Crossbow kits can save you lots of money in the long run and provide you with everything you need to start hunting immediately.
Crossbows have become very popular among hunters in the last few years. For some, the idea of hunting with a crossbow is appealing because being accurate with a crossbow doesn't require as much practice as hunting with a conventional bow. Others enjoy hunting with a crossbow because it lengthens their overall deer season. And some hunters use crossbows to introduce their wives and kids to the hunting sports.
Several hunters become crossbow hunters as they get older and can't draw a bow anymore. I've met many hunters in their eighties who can't bow hunt anymore, but regularly harvest deer with a crossbow. With more and more hunters reaching retirement age, it's easy to see why crossbows are more popular than ever.
Learning how to use a crossbow is easy and safe. As the popularity of crossbows increases, so does the number of crossbows on the market. Choosing the right crossbow can be difficult if you haven't used one before. Here are a few things to consider before forking over your hard-earned cash.
According to Dave Robb from TenPoint Crossbows, shoppers should never purchase a crossbow without first shooting a few models to see which features they want and which ones they can live without. "Very few people ever purchase a gun or a bow without holding it and shooting it. Hunters should do the same thing when they are shopping for a crossbow. They might pick up one crossbow that feels good in their hands, and then shoot a different model or brand and discover they don't care for it. Crossbows are expensive, and shoppers should spend lots of time handling and shooting a few before bringing one home. Hunters don't want to spend a thousand dollars on something and end up disappointed," Robb says.
Bowhunters are always looking for an extremely lightweight bow, and although weight is important, having a crossbow that is super lightweight may not always be the best option. Like rifles, heavier crossbows are often easier to keep steady when taking a shot because the added weight keeps the firearm from wiggling around. A heavy crossbow may be more difficult to tote around in the woods, but it might be worth the extra weight if you want to be extremely accurate. However, if you plan to hunt elk or game that requires a long walk on a regular basis, a lightweight model may be what you're looking for. After all, every pound counts when you're hiking miles each day.
It wasn't long ago that most crossbow companies only offered crossbows with recurve limbs. Then, along came crossbows with wheels, and now many companies offer models that have cams similar to conventional bows. If speed is what you're after, purchasing a crossbow with cams may be the ticket. However, keep in mind that speed isn't all it's cracked up to be.
As the popularity of crossbows increases, so does the number of crossbows on the market.
"Crossbows with cams can be very fast, but they're often harder to draw," says Robb. "A crossbow with wheels sometimes offers a little less speed, but has plenty of power to bring down big game. If a guy wants a bow that is lightning-fast, cams are often the way to go, but they aren't the only option to consider when looking at crossbows." Crossbows with traditional recurve limbs can also throw bolts extremely fast and have a relatively simple design; sometimes simple is best. Regardless of your preference, remember that there are lots of choices to choose from.
A crossbow should be extremely quiet when it releases the arrow. Companies are cancelling out a large amount of the shock and vibration associated with shooting a crossbow by making the limbs more parallel, just like bow companies have done with conventional bows. Finding a crossbow with parallel limbs often means much quieter shooting as well.
When purchasing a crossbow, hunters should consider buying a few noise-dampening devices similar to those found on conventional archery gear. Limbsaver makes dampening devices for crossbows. When they are put on the limbs of a crossbow, they drastically reduce the amount of noise and vibration the crossbow produces.
Most crossbows can be cocked or drawn using a rope-cocking device, but more and more companies offer crossbows that have cocking devices built into the crossbow. Purchasing a crossbow with this built-in feature is worth the extra money. Crossbows with a built-in crank or other type of drawing system rids you of your worries about losing the rope and make cocking the crossbow a piece of cake.
Most crossbows can be purchased in a kit. This saves money and provides you with everything you need to start hunting. When purchasing a kit, pay close attention to the type of scope that comes with the crossbow as there are a variety that work great on crossbows. According to Robb, more hunters are putting red-dot scopes on their crossbows. "Red-dot scopes are reliable and accurate. Since most people hunting with a crossbow won't take shots longer than forty yards, red-dot scopes are perfect," Robb says.
If you have always been a rifle hunter, crossbow scopes with traditional crosshairs are also available. TenPoint offers a scope that has multiple lines in the scope reticle that can be sighted in at different yardages. If a buck is at 20 yards, you use one line to aim. If he is at 30 yards, you use the next line. Regardless of the type of scope you choose, choose a high quality one; just like purchasing a rifle scope, you get what you pay for.
When researching crossbows, also consider what type of safety it has. Just like firearms, all crossbows have a safety system of some kind or another, but some are more hunter-friendly than others.
A variety of scope types will work on crossbows. Regardless of the type of scope you choose, be sure to buy quality optics.
In the last few years, broadhead manufacturers started offering heavy-duty broadheads made specifically for crossbow hunters. These crossbow-specific broadheads are often heavier than conventional heads, which increases the overall weight of the bolt and the amount of kinetic energy the bolt delivers. These specialty broadheads are something to consider when purchasing a new crossbow.
Below are three crossbows to consider. All three are easy to shoot and are extremely accurate.
Barnett Quad 400 Crossbow Package
Barnett's Quad 400 Crossbow can send a 22" arrow streaking to the target at 345 fps with devastating accuracy. This crossbow incorporates a high-density composite stock with thumbhole and contoured cheek piece for lightweight comfort. Super-efficient parallel limb design, CNC cams and a synthetic cable system put the emphasis on performance with every pull. Four-pound trigger pull. Draw weight:150 lb. Stock length: 37". Width: 26-3/4". Weight: 7.0 lbs. Color: Next G-1 Camo. Package includes 4x32 scope, 4 arrows and quiver.
The Excalibur Vortex comes with recurve style limbs. Recurve limbs are quiet as a mouse and more reliable than ever. They produce speeds of 330 FPS. The trigger system on the Vortex requires only 3 pounds of pressure. If you're looking for a hair trigger, this might be the crossbow for you. The Vortex weighs 6.3 pounds.