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How far can I shoot my crossbow?



How far can I shoot my crossbow? This is one of the most commonly asked questions from the beginning crossbow hunter. I wish there was one concrete answer to give to people when they ask this question, but as you read on, you will soon find out that there are too many variables that come into play when factoring out the equation. Let’s take a look at some of them.

First and foremost, you should take an honest look at your own personal skill level shooting a crossbow. Are you confident with your shot at 20 yards but not at 30 yards? Or is 30 yards a shot you can make all day long? Not every crossbow hunter will have the same skill level, or the same amount of time to practice with his or her crossbow. You should never take a shot at an animal unless you are 100% confident that you can make it.

Next is the terrain you are hunting in. A 40 yard shot in a wide open bean field has a much higher percentage (if you do everything right) then a 40 yard shot in thick cover or brush. Take your surrounding habitat into consideration when deciding your maximum shooting distance. You may find that your max distance for one setup may be different from the next setup do to a change in cover or shooting lanes.

Another overlooked factor that comes into play that we cannot control is the overall demeanor of the animal we are after. Is it very calm and relaxed while feeding, with out a care in the world? Or has its sixth sense kicked in and acting like it is walking on eggshells? Knowing the body language of the animal you are hunting can play a big role in determining not only how far you should shoot, but also when you should shoot.

How are you as the hunter feeling at the time of the shot? Are you calm and cool, or is your heart feel like it is going to jump out of your chest because it’s beating so fast? Remember, making a long shot on a practice target that can’t move, in the comfort of your own backyard, is a lot different then shooting a live animal. Take that extra breath and try to regain some composure before squeezing that trigger.

Weather can also play a role when determining how far you can shoot your crossbow. Are you hunting on a nice sunny bluebird day with no wind? Or is the wind blowing 30 mile per hour? Not only can wind affect your arrow flight, but if you’re in a tree, it can effect how still you can aim your crossbow too. How’s your visibility? Is it the last half hour before dark, and you’re under a thick canopy of treetops that makes the woods darker than they should be? Talk to any bow hunter that has some time in the woods and they will tell you a story about the big one that got away because they hit a sapling or tree limb they just couldn’t see at the time.

As you can see, there are many factors that come into play other than how fast or how powerful your crossbow is when it comes to deciding how far you want to shoot. You owe it to yourself and more importantly the animal you are hunting to take the highest percentage shot you can. Remember folks, we are bow hunting here. It’s all about getting close to the animals. The better hunter is the hunter that shoots hi animal at 10 yards not the hunter that shoots his animal at 60 yards. Here’s something to think about before you take that next shot. I read this somewhere down the line and it has always stuck with me. Ask yourself if you would be willing to pay a $1000.00 ticket for wounding or missing the animal you set your sight s on the next time you take a shot. If the answer is no, you probably shouldn’t be taking the shot.

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thebulletman
Jan 18 2011 09:05 PM
A 40 yard shot should be your MAX. You wound to many deer use a range finder also.
I would instead counsel some Shakespeare,,

"To thine own self be true".

Be realistic about your skills, the target and the conditions. No one knows them better than you. Further, consider this thought..... As a hunter you have the ability to grant a game animal something that the almighty has denied them: A clean quick death.

Don't screw it up.

Seer
    • rampage and UsArmyMI like this
Practice, practice, practice.......and learn your limitations under the most weather and wind conditions you can practice under. Contrary to what most of the crossbow naysayaers think, you cannot shoot an animal in the next county with your crossbow. A crossbows range is limited to the same range as a good compound bow and limited by the hunters experience and amount of pracatice. If you are confident in you hunting and shooting abilities, then about 40 yards under optimal conditions is about it with a crossbow, and a compound bow too for that matter. There are a few hunters that can shoot past 40 yards and make killing shots consistently, but they are few and far betweeen. Again, practice all you can and you'll quickly learn just how far you can make an accurate shot with your equipment.

Hunt Safe,
Land Shark
    • UsArmyMI likes this
great answer unless you're chuck adams 40 yds is max
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ridgehunter
Jul 11 2012 07:07 PM
This article is filled with good advice. One thing that I would add, even though it is not necessarily about distance, is that rarely does a crossbow kill drop in its tracks. Because of the speed at which the arrow passes through the deer, it will most often run out of sight. From the experience at our camp, do not assume that a shot has been a miss even at 40 yards when the deer has run off or there is no blood trail. We have found blood trails 75-100 yards away from the initial shot even with a double lung hit. This has happened with both mechanical and fixed broadheads. We assume that a hit has been made unless there is clear evidence to the contrary. The hunters in our camp, though, practice, practice, practice, and take shots that they are clearly consistent in making.
    • Outdoorsman, rampage and Deerstalker like this
WELL SAID.
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NasCarOutLaw
Aug 17 2012 10:15 AM
i totally agree i think the 40 yrd range is about max.
40 yard max, that is if the shooter has practiced enough at that range, and is consistently in-the-zone!

Good Article!

Safe Shooting Everyone and Enjoy The Hunt...
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white rabbitt
Oct 15 2012 08:31 AM
WIth the right cross bow one can shoot and kill a deer at 200 yards. just saying
I believe there are too many variables in archery for a person to decree an absolute maximum range for other people. An often overlooked factor is the arrow itself. A 22" 16-18 FOC arrow with a 2", 2 degree offset fletching with a very small profile expandible broadhead has a much higher ballistic coefficient (and less than 1/2 the crosswind deflection) than a 20" arrow with 4-5" fletching, especially with much offset, with a moderate sized fixed broadhead. The developed skill of the shooter is a major factor too. As mentioned in the opening article, the state of the animal, and the hunter's knowledge of animal demeanor are crucial factors.
In my personnel experience and knowing my skills. I will not think of shooting at a deer past 40 yards. I know the crossbow I use still has the potienial to bring down the deer at further yardages and I can make those further shoots at a target but here in lies the biggest problem. I've shot a deer at 48 yards once and in that distance the deers reaction almost put my arrow out of the kill zone. I was aming at a perfect side facing deer, at the center of the perfect kill zone. Assuming I might have pulled the arrow off an inch maybe two at most that deer being very comfortable feeding, when he reacted, he moved my arrow placement back about 8 inches and high 6 inches. It still took out both lungs but much further he would've been a wounded deer and my feelings would diffinately have been hurt that I sent a wounded animal off somewhere and possibly never find him! A deer can react to sound alot faster than you can and in such a fast time it's almost unbelievable. I've actually had deer react quick enough with my coumpound bow that I completly missed so I will not take a shot past 30-35 yards with it because it moves alot slower in fps! The utmost discretion is involved in long shots even with a rifle!

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