Reality Check: Crossbows vs. Compounds

Is a bow, by any other name, still a bow? What about if you hold it sideways?

I recently read a blog on another website comparing crossbows to compounds, and the author claims that crossbows are much deadlier. And to justify his position, he tells the story of two recent turkey hunts where he and a buddy belly crawled on field-loving gobblers and killed them with crossbows. And he states—correctly—that the same wouldn't have been possible with compounds because the turkeys would've seen them rise to their knees in order to draw.

But then the author goes too far and states: "Put in just a little effort to sight in [a crossbow] precisely with a rangefinder, and you can kill deer at 60 to 70 yards all day long."

Ummm, no.

From a solid rest (or prone), can a crossbow shooter hit a dinner plate-size target all day long from 60 yards? Maybe. But bull's-eyes and bucks (and bulls, bears, birds, etc.) aren't made of paper or foam, and until someone makes a whisper-quiet crossbow, the problem of critters jumping the string will always be the biggest con for crossbows.

The blog author and his buddy dropped their longbeards at 30 and 48 yards. Good for them. But I feel very confident in predicting that if they continue to target turkeys at those ranges, they'll be chasing lots of wounded birds.

Bowhunting, regardless of whether you choose a crossbow or compound, is a close-range game. Animals can and do jump the string, and wind can blow arrows off course. It's up to you to decide "how far is too far," but don't ever confuse accuracy on the range with your sure-kill distance on game.

I'll say it again: Bull's-eyes don't move, but animals do.


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