A lot of trad and compound shooters hate to see the crossbow boom. While those who opt for vertical bows have to put in plenty of practice hours, develop the strength to draw, and master stealth in the stand, crossbow hunters seem to have it much easier — and maybe even an unfair advantage.

But love them or hate them, crossbows do present expanded hunting opportunities.

Crossbows are legalized archery season gear in more than half of the country, and fair game for some hunters or during firearms seasons in just about the rest of the states. 

Crossbows can be a great way to get youth started with bowhunting. While most kids can’t pull back enough poundage to kill a deer with a compound, they can shoulder a crossbow. This route gets them hooked young and ups the odds of them becoming lifelong hunters.

Similarly, new hunters who aren’t comfortable with firearms yet or want to get in on early seasons can quickly become field-ready with a crossbow.

And for hunters of any age and experience level who suffer from physical injuries or disabilities, crossbows can allow them to continue hunting during archery seasons.

There are also those hunters who don’t have access to or the ability to regularly visit a practice range to get in enough reps to confidently and ethically hunt with a vertical bow. But with a crossbow, they can be deadly in no time at all.

Crossbows can extend hunting seasons overall as well. The opportunity to log more hours in the stand over a longer period of time or even swap out for a crossbow when weather gets so frigid it’s challenging to draw a compound can give bowhunters a better chance of filling tags.

This all adds up to potentially more hunters in the woods for increased participation numbers and harvest numbers.

Now is all this actually better for the overall hunting community? Well, that’s another post entirely…