You have made the decision to join the swelling ranks of the crossbow hunter and maybe you have even gone so far as to pick out and purchase a crossbow. What are some of the extras you should consider and just for snorts and giggles let’s pretend that money is no object. Therefore, whatever we deem necessary goes directly to the shopping cart and we will pay cash for it when we reach the checkout lane.
The first thing we are going to need is a catchall to keep our gear together. A case that will hold arrows, broadheads, tools, and any other gear that will be necessary for a short or a long trip in pursuit of wild things. My favorite is manufactured by Lakewood Products and has plenty of space for all the gear you will need in a handy, hard-sided unit that is compact and light. When you take it to the range or on the road, everything that you will need is right at your fingertips.
One of the first things you will want to get your hands on is a sling. Crossbows are heavy and cumbersome so if you are going to be packing one around it will quickly make for tired arms. A good padded sling will ease your burden and make toting it for long distances a pleasure instead of a trial. One of my favorites the Ready Crossbow Sling made by H & M Archery Products. This sling allows you to support the weight of the crossbow on your shoulder while holding it in the ready position. Make sure that you get one that will allow you to place the sling over your head onto the opposite shoulder. For longer treks, you are going to want to be able to do that.
Many crossbow shooters are concerned with the loud noise a crossbow makes when it is shot. There are anti-vibration devices being manufactured that claim to quiet them down. They may actually work, but at best only a little. If you are going to use a crossbow, you had better get used to the noise and work around it. Many of these devices will remove much of the vibration derived from shooting, thereby making them a bit more accurate and consistent so there is some practical value in their consideration.
Most crossbows come with either a multiple reticule scope or a non-magnified red-dot. There are some interesting options in sights out there that you might want to investigate. Excalibur makes a scope called the Vari-zone, which allows you to set the reticules based on the speed of the arrow out of your particular bow. A number of companies are offering scopes where the reticules light up for easier viewing in low light situations. In recent months, we have seen more fiber optic/peep sights popping on the scene one of these even has a built in range finder, which is especially handy.
Rangefinders are perhaps even more necessary than with vertical archery equipment because a crossbow arrow will drop faster than one from a compound. Therefore, if you do not already own one, you will want to acquire good rangefinder. Excalibur Crossbows makes a mount for your rangefinder that keeps it in the ready position over your scope so that you can quickly and easily move your eye from scope to rangefinder to double check the distance to your target just before your shot. It is a very handy device.
There is a real interesting choice of quiver options to go along with your crossbow. Naturally your bow is going to come with a quiver at the point of purchase, but that does not mean you cannot choose another style if you prefer. There are several styles of quivers that attach to your belt that are especially handy for stalking. There are quivers that mount over your crossbow, run along the stock or mount underneath your bow. One of my favorites is a hard cover shoulder quiver that is not only convenient, but also totally protects your arrows from being damaged or bent, with its sturdy shell. There is no doubt that if you have any special needs there is a quiver out there that will fill it.
One of the last things that you may want to consider is a shooting rest for your crossbow. There are some interesting options available, but all serve the same purposes, to assume most of the burden of the weight of your crossbow and to help you steady it to make a more accurate shot. Because crossbows are so heavy, they are harder to hold still than vertical archery equipment, but a rest will stabilize your shot making it more accurate. There is an assortment of products ranging from simple shooting sticks to complicated models, which attach right to your crossbow. One of my favorites is marketed by Horton Crossbows under the name KneePod. It is simple to use, lightweight, cheap and easy to carry in and out of the field.
These are just some of the more important accessories one might consider to go along with their new crossbow, but which ever ones you decide to use make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines always us good common sense when you are in the field.