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Deer Hunting With a Crossbow – How Far Do You Shoot?

Deer Hunting With a Crossbow
Written by Marc Niad

The deer was twitching its tail near a body of water. Even, no casual flicks were visible for a while. It’s the typical backdrop for a perfect deer hunting story that involves a crosbow. Such a situation might make you think that success in this game comes without pains. But, it doesn’t. Why? Ask yourself, “How crossbows work and how can I use them properly? Do I have a sound familiarity with aerodynamics?” If your answers are a ‘no,’ and you are serious about hunting with a crossbow seriously, I’m going to tell something you should know.

Deer hunting is neither a random game nor does it lack the beauty and demands of an adventurous undertaking. Rather, it requires dexterity, knowledge, and the right gear. In this article, you’ll come across the basics and practical tips on using the right crossbows for deer hunting.

Getting Started Deer Hunting With a Crossbow

For beginners, it’s a set of tasks that have to be performed with dedication, discipline, and caution. I’ve tried to cover the basics and practical insights into the real thing. Let’s have a look.

1. Put Hands on the Gear

Making the right combination of a bow and an arrow or a bolt is always challenging. But I won’t let you through the hardest technicalities. Just the specifics of the bow and arrow would be okay, and you’ll learn more with time.

  • Make sure your crossbow comes with the right draw power which is typically 75-125 pounds.
  • Get your crossbows are lightweight and outfitted with quality dampeners and scopes.
  • Carbon arrows are great for newbies as they can eventually take light aluminum arrows and ultimately metal jacket arrows, the most accurate ones.

2. Load Your Crossbows

First, you should be able to load your weapon. There’re three ways: Hand cocking, using cocking ropes and cranks. I’ll discuss the first two ways in brief.

Since you’re learning, your hands should be in use.

Load Your Crossbows

  • Have one of your feet within the cocking stirrup placing it on the ground and grab the string on any of the stock’s side. As you need to guide the string; so placing the thumbs alongside the barrel should help.
  • Now is the time for some more physical works, such as keeping the arms straight, standing up, putting equal pressure on all sides, and finally, pulling the string back to ensure it locks where it should.

Using cocking ropes can be another way to go.

Using cocking ropes loading

  • Step through the cocking stirrup, try to brace it hard, and run the strap’s back over the weapon’s butt.
  • Attach the cocking rope using its hooks to the sides of the string.
  • Hold the handles of the strap, and stand firmly as long as it takes the string to lock in place.

3. Shoot It Right

By now, you’ve got how to load. Now is the time to learn to shoot it. Here’re the steps.

Holding the Weapon Appropriately

The handbow is close to the trigger, but your finger isn’t on it. Your handbow stays parallel to the trigger (it’s for your safety). Your other hand stays on the foregrip. Make sure the fingers are under the barrel.

Holding the Weapon Appropriately

Aiming and Shooting

You’ll see a mounting scope or sight pin that allows for aim through. Since deer are not as small as birds, some would suggest you not to focus on sighting too much. But you should sight in because it’s a standard practice, mainly because you don’t want to hit anything else other than your target. There are factors associated with shooting accuracy that you should take into account.

Deer Hunting With a Crossbow

As soon as you sight the target, you need to squeeze the crossbow trigger having the target aligned correctly in your sights. As the trigger gets released and the bow fires, you will get some noise and see that the bolt hurtles toward your target (if shot correctly).

Practicing Before the Actual Game

You shouldn’t jump into a real game right after learning how to shoot. Don’t want to be like those who get hurt (mostly due to lack of practice) during their early deer hunting events. Even, you shouldn’t be up to kill another wild animal other than your target (a deer) either. You may collect some archery targets, often in the shape of an actual deer or some static objects to practice shooting for perfection. Choose an open area; so you can get your arrow’s trajectory clear.

Staying Safe

Now that you know what and how to do things with crossbows, it’s time to focus on your safety and the surroundings. Here’re the dos and don’ts.


  • Taking a first-aid box that contains alcohol wipes, aspirin, bandages, eye wash, gauze, latex gloves and pads, blister and medical tapes, scissors, smelling salts, sterile pads, and a tourniquet
  • Using suitable safety glasses
  • Putting on a harness for the whole body
  • Using a safety rope if you want to do treestand hunting
  • Clearing all obstacles to your crossbow limbs
  • Remaining as much undetectable as possible using the appropriate camouflage


  • Wrapping your thumb around the forearm of the crossbow
  • Carrying or stalking with a loaded crossbow
  • Keeping any of your fingers inside the release path of your bowstring with the crossbow cocked and/or loaded
  • Shooting just because any movement is sighted
  • Pointing a loaded crossbow in random directions
  • Putting the finger on the weapon’s trigger long before you want to shoot
  • Cocking a crossbow before reaching a treestand safely

Knowing the Law

Learning the law is necessarily the first step before you start anything in real. We know outdoor activities are often governed by state laws. So, are crossbows legal? Most US states have specific regulations on the use of crossbows, and you should look for the ones for your state.

Some states allow crossbows during archery, gun, and hunting seasons while some allow them in bow-only regions and for handicapped hunters during archery season. It seems there’s a lot of dos and don’ts when you should be a law-abiding hunter. Don’t worry; Feel free to read our detailed article on the legal obligations for crossbows in the USA.

Abiding by Some Ethics

While all principles may not apply equally to people’s leisurely activities, deer hunting should not be done without any respect for the deer and nature. Here are some ethical principals you should follow when you’re hunting deers with a crosbow.

  • It’s wise to leave fawns because their survival is critical to the deer populations and its future generations. So, you should identify your target precisely.
  • A clean shot and kill should be your purpose.
  • Many people kill for sport which an ethical hunter won’t go for.
  • Make sure you use as much of the hunted deer as possible (to reduce the amount of wastage).
  • Never use baits/lures that are prohibited.
  • Finally, try to stick to the fair and legal rules of a chase.

About the author

Marc Niad

It’s been several years that Marc, a retired teacher and a proud dad, has silently been piling up mature bucks down the South. This humble hunter began his hunting journey at quite an early age and since then, he spent countless hours in the woods and learned good lessons in terms of woodsmanship. Along the way, he also made money sharing his skill with his followers and well-wishers.

The Ranger Expert is the brainchild of this veteran hunter who loves hunting the swamps and the hills around the Mississippi and Homochitto rivers. His most favorite hunting technique is taking his climbing gear and going to the top of pines with a 25.06 – the old-fashioned way!

He gets most of his games during late December through mid-January – his favorite hunting time. Marc strongly believes that hard work, passion, and a bit of luck can bring you success in the wild.

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