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  • Hit or Miss: Pros and Cons of Hunting with a Crossbow

    So far this year we’ve set up shop at quite a few sports expos and trade-shows. We’ve had the opportunity to see the latest and greatest in traditional bows and camo, but one thing that has been swiftly gaining popularity are crossbows. While crossbows were originally designed to assist disabled individuals while hunting, due to their increasing popularity many states are changing their laws to permit their use during the general bow hunting season or during the general firearms season.

    Another reason people are beginning to love crossbows more and more is their learning curve. Unlike a traditional or compound bow, learning to properly aim and fire a cross bow is much simpler making the learning time much shorter. Add in the fact that they generally have great overall performance and it is not surprising they are swiftly rising in the ranks of preferred hunting methods.
    There are most definitely some great pros and some serious cons about using a cross bow. So, let’s check them out:

    Pro: No Draw Time
    Unlike with a traditional or compound bow, there is no need to concentrate on making a full draw while maintaining your aim to make your shot. Once a crossbow is cocked, a mechanism maintains full draw until the trigger is released. This not only conserves energy for the hunter, it allows him to focus solely on his or her target and properly aiming their shot, increasing overall accuracy. Though it is always good to consider the potential for a poor shot, or for nature to rear her head whenever you’re on a hunt.

    Con: They Can Be Heavy
    Traditional and compound bows are generally relatively light-weight, making it easier to carry them while you hunt. Unfortunately, while there have been many advances in overall construction to make crossbows lighter, the reality is they are still quite heavy. While all the complex parts and pieces give the crossbow quite a bit of power and make aiming more accurate, it also makes it significantly heavier than a traditional bow.
    The increased weight also tends to make crossbows much louder, and in a sport where stealth is your friend this is a big disadvantage. Luckily, we noticed at the ATA show this year that manufacturers have been hard at work improving the overall designs and decreasing the weight, making them much quieter. A great example of this can be seen in Ravin Crossbows.

    Pro: High Velocity
    Thanks to the mechanical systems in the crossbow, these guys are little, but mighty. While a traditional or compound bow will have a draw of around 70 pounds, crossbows often have draw strengths of at least 100 pounds with some of the newer models slinging arrows with up to 200 pounds of draw strength. This increased strength also means an increase in velocity, allowing your arrows to fly at up to 450 feet per second. Higher speeds and more power also means deeper penetration, increasing your odds of a kill shot. However, you should always be prepared in case you have a poor shot or nature decides to rear her head.

    Con: Long Reload Time
    With traditional and compound bows, a good hunter will have an incredibly short reload time, allowing them to send off several shots within 1 minute. Since the only requirement to reload a bow is to slip the knock onto your string and draw, you are not only able to maintain aim while reloading but can reload with just one hand. Reloading a crossbow has many more steps. You must set the shaft, pull the draw until it locks, raise your crossbow, sight in your target, correct your aim, then you are able to let off another shot. This more involved process can easily cost you your animal.

    Final Thoughts
    Crossbow hunting may not be for everyone, but they most definitely have their place. Providing novices, younger individuals, and those who are disabled with a reliable, and accurate, method to bow hunt is amazing. We welcome any additions to our hunting community that allow a broader range of people to experience one of our favorite past times. Though, we do concede it is very important to research the crossbow you wish to purchase to make sure it coincides with your skill levels and abilities. With any luck, more advances can be made in the upcoming year to further improve upon this awesome hunting addition!

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TRANSMITTERS & CARRIERS

Transmitter

The Pro-Tracker® Transmitter is a rechargeable, lightweight, water resistant transmitter that disengages from the arrow upon impact; allowing for pass-throughs. The transmitter hooks into the animal’s hide and begins sending Radio Frequency (RF) signals every three seconds for the duration of the battery life (10-12 hours). You will need the Pro-Tracker® Receiver to read and track the signal.

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Carrier

The Carrier is what screws into your arrow and holds the transmitter. It is aerodynamically designed to compensate for the weight and shape of the transmitter. Meaning minimal adjustments to your equipment for the same precision. This item comes in a pack of four.

 
 

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RADIO FREQUENCY RECEIVER

ReceiverYAGI Antenna

The Pro-Tracker® Radio Frequency (RF) Receiver is a compact system with an easy to attach antenna. This state of the art receiver can track up to 6 different transmitter signals at the same time. Displaying signal strength, transmitter number, current time, time spent tracking, and current battery life, all on a easy to read LED screen. Available only in the Pro-Tracker© System

VIEW SYSTEM

DUAL CHARGER & CARRYING CASE

Carrying Case

The Pro-Tracker® custom metal carrying case helps you keep track of your Pro-Tracker system and ensures everything stays together. Its lightweight and durable design ensures your equipment is protected while being as easy as possible to carry during your hunting trip and recovering your trophy.

