Crossbows are not rifles and whatever a manufacturer wants you to believe about them needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
This was my first season hunting with a crossbow. It had its fair share of ups and downs to say the least. Going into the season I heard things like: you have such a longer effective range with a crossbow, it’s cheating to use a crossbow, anyone can kill a deer with a crossbow, or even I killed a deer at 100 yards with one. I didn’t harvest an animal with my crossbow and it definitely wasn’t easier.
I hunted over 30 days; if you want to see some of my hunts go to my YouTube channel and watch. You will see that my failure wasn’t for a lack of trying. I could have harvested a doe but I was holding out for a mature buck.
Some manufacturers tout rifle like accuracy out to 100 yards, some say 70 yards, others prop up how fast their bow can sling bolts. That might help sell your crossbow, but when you think about what goes into harvesting an animal it is much harder than hitting a target at any distance in a controlled environment.
In a hunting scenario so much can happen, and things need to be thought about before the trigger is even squeezed. The second you squeeze the trigger a number of things can happen.
- The wind can gust and blow a bolt off target
- Deer reaction resulting in alerting the animal (Watch this video to see how much a doe can drop)
- Broad-head malfunction (expandable points mostly)
- Point of Aim and Point of Impact changes
When you take into account some of these, and there is probably more, what can happen at 100 yards vs. 50 yards to your bolt is twice as probable. What I have come to know now is that a crossbow is nothing like a rifle and we should never compare them. At 100 yards a crossbow bolt can drop as much as 100 inches. That is a huge drop, and to think if it can move just that much from gravity, how much can it be altered with a gust of wind? It’s possible it could deflect 20 inches from a 10 mph gust of wind; I’m no physicist but that’s enough to wound or miss a deer completely.
Prior to the season, I practiced with my Tenpoint Turbo GT crossbow and determined that my max range was right at 55 yards. I believe that this is common for most crossbow hunters, plus or minus 5 yards. I know some will say, “I can shoot 3 inch groups at 70 yards or more”, well yes, you might be able to in a controlled target shooting scenario but I have never found any hunt to be much of a controlled scenario.
As hunters it is important to our sport that we harvest animals as ethically as we possibly can.
In conclusion, after hunting with the Tenpoint Turbo GT crossbow for a full season, I have come to find that how far a crossbow can shoot and how far a harvest can be made effectively are two very different things. In my opinion, I believe that an ethical shot is not only based on how much you have practiced, but also on the conditions of the hunt. Taking all of that into account, I don’t think there are ever perfect conditions that would allow for a 100 yard shot. What do you think? We would love to hear your comments, stories and more.