Crossbow Carrying Options
Carrying your crossbow to and from your hunting spot can be the least pleasant part about hunting with one. Crossbows can be heavy when loaded up with accessories, and awkward at best when carrying back and forth to our favorite spots in the woods. It doesn’t matter if you hunt from a ground blind, from a treestand, or maybe you just sit on the ground. At some point during your hunt you will have to carry your bow with you. How you carry it most likely will be determined by how far your walk is, and if you have to carry anything else with you at the same time such as a decoy or maybe a chair or seat of some sort. Let’s review a few options you will have when carrying your crossbow afield.
The first option is not to use any sling or pack and just carry your crossbow. I personally use this method the most. Hunting whitetails in the mid-west usually means shorter walks to my hunting locations. So for me, I simply let the barrel of the bow rest on my shoulder with the bow assembly pointing rearward and and with a free hand, hold the end of the stock. Or sometimes I just hold my crossbow by one end and walk with it like a cane. These methods won’t work for everybody, but they are more than efficient for getting your crossbow from one location to the next. But what if you don’t want to carry your bow as mentioned above, or you do need that extra hand for carrying something else? Chances are, you will use a sling of some sort.
Most every crossbow on the market will have some sort of way of attaching a rifle type sling. Rifle slings are good for carrying you bow while transferring the bulk of the weight to your back and shoulder. For the most part, they also allow you to keep both of your hands free most of the time. But crossbows aren’t rifles. They tend to be more top heavy causing rifle slings to want to slide off of shoulders. Also, if you wear a backpack into the woods, sometimes your bow can’t get high enough on your shoulder when using a sling making it want to slip off even more. Sometimes you can attach a sling upside down so that the stirrup of your bow is pointing downward. Often times when carrying your bow this way, you’ll find that you have to use a free hand to keep your bow from bouncing against the back of your legs every time you take a step. This method does however move the heaviest part of your crossbow to the low side which then helps you sling from wanting to slide off of your should as much.
For the hunter that wants both hands free while walking to their hunting location. Or a hunter that may be hiking further distances than most, there are a variety of crossbow hunting packs available on the market today. These packs contain two shoulder straps like you would find on most backpacks. They also do a great job of securing your crossbow. Most of them have some sort of quick release so that in the event you do need to get to your crossbow while transporting it, you can do so without removing the pack. These packs do a great job of dispersing the weight of your bow to both shoulders eliminating fatigue. Most of these crossbow specific backpacks also contain storage of some sort eliminating the need for another backpack or fanny pack. These type of packs can be more expensive than a sling, so for the hunter that only has a short walk to their stand, they might cost more than what they’re worth. However, if you have a long trek, hunt out west, or simply just want both hands free, these packs are the way to go.
Carrying your crossbow can be a chore. But it doesn’t have to be. You do have options. If you’re new to crossbow hunting and not sure what method might be best for you, try assessing where you will be hunting and how far you will be carrying your bow. This should at least give you a starting point as to which method you think will be best for your hunting situation. Once you get some experience under your belt, you’ll find the method that works the best for you.
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