Crossbow Hunting Tips: Beginner’s Guide to Hunting

For those of us who would like to try our luck in hunting using the crossbow, a few tips on this might come in handy especially when you want to use some sensitive hunting equipment. In this article, we are going to give out some crossbow hunting tips. For you to handle the bow well, you will have to go through some practice.

If you are a hunter who likes using multiple weapons for hunting, then there is a lot about the bow that you will need to learn. For instance, how to load it and use the bow and trigger among others.

Game and Crossbow Hunting

Using this type of weapon to hunt is a very powerful, lethal, accurate and clean hunting method. They are usually used a lot in North America for hunting big animals like bears, deer, and moose.

In Mexico, you can also use them to hunt down animals like Elk, cougars, and the Barbary or the bighorn sheep. Other animals that can be hunted using this type of weapon also includes, Persian ibests, javelin, pronghorns and the Oryx.

Crossbow hunting in the wild

Well, if you are interested in learning how to hunt using a crossbow or you are setting out for hunting already, you will first need to check out the laws in that particular area where you are planning to hunt. This will help you to know the kind of animal you can hunt legally.

For you to hunt using this type of weapon will sometimes require you to take some courses in it. Sometimes the law might not allow this but the course is usually a good opportunity for one to learn and know about the safety measures. This will, of course, help you to keep yourself safe when using the weapon of your choice.

Apart from this course enlightening you about the safety measures, it also helps you to know the basics of arrows and crossbows and from it, you can also learn hunting ethically.

A young or just an inexperienced hunter can learn a lot from a safety course. From this, you will learn how to load to load the weapon, how to hold it, how to fire it safely, how to behave when using it and finally you will also learn how to take care of your weapon. Sometimes these safety courses might be available for free or just for a small entry fee.

Choosing A Crossbow

Most people will often go for a top-quality crossbow when it comes to hunting. However, one thing that you should be having in mind is that the price does not matter even though it is also an important factor to look at when choosing the weapon. This should not be your only consideration when shopping for the weapon.

When doing your shopping, you will realize that both the bow and the arrow can be bought separately or theirs also the option of buying the whole package which contains all the accessories. The accessories contained in a package include arrow tips, basic scope sight, some arrows, a cocking device, and a quiver. The bow alone usually does cost around $300 to $1000 but a top package can cost around $1500 or even more than that. See our review of the best bow sight that you can use for better aim at your game.

Choosing a crossbow

The type of animal or pray that you are going to hunt will determine the draw weight you will need. For instance, those intending to hunt animals like the white tail deer, a draw weight of about 75 to 125 pounds will be needed.

You should also consult the relevant authority and check if the draw weight already is stated under the hunting laws in that area. Some crossbows will have an excess draw weight of about 200 pounds. This might just become useless for the hunter if this drawing weight is not legally allowed in that area of hunting.

The speed of the arrows you shoot is usually determined by the drawing weight i.e. the speed of the arrows will be great if you use a high drawing weight. Hunting with a crossbow mostly will guarantee you a sure and clean kill when you shoot with the arrows traveling at much fast speed.

The Basics to Learn

Buying an expensive weapon will only mean that you get a much quieter device which will also provide you with faster speeds for your arrows. When you buy these expensive weapons, you are guaranteed to get magnification scopes which are of high technology fitted on it.

You will also find stocks that have some adjustable features and also you might just find a scope with a red dot fitted on some crossbows.

See also: How to Shoot a Bow and Arrow: a Comprehensive Guide For Beginners

There are also some cocking aids that one can buy and this will make it easier for you to cock your device. Some aids will also come with a crank and some clip on the clamps. Turning the crank will cause the string attached to it to slowly pull back. If you bought a bow but you are still having some difficulties when trying to pull back the strings on your unit, then this will just be a perfect time to consider using a cocking aid.

Crossbow with cocking aid

Some crossbows which are on the upper level are usually with some dampeners when you check the split limbs, the retention strings, and the stirrup. Dampeners can also be bought and added to your preferred unit. You should still note that the arrows are usually released under a great force and this will always produce some noise.

You should just know the correct type of weapon you want to use. There are also some simple bows which have compound limbs and others with recurved limbs.

