Have you ever wanted to buy a crossbow, but were scared off by the poundage rating? After all, 150 to 200 pounds can be rather daunting. Not to mention medical maladies such as back injuries, bending restrictions and the worries of a little more girth in the midsection than some of us would prefer. Many states approve crossbows for the general season and in some states during the archery season. Either way, most states authorize crossbows for hunters with a handicap or medical condition. In some cases, that means a true handicap and in others, it can be age or a temporary disability such as an injured shoulder that would preclude the user from drawing a traditional or compound bow.
The good news—this is probably the best evidence on just how easy it can be to draw a crossbow these days. After all, if it required Herculean back muscles or biceps like a body builder, they would not be the choice of those with a handicap or medical exemption. So, if all of your excuses are played out, what’s holding you back?
Selecting a Device
Every major brand crossbow manufacturer has a crank system either included in the package or offered as an accessory. Crank devices take the draw weight from anything up to 200 pounds and reduce it down to less than 10 pounds in some cases, certainly in the 15-pound range in others. That is a range that just about anyone—young or old, healthy or infirmed—can easily manage for a shot or two, or an entire range session. If bending is an issue, a shooting bench or rest—even from a blind or tree stand—is an easy fix.
How about a survival situation? Of course, we all know our capabilities when we are healthy and well nourished, but have you given any consideration as to how you would hunt for food if you had sustained an injury or after a few days in the elements had taken its toll? What about a spouse or youngster? What preparations have you made for them? With a crossbow (equipped with a crank system), my 10-year-old can draw, load and shoot unassisted.
If you already own a crossbow, but do not have a cocking device or crank system, you may have to do a little Internet research. While all crossbows have some type of draw-assist system, not all have a crank that makes it uber-easy. A little homework will ensure a better introduction and shooting experience.
If you are looking to check off a new box on your gear list and purchase your first horizontal bow, the time has never been better. Manufacturers have stepped up their game by designing and offering models with smoother-drawing cam systems, target-grade triggers, safeties that are easier to manipulate and faster bows with greater accuracy. Adding a crossbow to your arsenal is not only fun, it can be economical. After all, with a little care, you get to reshoot the ammo without having to spend hours in front of a reloading press.
Do you use a crossbow with a crank system? Tell us about your experience in the comment section.