Many hunters will be purchasing crossbows this year. Some will purchase one because it will be the only way for them to stay active in the woods. Others will purchase one just to test the waters, not knowing if a crossbow is the route they really want to go or not. In both cases, first time X-bow hunters, just like any consumer, want the best value for their hard earned cash. Often times their first purchase will be a bow from a foreign decent or from a lesser known manufacturer. And for good reason, they can enter the sport of crossbow hunting without breaking the bank. However, your bow should be the last place you try to save money. Now I’m not suggesting you that you go out and buy the most expensive bow on the market, but you should take note as to why some bows may seem like such a good value, and what you aren’t getting in return when you purchase one of these bows.
At first glance, a crossbow looks like a pretty simple design. But to make one that is safe, reliable, and accurate is quite complex. Many of these less expensive bows coming from overseas manufacturers have had no research or design before being manufactured. Most times, they are direct copies of models from successful crossbow manufactures. Even though they may look like the originals, they are far from it. Build quality is usually nowhere close. Quality of materials are often sacrificed and machining tolerances can be sloppy at best. What you are left with is a bow that you saved some money on, and looks like a crossbow from a reputable manufacturer, but most likely will not preform like one. My biggest fear is that a new would be X-bow hunter could decide not to pursue hunting with a crossbow due to an unpleasant user experience when starting off with one of these bows.
What about warranty or customer service? My inbox on my email is filled with inquires of how to get in contact with these foreign based companies from customers with warranty issues. Getting a hold of someone to talk to is impossible. Getting replacement parts if your bow should require repair is an even tougher challenge. There just isn’t any support for these types of crossbows if you should need it.
So what should you do if you’re on a limited budget and you want to try crossbow hunting? My advice would be to purchase a used bow from a well known manufacturer. With most of the manufactures, a warranty will not travel if you are not the original owner. But with some of them, it will. In the event you would have a problem with a used bow from a reputable manufacturer, at least you will be able to get a hold of a customer service department to find out what your next step would be. Most of the ones I know of are more than fair when it comes to fixing warranty issues even if you’re not the original owner. And even if you decide that crossbow hunting just isn’t your cup of tea, selling a used X-bow from a well known manufacture will be much easier than selling one that nobody has ever heard of.
Today there are so many really good crossbows for the new hunter to choose from. No matter what your budget is, there is a bow for you. Unfortunately there are so many lousy ones on the market too. Don’t let a cheap crossbow ruin a hunt or even worse, discourage you from becoming a X-bow hunter. I know price can be very appealing. But buying an off brand, cheaply manufactured crossbow is not the way to get introduced into this wonderful sport.