LAST UPDATED: February 17th, 2023
In the past decade or so, crossbow hunting has quickly become one of the most effective ways of growing the sport of hunting. But there are still a lot of questions surrounding the activity.
To make things easier, we decided to answer some of the frequently asked questions about crossbows and crossbow hunting…
1) Is A Crossbow Legal In My State?
While most states in the midwest have allowed crossbows to be used during regular archery seasons, there are still a few states that have specific rules to follow.
For what was once an option for only seniors & disabled hunters, crossbows are now legal for anyone to use in over half of the states in the USA, as well as 9 of the 14 provinces of Canada.
When getting into crossbow hunting, make sure you know your state’s laws. You can check the DNR website’s and refer to the rules & regulations booklets when looking for info.
Since most DNR and conservation district websites are not the easiest to navigate, TenPoint Crossbows has assembled a webpage with info for the USA and Canada. You can take a look at it here – https://www.tenpointcrossbows.com/us-crossbow-regulations/
2) Where Do I Start Crossbow Hunting?
What type of crossbow should I get? How much money should I be spending on a crossbow? Where do I even buy a crossbow? All of these questions should be considered when getting started in crossbow hunting.
And all these questions are the same no matter what kind of hobby you’re getting into. Whether you’re looking for a new DSLR camera due to your new interest in photography, or if you’re interested in buying a boat for the family to enjoy.
And the answer is really up to you. Do you have some extra money around to where you can afford a nicer crossbow? Or are you interested in hunting and just want an easier way to get out in the woods more without spending an arm and a leg over it?
Regardless of which category you fall into, we’d always advise spending the most you can while staying within your budget. You can definitely find a solid crossbow of good quality that can get the job done for a few hundred bucks. But if you want to go all-in on it, get a top-of-the-line weapon that will last you a long time.
Crossbows generally fall into 3 categories when talking about price. You’ve got the budget or economy crossbows ($300-$500), the mid-level crossbows($500-$1,200), and the best of the best shooting blazing speeds and equipped with the best accessories ($1,200-$2,500).
Each one will be able to get the job done, but just like when doing research for any other major purchase, do your homework. Figure out your budget, then go to an archery range or sporting goods store and test some crossbows out.
You wouldn’t buy a car or house without giving it a test drive, or getting an evaluation of it. And even though buying a crossbow isn’t as major as either of those, you should still take your time when deciding what to purchase.
3) What Is The Difference Between A Compound And Crossbow Broadhead?
Now this can be a little confusing, but that’s why we’re here! Generally speaking, you should be able to use any fixed blade broadhead in a compound bow AND a crossbow.
Sometimes the bigger fixed heads won’t fly as well out of a crossbow, so you should stick with a lower profile fixed head, if that’s what you’re gonna go with. But if you’re deciding between a companies “crossbow” or “compound” fixed blade broadhead, there really isn’t a difference
Now, the confusing part can happen when looking at mechanical broadheads. Just about every company that makes mechanical broadheads will make both a “compound” version, as well as a “crossbow” version. The reason they do this is because of the newer and faster shooting crossbows.
And the main difference between the crossbow and compound mechanical heads, is the blade retention strength. Since crossbows are generally faster than compounds, you risk premature blade deployment when shooting a compound broadhead out of a crossbow.
Whether the mechanical broadhead uses a spring lock, or other blade retention system, the “crossbow” version broadhead will have a stronger hold on the blades so they don’t deploy in flight.
4) How Far Can I Shoot A Deer With A Crossbow?
Despite the amazing ability of crossbows these days, a live animal is still a live animal, and they are unpredictable. We’ve all seen the commercials of crossbows being able to accurately shoot tight groups at 100 plus yards.
But the reality is, a crossbow is still not a firearm. There’s still a huge difference between a 100yd shot with a rifle, and a 100yd shot with a crossbow. Even if you can guarantee that your arrow will hit the mark at 100, there’s no guarantee that the animal will still be in that same position once the arrow reaches it.
Realistically, you should treat your max distance similar to what a compound can do. Most people will say that 40yds is the max distance you should shoot at a whitetail with a compound. So we would say a 50yd max for crossbows is reasonable.
Yes, they are a bit faster than compounds, but they tend to be louder. And a whitetail’s reaction is so unpredictable that anything further than 50yds is taking a risk.
5) What Crossbow Maintenance Do I Need To Do?
Just like with a compound bow, regular maintenance needs to happen on crossbows. And just like with compounds, it’s pretty simple.
A quick observation of the limbs, cams, and string should be happening regularly with your crossbow. If you notice any nicks on a cam or limb, you may need to investigate further to make sure you don’t need to replace anything.
You should also keep an eye on your string and if you notice any fraying, make sure to use some string wax. Most crossbow strings nowadays are almost completely covered by serving material, and you should NEVER use string wax on serving material. It can cause the serving to loosen and come apart.
Another maintenance tip is to routinely use rail lube on the rail of your crossbow. It cuts down on the amount of friction that occurs on the string, thus lengthening the life of your crossbow string.
6) Should I Use Lighted Nocks With My Crossbow?
This is by far one of the easiest questions we get asked when talking about crossbows. With how fast they are, you should most definitely be using lighted nocks.
It’s nearly impossible to see where the arrow flies, and where it hits a deer, especially in low-light situations. So a lighted nock is a must when crossbow hunting.
There you go, those were the top 6 crossbow hunting questions that we’ve received over the years here at Bowhunting.com.