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12 Crossbow Do's and 3 Don'ts (Page 2)

Crossbow hunting has continued to rise in popularity across the country. Ready to get involved? Here are 12 things you should do—as well as three you shouldn't.

Don’t Do This!
There are some real mistakes that can cost you accuracy and/or lead to injury if you are not careful when shooting a crossbow. Here are the three most common:

1) Watch Fingers & Thumb
Many shooters used to shooting rifles have a tendency to stick the fingers of the hand that holds the rifle’s forearm straight up in the air when they cradle the rifle. If you do this with a crossbow, you risk placing your digits in the path of a bowstring that is rocketing down the rail and will slice the fingers and/or thumb to the bone. Never, ever do this!

2) Don’t Shoot Off-Hand
The construction of a crossbow puts a lot of weight in its front end, making it very difficult to balance when trying to shoot from the off-hand position. Even the very best rifle shooters only shoot off-hand as a last resort. You’ll be much better off learning to shoot quickly from the kneeling and sitting positions, and when using shooting sticks or a rail for a rock-solid rest.

3) Shoot Outside Your Own MESR
Many years ago, I coined a phrase for bowhunters, Maximum Effective Shooting Range, or MESR. Your MESR is the maximum distance you can consistently place a hunting arrow into the bullseye. For some crossbow hunters that’s 20 yards; for others it is 60 yards. For most of us, it is somewhere in between.

You will learn your own MESR as you practice. At some point, you just won’t be plunking that arrow into the bullseye on a regular basis. When that happens, it’s time to back off a few yards until you are once again placing at least 90 percent of your shots into the center of the target. At the same time, you should try and push the envelope and stretch your MESR in small (say, 5 yard) increments. But once I get into the field and I know my own MESR is, say, 40 yards, I will not take a shot at a game animal any further than that.

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26 Responses to 12 Crossbow Do's and 3 Don'ts (Page 2)

bill wrote:
February 17, 2015

Im new to crossbows.recently purchased a barnett brotherhood 160 lds draw 350 fps. When u say your barnett blew up are you talking limbs or string?

Patriot wrote:
February 17, 2015

Buy an Excalibur 335 micro- Simply Perfect

vaughn wrote:
January 28, 2015

To those of you shooting a barnett crossbow, GET RID of It!!!! I had the Barnett ghost 400 blow up in my face two separate times. Go with an EXCALIBUR any model.

David wrote:
January 22, 2015

Thinking about getting a crossbow. I'm new to bow hunting. I have one question about crossbows. Do you draw back the crossbow and load a bolt when you first get into the stand or do you wait till after you see a deer getting close

Paul Bangley wrote:
January 10, 2015

I shot my buck with the aluminum arrows that came with the package. I bought extra arrows (6) and broad heads (100 grams) to match the practice field points that came with the bow. It's important to shoot the same weight arrows and points in practice, that you'll be shooting in the field.

Andy wrote:
January 02, 2015

I just bought a Barnett Ghost 410. Looking forward to shooting and practicing for next deer season. My cousin shoots a compound and said carbon is better than aluminium. Is that hold true for crossbow bolts ? I am also not sure of broadheads. I hunt in a very heavy thick woods from a ground blind. I always prep my hunting area a couple of months before season. Next year will include clearing shooting lanes so I do hit a twig or any other obstacle. Please advise on broadheads. Thank you

Dave wrote:
January 01, 2015

A great starting point for those new to crossbows.

Bullwinkle1964 wrote:
December 24, 2014

Thanks for tips,,research ia always important. I got advice before i bought my son his first recurve bow. The store even gave my son free lessons, after sizing for arrows, he was hiitting bulls after ten trys. Good advice plus instructions on how to string up the bow without smacking yourself in the face. HAPPY HUNTING TO ALL....

Don wrote:
December 15, 2014

It's true that not every crossbow is made the same. I think anything for under $100 is going to be crap, but there are some cheap crossbows that shoot really well that can be purchased for $300 - $500; are they as good as the $1,000 bows? No. but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be looked at as a entry level bow. I think its important to try out bow hunting with little investment before purchasing a top of the line bow. If you're interested in crossbow hunting check out these bow reviews at

Lee Jeter wrote:
November 20, 2014

I have a tenpoint carbon elite xlt. and it is an amazing crossbow. Right on target at 50 yards. Lightweight and an amazing scope. Make sure you get the accudraw 50 crank system for accurate draw backs.

