The population of aging bow hunters and the amount of injured shooters in general is opening up the door for the acceptance of crossbows. Many states are now opening up their hunting seasons to crossbow shooters and it is up to us as the hunters to do the best we can when hunting. There are the basics that every hunter should know about before heading out into the woods, but crossbows offer their own unique set of circumstances. It is similar to the look and few of a gun, but its projectiles are different. It is similar to a vertical bow, but its horizontal orientation changes the trajectory of the arrow. Below are some commonly overlooked tips to improve hunting efficiency.
One aspect of crossbow hunting that often is overlooked is the issue of canting. It is mostly a problem that is associated with the novice crossbow user, but has a tendency to happen to the more experienced shooters as well. Canting occurs when your bow is not parallel with the ground, causing one of the limbs to be higher than the others. This can often happen to more advanced hunters that are shooting from a seated position because of the body’s natural tendency to angle the bow when we get into shooting position. This issue can be resolved by focusing on the limbs being parallel to the ground when you are practicing.
You must also make sure that you have properly calibrated in your sighting device. Most sighting devices are designed to work in the 30-50 yard range. In order to be able to shoot a crossbow well, you also have to understand your arrows trajectory and its relation to the sight. If you sight in your device properly, then your arrow will leave the crossbow in an upward direction when you are aiming at your animal from a certain distance. This will compensate the trajectory for you and make your life much easier.
If you are hunting in closed quarters or more importantly out of a tree stand, then you need to make sure that the limbs are securely out of the way. Sure, they may be out of the way when you have the crossbow cocked, but when you shoot the bow they are going to expand. If they expand and hit a tree, you can guarantee that the crossbow stock is going to shoot sideways right into your rib. The arrow will not fly accurately and if you are hunting out of a tree stand, and you will most likely be tossed from the stand.
You should also be aware that proper cocking of your device would greatly affect accuracy. Being off by even 1/16” will make your arrows fly erratically. You should always keep in mind that broadheads fly differently than field points that hunters typically use to practice. The bigger the broadhead, the more your shot is going to be affected. The orientation of your fletching might also affect the flight, so you might want to look in getting the fletching oriented in an offset helical formation. Maintaining good crossbow fundamentals will greatly help your hunting game.