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Fishing, Hunting, & Trapping

Archery Hunting Season: Compound Bows vs Crossbows



Archery Hunting Season: Compound Bows vs Crossbows

If you’re stuck in an internal debate over whether to go with a compound bow or a crossbow during hunting season, there are a few factors to consider. Archery hunting season is upon us, decide which one’s best to use.

Archery Hunting | Compound Bow or Crossbow

Purists may encourage you to go with a compound bow, and at certain times in the season, that may be your only option based on local laws.

But when it comes to taking down bucks, it’s hard to match the power and accuracy that a crossbow provides – even to disabled hunters, who may struggle with a compound bow.

Forty-eight states now allow crossbows for use in at least part of the archery hunting season, so the choice is yours to make. How do compound bows and crossbows compare?

Ease of Use

A crossbow pulls ahead when it comes to ease of use. The use of a scope as well as the minimal strength needed to pull the trigger mean that crossbows are even a great choice for children and those with disabilities.

By comparison, compound bows require a significant range of motion and power to draw the bowstring to full draw, as well as years of practice in aiming.

Winner: Crossbow




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Once again, the crossbow is a winner in the accuracy category. Accuracy with a compound bow takes years of practice and consistently great form.

Crossbows, on the other hand, can be used accurately when sitting, kneeling, or using a rest. The scope contributes to accuracy, allowing effective hunting at a longer range.

Winner: Crossbow



Crossbow bolts carry more kinetic energy and more momentum than the average compound arrow – that’s just a fact.

Crossbows have very heavy draw weights and can shoot arrows noticeably faster than compound bows.

This means a flatter trajectory over a farther distance, and that it will hit the target or animal HARD.

Winner: Crossbow


Size and Weight

Size and Weight | Archery Hunting Season: Compound Bows vs Crossbows

There’s no getting around the fact that crossbows are significantly bulkier and heavier than compound bows.

They’re not that easy to carry around or to use without rest. Compound bows have the distinct advantage of being lighter and less cumbersome.

Winner: Compound Bow


Noise Level

Crossbows are louder than compound bows, which can make it difficult to get a second shot off.

Your target may even “jump the string,” depending on how far away you are. Compound bows are much quieter when in use.

Winner: Compound Bow


Ease of Reload

You’ll want to hit your target on the first try with a crossbow, or you may not get a second shot.

Reloading a crossbow is harder and takes more time than with a compound bow.

Winner: Compound Bow


Limitations on Season


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Depending on the state, crossbow hunters may get several more weeks of opportunity than gun hunters, but less time than vertical-bow hunters.

The best weeks of archery season may be reserved for only compound bow hunters. Always check local season structure for when to use crossbows.

Winner: Compound Bow


It’s Your Choice

While you may still be torn on which type of bow to hunt with this season, many hunters feel that the advantages to crossbows make them the better choice.

A crossbow is not as deadly as a rifle, but they certainly have the edge over compound bows.

Crossbows create inclusivity in bow hunting, retaining older hunters and helping to introduce women and young archers to the sport.

Crossbows are deadlier than compound bows, and crossbow hunters are killing more deer than ever.

There’s no reason you can’t successfully hunt with both compound bows and crossbows.

Which of these two are you using this archery hunting season? Let us know why in the comments section!

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