Basic Crossbow questions

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hot tamale
 
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Basic Crossbow questions

Postby hot tamale » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:19 am

I am applying for my crossbow permit in Wisconsin and I have never shot a crossbow so I have a few questions pertaining to them.
First of all, if I want to archery hunt, I would need to use a crossbow since I have what they call "Essential Tremor" which is a shaky disease that basically makes my left arm/hand shake.
I would like to bow hunt again, but it would take a lucky shot for me to be a one shot/ one kill with my left arm the way it is. I do not entertain the thought of injuring an animal if I can't be assured of a lethal kill shot--so for me if i want to continue to archery hunt, I would need the cross bow as I could rest it on a shooting rail or shooting stick.
Or--does this not make sense to anyone else? This is my thought though that I could use a shooting rail or stick to steady my aim. Has anyone done this?
Is it possible to use these items with a cross bow or will something get in the way?

I also have a question regarding the differences between the crossbows that I see for sale on line. I see that some look like the older long bow or stick bow while others have more of the energy cam or compound bow look.
Is this a preference thing or do they perform differently?
What about the bolts? fletching? all of that stuff?

I see a Barnett C5 combo deal for about $400 from Cabela's. I usually don't like combo deals as you seem to get lesser than great accessories with them.
I would appreciate any and all info or thoughts on this matter.

I know many of you true archers out there are strictly against crossbows and I understand that, but since my body has taken away my ability to continue with a sport I love, I have to go against it and find a way.

Thanks for any and all replies.

Hot Tamale

hot tamale
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:54 pm

Re: Basic Crossbow questions

Postby hot tamale » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:27 am

I almost forgot:
What about draw back weights and things like that? I forget the terminology so bare with me.
What are the bolts made of- Carbon?
Scope or no scope?
How accurate are these things?
What are the distances for accuracy and lethality with these? I know accuracy would depend on Practice and things like that but I guess I would figure with a smaller projectile that it would have a shorter range and some accuracy issues. I'm probably wrong as usual, but these are the things I want to know.

I went to Cabela's just to look and possible talk to one of the guys about them but since I wasnt sure what I was even looking for and did not intend to buy, he sort of pushed me off and left me to myself (Cabela's Richfield, WI).
So I got no where with my questions.
Who better to ask than all of you!!! The lords of the woods!!!

Thanks again,

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Deebz
 
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Location: Illinois

Re: Basic Crossbow questions

Postby Deebz » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:02 am

Great questions!

My wife uses a crossbow due to the fact that she was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, more commonly known as Brittle Bone Disease. We went through basically the same process as you are right now to get her set up hunting.

As far as the traditional recurve limb compared to cams: This is basically a preference. The recurve style (Excalibur brand specializes in these) are very simply put together. You can change the string in the field all by yourself, there are fewer moving parts, so there are fewer things to break. In my experience, the only performance difference is that they tend to be a bit louder on the shot than a bow with cams. I don't feel this is an issue, because you are really limited to 1 shot anyway. The high bolt speed achieved from a crossbow also tend to offset the "jumping the string" factor. My wife started with an Excalibur that we got on Craig's list for cheap just to be sure she liked it. She killed one deer with it last season. This season we bought her a Parker Tomahawk with cams because the smaller bow fit her frame better, and she can cock it by herself. (the Excalibur was a 200 lb draw, and the length of the pull was too much for her)

Draw weight: You'll find a range of draw weights based on the specific length of the bow, the distance the string travels, the efficiency of the cams, etc.... Most bows are at least 150 lbs. My wife's is 165. In IL the max you can hunt with is 200. Obviously, the higher the poundage the more difficult it is to draw, but nearly all packages will come with a rope cocker that uses hooks and pulleys to make it easier to draw your bow. More importantly than draw weight will be the length of the bow and how well it fits your frame as far as being able to easily cock and shoot the bow. They also make other accessories to help you with cocking the bow. The most common would be a crank style, where you hook the string and crank a handle to cock the bow. Some bows even come with carbon dioxide powered or electri automatic cockers, where you simply push a button... these get pricey.

Bolts: I'd suggest carbon, simply because they tend to hold up to multiple shots better. You can probably find aluminum or even wood, but carbon has performed very well for us.

Scope/no Scope: Again, this is your preference. I personally would always mount a scope on a crossbow. You can get them with the multiple reticles so that you can sight in at 20 yds and have another reticle for 30yds, 40yds, etc... This leads into your accuracy and range questions... You've got it right with accuracy, the more you practice the better. Range is really not more than a vertical bow would be. The bolts do fly somewhat faster, but they are heavier, so they lose their KE at longer ranges faster than an arrow (in my experience). My wife is dead nuts to 40 yds, and beyond that she just isn't comfortable. Take time to sight the scope in and shoot a lot! You'll figure out your own comfort zone. **Remember to check your line of sight with the actual flight of the arrow!! I know people have had a clear view in the scope when they shot, only to see their bolt hit a limb a foot in front of the bow they couldn't see in the scope--This is similar to shooting a gun with a scope**

You can most definitely use a shooting rail, stick, or other rest when shooting a crossbow. The frame of the bow is basically a gun. The one thing to remember is to NEVER allow your fingers to be above the shooting rail (where the bolt sits) when you shoot, or you WILL lose them. The thumb is usually the culprit here... if you wrap your hand around the top of the barrel when you shoot a gun you will have to change your style... The different bows all have different forend styles, so choose one that is comfortable for you to handle and shoot safely.

