If you plan on hunting during archery season or are an archery enthusiast, you will find yourself choosing between a compound bow and a hunting crossbow. There are benefits and drawbacks to each; your selection will depend on your abilities and your preferences.
Should You Go for a Hunting Crossbow?
Crossbows differ significantly from compound bows in their design, weight, and the skills needed to use them effectively.
While some people consider crossbows to have advantages over compound bows, each has its own merits.
On a basic level, crossbows bear many similarities to rifles, including how you operate them – by a trigger – and how you aim them.
So what are the pros and cons to a crossbow?
1. Easy to Use
Children and those with disabilities can focus on their aim and simply pull the trigger when hunting with a crossbow.
A compound bow requires quite a bit of strength to draw the bowstring to full draw, as well as years of practice in aiming.
A crossbow is fitted with a scope and can be used accurately when sitting, kneeling, or using a rest.
This makes a crossbow more consistently accurate than a compound bow, in more situations.
3. Power and Velocity
Crossbows have very heavy draw weights and can shoot arrows noticeably faster than compound bows.
This means a flatter trajectory over a farther distance, and that it will hit the target or animal HARD.
Pulling that arrow out of the animal will take a lot of strength.
1. Size and Weight
Crossbows are oftentimes double the weight of a compound bow, as well as being more difficult and cumbersome to carry around.
It can also be difficult to aim a heavy crossbow without using a rest. You will probably not want to carry a crossbow around with you all day.
The sound emitted from a crossbow is much louder than a compound bow.
Since it is still a short-range weapon, your target can actually “jump the string,” as well as scare away others in a pack.
If you don’t hit the target on the first try, you may not get a second opportunity.
3. Harder to Reload
A crossbow is more difficult to re-load than a compound bow and it takes longer to do so, making a follow-up shot hard to take.
Limitations on Season
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Crossbows are limited in some states and hunting seasons. You will need to find out if and when you can use a crossbow.
They are sometimes restricted to firearm season, other times to archery season, or disallowed except by disabled hunters.
Compound bows take a considerable amount of skill to use effectively when hunting, but archery is a skill worth learning.
Choosing a crossbow over a compound bow for hunting is a great choice for children, disabled hunters, or to extend your season where crossbows are only allowed during firearm season.
Be sure to do your research before heading out to hunt with a crossbow, you’ll want to follow all local laws on seasons, licenses, and permits.
Have you tried using a hunting crossbow? We'd love to hear your experience in the comments section!