Whenever I’m bow hunting I never know when I’m going to get a shot. I’m sure that you’re the same way. A lot of times we visualize the perfect shot in our head. Everyone would love to get off a shot sitting in their tree stand or ground blind with the deer perfectly broadside or nicely quartering away. While you might get lucky a few times things just don’t normally happen that way. That’s why you need to learn how to stabilize your crossbow to get off that perfect clean shot.
Throughout the years I’ve started to realize that you never know when you’re going to get a shot opportunity. A lot of the time I’ll spot a deer on the way to my stand and need to get off a quick shot. I don’t have time to get all of my gear ready and I want to be prepared for that. I practice taking quick shots with my compound bow all the time, but it’s a lot harder process with a crossbow. With a lot going on there you can’t really snap shoot with a crossbow. It isn’t like a gun you’re going to need a really solid rest.
How To Stabilize Crossbow Shots
Unlike a rifle you’re going to have some trouble shouldering a crossbow and getting off a clean shot. I don’t care who you are shouldering a crossbow without a rest is just plain hard. Skip trying to shoot your crossbow from the Offhand position. You’ll be much better off learning how to shoot quickly from the kneeling and sitting position and hopefully using shooting sticks or a rail for a solid rest.
Try Using a Crossbow Monopod or Bipod
Personally I’ve been using the TenPoint SteddyEddie Crossbow Monopod to stabilize my crossbow, but something like the Primos Bipod Trigger Stick would work as well.
TenPoint’s SteddyEddie is by far my favorite crossbow stabilization tool. With a telescoping rod that mounts directly to your crossbow, the SteddyEddie monopod supports nearly the entire weight of your crossbow virtually guaranteeing a motion free shot. It doesn’t matter if your standing sitting or kneeling you’ll be able to get off a comfortable shot. When you’re done using the monopod it folds up and can be conveniently tucked back into your crossbow.
Making Kneeling and Standing Shots in The Field
What good is having a crossbow monopod or bipod if you don’t know how to use it. You’re going to have to get into position quickly without making much noise. In order to do that you’re going to need muscle memory guiding you along the way. I would highly recommend practicing real-life situations to guarantee a steady shot.
When hunting in the field you’re going to have to quickly get into position without drawing to much attention. If you use a traditional you’re going to have to slowly get down on one knee and setup your bipod without your target spotting you. If you’re careful this style of shooting can work, but I’d much rather quickly get off a shot from the hip standing up. That’s why I have a SteddyEddie on all my crossbows.
Try Shooting From The Standing Position With The Right Gear
Sometimes you just don’t have the luxury to get down on one knee when you’re stalking a deer. Instead with the SteddyEddie you can stabilize your crossbow off your hip. It might not be as steady as your kneeling bipod setup, but it’s more than enough to get off a quick accurate shot.
You’d be surprised at just how much better you’ll shoot when you have that extra point of stability. If you don’t want to actually mount a monopod directly to your crossbow the Primos Tall Crossbow Monopod is another great option. You can use a bipod/tripod, but the monopod is going to be much faster to use under pressure.
How To Shoot From The Kneeling Position
Hunting from the kneeling position is about as stable as you’re going to get in the field, but it requires a lot of practice. You’ll need to be able to get down quickly and quietly without drawing a lot of attention. I wish there was a trick to do this easily, but it’s all going to come down to muscle memory.
You’re going to have to spend a lot of time practicing going from the standing to kneeling position. That means getting your bipod ready with one hand and preparing your crossbow for a shot. I’m not going to lie, it’s going to take a lot of practice to smoothly drop to a knee and get off a shot.
Practice Using Real World Scenarios
Shooting a 3d target in your backyard will only take you so far. Almost anybody can shoot a crossbow accurately with a bipod and all the time in the world. You could be extremely accurate in your backyard, but that won’t do you any good when you get back into the woods.
The only way to actually get better is by practicing under real life stress. I get that you’re not going to be able to shoot at actual moving targets, but you can practice your fundamentals. Try to practice quickly getting into position and shoot a realistic target.
That big buck isn’t likely going to just mosey into the perfect position, so why do we always practice shooting directly at your targets side. Instead practice getting off clean shots at targets that aren’t perfectly square to your position.
Nothing Beats a 3d Target
Shooting at paper is a great way to tune your crossbow scope, but once you’ve got it dialed in your better off shooting realistic targets. Shooting at a small bull’s-eye on your paper target might help bring in your groupings but it will do very little when sizing up a deer. You need to practice aiming small on an actual 3-D target to ensure your arrow hits the kill zone.
There are so many great 3d targets on the market that it’s hard to choose just one. After years of using duct tape and spray foam insulation to repair my old target I decided to get a new one. I ended up going with one of these newer GlendDel Buck 3d Archery Targets. I have absolutely no complaints and the replacement inserts are very affordable.
Practice Shooting From Above
The first time I went bow hunting alone I was all excited and thought I had done all the practice I possibly could. I did all the offseason scouting that I possibly could and picked a great stand location. Unfortunately up until that point I hunted with my dad in a ground blind and I had no experience with tree stands.
I climbed up into my tree stand and quickly realized the error of my ways. I had never actually shot at a target that was below me and had no idea where I should aim to still hit the vitals.
I knew the location of the heart and lungs, but he quickly quartered towards me and I panicked. As the vital area grew smaller I ended up aiming low and completely missed my mark. Inexperience got the best of me and I quickly realized that there’s always something new to learn. Luckily Ohio has a long bow hunting season and I ended up getting a nice buck that year.