There is no consensus regarding what constitutes an ethical shooting distance when it comes to crossbow hunting. However, this does not mean that you, as a hunter, do not have to think about just how far you should shoot.
Because we understand the importance of this topic, we have prepared a list of factors that you should never overlook when deciding the maximum range of your shot.
As a novice, seasoned hunters recommend that you understand the physics behind shooting an animal by using a crossbow. The main idea that you have to have in mind is that your arrow has to have sufficient momentum so that it can successfully kill the prey.
In other words, the momentum is the force necessary to stop the arrow once it leaves your bowstring. The bigger the momentum, the higher the chance that, when the prey is hit, the deeper it will go into it and, thus, kill the animal.
The basic formula that you need to use when calculating the momentum of your arrow is p = mv. In this equation, P is the momentum, M is the mass of the arrow, and V is its velocity.
For instance, if you are using a 300g arrow that travels at 250-foot pounds per second, its momentum is around 0.33274. A 400g arrow traveling at the same speed has a momentum of 0.44366. If you do not want to make all these calculations using pen and paper, you should know that there are numerous online calculators that you can use free of charge.
Some extra info on speed and mass
One way to actively increase the momentum of your arrow is to invest in a fast-shooting crossbow. Still, doing so is not a solution for all your problems because the speed of the arrow will drop down if you intend to shoot at a high distance.
When it comes to the mass, it should be noted that heavier arrows have, on average, a higher momentum. Yet, heavier arrows also have more inertia and, thus, they will lose speed easier. The best thing that you can do is to consider all the info and to select your equipment deliberately.
Another aspect that you should factor in is your accuracy. Even though your arrow has the right momentum, if you fail to shoot it in the right place, chances are that you won’t kill the animal, and only injure it.
Therefore, it is essential that you understand and that you are well acquainted with the anatomy of the animal that you are hunting. For example, in the case of deer, you should only shoot for the heart or the lungs. Any other shoot is most likely not going to be a deadly shot.
If you are not sure that you can kill the animal, it is best that you simply avoid shooting altogether. After all, you don’t want to injure the animal and only cause it to hurt.
What influences accuracy
As expected, the most important factor that determines one’s accuracy is his/her shooting abilities. After all, no matter how expensive the equipment that you have is, if you have little experience using it, you will probably not be able to hit the target.
Still, this is not necessarily a bad thing. If you are passionate about hunting, to evolve as a shooter you just need to practice more. If you have the possibility, our recommendation to you is that you go to an archery range where you can work towards perfecting your shoot.
Another aspect that can influence your accuracy is the quality of the crossbow. In other words, a high-quality crossbow that was specially designed to deliver good shoots will perform better than a cheaper, less well-engineered alternative.
However, this does not mean that you cannot find good crossbows that can deliver outstanding results that come at a budget-friendly price. From this point of view, all you need to do is some research!
The wind is also an essential factor that you should keep in mind when considering your accuracy. Because you cannot control the wind, the best thing that you can do is to be prepared at all times, no matter what the environment has to offer.
Maximum shooting distance
There is a big difference if you take, for instance, the accuracy that you can display when shooting in an indoor range vs. when shooting outdoors. To make sure that you shoot accurately when you are on a hunting trip out in nature, we recommend that you consider all the variables that might influence your hunting range.
Once again, you have to keep in mind that, the further the arrow travels, the bigger the chance that it will lose some of its momentum and, thus, it will not hit the target with the desired force. Plus, you also have to consider the fact that the animal might move and, thus, the arrow might hit it in another area than the one desired.
Besides, when you are out hunting, and you are most likely going to experience a rush of adrenaline that might affect your accuracy.
Because there are no range limitations stated by the law, when it comes to the maximum range, you have to make this decision by yourself. Still, it is worth saying that some hunters argue that you opt for a maximum shot distance of around 50 yards, while others say that 10 or 20 yards are a better distance.
Why it is important to determine your maximum distance
In the long run, as a crossbow hunter, you should know that your accuracy level is more important than the momentum of the arrow when speaking about the shooting range. Moreover, if you want to be sure that you have the odds stacked in your favor, you should consider investing in a heavy crossbow arrow, as these models allow you to gain the necessary momentum that ensures lethal target penetration.
To achieve the necessary level of mastery, you should practice using hunting positions that you will likely encounter, at targets that are about 40 yards away. This will allow you to verify your ability to hit the target at such a distance.
If you see great accuracy results at 30 yards, but you start missing the target at 40 yards, the specialists advise in favor of setting up a limit for yourself at 30 yards, instead of 40. In some cases, if you keep practicing, there is a possibility that you will manage to extend your maximum range up to 40
No matter how good you get at shooting, you have to remember that when you are out in nature hunting, the thrill of the situation might change everything for you. So, instead of risking hurting the animal and not killing it, you should refrain from shooting when you are not 100 percent confident that your shoot will be lethal.
If you consider all the aspects that we have talked about in this article, we are confident that you’ll have no issues determining your ideal maximum shooting range!