For lovers of hunting, there can be no greater challenge than learning to use the crossbow effectively. A steady hand, a keen eye, and the sportsman will enjoy a hunting instrument that is as accurate as a modern rifle yet requires stealth and skill to get close enough to be used effectively. To master these skills requires absolute dedication to the arts of stalking and tracking in a variety of conditions.
Here are some tips that will make that journey towards mastering the crossbow that much easier.
The first step is to find a draw weight that you are comfortable with. The easiest way to do this is by using both hands and pulling back at maximum effort. If you do this, it will, almost every time result in a clean through and through a shot. This will ensure a quick, humane kill which is what most hunters want. It reduces the stress on the animal.
The sights on most crossbows are very similar to those found on modern rifles – with one important difference. With most widely available crossbows the effective range is around 60 yards. However, unlike bullets crossbow bolts move through the air much more slowly leading to a significant drop as they travel. This means that the effective crossbow hunter will need to set up as many as three different sights suited to shots from a variety of yardages.
For many crossbow hunters, the solution is to use colored pins or for the more advanced fiber optic systems that are set at various distances such as 20, 40 and 60 yards. The skill is selecting and using the correct sight depending on the distance to the target. Sometimes this may require that the hunter chooses a sighting position between the pins or markers. This is especially important when hunting larger species as the lack of a clean kill means a very dangerous situation – wounded big game such as bears can cause immense physical harm to the hunter who is not paying absolute attention to the sighting.
As far as the maintenance of the crossbow is concerned, it is of the utmost importance to ensure that the rail of the weapon is kept lubricated. Most experienced hunters use graphite powder for this purpose. This saves on wear and tear on the string as it moves over the top of the rail. With proper attention, a good quality string can last several years – neglecting maintenance can mean a failed shot is just a matter of time.
As with any piece of hunting equipment, it is important to choose a crossbow that is right for you. Don’t rush your choice take a careful and level-headed approach. Test several models from a variety of manufacturers.
While testing out, the various options learn to gauge the maximum range of the crossbow you choose. If you’ve used a rifle all your life, you will be amazed at the difference between that firearm and the crossbow. Even the most advanced modern lightweight bow will max out at effective 40 yards. Experienced hunters try to get as close as 20 to 35 yards before pulling the trigger.
Depending on your choice of crossbow it may even be necessary to get closer than that to have an effective chance of a clean kill. Make sure that you are familiar with just how accurate your crossbow is.