There has been an influx of hunters making the switch from rifle hunting, to archery hunting. And there are a few reasons for it.
First, in some places, hunting seasons are longer if you use archery equipment than they are if you are using a rifle. And second; archery hunting takes quite a bit more skill, requiring you to get closer to your game. That means each kills you make with a bow, was a hard-fought, and a well-deserved one.
But some questions present themselves when you decide to make the jump from rifle hunting to crossbow hunting. Things like; what game can I hunt with a crossbow? Will I need to purchase multiple crossbows? And what type of ammunition do I use?
Let’s start by addressing the first question.
What Game Can be Hunted with a Crossbow
Like most rifle hunters, most crossbow hunters are in search of deer. But honestly, if you live in North America, we strongly suggest expanding your horizons. And I mean that literally, venture out further into your world and find a new quarry. North America is chock-full of the beautiful game that tastes just as good as deer, if not better.
And the range of animals you can hunt with crossbows is as bountiful as the game you can shoot with a rifle. Of course, due to the nature of crossbows, you’ll have to get significantly closer to your prey. But that’s part of the fun, isn’t it?
Crossbows can be used on games as small as rabbits and squirrels to animals like elk, bighorn sheep, and even reindeer (that’s right I still call them reindeer). I’ve even seen some folks take down a grizzly with a crossbow.
Most crossbows will have an average draw weight of 150-175 pounds. Which works well for pretty much any game that you are going to be going after. Sure that’s overkill if you’re going for the smaller animals. But it’s perfect for animals with a thicker hyde i.e. elk and caribou.
But let’s say you’re looking for something a little larger. Maybe you want to be the guy with the awesome story about how you stared down a grizzly bear and walked away to… well… tell the story.
In that case, you’ll need a higher draw weight, 200 pounds is where you need to be here. But if you’re new to bow hunting, then you don’t need to be hunting these majestic creatures. God forbid you to miss the kill zone – I assure you, you won’t be walking away from the repercussions of that mistake.
For now, you can stick with a crossbow with a draw weight of 150 pounds. The Barnett Whitetail Pro STR is a great bow for those just into the crossbow scene. It has a draw weight of 165 pounds and bolt travel of up to 400 feet per second. It’s a perfectly versatile bow that has you covered from the small game all the way up to elk and large deer.
Check out some other sweet crossbow options
|Bow||Draw Weight (in pounds)||Kinetic Energy (ft-lbs)|
|Barnett Whitetail Pro STR||165||140|
|Barnett Whitetail Hunter II||150||103|
|Wicked Ridge Invader G3||165||97|
|PSE Fang Series||155||95|
Small Game Broadheads
You’re hunting tiny animals, like rabbits and squirrels, it’s absurd to use a giant fixed blade broadhead on your game. You’d simply shred it to pieces. And you’re not going to use your field point arrows for them either. Instead, get some broadheads that are made just for small animals.
Small game broadheads are significantly different than their larger counterparts. They generally have duller points than other broadheads and they generally have arms (instead of arrows). These arms help to dig into the animal, without tearing right through them.
My favorite small game broadhead is the G5 Small Game Head. It is sturdy and puts a hell of a puncture in the animal. And a quick, humane kill is the only kill I am okay with.