Everything seems like a battle nowadays. We argue over what's right and what's wrong, about rifles and bows, muzzleloaders and crossbows. We rarely take the time to learn why someone else chooses to do things their way.
When I was a kid, I remember watching action films where good and evil battled to take over the world. Some of these flicks depicted future times but used historical apparatuses. One item that topped my list of fascinating tools is the crossbow.
The Chinese invented the crossbow before and used them during 4th-century BC. They and other cultures used the bow affixed to a wooden stick during many wars before firearms came about. Evidence shows that 17th-century beekeepers used them in defense from wild bears and it's a primary hunting tool up until the 18th-century.
In present times, I've come across several crossbows. The technology in bow design has evolved immensely. Although I'm an archery hunter, I also pursue game with a handgun, muzzleloader, and rifle. Why not add the crossbow to the list?
First off, there are states in which crossbows aren't legal means for hunting. In Colorado, it's not that they're illegal, but you can't use them during archery season. I can hunt with a crossbow, but I'd have to use it during a designated rifle season. Check the laws in your state before considering a crossbow.
1. Something Different
Legalities aside, there are numerous reasons a hunter may decide to use the rifle-like bow. Since I mentioned my eyeing them in movies, I'll say that satisfying curiosity and taking up the challenge of being successful with a new means of take is a decent reason to give it a try.
2. Health Reasons
I have a friend who missed out on archery season last year due to a torn rotator cuff. Although he attempted rehab before the hunt, he didn't recover in time. He could've used the help of a hold-at-full-draw device, if he didn't want to feel the effects of rifle recoil.
3. Strength Issues
Most states and some countries have laws about the draw-poundage of a bow, and some women and youngsters cannot pull that weight. If you have a person who wants to sling an arrow, the crossbow is an answer to their need.
Some hunters who can pull the required weight of a hunting bow cannot hold it back for long. When we're out hunting, we want to draw while the animal isn't looking at us. That might mean drawing while it's behind a tree or bush. I've had instances where I held at full draw for over five minutes at a time. A crossbow, with its cocking mechanism, eliminates the endurance required to hold a bow at full draw for long periods.
4. Experience Levels
After years of guiding I've learned that new hunters miss for a variety of reasons, one being that of shooting flinch. While there are many ways to overcome shooting flinch, taking them to the range with the crossbow may be the answer. Conditioned to the recoil of a high-caliber hunting rifle, they might display the flinch right away.
5. Learning Curve
Modern-day crossbow designs are very similar to that of a rifle. While a hunter may need to educate themselves on cocking, loading, and de-cocking, someone who's already rifle hunted should have no problem with in-the-field shooting positions.
I live in a vast area of western Colorado but have hunted around the world. One thing I've learned is that some hunting areas are closer to more developed regions. While we always need to be aware of our target and beyond, an arrow won't fly as far as a bullet. With the attacks on hunting nowadays, it would be considered a service to have a quiet hunting tool.
The engineering of modern-day crossbows makes them more accurate. The design also gives priority to the hunter's safety. Gone are the days of “watch your fingers!" and the bolt not being in place. If you intend to shop for one, make sure to look at and compare safety features.
While you're looking at modern-day tools, you better update yourself with modern-day gear. Check out the Mossy Oak Store.