Our Crossbow Deer Hunting Tips

The crossbow hunting has seen a rise in popularity – more and more states are legalizing these weapons for the deer hunting, thus providing people who never hunted before to finally give it a try.

But the important thing here is the fact that the crossbows are both sensitive and powerful pieces of hunting gear, which means that it can take years to master them.

But don’t be scared – if you’re a complete beginner, we’re here to help you out. Read our eight crossbow hunting tips for deer and make your first steps into the world of crossbow hunting a bit easier!

1. The Proper Stand Placement

The tree stand placement is something that’s always of essential importance, but even more so when you’re hunting with a crossbow. Due to their weight, length, and width, these weapons limit the person’s ability to move them left and right, and that’s something that can easily blow a shot opportunity.

Once you find a proper stand for your crossbow, be sure to make some adjustments if it doesn’t offer optimum shooting options. Clear the shooting lanes and remove everything that could provide some cover to the deer.

2. Using Both Hands

Due to the fact that the human body can only move so far, the side-to-side movement while you’re holding the crossbow on the tree stand can be pretty limited. The right-hand shooters can move very little to the right and the left-handed shooters very little to the left.

Luckily, most models of crossbows are ambidextrous, allowing one to learn to shoot it with either of his hands. Of course, this will take a lot of practice, but it’s guaranteed to increase your shot opportunities.

3. Cocking It on The Ground

When it comes to manually cocking the crossbow, the safest place to do it is on the ground – period. These types of weapons can be cocked either at home or at your car before you head to the stand, but you should never cock it while it’s on the stand.

An accidental slip while applying pressure is guaranteed to knock you off balance, which isn’t exactly a good thing to happen if you’re alone in the woods. Always cock the crossbow on the ground!

4. Making The First Shot Count

As you already know, the best way to remove the need for cocking the weapon while it’s on the tree stand is by getting the target with the very first shot. To achieve this, take care of the following things:

  • Range the potential target areas once you get to the spot
  • Always be patient for the best possible shot opportunity
  • Aim for the vitals
  • Keep the shots within the standard bow range (under 35 yards)

If you miss the target, just relax, calm down, and re-cock the weapon on the ground.

Deer Hunting

5. Using a Draw Line

To get the crossbow to an elevated stand in a safe and secure way, you’ll have to use a drawing line. Lifting the weapon by the stock is the safest option, for several different reasons.

First of all, doing so will keep the broadheads and arrows pointed toward the ground, whether your quiver is parallel with the limbs or with the stock. In this way, the chance of a bolt displacing from the quiver is significantly reduced.

Once the bow reaches you, simply grab it by the stock, keeping the loaded broadheads pointed to the other side. Lowering the bow should be done in the entirely same way – it’s essential to keep everything pointed away from you.

6. Getting a Good Rest

Even though the newest models of crossbows are significantly lighter than the old ones, they can still become quite heavy and cumbersome after some time in a stand. And because of that, the best stands will come with shooting/safety rails – not only will they assist you in stabilizing the shot, but will also give you a place to rest your weapon.

If you don’t have a safety rail, the closest thing would be a monopod or a shooting stick, like those used by the rifle hunters. The bow hangers, for example, can be screwed into a tree and come with swivel arms that allow the user to keep his crossbow within easy reach. Some even have things like accessory hooks and other similar necessities.

7. The Scent Control

As you can already guess, the scent can easily ruin your chances of sighting deer. You should never underestimate the deer’s powerful sense of smell – it’s at least a thousand times better than yours is. And the worst thing here is that this exceptional sense of smell can be improved by some weather conditions, such as the wind or the high humidity.

The first thing is to avoid being somewhere where the wind will blow over you and to the same direction you’re expecting the deer to come from. Don’t send your smell to the bedding or feeding area while you’re getting to your stand, as that will alert the animals about your presence. Don’t expect the deer to go towards where the wind is blowing – it’s one of the ways they protect themselves from the predators.

Masking your own scent is also a good idea – don’t wear clothes that have the odor of perfume or soap. Experienced crossbow hunters tend to use the deer urine as their cover scent, as it attracts the deer and doesn’t require you to spend money on it.

8. Maintaining The Bow

To keep the crossbow in a tip-top position, whether you’re using it on the ground or up the tree, you will have to properly take care of it. The important thing here is to carefully read the user manual and find out how to correctly maintain the model’s cables, strings, cams, safety mechanisms, and the trigger.


With almost everything in the animal’s favor, these tips should help you even the odds and successfully make a kill when an opportunity presents itself. We hope we’ve been helpful, and wish you good luck with the hunting!