active Member

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    Enjoyed the article. I do need to look at ways to silence my CB.
    Another point that I like about CB's is if you have an injury or a condition that makes using a vertical bow difficult the CB is much easier to handle and become proficient with. My daughter has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair but can shoot a CB with no problem. That is her "gun" and she takes a deer with it ever year. I also think a new hunter would find it easier to start with a crossbow than a vertical bow or rifle.
     
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  12. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    All I will say is that my experience with an entry level crossbow doesn't support some of the OP's statements. Now - I said ENTRY level for a reason. Just like with a vertical bow or a rifle...what you get in an entry level product is far different than if your putting $1,000 into your weapon. I'm not going to pick apart the article...but I think more opinion came thru than maybe you intended.
     
  13. Robert Gate

    Robert Gate New Member

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    Thanks all for comments. I'm pretty new in this field and that's why I need your "picking apart" to make it better.

    The best way to avoid failure is doing nothing.
     
  14. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member

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    My son has a Ravin Crossbow. I have killed a bear with it. Hit it where the neck joins the body and dropped it in its tracks. That thing is LOUD when it goes off. Had a deer “jump” the string at 32 yards a little over a week ago. Did shoot another one the same evening, standing perfectly broadside at 29 yards. It whirled to run at the shot and ended up hitting it in the front edge of hip, exiting the chest between the two front legs. However, both these deer were in a wide open food plot. To be honest, I would not have expected to hit either one with my compound at those distances under those circumstances.
     
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  15. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Well-Known Member

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    Great attitude Robert! You can only succeed thinking that way. With no experience with crossbows I can't comment on your article details but did notice a technical writing style showing in your article;it separates out and organizes the many facets of the article nicely. Keep at it.
     
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  16. dogghr

    dogghr Well-Known Member

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    Yea it was well written. Just always fact ck and even ask others for opinions. I think you have a great talent.
    And remember a lot of us are kinda grouchy this time of year w the weather and end of hunting season and we tend to spout pretty quick. Especially myself. Apologies. And carry on will look forward to your next post and you can trust us to be brutally honest and that’s a good thing. If we didn’t like you we just ignore you.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  17. Robert Gate

    Robert Gate New Member

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  18. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely. Free opinions, whether asked for or not, is our specialty. I didn't mean to hack on you, it's just better for you if someone points you towards getting it right from the start, so that you strive to get knowledgeable info into people's hands and on the long run, get the respect that you deserve as an expert in your field.
     
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  19. Chipdasqrrl

    Chipdasqrrl Active Member

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    Welcome! As long as you’re not an elitist self proclaimed wildlife expert, the people on here will be supportive and offer advice and constructive criticism. Tons of shared experience on this forum to learn from. I don’t know where I’d be without the guidance from people on here


    Sent from my iPhone using Deer Hunter Forum
     
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  20. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Well-Known Member

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    Robert, we re always glad to help where we can and in this case your timing is PERFECT.
     
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