The crossbow market is one of the fastest growing segments in the outdoor hunting industry. More and more companies are competing against each other in a race that is aimed at producing the best crossbow. This is further propagated by the wide acceptance of the use of crossbows, in which over half of the states in the US accept crossbow use during hunting season and this number is expected to grow. With this much increase in use, you might end up having one in your hands, either for archery or hunting, if you like shooting arrows. Because of this, there are some things you need to know about crossbows. These include:
You need to uncock it when not in use
In theory, crossbows can remain cocked for a long time without any effect. It is common to see some hunters leave their crossbows cocked for days or even weeks but this is not the best practice because after a few months, the bow will lose some of the potential energy stored in its components at full draw, rendering it useless in the field. This happens because the cocked bow puts a lot of stress on the limbs, trigger mechanism, string and cables and this ends up shortening their lifespan through slow but continuous deterioration.
The best practice is to fire the bow at the end of each day on the hunt, by using something like a practice arrow, into soft ground. This firing uncocks it, leaving every component stress free.
You need to cock it properly before firing
How you cock your bow primarily affects the accuracy of your shot. Proper cocking basically means that the string must be drawn and locked into position with both servings on each side of the rail being equal in length. Unequal string lengths on the servings will fire the arrow with an uneven amount of energy, making it divert from the aimed path, giving you less accuracy and this is very demoralizing when hunting.
Novice crossbow hunters should especially check on because they are more likely to make this mistake.
They are short range hunting tools
It requires high momentum arrows to puncture game skin at long range. Crossbow arrows loose strength and destabilizes when fired at long range targets and this is because the arrows are usually light as compared to the arrows used by other types of bows. The bows also have short power strokes which also significantly reduces their firing range distance.
Maintenance is a must
Crossbows might require minor adjustments and tuning regularly but proper maintenance is the key to extending the lifespan of this hunting gear. The bowstring for instance, stretches overtime and this significantly reduces the draw weight. This means that you store less potential energy at full draw, leading to slower arrow speed and a shorter range.
The string should also be fully waxed, except at the center serving while the rails need to be sufficiently lubed to ensure the string has a long lifespan. With such maintenance procedures, your string can last for up to 3 years under normal hunting use before requiring replacement.
They are all weather hunting tools
Properly maintained crossbows can help you hunt in the blistering heat of the summer as well as in the chilly weather during winter season. However, they should not be left outside, especially during summer, because direct sunlight has a tendency to dry up bowstrings, making them weak and easy to snap.
These are the most important “all you need to know” about crossbows and will help you a lot when you get it for first use. Using it is not quite difficult, especially if you are used to other types of bows. However, if you are a beginner, you can request some form of training before actually buying it from the store so that you can hit the ground running.