Crossbow Deer Hunting (The Definite Guide)

RobertGate009

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Jan 9, 2019
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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?
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?
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.

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Chapter 3: Bolts and Tips for a Good Kill
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.
 

RobertGate009

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Chapter 4: Get Ready for the Hunt - Practice Before That
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.

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Chapter 5: Setting Up a Stand for Crossbow Hunting

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.

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

RobertGate009

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Jan 9, 2019
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Chapter 7: Bonus Tips for Crossbow Hunting
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... :)
 

WildWill

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SE Oklahoma
Wow! I'm a fan of the saying "if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all" but common. The article has some genuine good advice. But you have a ton of bad information in there. For instance 1.5 you claim a crossbow is lighter and more maneuverable then a vertical bow. Really have you ever held a vertical bow?1.4 is also good for a laugh. How about 3.4 and 3.5 it gives us no real info on broad heads in fact the only info was that you use Rage (or similar type head) and think they're real neat.4.1, 7.4, and 7.5 also have terrible advice.
 
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midwesthunter

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Dec 7, 2015
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Northern IN
I would say you have some good general hunting tips, most not specific to crossbow hunting, but you also have a lot of false statements, and assumptions.
 

PrairieHunter

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Laramie, WY
You see this a lot these days. People writing about things they have no idea about. Note the picture of the animal at the top of the article is not even a deer.
 

brnsvllyjohn

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Oct 7, 2017
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California (for now)
From a guy who has hunted with a crossbow for a few years I have issues with 1.1, 1.5, 7.1, 7.4, and 7.5. I would say that a lot of your opinions are questionable.
You really think you need maximum zoom when shooting 30 yards at deer?? (7.5)
In my experience you have no chance for a second shot if you miss. Way too much noise and too slow to load. (7.1)
Take a draw device. As a handicap archer I have no chance of cocking a bow without a draw device so that is too obvious to even list. (7.2)
Those are just a few things that make no sense to some one who actually hunts with a crossbow.
 

LuketheDog

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Sedalia, Colorado
I don't know, this is probably more starting knowledge than most crossbow guys I've ever met seem to possess :D. I definitely don't want to see you guys out there over-practicing though!
 

Goosebrooke

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Feb 12, 2017
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Pennsylvania
this article isn't an article. It is brought to you by:

"Archerytopic.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com..."

It's a low rent amazon advertisement/review/links to go buy stuff off amazon. These are typically found when you search for anything, like top 10 vacuum cleaners, and it provides a janky review of the vacuum, the current stars rating and current pricing from amazon. I wouldn't take any of this seriously since a majority of the content probably came from data mining Amazon customer reviews of products and copy/paste for sections like "broadhead" or "targets". Welcome to big data!
 

scubohuntr

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Mar 30, 2018
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Location
Montana
7.4 and 7.5 would be enough for me to not take it seriously, even setting aside the wonky formatting and issues with basic physics. I hate to pee in anyone's Cheerios, and I always like to see people post tips and share knowledge, but seriously. This is an ad, not a guide. A "Definitive Guide" would have both pros and cons, and probably have had someone review it before it was posted. A definitive guide to crossbow hunting would point out that, although some crossbows shoot faster than some bows, the lighter weight of crossbow bolts means they lose velocity faster. Also, that most bolts are carbon these days. I doubt you will ever see a wood crossbow bolt. I'm pretty sure nobody has made one commercially in decades, if ever.

It's bad enough for someone to read this and lose the shot of a lifetime because he had his scope cranked all the way up, but I really don't want to even be in the same state with somebody stumbling around in the dark with a fully loaded crossbow. Accidental discharges can and do happen, even to the Amazing Crossbow.
 

Adamm88

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Feb 29, 2016
Messages
40
There is alot of good information in this and alot of bad. Frankly a post like this puts the crossbow community down. Hunting/Hunters cant stand to put a wedge in between them. Articles like this paints a picture of crossbows hunters being sloppy/slob hunters. As one myself i promise you i hunter harder and go farther on public land than most vertical bow hunters. If you are a crossbow hunter yourself be mindful of the perception your putting on the rest of the hunters.
 
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