Hunting is my passion. However, you will probably never see my picture with an impressive trophy animal. I often struggle to find clothes to fit my ample, but short frame. My name will never be sought out to advertise hunting products. I just may, however, have some useful advice for the aspiring lady hunter.
My hunting is a personal journey that started 39 years ago. To say it has been an exhilarating journey would be an understatement. Aside from the obvious, soul nourishing time spent in the woods, there is something inherently gratifying in shooting a projectile at a target and hitting the mark. Whether you’re shooting handguns, rifles, shotguns, bows or a crossbow it’s hard to beat the satisfaction of a well-placed shot.
I can’t deny that I love shooting guns; all guns. I also love shooting bows too. If you’ve had any experience target shooting, then you know how gratifying it can feel to see self improvement as a result of practice. If you hunt, you also know how important it is to practice. You just can’t practice too much. Or can you?
Most of the preferred deer hunting tools include high powered rifles, powerful handguns, large bore black powder rifles, various gauge shotguns, or high poundage vertical bows. Most men have no problem practicing with these items, but sometimes women can find these intimidating and rather punishing as a result of repeated shots required while practicing. Not that we are wimpy, but we just aren’t made the same as men. Some of us may be too young, too old, or too small to have the strength needed to repeatedly pound our shoulders from the recoil of guns, or strain our muscles pulling bows of the required draw weight needed to effectively put a clean kill on an animal. I have personally experienced the sore shoulders and aching muscles resulting from such practice and truthfully, I figured every minute of it was worth the effort.
I finally reached a point in my life where my strength was not where it needed to be in order for me to feel confident in taking ethical shots with my compound bow. I can only describe the feeling as heartbreaking. When I practiced the way I should have before I hunted, I would end up pulling back muscles, and would be sore for long periods of time. If I didn’t practice before I hunted, I wasn’t confident enough to let my arrow fly. Oh, and it didn’t help that I was right-handed, left-eyed and wore trifocal glasses.
At the time, the use of a crossbow for hunting was illegal in my state, unless you had a disability. The disability had to be pretty severe and few people qualified for the crossbow permit. Even if you did qualify to use a crossbow for hunting, the general perception of crossbows was “They are just like a gun except they are quieter”. Today, we now know that nothing could be farther from the truth than then that statement, and when the truth started surfacing about crossbows crossbow hunting
, the dwindling arguments against crossbow use eventually quieted and the state (Michigan) chose to allow them as another archery tool along with long bows, recurves and compound bows. I was ecstatic! I always wanted to try shooting a crossbow anyway and thought it just may be the answer I needed to save my archery season.
I started visiting crossbow forums like Crossbow Nation to learn as much as I could about crossbows. After shopping around and handling several, I bought my first crossbow six months before the archery season opened and I started practicing. Even though the crossbow’s shorter arrow dropped faster than compound bow arrows, the effective crossbow had the same ballistic characteristics of the compound bow.
Wow! Out of the box, it only took 2 shots to sight it in my new crossbow. Even though I couldn’t cock my crossbow
without using a crank style cocking aid, it was a comfortable weapon that I could shoot all day without a sore shoulder. There was no recoil. I learned quickly because of the accuracy of the crossbow, that one does NOT shoot more than one arrow at the same spot without removing the first arrow. Gone were the unknown reasons for arrows flying all over the target (or missing it entirely). With confidence riding high, I could actually concentrate on safety checks, sighting in on the bulls eye, and squeezing the shot off instead of mentally going through the compound bow’s 16 checkpoints it takes to achieve the perfect shot. The first buck I got with my crossbow was a textbook shot through both lungs resulting in a quick recovery. The following year it was the same. Thanks to the crossbow, I finally got my archery season back!
Here are some things you should know before deciding to hunt with a crossbow. First, hunting with a crossbow is no easier than any other weapon. The crossbow still requires practice. You must realize that the crossbow is a short range hunting device. Next, you should diligently practice safety, making it top priority. Crossbows are very powerful and capable of causing considerable injury if safety procedures are not followed. Even with a crossbow, you still have to KNOW YOUR DISTANCE to be proficient in your shot placements. Also, knowing how your arrows will fly in windy or adverse conditions is a must. Know that there will be limitations while hunting with a horizontal bow when it comes to tree stands and certain ground blinds. And always follow your crossbow manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations.
The woman hunter isn’t the only one who can enjoy this piece of archery equipment but it sure is a great option for us. Most crossbows can be shot comfortably from the right or left handed position. Because they aren't draw length specific and offer cocking mechanisms to help aid in cocking the crossbow, they appeal to hunters of all ages and physical abilities.
· If you are you thinking of getting into archery hunting but lack the strength to pull a vertical bow,
· If you are you disabled but still want to put venison on the table,
· If you are you getting the age-related symptoms that prevent you from pulling your bow,
· If you are you an avid hunter looking for another archery choice for variety,
……..Then, a crossbow might be for you!
There is a crossbow reflection in this one (right lens)