As I've referred to before, I have a shoulder injury which doesn't allow me to use my conventional compound bow. I hunted with a bow from about 5 years old, hunting rabbits with my dad, until a few years ago when an existing shoulder injury progressed to the point I couldn't shoot it without severe pain and swelling after only a shot or 2. I applied for a disabled crossbow permit with the State of Kansas, and was awarded one. I bought a good crossbow and practiced with it. I had read a lot of things about crossbows and held some preconceived notions about them.
Here are some of the ideas I had about crossbows:
1. Crossbows are much easier than conventional bows.
2. I can take a much longer shot with a crossbow than with vertical bows.
3. Crossbows give the hunter an unfair advantage over other archers.
Here are some of my findings after shooting it for a few years.
1. My effective range with my compound was better than with the crossbow. When I took the time to shoot enough arrows, my compound was pretty deadly at 45 yards, and the weapon it's self would do better than that but it was limited by my poor abilities.
In my opinion, the crossbow is easier to be "relatively" accurate with less practice. I think the crossbow is even harder to be really accurate with. Also, given the shorter/lighter arrows/bolts for crossbows, they lose energy much quicker. Yes, I can hit what I shoot at, from 50 yards away but it hardly penetrates the target.
2. There are a lot of variables with a crossbow, just as with a vertical bow. If the bow is not cocked exactly in the center of the string, it causes major issues. Being off by 1/16 of an inch on the string, can cause 6 inches of error at 20 yards.
3. The crossbow is heavier and more cumbersome than a compound.
4. The crossbow is much louder than a conventional bow. While either is essentially a one shot weapon, I have seen opportunities where a miss with a conventional bow can be followed up with another shot. A crossbow is much louder, and I can not imagine a deer staying around for another shot after a missed opportunity.
5. Given the shorter power stroke of a crossbow, a 150 pound crossbow will shoot about the same speed as a comparable 70 pound compound shooting similar weight arrows.
Overall, I would GLADLY give up my crossbow for a chance to use my compound. The advantage of not having to draw at the time of the shot, is severely outweighed by the trade-offs, in my opinion.
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