Crossbows are a type of weapon that has been around for centuries. The first crossbow was made in China as early as 300 BC, and since then they have been used all over the world.
Crossbows are different from other bows because they store the energy in a pre-cocked state and use a trigger mechanism to release it. Also, unlike a rifle, it uses a string and an arrow instead of using gunpowder.
They can be used for hunting or recreational target shooting. Each state has their own regulations when it comes to hunting with crossbows so be sure to check your local regulations. In the articles linked above we will go into more detail about what crossbows are, how they work, and the benefits and drawbacks of owning one!
Crossbows are a great weapon for hunting
Crossbows can be a great choice of a weapon for hunting. Not only are they fairly lightweight, moderately compact, and quiet. They are an effective hunting too that has been used for years to harvest big game animals.
Many states treat crossbows the same as compound bows as far as their hunting regulations and seasons go, however, certain states classify them by themselves so be sure to check out your local regulations before you decide to use a crossbow for hunting.
Crossbows are powerful, accurate and easy to use
Crossbows are fairly powerful because they use a spring-loaded mechanism to store the energy and propel an bolt (arrow). Because of this, some crossbow arrows can hit with more force than traditional bow shots so you can take down large game like deer without too much trouble (depending on your skill level).
But, what’s even better is that these types of bows are also very accurate. They’re easy to aim because the bow is fixed and they use a standard trigger mechanism to fire. Many crossbows come with low power scopes as well. This makes them a great choice for new hunters who are just learning, hunters with low physical strength, or hunters with physical impairments that would make it impossible to fire a regular compound bow.
Hunters in wheelchairs or those sitting in a tree stand or ground blind often find crossbows easier to use than a traditional bow as well. They can even be cocked by someone else and stay in the cocked position until ready to be fired. (Although this should only be used in specific cases as it can be slightly more dangerous and put extra long term strain on the crossbow limbs.
Crossbows can be heavy and difficult to carry around in the woods while hunting
Some crossbows are heavier and more difficult to carry around in the woods while hunting than traditional bows. This is mainly because of their primary design of having a solid stock with the limbs being attached perpendicular to the stock on one end. This combined stock, limb, string, scope, and firing mechanism can make a crossbows weight more similar to a rifle than a lighter weight compound bow.
Additionally, the perpendicular nature of the of the crossbow limbs and longer stock can make the crossbow more difficult to carry in thick brush and forests than a more sleek compound bow. This is not a problem for many more open country hunters but if you are used to pushing your way through the thickest bush in your hunting area then it can be a consideration for you.
A crossbow’s power depends on the type of draw weight, size, and length
The power of a crossbow is determined much along the same lines as a standard compound bow. The length of draw, the weight of the draw, and the mass of the projectile (bolt) determine the exact amount of downrange energy it will produce.
There are two main styles of modern crossbows. The traditional and the compound crossbow. Just like a compound bow, the compound crossbow uses eccentric cams at either end of the limbs to control the crossbow string and help launch the bolt.
These cams can help produce more mower in a shorter limbed crossbow as well as allowing the limbs to run slightly more parallel to the stock and thus making a smaller profiled weapon for hunting in thicker woods.
A traditional style crossbow has a much shorter string between the two limbs and its power is directly related tot he force required to cock it. This can lead to a heavier trigger pull weight compared to compound crossbows as the full force of the string is bearing upon the firing mechanism as opposed to a compound crossbow which can have a degree of “let off” for a lighter trigger feel.
Some of the main advantages of a crossbow are that they can be fired with a traditional trigger, can use a rifle like stock and scope for ease of use, and they can use a mechanical cocking device to allow lower strength hunters to produce more downrange energy.
These advantages of crossbows make them a solid choice for new hunters just getting into hunting with a bow and arrow, or is this case, a crossbow and bolt. They are a great choice for hunters with physical impairments who still want to get up close and personal with their prey but may not have the physical capability to utilize a standard bow and arrow.
The main disadvantages of crossbows is that they are larger than compound bows and can be much heavier and more difficult to maneuver in thick bush. This makes them more suitable to open forest hunting, or used in a tree stand or ground blind situation.
Also, if your crossbow does not have a cocking mechanism, they may actually be more difficult to cock than pulling a standard compound bow. This is because they have a much higher draw weight, which means it takes greater strength for an individual hunter’s muscles- primarily their back muscle -to cock the crossbow.
Crossbows VS Compound Bows
While crossbows and compound bows use the same basic principle for pulling back a bow string to fire an arrow or bolt, they are fairly different in their overall usage and design. Many hunters think of a compound bow as being more sleek and refined than a crossbow. And on the same line, many hunters think of a crossbow as a more brute force weapon that requires less practice and finesse to use.
While there can be arguments made for both of these cases, their fundamental uses care the same and each one may have a slightly more specific best use scenario.
I have hunted with crossbows for years as well as a compound bow for many years. I personally prefer the compound bow, however, I still enjoy using crossbows and have used them numerous times to introduce new hunters to the world of hunting with arrows.
Conclusion: The best crossbow is one that suits your needs.
It may take some time to determine the best crossbow for your hunting style and needs. Take some time and delve into our articles linked above to read more about specific types of crossbows, the best brands of crossbows, and some of the best individual crossbow models on the market today.
I do my best to help provide accurate and non biased reviews of the gear I test and review. I really hope this helps you find the best crossbow for your next hunt!