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Stealth and Range of the Crossbow Archer

Did you know that the average successful shot by crossbow hunters is 20 yards or less?

You must develop the STEALTH to move within 30–40 yards of your game, the crossbows MAXIMUM effective range.

Most hunters harvest white-tailed deer at 20 yards or less because of their rugged habitat. This helps to develop your range.  

So what is this STEALTH all about?  

We are not talking about all those popular video games out now having to do with STEALTH SHOOTING.

Webster has to say this:


1. slow, deliberate, and secret in action or character. 2.intended not to attract attention: STEALTHY a stealth campaign

Does this have anything to do with shooting a crossbow?

Apparently so! 

What happens when you shoot a bow

When a conventional compound bow is shot, the string on the bow pushes the arrow more than twice the distance as when a crossbow is shot. Therefore, to produce the same arrow speeds, a crossbow must have more than twice the draw weight of a compound bow.  Thus the STEALTH.

To load an arrow for shooting (nocking an arrow), the archer places an arrow across the middle of the bow with the bowstring in the arrow’s nock. To shoot, the archer pulls back (draws) the arrow and the bowstring, which in turn flexes the bow limbs, storing elastic energy.

Related: Recreational or Competitive Archery?

Because of this much shorter “power stroke” (draw) on the crossbow, it must have much heavier limbs. The powerful limbs move a short distance and stop quickly when an arrow is shot. Therefore, the crossbow must have more physical mass than a compound bow to absorb the shock, which otherwise would be transferred to the shooter. OUCH!!

This short, heavy power stroke means the crossbow will also create more noise when discharged than the conventional compound bow.

Things to know about a crossbow

  • Crossbows are bulkier, heavier, and more difficult to transport than firearms or conventional bows.
  • Crossbow hunting requires a much closer range than rifle hunting. Therefore, it often requires a higher degree of STEALTH and sheer effort to get into position to make the shot (similar to fly fishermen among anglers).
  • Crossbows have special safety concerns that do not apply to firearms or bows. For example, a cocked crossbow without an arrow loaded can still cause serious injury if it is fired accidentally.
  • Due to the design of crossbows, a crossbow hunter cannot take a follow-up shot as quickly as a firearm hunter or bowhunter.
  • Crossbow hunters must become adept at scouting, tracking, and recovering game. This takes perseverance and patience.

While these challenges may be too great for some, many find that these elements add to the pleasure of hunting. Crossbow hunting can be a unique emotional experience because you are so close to the game.  If you enjoy this, continue to develop your own STEALTH AND RANGE.

We want to hear from you! What do you like the best about using a crossbow? Reply in the comments!

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