Convince me about crossbows

Crossbow Hunting

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Convince me about crossbows

Post by nybow » Sat May 21, 2005 2:11 pm

I'll admit it - I'm a bowhunter, not a crossbow hunter.

Crossbows are illegal in NY. Bowhunting MB I belong to have been besieged with xbow guys howling about how it is their right to be included in archery season.

I wanted to come to a crossbow site and find out why I should support that. I'm curious to see if there is a calm, rational way to debate it or if this is destined to become the same mudslinging, us vs them that every thread I have ever seen on crossbows turns out to be.

Convince me.

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Post by hatchet jack » Sat May 21, 2005 3:04 pm

first of all i am from kansas , here you can only shoot a crossbow if you have a disability,,i too used to shoot a coumpound bow but got to the point that i couldnt do it any more,so i quit hunting during archery. then was looking at crossbows one day ,started shooting it wasnt long i was hooked ,,,,i started hunting again& i love it. the crossbow i shoot isnt any stronger or will not shoot any father than a compound bow. i never shoot over 30 yards. all i can tell you is if it wasnt for crossbows , i wouldnt be hunting anymore,,,,the thing i am most excited about my son hunts with me he uses a coumpound bow,,i use a crossbow we can still hunt togather using our weapons of choice. this about all i can tell you. have a nice day.

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Post by Moxie » Sat May 21, 2005 3:16 pm

nybow,,,,,, I do not know what kind of a bow you draw, but whether it be a long, recurved, or compound, to be good, you have to practice with it to hit a target or game at 0 to 40+ yards. Using a crossbow is no different. It is a little more awkward to handle then a bow or rifle. It's not as light as allot of people think. Depending on the sights used on the crossbow, either open, closed, or optical, they have to be set and adjusted then right to hit at the proper yardage. They should not be dry fired which means practice is with a bolt with a field or hunting tip on it. Then it's practice, practice, practice and pray Mother Nature blesses you during the hunting season.

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Post by Fur & Feathers » Sat May 21, 2005 3:23 pm

Hi nybow & welcome to the forum. I don't believe you'll find much mudslinging here. The people here will debate but for the most part are too classy for mudslinging. I'm disabled & from NY. I got the modified permit last yr. The Drawloc doesn't suit my disability. I need a crossbow with a crank cocker to hunt. So here I am unable to participate in archery season. Do you think that is right? What if you were in my shoes.
As far as debating you will find all the TRUTH about crossbows that you need right here. You came to the right place. The main point is this, we are all hunters. We all love the outdoors. We need to stick together, and not fight amongst ourselves. Bottom line.
Get out & Enjoy.


Post by nybow » Sat May 21, 2005 3:31 pm

I have been shooting bows since 1983. First compounds, then recurves and compounds.

The big controversy is around xbows in archery season. I have shot a crossbow. It is fun. But it really isn't like shooting a bow,

I understand that the ballistics are similar. But the act of shooting is more akin to a gun than a bow. I think that is why so many bowhunters get uptight about xbows in archery season.

I'm glad that you practice frequently with your crossbow, as I believe all bowhunters should do. I flung about 3 dozen arrows today, too.

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Post by 10Ring » Sat May 21, 2005 3:38 pm

nybow wrote:I think that is why so many bowhunters get uptight about xbows in archery season.
There is the Ontario example.

Crossbows have been in the archery season here for decades. Those that chose to use them do, however;

There are still a lot of deer. The numbers are sufficient that one of my main concerns while driving the secondary highways on business, especially in the early morning hours, is deer collision.

The most common piece of archery equipment used for hunting in Ontario is still the hand held compound bow.

There are still archers here that use traditional bows, they have not "gone away" either.

After two decades of use in the field, the issues that are continuously brought up in the "debate" have not happened here.


Post by nybow » Sat May 21, 2005 3:45 pm

Fur & Feathers wrote:Hi nybow & welcome to the forum.

