Learning the Crossbow
The major difference between the compound bow and crossbow is the difference in the speed with which an archer or hunter can learn to shoot. The crossbow can be mastered in under an hour. The biggest difficulty is making sure the bow is cocked perfectly straight so the shot does not go off kilter. A few minutes spent talking with a bow dealer will provide all the shooter needs to know in terms of purchasing an arrow and a broadhead.
Learning the Compound Bow
Mastering the compound bow can take quite a bit more time than learning to fire the crossbow. Perhaps the hardest facet of this type of bowhunting is getting within 20 yards of the prey. With a crossbow, the shooter can be further away from the animal and still make an effective shot.
Shooting the Crossbow
One of the major complaints about shooting this bow is that the projectile fires off more like a gun and that it maintains a flat straight course instead of bowing or arching like other bows. However the compound bow also has about the same trajectory; more flat than arched.
Crossbows behave like all other bows when it comes to taking down the target. The shot can be ruined just like the compound bow if the arrow deflects off of bone or hits some brush on the way to its target. In addition all bows kill by bleeding out the animal. There is no difference in the “how” of any bow.
The Weight of the Crossbow
Unlike the compound bow that has its weight distributed fairly evenly, this bow is heavy at the front of the weapon. As a result you cannot hold it in position at your shoulder ready to shoot for a very long time. After a minute or two your arms will start to tremor from the strain and you will be forced to lower your weapon.
Cold Weather Hunting
When hunting in frigid weather the advantage goes to the crossbow. It is very important to bundle up to prevent frostbite when hunting in the winter. However, so much clothing limits movement and the compound bow requires physical steps to cock, aim and shoot. In addition most compound bows work best while sitting up in tree, subject to the wind and cold. With a crossbow you can cock the weapon and prepare to fire. You can get down out of the tree and away from wind and hunt on the ground. When you see your target all that needs to be done is a quick aim and fire. There is no cocking of this weapon as it as already been done ahead of time.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of the crossbow is the ability of those with physical ailments to hunt. The work perfectly for archers or hunters in wheelchairs as the vertical length of the bow is not an issue. In addition the cocking aids that can be purchased and attached to the bow to help get the weapon cocked and ready for firing. This type of bow is also advantageous for people with bad back, arthritis or neck injuries.
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