The only other thing about the bolts is that you need to make sure the nock style is the right one for your bow... Different companies recommend specific styles (you'll see half-moon styles, capture styles, etc...) Using the wrong nock will affect accuracy as the bolt leaves the string. Fletching is pretty much up to you.... You can usually purchase sets of bolts that are designed for the make of crossbow you decide on.

Hopefully this helps you decide what will work best for you. The biggest thing you can do is to find a dealer who will let you actually shoot some different styles of bows before you buy one. We dealt with a small bow shop who specialized in only 3 different brands that had different styles. We had a bow picked out, then we shot some just for the heck of it, and my wife changed her mind to go with the Parker... We spent $700 out the door for a package that included the bow, a Red Hot scope with illuminated 3 dot reticle, rope cocker, quiver and 4 bolts, rail lube, and a case for transportation. We got the bow ready to shoot and already sighted in. She LOVES it... Killed a squirrel with a shot under the jaw this year...I posted a pick in the IL thread
"When a hunter is in a tree stand with high moral values and with the proper hunting ethics and richer for the experience, that hunter is 20 feet closer to God." ~Fred Bear

hot tamale
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:54 pm

Re: Basic Crossbow questions

Postby hot tamale » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:19 pm

Thanks on the info.
This site works fast as I had a call from a Cabela's person (manager) that knew who I was from my posting handle (hot tamale).
Anyways, he asked who it was that I talked to there and some other questions. Apparently the guy I talked to was a seasonal person and is no longer there due to other problems people have complained about.
Either way, he invited me down there to come and get "Schooled" with the crossbows available and even offered a discount for my bad experience. I would have taken him up on it if I had the $1000 or even $700 to shell out right now, but I am still recovering from the xmas funds being depleted so it is something I will have to wait a little bit for.
I did call the DNR and they guided me to the crossbow permit page. I took it to my doctor and he says that my "shakiness" isn't covered under the guidelines specifically. So now i will have to keep asking the DNR what I can do here.
I can't hold the bow with my left arm for any amount of time without it basically shaking or moving all over the place. my nerves don't allow it. As time has moved on, I notice that the muscles on my left side are also not what they used to be so I am SOL there too.

what surprised me is that you said there is a 200lb limit for Illinois? I could see a minimum but why a max? I will have to check into these different state requirements more in depth before i purchase so I can hunt elsewhere and not accidentally break some rule like that.

Thanks for the info.

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Deebz
 
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Location: Illinois

Re: Basic Crossbow questions

Postby Deebz » Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:04 pm

I believe the 200lb max is along the same lines as to why we can't use rifles to deer hunt in IL... too much chance for collateral damage. I think it's silly myself, but in all honesty 200lb is WAY more than necessary to kill even the biggest whitetail.

As far as your doctor not being willing to sign off on it goes: I'm a teacher, so I see a lot of "conditions" diagnosed by doctors that allow various students certain priveleges outside the norm. (ie: extra time on tests, extra help in various forms) when these students truly are capapble of If you honestly cannot safely and efficiently use a vertical bow, I'm sure you can find a doctor to sign off on your application permit. I'd try to find a doctor who hunts, as they may be more understanding.

I know you're not in IL, but the state police didn't even question my wife's application. Which may be a moot point in the future as there is a lot of talk of allowing crossbows across the board throughout the entire season.
"When a hunter is in a tree stand with high moral values and with the proper hunting ethics and richer for the experience, that hunter is 20 feet closer to God." ~Fred Bear

hot tamale
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:54 pm

Re: Basic Crossbow questions

Postby hot tamale » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:14 pm

This doctor I went to was more than willing to say that I have an impairment, but if you read the conditions on the form for the doctor, the first one states something about loss of limb-no, that's not it, the second one is something else and the third one is something to do with muscle. It's not that my muscle cant pull back the bow, but it's that my nerves wont allow my arm to stay still.
Put it this way, If you gave me a machine gun and I had to aim it with my left arm I would put a hole in the side of a barn big enough for a tractor to park and never get touched. ok, that's a little bit of a stretch, but not much.
so that is where the doctor is going to try and get me in the system. it's not a muscle problem, but a nerve problem. He will do whatever it takes without lying about it (which i wouldnt want him to do anyways as I always mess up any lies i am a part of!)


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