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Carrier

This dual-charging station allows you to charge up to two transmitters at a time. It includes both a USB and outlet adapter. The outlet adapter allows you to charge your transmitters at home while the USB adapters allow you to charge your transmiters in your truck for extended hunting trips.

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STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY

The patented Pro-Tracker® Recovery System will help you locate your kill with durable, state of the art technology. The compact system can track 6 different transmitters while using the same RF receiver with an easy to read LED screen. Best of all, our transmitters don’t require the purchase of batteries and can be recharged both at home and out in the field.

 

UNRIVALED PERFORMANCE

The Pro-Tracker® System has been field tested by top experts in the archery industry. With the Pro-Tracker® Archery System you’ll see virtually no difference in the trajectory of your arrow because of the aerodynamic carrier. Tests have shown the Pro-Tracker® Recovery System will give you many hours of use and the precision to recovery your trophy.

 

ETHICS

deer hunt
As a bow hunter, we appreciate the skill required to take an animal. We enjoy the smell of fresh air and the morning chill that seeps into your bones as you sit quietly and wait for an animal to wander into view. We understand the importance of a steady hand and careful aim; there is no feeling better than letting that arrow fly and hitting your mark. As bow hunters, we also understand the frustration when your perfectly aimed shot seems to go awry (i.e. hitting a branch or an unexpected object). If you miss, you go find your arrow and try again. If you wound your animal you can spend hours or days tracking the blood trail, hoping the weather holds until you find your kill. The sad fact though, is that while many times you will find your quarry, there are just as many times that an animal is unrecovered.
Looking back, you will find studies related to deer loss rates in bow hunting dating back to 1989. When the studies first began, the amount of animals wounded and lost is astounding, but as bow hunting equipment has improved, the number of animal losses has decreased substantially. Unfortunately, even with these decreases, the ratio of unrecovered animals is still causing concern within the bow hunting community and general public. We wanted to look deeper into deer loss rates, and focused on information obtained in two of the better known studies done by Stephen S. Ditchkoff et al and M. Andy Pedersen at al. One study found that of 104 bow hunters, there was an 18% wounding rate. Within a normal hunting season these hunters hit a total of 908 white tail deer, recovering only 746 (Pedersen et al 2008). In another study, it was determined that there was a 50% wounding rate and of that number 14% weren’t recovered. Of these deer 4% died annually from these wounds, while the rest survived (Ditchkoff et al. 1998).

pro-tracker bow huntIn the reports, we found that while many of the deer either die (Ditchkoff) or are recovered within 24 hours (Pedersen), that some can survive 5-7 days with wounds before they perish. When looking at these numbers and percentages for any individual state, the number of animals that are not recovered seems miniscule. However once you look at the entire population of bow hunters within the United States alone, the amount becomes much more significant (Ditchkoff). This more significant number of unrecovered animals has been causing animal rights and anti-hunting activists to state that bow hunting is both cruel and inhumane. It is because of this that the Pro-Tracker was invented. Our goal is to eliminate the possibility of losing even one animal while maintaining the integrity of the hunt. Pro-Tracker has been in use since 2010 and thus far we have a 100% accuracy rate in animal recovery. The Pro-Tracker system, while not ideal for every hunter, is thus far supporting the goal of striving to ensure bow hunting is appreciated for the skill it requires and given the support it deserves, rather than seen in a negative light. With technology and advancement in the archery industry, we can help in recovering the animals wounded and work to improve the loss rate. We all have a responsibility to the natural resources we are given; no one is perfect every time. Accidents do happen, and we need to be prepared for those occasions.

Literature Cited:
1. Ditchkoff, Stephen S., Edgar R. Welch Jr., Robert L. Lochmiller, Ronald E. Masters, William R. Starry, William C. Dinkines. 1998. Wounding of White-tailed Deer with Traditional Archery Equipment. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast. Assoc. Fish and Wildl. Agencies 52:244-248. Website: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ronald_Masters/publication/237609363_Wounding_Rates_of_Whitetailed_Deer_

with_Traditional_Archery_Equipment/links/54c63cdf0cf256ed5a9d4dfe.pdf
2. Pedersen, Andy M., Seth Berry, Jeffrey C. Bossart. 2008. Wounding Rates of White –tailed Deer with Modern Archery Equipment. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast. Assoc. Fish and Wildl. Agencies 62:31–34
Website: http://www.marylandqdma.com/files/Download/Pedersen-31-34.pdf