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.
February 21, 2013
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.