Every year, hunting season starts and my new feed gets filled with pictures of people that have done something stupid while hunting with their crossbow. People are always cutting up fingers and shooting stuff that wasn’t meant to be shot. That has led me to create this list of rules to follow so that you don’t make the same stupid mistakes.
Keep Your Fingers Off The Rail
I realize that this is the largest part of your crossbow and is the easiest to grab, but you are just asking for trouble. This is the most common mistake in the book and most crossbow related injuries can be avoided by following this simple rule. You wouldn’t walk around with your finger in the barrel of a cocked gun, so why would walk around with your finger on the rail of a crossbow?
While most modern crossbows have guards to stop your hands from accidentally wandering in this direction, some older crossbow may not. It is also very common for hunters to let their hands and fingers wander when they are shooting from rest. Since your off hand is not needed, people tend to forget that it exists at all.
Watch The Backdrop
I have shot hundreds of bolts in my lifetime, and I can’t remember recovering more than 10 (excluding firing at a range). That being said, you need to make sure that those bolts aren’t going into anything that you don’t mean to harm. Be sure there are not any people or other protected animals hanging out behind that deer you are about to fire at.
Pay Attention To Your Bolts
Take a cracked carbon bolt and fire it a tree, then come back and read this. You will notice that it exploded on impact and that it’s not something that you want to experience by accident! Make sure that you inspect your bolts before you fire them to ensure that they are safe.
Don’t Dry-Fire Your Crossbow!
A crossbow is not like most rifles that can be fired without a bullet with no ill consequence. Dry-firing a crossbow, or releasing the string without firing a bolt, can really cause havoc. This is the easiest way to cause damage to a crossbow and potentially, yourself. Most modern crossbows have an anti-dry-fire device that will not allow you to fire with a bolt in place, but some do not.
If You’re Not Sure, Let It Fly
You can de-cock some crossbow by using a rope cocking device if you are lucky, but this is not possible with every crossbow on the market. If you aren’t sure what to do, firing the bolt is the best option every time. Keep a spare target or discharge bolt around so that you can de-cock at the end of the day. This is also important because the crossbow regulations in most states forbid traveling with a “loaded crossbow”.
Don’t Be Stupid
If you have to think about whether or not something is a good idea, then you probably shouldn’t do it. Keep in mind that you are working with a deadly weapon that can cause life-threatening injuries if you are not careful.
Hot Tip: Anything that starts with “hold my beer!”, have a 72% chance of being added to this list! Just ask the guy in the video below!