Using a treestand or ground blind to hunt out of can provide many benefits to the crossbow hunter. First and foremost, it increases your opportunity to get within shooting distance of game, which in most cases would be 40 to 50 yards or less.
The structures also keep us out of sight and provide a good field of view to watch for game. Fast, lightweight, easy to operate crossbows like the Wicked Ridge Invader G3 are great options for this style of “ambush hunting”.
When your stand or blind is properly and securely set up, you will need to cut proper shooting lanes to the active game trails or feeding areas you will be watching. Taking the time to create these direct lines of sight will avoid potential deflections.
Check Limb Clearance
Whenever you set up the first thing you need to do is make sure you have proper limb clearance for your crossbow. There is nothing worse than pulling the trigger and having one of your crossbow limbs come in contact with something. It will inevitably through your arrow off course and hours and days of preparation and patterning animals will be lost in a split second.
Treestands and blinds are famous for spoiling a hunt because hunters don’t enact their hunts before the real thing happens. If you plan on shooting out of a blind, practice out of a blind and make sure to try various angles to confirm you know how much clearance is required when you squeeze the trigger. The same goes for treestands. Shooting rails can be helpful, but have also been known to foil the perfect shot.
If you find yourself in a situation where you haven’t shot your bow and don’t know what the clearance is, use your arrow as a measuring tool. Most arrows are about the same width of your bow uncocked. If you find there is a variance, you can mark one arrow with the proper width and use it as a measure. For example, the Invader G3 is 22 inches wide uncocked. The lightweight speedster shoots a 20-inch arrow, which when set up with a broadhead has the perfect comparable length to represent the bows limb width. Hold up the arrow and change angles to see where it can be shot without making contact with anything.
Sit to Shoot
There are a couple of big considerations when preparing and practicing for shooting from blinds and stands. To start with, if you do not regularly practice from the sitting position, off a structure, you need to do so.
Shoot from the same chair that you will use in the blind, and ensure you can sit high enough to see out the windows. Many camp chairs sag and leave a shooter sitting too low to line up for a shot, forcing you to squirm to the edge of the chair or end up crouching in the blind.
The extra movement can alert game and force you to shoot from an unfavorable position. The same is true for treestands. Practice is the best line of defense against bad form or unforeseen problems. Set up your treestand at the same height you intend to hunt from, and practice shooting at different angles that you normally wouldn’t be familiar with.
Save time and decrease movement in your stand or blind by knowing your effective range before a deer shows up. Use a range finder to confirm the distance to known objects in your shooting lanes and use them as reference points. Confirm the farthest distance you can shoot and anything inside the zone means fair game.
Having reference points at 10-yard intervals will ensure you are dead-on accurate when a deer shows up, and you won’t have to move to check the distance—just level the crosshair on your G3. Use trees, rocks, flowers, grass or any natural features possible as reference points. If none exist, don’t be afraid to place a marker to help. Even a stick, broken branch or flagging tape can be used as confirmed reference points. If you are putting out markers, make sure to do so before you hunt, so you don’t spread your scent for incoming deer to pick up.
Practice on 3D
3D targets are invaluable for showing you shooting angles and where your crossbow arrow would enter or exit an animal. Understanding angles is extremely important, especially when hunting from an elevated position when you need to visualize where an arrow will exit on an animal to ensure it travels through the vitals.
Picturing the exit pinpoints the target area where you will focus your crosshair. Shooting the target at different angles from complete broadside to quartering away is also a great learning tool that could help you recognize good shot opportunities when in the field dealing with live targets.