I'm disabled & from NY. I got the modified permit last yr. The Drawloc doesn't suit my disability. I need a crossbow with a crank cocker to hunt. So here I am unable to participate in archery season. Do you think that is right? What if you were in my shoes.
Thanks Fur&feathers

I am inspired by your passion for hunting, and wish you the best.

I'm not exactly clear though. Are you saying you will be unable to participate now because of the draw lock problem? I know that NY has very severe limitations on crossbow use.


Post by nybow » Sat May 21, 2005 3:48 pm


How many archers are in Ontario? How many of those are crossbow hunters?


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Post by Digger » Sat May 21, 2005 4:08 pm

Nybow, I have been bowhunting since 1962 with recurves and compound verticle bows. I switched to xbows in 1992, but I take one of my Martin compounds with me as a backup bow. I dont take more deer with a xbow than I did with a compound. I dont shoot a distances greater than I did with a compound. I practice the same amount of time with both types of bows. I scout for game the same way for both types of bows. We've hunted in Ontario with crossbows for over 25 yrs. We get more hunters every year hunting with crossbows and the deer herds still increase, we had a 2 deer limit for years, now there are a lot of WMUs where you can get up to an extra six tags.
A crossbow shoots an arrow no further accurately than a compound. It matters how you hunt not what you hunt with, if its legal archery equipment, I'll use it..If you dont like using a xbow then dont, but why stop anyone else from using it.

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Convince me

Post by Big John » Sat May 21, 2005 4:16 pm

My opinion:

Both use broadheads
Both use sights
Relatively same speeds in flight
Same yardage shots
Compounds with release triggers
Crossbows with triggers
Compounds with 75% let off or better
Crossbows 100%

Mostly only real difference is looks, accuracy same pretty much.

I"m thinking Bows are Bows here, hence the name.
Remember though, only my opinion.
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Post by Maritimer » Sat May 21, 2005 4:21 pm

Welcome to the forum nybow. I have been archery hunting for the last 25 plus years. I own compound bows, longbows and just recently bought a crossbow, and I enjoy them all for each bow is unique in it's own way. My preferred bow for hunting will still be the longbow, but I do like having the choice. I think as hunters we should all stick together, not argue or debate which bow someone decides to use. Just enjoy the great outdoors, I don't worry about who is using what, life is to short.

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Post by Woody Williams » Sat May 21, 2005 4:45 pm

I'll admit it too...

I'm a bowhunter.

Just because I can no longer shoot and hunt with most bowhunters call a "real bow" doesn't mean I'm not a bowhunter anymore.

I started out in 1968 BC (before compounds) and have continued to today. I'll keep on bowhunting until they throw dirt in my face. So, I've paid my bowhunter dues.

5 years ago I was anti-crossbow until I got to a point where I could no longer pull a hunting weight bow back. I would have to quit altogether or go to a crossbow. I reluctantly went to a crossbow. Am I ever glad I did.

I have since found out I was fed a line of BS from other bowhunters and bowhunting organizations about what bowhunting and archery really was. I realized that we were just being selfish in denying crossbowers the very same opportunities that we had.

I was around when the compounds came knocking on the bowhunting door wanting in. Of course there were lots of bowhunters saying that compounds weren't a "real bow" and that they would ruin bow season for everyone. Does that sound familiar?

I don't have to tell you that compounds made bowhunting what it is today. Today a full 93% of all bowhunters shoot and hunt with a compound bow.

I personally see very little difference in a high let off, high tech compound triggered by a release aid than I do with a crossbow. There are advantages and disadvantages of any piece of archery equipment that one would choose to hunt with. None of the so called advantages add up to banning a particular piece of equipment as none take unfair advantage of the game we are pursuing . The game we are pursuing is who we are in competition with, not other bowhunters..

Here is my take on the similarities and differences.

Crossbows VS Compound Bows Hunting

There are numerous pros and cons for any type of archery equipment.


