5 Reasons to Choose a Crossbow Over a Compound Bow

Posted by  Saturday, August 16 2014 6:00 am
expert

Sitting with my compound bow in a treestand, a pair of fine bucks appear in front of me. I raise my bow... draw... release and — miss.

Perhaps I didn't have enough practice? Likely so. I admit I don't have as much time to practice with the compound bow. That's why I eventually decided to put down the compound bow and pick up a crossbow. It still gives me a different hunting experience, but comes to me more naturally than a bow.

A crossbow is more like shooting a rifle, which I'm more comforatble with, in that it's already locked and loaded — only leaving me little to do other than aim and pull the trigger. And, though I hate to admit it, perhaps my old body just can't handle the strengths required to pull a compound anymore.

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Less Practice (Sort of)

Even though a crossbow doesn't have as many intricacies as a compound bow, I still have to practice it. Like a rifle shooter knows, you must know your weapon's dynamics, controls, safety and limitations. The more you use any weapon on the range, the more you will become comfortable with it, hence more proficient. But I began to realize that, at least for me, I needed to spend more time than I had with a compound bow. If you're finding the same thing to be true, then you might want to consider the switch, as well.

Eliminates Shot Setup

Unlike a compound bow, a crossbow is preloaded before the potential shot ever transpires. You get set up in your hunting position; the crossbow string is drawn back, sometimes with the use of a cocking device; and it's locked into ready position with a safety catch. The arrow is laid securely into position. And when my quarry does come into shooting range, all I have to do is slide the safety off, aim and pull the trigger. Sound familiar? The steps are much like a rifle.

Ease of Aiming

Modern crossbows can have scopes attached, while compounds rely on multiple adjusting pins. With effective shooting distances under 30 yards with any bow, the need of a scope on a crossbow is often debated. Specialized crossbow scopes are low power pieces that contain a number of reticles for varying distances. The center cross-hair is adjustable for any distance you wish. With my Excalibur scope, the scope reticles will conform to 10-yard increments if the center cross-hair is set for 20 yards. Automatically that makes the descending reticles at 30, 40 and 50 yards. It is a simple one-point setup. Although 50 yards is not a recommended shot for any bow, it is surprisingly accurate with a crossbow! My particular scope has battery illuminated reticles, which give me quality, extended shooting time in the dense forest as the sun slides down on the horizon.

Easier on the Body

Crossbows BarnettJackal
If you want a change from rifle hunting, but can't seem to grasp the compound bow, crossbows could be an easier transition.

Compound users often have greater upper body and arm strength to draw their bow and maintain that draw for some period as they wait for the target to get into perfect position. Such is not the case with the crossbow and its pre-loaded configuration.

Shoulder problems such as arthritis, rotator cuff tears, past fractures and dislocations may limit many older generations in achieving effective compound bow control. Even surgery from injuries at any age can limit these necessary upper body strengths and controls. For more advanced medical situations, crossbow manufacturers have designed special winch cocking devices for drawing assists.

And if You're of a Certain Size...

If you're like me, being a large man means there may be some "posturing" limitations as you attempt to draw your compound bow in a treestand. That barrel-chest and trunk of a belly that took you so many years to develop may inadvertently get in the way. The lower limbs of a compound, or worse yet, the string, may find skin or loose clothing as you release. The clothing issue becomes magnified during extreme cold weather hunts, as I add even more bulk to my body's frame. The crossbow makes these situations a bit more comfortable and profitable for success!

No doubt archery is a fun sport, whether target shooting or for game, but if you find yourself struggling to tame a compound bow, consider changing things up with a crossbow.

 

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Last modified on Tuesday, September 16 2014 4:41 pm
Dale Hainer
expert

Dale Hainer, born 1960 in a family of hunters, anglers, trappers and farmers, pursued a career with the Ontario Fire Service at age 19. Throughout his life he maintained his roots to the land and shared his tales while being a professional outdoor adventure writer, photographer and videographer. With over 1300 stories published, retiring from the Service at age 50, he now spends more hours creating adventure stories to share with you. 

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