Even with top-end, high-performance crossbows, success in the field comes down to these basic ingredients…
by Brad Fendson for HuntDaily; photography by Brad Fendson and Rob Reaser
There are many ways a hunter can prepare for a successful season. Key among them is learning to become proficient with your equipment. Equally important is making sure that your equipment delivers top-notch performance, is part of a well-balanced system (arrows, sighting system, accessories, et cetera), and meets your specific hunting requirements. A comprehensive outfit such as TenPoint’s reverse-draw Carbon Nitro RDX crossbow is a prime example of a high-performance crossbow package that satisfies a broad range of hunting scenarios, including speed for open country hunting and a compact profile for easily navigating woodland environments.
With the equipment needs satisfied, the “successful season” variable becomes YOU. Quality crossbows like the Carbon Nitro RDX are wicked accurate and easy to shoot, but you will boost your odds of success in the field by practicing under simulated hunting conditions. After all, controlled bench shooting and shooting under real-world field conditions are not the same. Practicing like you hunt can help you identify problems or issues before a big buck is standing in your sights.
Nothing Beats 3D
Shooting paper is a great way to fine-tune the scope on your crossbow, but once you’ve got it dialed in, it’s time to shoot some 3D targets. A small bull’s eye on a target is easy to pinpoint with your crosshair and it reminds us to “shoot small to hit small.” In other words, the smaller your target spot the more accurate you can be. You need to practice as though you are aiming at a single hair, and knowing the anatomy of a whitetail deer will ensure your arrow hits your intended target in the kill zone. I like to practice in the trees and tall grass to simulate a hunting situation, allowing me to know exactly what my arrow will do if I run across the same scenario in the deer woods. Whenever possible, shoot the 3D representation of the animal you intend to hunt, be it deer, elk, bear, or turkey.
The Carbon Nitro RDX shoots at an incredible 385 fps, meaning arrows fly with a flatter trajectory, reducing the need to know the exact range every time. I found my crossbow shoots flat to 30 yards with the main crosshair in my scope. That said, it is important to know your exact point of impact at any given range, and to accurately range your target. This is especially true as your shots extend to 40 and 50 yards. A good rangefinder is your friend here.
Learn to Squeeze
There is nothing more critical to consistent arrow flight and accuracy than trigger pull. A slow, gentle squeeze on the trigger ensures you don’t pull your bow off target when releasing an arrow. Slapping or jerking the trigger is a bad habitat that can be hard to break, therefore, practice squeezing the trigger slowly so that it surprises you when it goes off. For best consistency, use the center of your index, or trigger, finger pad and make sure you place the exact same spot on the trigger every time. Using just the tip of your finger or grasping the trigger at your finger joint will pull you off target. Try it for yourself and you’ll quickly see how your shot groups tighten up by placing your finger on the trigger the same way every time you shoot and gently pulling straight back. The Carbon Nitro RDX has a sweet trigger that is noticeably crisp and breaks clean every time. A good trigger is the foundation of accurate shooting.
Try it in Hunting Mode
If you plan on hunting in layers of warm clothes, with gloves, a face mask, and maybe even some rain gear, make sure you practice with the same outfit before going hunting. The extra bulk or loss of mobility can drastically impair your shot and arrow delivery. Instead of taking chances, know exactly how your scope lines up on your shoulder, whether you can find the reticle in your scope quickly, and, most importantly, if you can properly manipulate the safety and trigger with gloves on.
It’s the Little Things that Count
When shooting at the range or at targets in the backyard, it really doesn’t matter how much noise you make; however, if a mature white-tailed buck is standing a mere 20 yards away, you better know how to slowly and silently lift your bow, shoulder it for quick target acquisition, and ready for the shot. Does your safety make noise when you click it off? If so, you need to practice putting your bow in the fire position without making a sound. It all may seem simple, but the mechanics are what usually ruin your chances at close range. A big buck doesn’t miss movement or noise, so super stealth mode is the only way to be successful.
High-performance crossbows such as the TenPoint Carbon Nitro RDX are similar to precision-made custom rifles—their accuracy potential usually exceeds shooter skill. With serious pre-season practice, concentrating on these four strategies, you can shorten that gap and ensure that skill, technology, and opportunity meet when the big moment arrives.
article copyright © 2016 HuntDailycom; promoted by TenPoint Crossbows
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