Shooting off hand the compound wins hands down. That is proven out at any archery event where the compounds and crossbows shoot the same targets. If the crossbower can use a rest (not always possible in a deer hunting situation) then the tables are reversed.

Although a hunting tool’s good accuracy is a positive and not a negative desire.


In most bow hunting conditions (less than 25 yards) there is no difference as both the compound bow and crossbow will generate approximately the same feet per second and kinetic energy. Downrange the compound will win hands down as the shorter arrow of a crossbow does not stabilize as well and will lose feet per second in speed and KE faster than a compound bow shot (longer) arrow as it attempts to correct itself in flight.


Most crossbows weigh in at right around 6 pounds. That is close to the weight of a lot of rifles and shotguns. The compound bows weigh in much less at 3 to 3 ½ pounds. Not a big deal unless one is also packing in a stand, ladder or other equipment. Or hot footing it up and down mountains chasing elk/mule deer out West.


Because of the horizontal limbs a crossbow is much harder to pack into the woods on the way to the stand or still hunting. When hunting from a treestand the horizontal limbs have a major conflict with the vertical tree we are in. It is extremely difficult to shoot behind the treestand as the limbs and string will not allow the crossbow to be up against the tree like a compound bow would.

Drawing/Shooting in the Presence of Game

The crossbow has a slight advantage in this area. The string is back in a firing position before game is approaching. How much of an advantage is debatable as several things come into play.

1) Being 20 to 25 foot up a tree when attempting to draw a compound bow will lessen a deer’s ability to see you.

2) Bows are usually 75 to 90 percent let off so one can draw on a deer much sooner and hold longer to make a killing shot with less worry about the deer seeing you. Mike Beatty drew and held on the new world record non-typical buck for a full 3 minute before making the shot. That bow was a 85% let off.

3) A number of hunters that use ground blinds are using a new blind called Double Bull that allows one to draw and shoot through a curtain and never be seen by the animal.

4) Most bowhunters learn when and when not to draw on a deer. IE – when it’s head is behind a bush or tree or allowing the deer to walk past them and shoot them quartering away.

Both pieces of equipment have to be raised into a shooting position. Only the compound has to be drawn.

Ease of Mastery

The crossbow would have an edge here. More so if the individual had some previous rifle shooting experience. Irregardless, a “newbie” just starting out with either piece of equipment can be shooting hunting accuracy (all arrows in a 6 inch circle) within two hours *IF* properly instructed. Maintaining proficiency would also go to the crossbow.

Ease of mastery is irrelevant to the hunting aspect. Being a master of your equipment has nothing to do with how good a hunter you are. It only has to do with what kind of shot you are with the equipment at hand should that shot present itself.

There is very little difference in mastering a crossbow and a compound. There is a MAJOR difference in mastering a stickbow as opposed to either a crossbow or a compound. If the difficulty mastering the hunting tool is used a yardstick for archery hunting then the season would have to be limited to traditional only.

“A crossbow is not a bow”

Sure it is. Even the second syllable says it is. It is a piece of archery equipment that is recognized as such world wide. The dictionaries describes it as a bow. Even the premier bowhunting target association (IBO) recognizes the crossbow as such. The hunting seasons where "bows" are used are called “archery season”. Since the crossbow is a piece of archery equipment it can be considered for inclusion in the state’s archery season.

46 states recognizes the crossbow as a legal archery hunting tool for the handicapped who can not pull and shoot a hunting weight bow (compound or recurve). Your state of New York is one of the hold outs. These states do not allow a hunter to use any other kind of hunting tools in archery season irregardless of handicap. So, yes, it’s archery.

As such it deserves to be considered in any archery season just like Hollis Allen's "arrow launching device", also know as the compound bow, was back in the early 70s.

Welcome to the forum.