The simple bow with recurved limbs always has one string and a bit wider profile while the other one, the compound bow, has a double-string. If you are planning on going for a hunt, then it is much more important if you know your bow’s profile, especially when hunting where crossbows that has smaller profiles are suitable. One advantage with the recurved bow is that they are easy to repair compared to compound crossbows.

Choosing Arrows

When it comes to arrows, you will notice that different manufacturers use different materials to make them. You should be able to find the details on what type of arrows to use in the package that comes with your crossbow. From this, you should be able to know just the correct length and weight of your arrows.

Using incorrect arrows in terms of length and weight might lead to you having broken arrows which make the whole thing so expensive and also frustrating when they get broken after only a few days. You might also end up sending your arrows to the wrong direction and rogue arrows are always dangerous. Good arrows are always made of aluminum, carbon and carbon and aluminum mix.

Crossbow and arrows

Arrows made of carbon are usually stronger and lasts longer than the ones made of aluminum. These aluminum arrows can break easily due to their bending nature. For you not to have this unpleasing experience of arrows breaking only after a few days, you will need to consider the carbon over the aluminum arrows or even you should use those made of carbon and aluminum mix.

For the weight and length of your arrows, you will need to check what your crossbow manufacturer recommends. Arrows will usually range from 16 inches to about 22 inches when it comes to the length.

The fletchings or the vanes that you will need for your arrows are what actually will give them the flight ability. These vanes must really be of good quality and installed correctly. Also, they must be straight as the arrows might be forced to go in the wrong direction in case there is any deviation in the fletchings structure.

Also make sure that those arrows you purchased are having the right nock created and designed specifically for crossbows.

Why Is The Design Important

When you learn about crossbow safety, you will also learn and understand how the crossbow is designed. They are usually different when it comes to design but mostly they do have some features similar to each other. There is a foot stirrup at the top of your crossbow and just below the stirrup, you will find the riser and the limb bolts.

There is also a cable and a string featured coming from one end to the other end of the curved unit. Sometimes you can even find that the curved limbs also have some split limbs and to the upper part of your foregrip, two risers are attached and a trigger, just before the top part of the stock.

Crossbow ready for action

On to the sight bridge, a sight is attached and this usually comes in many styles. The whole of it then is attached to your main device just where the stock is ending and the area with the trigger begins. The flight groove and the power stroke can then be found just along the length of your crossbow’s arm this is also what is known as the arrow track.

It also directs and holds the arrow at the time of the shooting. Some devices also have the ability to hold some arrows just under your unit’s curved limbs. The arrow retention spring can also be found just under the telescopic sight that’s on your crossbow.

Understanding The Speed

For those who likes faster crossbows, it is advised that you go for the one that has a long power stroke. The speed of the arrow is usually paralleled directly by the length of the power stroke. Those devices that have longer power strokes can usually shoot up to around 400 feet per second. The weight of the arrows also affects their speed motion when you shoot.

Using very light arrows with your crossbow having a power stroke of about 400 feet per second will make the arrow move very fast due to the rapid release. Crossbows do not have any standards when it comes to speed, unlike the normal compound bows which have a standard set put in place.

Fast hunting crossbow

This shows that, even if manufacturers decides that all speeds to be the same, this cannot just happen because every model can usually say a different thing when it comes to the speed of projectiles. Also, you should put in mind that all devices will always have different speeds.

When shopping for a crossbow, you might consider asking questions about things like the speed, the weight of the preferred arrows and the poundage. These are basically what determines how fast your arrows will travel when released from the crossbow.

Cocking Safety

For any beginner who is just starting to learn how to shoot using a crossbow, you will notice that a lot of bows are having the same features when it comes to how to load and cock your weapon. You can use your foot by slipping it strongly through your stirrup thus making sure it stays in position while cocking the crossbow. This is done by placing the foot stirrup on the ground first.

Once the foot is through the stirrup the bow will be firm on the ground thus not moving around. This will give you an easy time as you pull the string that is connected to the curved limbs using your hands.

Pulling one string a little bit harder than the one on the other side will automatically make them off-center and this usually affects your accuracy when firing. There are also some devices that can be bought to help you cock your crossbow if you are still having some difficulties on this step.

