Hunters across the country are taking advantage of modern crossbow performance, but have you tuned up the “human factor?” If not, here’s how…
by Brad Fenson for HuntDaily
Spot-and-stalk adventures are one of the most rewarding ways to crossbow hunt. You never know what shot opportunities will arise or what conditions you might face. Sometimes, you’re stretching to see over an obstacle, while other times you could be lying flat on your belly, trying to hide in the weeds. Be prepared for any hunting situation by practicing shooting from these five positions.
One of the toughest ways to shoot your crossbow accurately and consistently is from the standing position. Muscle fatigue and things like wind can cause movement in your entire body, which transmits through your arms and to your crossbow. Practicing shooting offhand can make you more proficient under any circumstance. Holding your reticle steady on the target and controlling your breathing is all part of perfect shot placement along with a smooth, straight trigger pull. Lighter crossbows like the TenPoint Turbo GT make it easier to hold still.
If you find yourself shooting from a standing position, make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly ahead of the other. That is, if you’re right-handed, your left foot should be slightly ahead and pointed towards your target. By bending your front knee slightly, you will find it easier to stabilize against “the shakes” and the wind.
Whenever possible, use a rest. This could include a fence post, rock, or other natural structure that you can successfully position your crossbow’s forestock on without impeding limb movement. Of course, shooting sticks will significantly improve your accuracy while standing, and they are easy to carry into the field. If you find yourself without a support, you can always use the sling and wrap your arm around it before grasping the forestock. The tension created on your arm works as a stabilizer. You should practice this technique to ensure your sling is adjusted to the right length to fit your arm and maximize the benefit.
With your buttocks and both feet firmly on the ground, this leaves you with two options for arm placement. One is to place your forearm over your knees and use it as a rest for your forestock or, if you are forced to hold the bow up higher, place your elbow on one knee to create stability for the arm holding up the bow.
To get an even bigger advantage, try supporting the butt end of your stock as well. Even leaning into a tree with your shoulder that is supporting the bow will provide outstanding stability for improved accuracy.
Proper body positioning for a prone shot will have you lying down so that the leg on the same side as your trigger hand is stretched out straight behind you to form a line with the crossbow and the target. Lying at ground level can be tricky with a crossbow, where limb and string clearance are important. To get direct arrow flight, you must ensure you don’t catch grass, twigs, or branches with bow components or the arrow. Any vegetation at ground level can be a hazard. Even the slight elevation of a rock to rest your bow on can help get you just high enough to ensure you don’t have any problems. Backpacks are great stabilizers, too.
In the kneeling position, you’ll have one leg on the ground, tucked underneath you, while you bring the other knee up and use it as a brace for your elbow like you would in the sitting position. For a right-handed shooter, your left knee would be up. A stable knee gives you a little bit more height when shooting, but still provides a steady platform for body support. All the other things you would do to increase your stability for a standing shot you could also incorporate into your kneeling position.
Crouching is a difficult and unstable position to shoot from. Unless you practice doing squats, you’d be better off to drop one knee for better form and stability, or sit down if possible. A good rest would be crucial to reduce the movement from your body.
Today’s lighter, faster, and more ergonomic crossbows, such as the TenPoint Turbo GT, have given hunters the means to enjoy longer hunting seasons and improve their lethal accuracy. By practicing these five shooting positions, you can better take advantage of your crossbow’s performance potential and boost the odds of filling your tag this year.
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