With the new laws opening up crossbow hunting in many new states, there has been almost nonstop debate on the merits of using a crossbow in the field. I myself am a compound bow hunter, but I have gained unique perspective into the crossbow debate this year because my father has purchased one. I thought it would be interesting to share with you his story as a first time crossbow hunter and the special circumstances that led him to go down this path. Hearing a real person’s story in regards to crossbows has certainly changed my opinion on the matter and maybe it will for you as well.
Why I Chose to Hunt With a Crossbow – David Kenyon
I love to hunt. I have hunted since I was 4 years old and look for every opportunity to hunt more. It’s a family thing, my Dad was a big deer hunter, my brother and brother-in-law too. I remember my Dad rolling me out of bed very, very early on a Saturday morning, teasing me with a cup of hot coffee, two sugar, one cream and a doughnut. I have been blessed to have a son who also loves to hunt. In fact, he puts me to shame with his enthusiasm and passion.
When it comes to deer, I have hunted with a rifle, shotgun and a bow. Of all the ways to deer hunt, I especially like to bow hunt. There is something about a brisk October dawn in the woods that makes me tremble with excitement.
Oh, by the way…I’m also legally blind. I was born with a condition that limits my vision to about 20/200 without correction (what a normal person can see at 200 feet, I have to be 20 feet from to see). Unfortunately, my condition is such that, normal glasses do not significantly help. I need to use telescopes and other devices to see with any detail. Having said that, I do use a variety of scopes and visual aids to help in my daily activities.
I shot my first deer with a Savage over and under 410/22 when I was seventeen years old and have not shot a deer since. Being an avid hunter and yet not being able to see well enough to identify the prey or get a good shot was very frustrating for me. Although I loved to hunt, I became increasingly discouraged to the point where I went hunting mostly because it was the thing to do during the fall and because I wanted do something with my son. Bowhunting was especially frustrating because of the challenge of being able to see and properly sight the bow without flushing the animal.
Over the past years I have often thought that hunting with a crossbow would allow me to overcome some of the limitations that come with my disability. Unfortunately, historically, crossbows have not been allowed in Michigan except for those who can prove they have some physical limitation that prohibits them from pulling back on a bow.
This year that all changed. The law was changed in Michigan this year to allow the use of crossbows by a wider variety of hunters. I now can legally use a crossbow to hunt across the state. With that change in the law, I decided to give it a try.
I bought my new crossbow a four or five weeks ago. It is manufactured by Ten Point, has a 3x red dot scope, and a Accu XXX string pull cocking mechanism. I have been in the woods five times so far this year with my new crossbow from a ground blind and it is a world of difference. Although I have some reservations and a few words of caution, I love this crossbow and would never go back. Although I haven’t shot my deer yet, I’ve had a couple of close calls and I’m convinced that the crossbow has significantly improved my chances of bagging the big one.
This is my account of the good, the bad, and the ugly of using a crossbow. Admittedly, I have a special circumstance that most hunters don’t. But, even for those of you who are not visually impaired, I think much of my experience is relevant and if you are considering a crossbow, I think you’ll still find my experience interesting.
Future Topics to be Covered:
First impressions – My new crossbow
Safety first – The good, bad, and ugly about hunting with a crossbow
In the woods – Hunting on the ground using a crossbow
Hunting blind – my experience as a blind hunter using a crossbow
Any other crossbow hunters out there? What are your thoughts?