If you are truly looking to find out the facts about crossbows you have come to the right place. You will find that these guys and gals are hunters first and crossbowers second. You will not find anyone putting down any other hunter's method or choice in a hutning tool. I don' believe either you or I could say that about any other hunting forum.
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Post by 10Ring » Sat May 21, 2005 5:34 pm

nybow wrote:10ring

How many archers are in Ontario? How many of those are crossbow hunters?

I do not have access to that information. I doubt that solid numbers exist or have been kept.

I travel a lot through Ontario on business, every archery shop I have ever visited stocks and sells far more hand held compounds than any other type of equipment, including traditional bows or crossbows.

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Convince me

Post by Big John » Sat May 21, 2005 6:39 pm

Very well stated Woody.
But now You took what else I had to say! :lol:
Thank you anyway.

I hope you getting what your looking for so far Nybow?
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Post by nybow » Sat May 21, 2005 6:43 pm

Woody Williams

Thanks for the welcome. I am looking for facts, and an honest debate.

I appreciate your lengthy message and would like to discuss it point by point:


I don't believe that tournaments are a fair representation of the hunting population. At best, compounds and crossbows are equal, and in the hands of hunters (especially new hunters) I would venture a guess that crossbows would enjoy a slight advantage. As you point out, accuracy is a positive attribute.


Again, I agree with the facts as you have represented them. I believe that the percieved range advantage of a crossbow could be an issue with converts. I have read multiple times that "my crossbow has rifle like groups at 60 yds...", etc.

An experienced bowhunter, such as yourself, would know that a great target grouping at 60yds has little to do with what is required for a clean kill at 25 yds. How do we instill that restraint to the newbies?


Dang, I have to give you a strike, here. Most compound bows, with all the gadgets like sights and quivers, probably top 5# easy. Not quite the6# of a crossbow, but then again, holding 5+# out at arms length is harder than 6# against your shoulder. If you've ever done it, you know I'm right here. Let's just ignore weight in the future, as each has his burden to bear


I'll give you this one, but point out that even vertical bows cannot shoot 360 degrees.(My father in law is still fussin that I didn't clear a back lane on one of my stands last year) :wink:

Drawing/Shooting in the presence of game

Ah, here's the rub. This is where most arguements take off. Let's agree to talk though our differences.

I disagree that its a slight advantage. I (and probably you, in your vertical bow days) have been flat busted numerous times drawing my bow. It is the damnedest thing. Sometimes, they turn there head at the last moment. Sometimes, they surprise you, come out of nowhere, and there they are 15 yds away. Sometimes they fake this way, go that way, and you're stuck drawn on the wrong side of the tree. Hell of a game, isn't it?

The single hardest thing about bowhunting, besides getting a deer in range (which I will agree is just as tricky with a crossbow as a conventional bow) is drawing on the deer.

When you, as crossbowers, minimize that, you are alienating other bowhunters.

Yes, it has become easier for most to hold the weight due to letoff. But it is not nothing. The left arm hurts as much from holding the bow up as the right does from holding the string back. If anyone believes that high letoff means you can draw a compound when you first see a deer, and hold it till you get him, you are mistaken. There is a HUGE difference here, even with a compound.

Ease of Mastery

We can agree that ease of mastery is down on the list of importance. What matters is that bowhunters are proficient when they hit the woods for deer hunting. In that respect, we should give the crossbow the nod.

While I disagree that a crossbow is only slightly easier to master than a compound, I feel it essentially irrelevant. Dedicated archers will hone their skills with whatever implement they choose. It is the less than dedicated we should be concerned with, regardless of weapon.

A Crossbow is Not A bow


You must admit it is not the conventional bow and arrow. It has similarities to both the bow and the gun.

Language doesn't help here...I realize that "bow" is in the name, but a speargun is not really a gun, either.

While I will admit that those states allowing crossbow during archery for physically challenged makes a case for its inclusion as archery, you must admit that the fact that they are beneficial for the physically challenged means that crossbows are somehow less challenging then conventional archery gear.

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