If you are serious about hunting big-game with your crossbow, here are some important accessories you need to ensure a successful season this year.
by the HuntDaily staff
Crossbows have expanded our hunting opportunities, and many crossbow packages offer most of what you need to start hunting, except for the broadheads. Still, there are several accessories that go beyond the basics, and these accessories can significantly improve your odds of success as well as keep your equipment in safe working order. Here are our favorites…
Lighted Nocks – Lighted crossbow nocks have become such an ethical improvement for bowhunting that the ultra-conservative Pope & Young Club recently approved them despite the nocks having an electronic signature that the association normally forbids. Crossbow arrows travel with such speed that they rarely can be seen with the human eye in hunting conditions, and they penetrate so well that they are difficult to retrieve after a shot. Lighted nocks such as the TenPoint Omni-Brite 2.0 Lighted Nock System allow you to get a better visual reading on your shot and locate your arrow for critical trailing information. Furthermore, these nocks will not affect your arrow trajectory.
Omni-Brite nocks can be turned on and off, but you may want to practice with the standard Omni-Nock, which ensures the crossbow string engages the nock properly. Never use flat or half-moon nocks in your TenPoint because you risk a misfire (the string flying over or under the shaft) or cutting the bowstring if the half-moon nock is tuned improperly.
Noise Dampening – While TenPoint crossbows are among the quietest crossbows in the industry, string and noise dampening kits can further reduce noise and vibration. These kits should be considered must-haves for improving bowhunting stealth. Adding weight to the arrow by using a heavier broadhead or target point will also help.
Precision Scope – There are crossbow scopes, and there are crossbow scopes. The RangeMaster Pro scope allows for arrow speed and drop compensation for bows that shoot between 275 and 425 fps—an ingenious feature that automatically adjusts to your bow speed. Additionally, the scope has three duplex crosshairs and five dots for ranges of 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 yards. The scope can be used with the illumination (red or green) engaged or without, as with a standard scope. Illumination can be especially helpful at the brightest time of day and when ambient light is dim; just don’t forget to turn the rheostat up or down as appropriate.
Shooting Support – American hunters are finally coming around to shooting sticks and shooting from a rest, as has been the tradition in Africa for a century. For crossbows, it’s tough to beat the versatility of the SteddyEddy.
Unlike bipods, this single shaft folds up easily, is unobtrusive to bow handling, and can be used in a tree stand. Despite the steady aiming advantage that this device provides, hunters should practice shooting with and without it. If a deer appears unexpectedly or if you have a buck chase a doe nearby, do your best to stop the buck and swing the bow in the offhand position. On undisturbed deer or in tight shooting windows, the SteddyEddy really shines.
Rangefinder – Judging distance can be a deceptive exercise. In fact, we are more wrong than we are right whenever we judge distance with the naked eye. This is especially compounded when you are shooting in open country at distances exceeding 30 yards.
A rangefinder is definitely your friend in situations like this. The Vortex Ranger 100 is one of our go-to rangefinders because it’s compact, ranges out to 1,000 yards (so we can use it when rifle hunting as well), and offers angle-compensated distance readings for when we’re shooting at extreme up or down angles. If you plan on pushing your crossbow’s lethal distance in open country, trust us…you want a quality rangefinder in your arsenal.
Crossbow Case – Travel can be harsh on a crossbow, even in the back seat of your vehicle, and a soft case is ideal to protect tightly wound cables, strings, and cams. In some states, having a bow cased is the law, so a quality case can do double duty.
Unloading Bolts – The Crossbow Unloading Bolt (CUB) is an excellent way to end any hunt. Instead of using an expensive hunting or target arrow to discharge your bow, this two-piece, biodegradable “arrow” comes in two parts and allows you to discharge your bow safely and inexpensively. Although many archers see shooting their bow as an inconvenience at the end of each day, embrace it as a chance to ensure that your bow is functioning well and the sighting system is still on target.
Sling – A crossbow sling works just like a rifle sling. What we like about the TenPoint sling is that it has a built-in holder to carry a CUB. A trick I learned while hunting elk in dense cover was to zip my outer jacket over the crossbow and then carry the bow over my shoulder with the sling. This way, the strings and bolts are protected from branches that could easily sever a string strand or pull an arrow from the quiver.
Target – As with any hunting device, you should shoot your crossbow with some frequency to ensure that the bow is in good working order, the sights are properly adjusted, and to improve shooting skills at varying distances and while shooting in real-world hunting positions. Our favorite for crossbows is Morrell’s Double Duty. The Double Duty offers four shooting sides with various targets to keep your practice sessions interesting, is rated to stop arrows up to 400 fps, and the internal construction makes it easy to pull your arrows. Keep in mind that the Double Duty is a field-point-only target. No broadheads or practice broadheads!
Arrow Puller – If you do want to shoot broadheads into a conventional broadhead target, you’re going to want an arrow puller such as the Bednar Perfect Puller. Crossbow arrows hit hard and deep in broadhead targets, and an arrow puller will provide the needed grip to safely remove your arrows.
Crossbow hunting is on the rise, offering expanded season opportunities, precise and confident performance, and more chances to put wild game in your freezer. Additionally, hunting with your crossbow during the archery season will expand your enjoyment of nature many times over as you witness firsthand the fading of fall and the emergence of winter. Enhancing your crossbow platform with the right accessories will help ensure you have a successful and safe season this year.
article copyright ©2016 by HuntDaily.com; promoted by TenPoint Crossbow Technologies