Crossbow Deer Hunting (The Definite Guide)

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

  1. Robert Gate

    Robert Gate Newb

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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 Newb

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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 Newb

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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 Newb

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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... :)
     
  5. Suncrest08

    Suncrest08 Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I don’t hunt with an X bow, however article 7.4 you don’t unload the x bow before pulling it up to the stand?!
     
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  6. siwulat

    siwulat Weekend Warrior

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    I don’t use an xbow either but re: 7.5, when I rifle hunt I keep my variable zoom at the lowest setting and adjust up as needed. That way if a deer walks by at 10 yards I’m not fumbling with the sight picture.
     
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  7. Robert Gate

    Robert Gate Newb

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    Yes, Suncrest08. I release it before ending the hunt only.
     
  8. Whitetail

    Whitetail Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Location:
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    Do you hunt from a tree stand? I assume so since you wrote -
    6.2 - Tree Hooks
    6.3 - Pull Up Cord

    Do you climb with a bolt loaded?
    A few years ago someone near me did this on his very last hunt ever . He shot himself in the chest pulling up his loaded X-Bow. Lincoln County WI.

    I guess that release would end your hunt.
     
  9. bzlytbeer

    bzlytbeer Newb

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    Sorry, but I do not agree with a lot of the content. I would not call this a definite or definitive guide at all.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

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