Since their invention, crossbows have been a powerful, accurate, lethal and sometimes even controversial piece of archery equipment. Crossbows became legal to hunt with during archery season in Texas since the 2009 hunting season and I have owned one ever since. In fact I have owned three crossbows at one time! I am nearly obsessed with crossbows and there are good reasons why.
The modern crossbow provides a more effective hunting tool than ever before. What’s more is there have been so many improvements in crossbow technologies in the archery industry over the past 10 years. Whether you choose a recurve or compound version of a crossbow, there are so many reasons to buy one.
For one, crossbows are a stealthy way to hunt. This adds an extra element of challenge in comparison to traditional rifle or muzzleloader hunting. Secondly, crossbows are easy to learn how to shoot. Rifle hunters typically have an easier time learning how to shoot a crossbow than a compound bow or other archery weapons. Third, crossbows are an easy gateway into the realm of archery. There is not much instruction needed and no countless hours in the archery pro shop upgrading options. Fourth, crossbows are affordable. Generally, crossbows can cost around what a rifle outfitted with high quality optics will cost. Sometimes the range can be less or more. Fifth, crossbows are just fun to practice and hunt with!
The challenge of crossbows is similar to any other style of bowhunting. You have to consider scent control, proper camouflage or other concealment and contain your shots to under 100 yards. While many hunters might shoot that far, I don’t prefer to shoot past 50 yards myself, even though many crossbows on the market can shoot further than that. Much like the skills of a rifle or compound bow, practicing with your crossbow and its accessories will ensure your success in the field but, like with other archery weapons, you can practice a variety of places. Just make sure you have a solid backstop and know your surroundings.
Many Texas bowhunters protested crossbows being used during archery season when the legislation passed eight years ago. Some folks still don’t want to be in the same woods as crossbow hunters. I disagree with this line of thinking. Crossbows may offer a steadier shooting platform and easier barrier to entry for new archers but there are still the same limitations of range and arrow/bolt trajectory, along with other considerations.
So why should you consider crossbows? As we have discovered, there are many reasons. I have personally taken more deer and hogs with a crossbow than almost any other weapon. If you don’t own one already, it’s time to go shopping for a crossbow!
Story by Dustin Vaughn Warncke