Crossbow shooting, as in using a bow and an arrow, is quite an art to master. Fortunately, like most forms of expertise, it can be learned and perfected. This ancient artillery was developed as an improvement of the traditional bow, to ease hunting expeditions, especially if you need to maintain a full draw while pursuing game. Thanks to these advancements, it also became significantly easier to use. This comprehensive guide will highlight some of the pointers you need to be aware of, before going out for your first hunt.
At this juncture, am assuming you have your crossbow assembled and intact. If you have recently bought your equipment, be sure to take some time going through the manual and setting up your paraphernalia as per the directions. This is an important safety measure, considering that a loose stirrup string can easily take off a thumb at a full draw. If the manufacturers instructions are vague or unclear, ask for help in assembling the crossbow. Safety first.
Step one: Cocking the bow.
Cocking, simply means making a full power draw of your bow in readiness for the shoot. This will vary depending on whether you’re using a recurve or compound crossbow. The recurve crossbow is actually the easier one to use though at the expense of accuracy and power. A compound crossbow is characterized with levers and pulleys designed to propel the arrow at a high and powerful velocity than their recurve counterparts. Luckily, cocking mechanisms for this complex bow are usually available. This makes it possible to make a stalwart and tensile draw with minimum effort. Cocking the bow can be done using any of the three approaches;
- Manual Cocking: This is one of the simplest methods applicable to recurve bows. Set your crossbow on the ground or a flat surface. Step firmly on the stirrup and then reach out for the string and pull it backward. The drawback attached to this approach is that only a small or medium power draw can be attained. In fact, you have to be exceptionally strong to achieve anything close to a powerful draw.
- Rope Cocking: Designed to offer you a 50% mechanical advantage. In simple terms to obtain a 200lbs draw, you have to pull only 100lbs practically The rope in question has two handles to assist on a firm grip while in use. Assembling a rope cocker is also as easy. Stepping on the stirrup, connect the cable on the two string clips and pull the handles upwards to cock the bow.
- Crank Cocking: This makes use of a small hand-actuated winch, which reduces the drawing force needed considerably. By winding the winch, you can achieve a full tensile powerful draw without much effort. It comes in very handy for enthusiasts with disabilities.
Step two: Sighting in.
This is usually the exciting part. Most manufacturers will integrate a red dot or a cross-hairs reticle scope on the equipment. Some bows come in a pre-set condition and ready to shoot. However, most likely you be required to adjust your scope to suit your desired accuracy levels. Sighting a scope will involve using the adjusters and the directional arrows, to alter the vision of the impact point. Practice by shooting a couple of bolts at a marked target, after the scope adjustment, to verify the bow’s accuracy.
Step three: The Hunt.
At this stage, you may have familiarized yourself with the process of loading an arrow, and taking an aim. Nevertheless in the field, an advanced level of alertness and accuracy is required for a successful kill. Cock the bow in advance, however, do not load it yet, until you have sighted the prey. For beginners, it imperative that you get as close as you possibly can to the game before taking an aim. While at it, be sure not to startle it, by releasing the safety lock quietly.
Lastly, remember that it takes months or even years of practice, to perfect the art of hunting successfully with a crossbow. Don’t be discouraged if you initially return from hunting sessions empty-handed, even veterans have nurtured their mastery of this sport through patience.