This will include the elastic straps and some other alternatives that will just make it easier for you. Just note that you will still need to use your hands to pull both the strings until you reach that cocking mechanism. This is done regardless of which method you will choose to use.

Cocking safety

Once the string is in position, you will hear some clicking sound ensuring that they are in place. If you let go of these strings before you hear that clicking sound, the two strings might abruptly snap back. The safety can be set manually that’s if you correctly cock the bow. You might also find some models with automatic safety. However, the safety just needs to get set so that you don’t accidentally fire off an arrow.

More Tips on Using The Crossbow

Once the safety is engaged on your weapon and already cocked it, you can then go ahead and insert your arrow into the track. Make sure that the end of your arrow makes a contact with the string. One of the fletchings will then rest in the groove of your crossbow.

When hunting using a crossbow, always make sure that you know where the crossbow is pointing, more importantly, when the arrow is resting in the track and your weapon is already cocked.

You should also be able to first check the pathways that are in front of the arrow and also your device’s curved limbs. Make sure that nothing disrupts the movement path. Having anything in the way might usually result in injuries since the arrows usually will travel at a high speed once they are already released.

Those curved limbs will also move hence you need to make sure that you are at a considerable distance from any nearby trees or the branches before you fire off your arrow. Once you are already prepared to fire off the arrow, this is when you can release the safety of your crossbow.

Crossbow for hunting tips

You must also make sure that you don’t dry fire your crossbow. When you dry fire your equipment, the strings might break thus fracturing upper limb of your device. Actually, having multiple fractures can be the main reason causing this action. Also, you might end up having rogue projectiles when the small pieces break off from your bow.

Hunting Ethics

When hunting with a crossbow you will need to behave in some ethical manner. There are usually some acceptable norms among for every hunter. Practicing them will ensure that you protect yourself, your environment, yourself and the safety of your fellow hunters.

[the_ad_group id=”23″]

Serious hunters will always maintain some respect for other hunters and the nature around them. Safety should always be made to be the first priority. For you to have some respect for nature and fellow hunters in general, you will need to do the following:

  • Ensure that you don’t destroy the natural resources while hunting. This ensures that these resources are not diminished.
  • Always stick to the fair chase rule.
  • Avoid injuring young animals.
  • You should demonstrate some concern and respect for your fellow hunters.
  • You must also ensure that nothing you kill goes to waste.
  • You must be off drugs while hunting.
  • You should not trespass and always respect the property owner’s rights.
  • Try as much as you can to avoid killing just for the fun of it.
  • You must adhere to the land and state laws.

Don’t forget to check out our review of the top hunting gear that you must have for a safe hunting experience.


Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison is our expert in hunting. He was born in Alaska, so hunting was his hobby since high school. Later, Shawn took a Hunter Training at Alaska Department of Fish and Game to structure his knowledge and now he is open to share his knowledge with our readers. Shawn is taking ‘Safety First’ approach on all of his trips, especially is some people are going hunting for the first time.


  • For many people hunting with a crossbow is not a craft, but exciting sport. The main feature of hunting with a crossbow is that the chances of the victim and the hunter are about equal, man creates conditions of hunting centuries ago, complicates the process of hunting and, accordingly, raises its prestige. To kill a wild boar with guns is not hard, and to be proud there is especially nothing. If you want to eat, buy and eat pork, but if you want hunting, sport, courage – put off your gun aside, take the hunting crossbow and go into the woods – show your dexterity!

    • Wielding a crossbow is a sport and a craft at the same time in my opinion. It requires focus, dedication, and considerable passion. Mastering a gun and a crossbow are two different things, and learning both of them is definitely a massive achievement as a hunter.

  • The main struggle for beginners in crossbow hunting is its weight. You need to hold it steady while aiming for your target and it’s not that easy. While some people got the talent in this sport, it takes a lot of practice to master it. Yes, I consider it a sport because it involves physical exertion and skills and I do it for my own satisfaction.

    • Identifying the weight as one of the primary struggles is spot on, James. Some crossbows are light, but because you hold them for extended periods of time, it will tire your forearms and can compromise dexterity.