Hunting experiences with ten crossbows from seven different makers are reviewed in an overview of modern crossbow used in Alaska, Eastern Canada, Idaho and Georgia where deer, black bear, hogs, gators and wild turkeys are taken.
During the process of writing Crossbow Hunting and following the publication of the book, crossbows made by Barnett, Horton, TenPoint, Fred Bear, Parker, Stryker and Excalibur were used under a variety of conditions to take North American game. Starting with the lowest price crossbow then made by Barnett, author/host Wm. Hovey Smith, proceeded to take a deer in the city limits of his home town and began a serious investigation of these hunting tools.
He then proceeded to hunt with a variety of crossbows to get a feel for different priced instruments and their capabilities. This included the Stryker with its 424 fps blistering speed to the much more modest velocities generated by the Barnett Ranger and RC-150 series crossbows. Game was killed with all of these including moonlight hunts for wild hogs, gator chasing in Georgia’s coastal marshes and black bears taken over bait (video links below) as well as hunting deer from tree stands.
While the more expensive crossbows, upwards of $2,000, do offer convenience, easier operation and greater energies, the fact remains that many maker’s crossbows in the $400-$500 range with 150-175 pound draw weights will very capably take deer out to 40 yards year after year. Because these crossbows are not operating at near the material limits of the equipment, they generally have a longer string life, get out of adjustment less frequently and are generally more trouble free.
Current models featured in 2012 catalogs often advertise 200-pound pull weights with subsequent increases in arrow speed and flatter trajectories. Many of these also feature carbon-fiber and/or titanium components to decrease weight. I have little doubt that these crossbows will also work very well, if you want an instrument incorporating the latest technology.
Continuing improvements are also being made in reducing crossbow noise, including wrapping the limbs in rubberized material so that if they should contact the bow stand they do not make a metallic tink that will spook deer as well as noise suppressors on the strings.
I have shot, although not hunted with, the new reverse-draw crossbows made by Scorpyd, Horton, others and shown as a prototype by Barnett. These are interesting crossbows that promise to be very effective in the field. Some have large excentric wheels on the end of the limbs which would be subject to damage if dropped or being jammed with stems and leaves when taken through the woods. I would anticipate that this style of crossbow will be more frequently seen in the woods.
Alligator Hunting and Gator Cooking http://youtu.be/HkEP0ZlBx7s.
Backyard Bear Hunting http://youtu.be/GSbemqFJTjQ.