Backyard deer hunting

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Getting Crossbows Ready for Next Season

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  Now that it is early Summer, it is time to take a close look at the crossbows that you own and get them ready for next season. For months now they have been neglected and unfired. It is time to take stock of what, if any, repairs or equipment changes you need to make and give them, and you, some “limbering up” exercises.

 Perhaps you might want to change out your sights and sight in a new red-dot sight or scope. Then it is fairly obvious that you need to look at the latest archery catalogue, pick out what you want and get it ordered. Less obvious are that you need to systematically check your bolts on your front end to make sure none have loosened as well as inspect and wax your string, cables and deck.

 Carbon shafts with synthetic fletching are the most forgiving shafts that have yet been devised, but even these may be cracked or the nocks need to be freshened out or replaced. Your points also need to be inspected, sharpened and lubricated. Now that you have ample time to replace anything, and everything, if need be; take that time and be relaxed and methodical about your tasks. 

  Although the strings have been under relatively little tension while the crossbow has been stored, they can slowly lose strength by stretching. The more powerful the pull weight of the crossbow the more likely that they may have changed characteristics sufficiently to throw off a shot. The same is less frequently true of the crossbow’s limbs. Almost all modern crossbow limbs are of some sort of composit material or construction, including the fiberglass ones. Sunlight and heat can weaken them.

  Once everything passes muster, spend a few enjoyable hours over the next months shooting your crossbow. Then you will be absolutely assured that when that once-in-a-lifetime buck walks in front of you, your crossbow will be ready and you will too. Having absolute confidence in your equipment and the certain knowledge that you know how to use it well are the best insurance against “deer fever.”

A Barnett RC-150 crossbow took this nice Georgia doe with a single arrow.

 If you do not have a second, or spare, crossbow this is also time to purchase another one. I like to have a peep and pin sighted 150-pound crossbow in reserve just in case mine gets inadvertently damaged during a hunt. This also gives me a less expensive instrument for rainy day hunting or as a loaner to a new hunting companion or a younger shooter. Such crossbows are simple for most people to use and will anchor a deer or hog at ranges of under 30 yards without any problems or excessive hold-overs. I was fond of the now discontinued Barnett Ranger and RC-150 series of crossbows for this purpose. While not as durable as more expensive instruments, they were light weight, effective at short ranges (with good shot placement) and had adjustable stocks and moderately good triggers.

  They have now been replaced in the Barnett line by Jackal which is heavier  than the Ranger-RC series, takes 18-20 inch arrows and is in every way a higher-quality instrument in a 7-pound package for about $300.  Some of the older used crossbows might also be attractive, but one that I cannot recommend for any purpose is the Horton Steel Force which had such terrible non-adjustable triggers as to be nearly unshootable.

Click on the iBooks image to order Book

Written by hoveysmith

May 8, 2011 at 10:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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