ANTHONY wrote:
October 14, 2014

Anthony wrote: I WANT TO MAKE A CORRECTION , I SHOT THE 7 POINT deer < OCT 9 2014 > NOT 2012 October 13, 2014 I have a Tenpoint XLT Turbo two , I harvested my 2nd deer with it Oct.9th 2012 this year a 7 point. I heart shot the deer (a pass through)at 15 yards and found the arrow 45 yrds up the hill , it would have kept on going if the hill didn't slope up ! I Love Acudraw Cranking system and till this day found none better !!

Anthony wrote:
October 13, 2014

I have a Tenpoint XLT Turbo two , I harvested my 2nd deer with it Oct.9th 2012 this year a 7 point. I heart shot the deer (a pass through)at 15 yards and found the arrow 45 yrds up the hill , it would have kept on going if the hill didn't slope up ! I Love Acudraw Cranking system and till this day found none better !!

tim wrote:
October 05, 2014

do it make a different shooting from a tree stand at 20 yd. scope set for 20 on the ground.shooting low in the treestand

GrizzWolf wrote:
September 09, 2014

If your projectile has fletching it is an 'arrow.' If there is absolutely zero fletching you have a 'bolt.' When pricing crossbows keep in mind that if you find a $900.00 crossbow on sale or clearance for $450.00 it is worth buying. Price is a very relative thing. A few years ago I was at a large store who deals in alot of liquidations. They had an entire pallet of $800.00 Horton crossbow packages for $150.00 each! And yet if you are not careful you will get ripped off buying crossbows online from some dealers who hack the price up 50-100[%] above msrp.

Tom Saroch wrote:
August 27, 2014

I have shot quite a few xbows. The parker Thunderhawk seems like a great bow for the price, lifetime warranty & great service

Hollywood 84 wrote:
August 09, 2014

Hey fellas another spectacular crossbow easy to shoot nice and compact 337fps 97 lbs K.E. barnett raptor fx great for tree stands n ground blinds it's not bad for the price close to 400 bucks n under for a 6.5lbs crossbow 150 lbs pull 337fps is fine by me good luck to all

Jeff wrote:
August 02, 2014

Great article .my first crossbow was the Barrett qaud 400 .i tagged out opening day ,1st shoot 22 yards / 2nd shoot 42 yards it was a blessed night. My budget was $450.00 for a crossbow.they are a little heavy but will do the job . Good luck this year guys

Tom Saroch wrote:
April 05, 2014

Just started about 6 month ago love it found shooting 22inch bolts more accurate than 20 @ longer distances

Nick wrote:
January 16, 2014

Prices have come down significantly since this article was written, thank goodness!

CTCrow wrote:
January 09, 2014

My crossbow shoots bolts.

Eli wrote:
December 07, 2013

I really appreciate all the info !

Drooo wrote:
June 30, 2013

I'd also add the method for drawing the string. You've got to make sure the string hooks of your cocker are as close to the stock or rail as you draw the string up and into the trigger assembly. FWIW.

Nick wrote:
June 11, 2013

Good article. Anyone looking for a crossbow to buy, i recommend the Stryker 380. It's fast, isn't too expensive and is lightweight (about 6.5lbs). If $750 is too much, I'd try the Stryker 350, the little brother to the 380. The scope that came with it has 4 dots and it shoots to 40 yards on the top dot. This bad boy shoots far and accurately.

Chuck wrote:
April 23, 2013

Great article. I can afford and have budgeted for whatever bow does the job. Thanks for the good advise.

South-Paw Slinger wrote:
March 02, 2013

You had better recheck Ohio's regulations again. They only have a minimum draw weight of 75lbs. now, and no maximum. They change this law 2-years ago if I'm not mistaken.

JH wrote:
February 26, 2013

Not every one can afford a 800 to 1500 dollar crossbow. I agree you should stay away from the really cheap crossbows in the under 200 dollar range. But the crossbows in the 300 to 500 dollar range are affordable, accurate, well made and have good trigger systems. The crossbows I have fired in this range include Excalibur, Horton and Parker. Other brands in this price range I would think would be good as well. I was so impressed with my friends lower priced Parker I just bought a Parker Bushwacker. I already own an Excalibur and nothing wrong with it but I wanted a more compact crossbow for hunting. The Parker and Horton and Excalibur crossbows I have shot were just as accurate and well built as the higher priced Ten Point I have shot.