If you are a beginner crossbow hunter, chances are that there are numerous aspects of this activity that you are struggling to grasp. If this is the case, we’ve got you covered. Because we know just how challenging learning the ins and outs of this activity can be, we have prepared a list of does and don’ts that will surely come in handy!
Shop for quality gear
When it comes to shopping for your bow hunting gear, the best thing that you can do is to go to a pro shop. While it might seem more affordable for you to invest in cheaper gear, in the long run, this will prove disastrous.
By looking for recommendations made by the specialists, you can rest assured knowing that the products that you get are not only versatile but also highly durable and easy to use. If you can, another tip that you might want to try is to go to the local shop and try some of the items that you want to get.
This way, you will get a first-hand feel of how each product works, and you’ll be able to determine whether or not the equipment is suitable for your needs.
Speaking of specialists, you can read our Best Compound Bow Guide
Maintenance is key
One of the biggest mistakes that novices make is that they never look after their gear, especially their bows. Doing a little bit of maintenance by lubricating the reel after you use it is an essential step that you should not neglect, especially if you want to use the bow for years to come.
Other maintenance steps that you should take are to wax your string regularly and to have the cables serviced by a professional. According to most specialists, you should have the strings and the cables changed once every year or after you shoot between 400 to 700 arrows using it.
The main reason why maintenance is so important when it comes to crossbows has to do with the fact that, when compared to regular compound bows, the former are under significantly more pressure.
Deciding to save money by investing in cheap arrows is not a good idea. Differently from quality arrows that are designed to shoot precisely, cheap alternatives have a sloppy tolerance, and, as a result, they do not fly as expected.
To make sure that you get the best you can, it is recommended that you look for models that have a nock that is specifically designed to be used for crossbows, and not for other types of bows such as compound ones.
When it comes to material, you should know that both arrows made of steel, and those manufactured from aluminum are a good investment. Still, if you do not mind spending a couple of extra dollars, we recommend that you go for units made of high-quality carbon. Even if you end up spending a bit more, the specialists argue that you won’t regret this decision.
Get a scope sight
If you want to be 100% sure that you get a perfect shot time and time again, our tip for you is to get a good scope sight. While it is true that some of the available crossbows come provided with open sights, a crossbow scope is still necessary.
As expected, you can find devices of this sort that have various types of magnification levels that range from 0 to 5x. Currently, the most popular scopes are the multi-reticle ones.
Good broadheads are a must
Once again, our recommendation to you is that you don’t have to try to save money when you are purchasing hunting equipment. You should get broadheads that are made of quality materials and that have a high tolerance.
As a crossbow shooter, you can select both mechanical and replaceable-blade designs, depending on your preferences. Still, it is worth pointing out that, in recent years, the mechanical design option has gained more popularity among specialists.
Understand the trajectory of the arrow
One essential step that will determine your success at using a crossbow is to understand the trajectory of the arrow. If you understand how the arrow travels through space, you will, undoubtedly, know how to adjust your position when shooting.
Once again, to gain some insight into this aspect, it is best that you get the chance to practice. Doing so often will surely make a difference.
Apart from shooting off a bench rest, it is also imperative that you try to replicate the conditions that you will most definitely face when you go hunting. So, remember to also practice shooting from other positions, including from a kneeling position.
If you can find an archery field near your home, go there and use a tree stand or a blind to get acquainted with what this feels like. If you do so, you will be able to keep your head in the game during your next hunting trip as you won’t constantly feel distracted by the new circumstances.
Know your gear
If you practice constantly, you will also get the benefit of getting a real feel of how your gear works. The biggest advantage is that you get familiarized with how the trigger works. One great tip that you should keep in mind is that you should shoot both with the hunting gloves on and off.
Invest in a rangefinder
Even seasoned hunters often use a rangefinder. These devices are highly practical for hunters as they allow the user to determine the correct distance between him/her and the target. This is important because, as a result, you will understand whether or not your shoot will be successful.
Some of the more advanced rangefinders on the market include a function that lets you know where to shoot. Even though they are a bit pricier, they are a great tool to bring with you if you are a novice with little to no practical experience.
Know the basic safety rules
Safety is a topic that should not be neglected by hunters. As a crossbow hunter, you need to remember that you should never hold the bow with your front hand. Also, you should never keep your thumbs or any of your fingers in the area where the cables or the strings interfere. Instead, keep them below the rails.
As a novice, you might be tempted to look at crossbows as big-boy toys. However, this is not the case. Given their sturdy design and their purpose, these devices are deadly machines, and, when not handled correctly, they can cause serious danger to you or the other hunters.
Because having a good balance is important, you should only shoot by using your dominant hand. Not doing so can prove ineffective and, in some cases, even dangerous.
Besides, remember that it is only natural that each shooter has an effective range. So, keep this in mind at all times and don’t try to shoot beyond it as this will only prove futile. Plus, you’ll end up wasting arrows and you’ll only get frustrated because of the lack of results.
If you get tired, it is ok, and even recommended that you take a much-deserved rest. If you fail to do so, chances are that you won’t be able to shoot accurately and you will be predisposed to injuring yourself by accident.