Book Reviews

Crossbow Hunting by William Hovey Smith

Crossbow hunting has taken the hunting world by storm, and whether some sportsmen love or detest it, is immaterial. Those who argue against crossbow hunting often lean toward traditional archery’s long bow and recurve. Sadly, there is no right or wrong way to hunt with a bow. It all boils down to personal preference and one’s ability to shoot straight.

Whether they or anyone wish to argue the point, the average age of hunters today is growing older. Many sportsmen no longer can pull a recurve to full draw yet others argue that a crossbow is really not a bow. It shoots an arrow, and unlike other bows, this bow is shot from the shoulder. Some arguments for or against crossbow use have become volatile.

This book debunks many of the common myths. For instance, it is not an ideal poachers weapon, even though it is relatively silent. It loses its accuracy beyond 40 yards, and because of the shorter arrow, it also loses its velocity very quickly, making down-range shots less accurate than many people believe. The heaviness of a crossbow is another detriment.

It is, however, a salvation for those bow hunters who no longer can pull and shoot a more conventional bow. It’s ideal for the elderly, the infirm and for youthful hunters with strength problems.

This book covers the evolution of different crossbows on the market today, and how to select the right arrow, target point, broadheads and sights. It covers shooting and hunting techniques for deer, bear, hogs and elk.

It also covers classic crossbow hunts for big game in Africa, Australia and Canada for a variety of big game.

A battle has brewed for many years here in Michigan and in other states. In Michigan, as just one example, a group of approximately 2,000 people have kept everyone who is healthy, and many who are not, from hunting with a crossbow unless they were legally certified as being unable to shoot a regular bow.

George Gardner, the innovator of the 10 Point crossbow company, was unable to hunt with a crossbow for many years because his physical problems were not distinctly addressed by the existing rules. Now, Michigan has allowed a more general and more liberal law about crossbow hunting for the 2009-2010 season, and many more elderly or infirm hunters are welcoming the change.

Some of those folks who fought against crossbows in Michigan may find themselves in a position in the years to come where the only way they could hunt would be with a crossbow. Also, this book even has a chapter on cooking wild game.

This book describes in reasonable depth the various manufacturers of crossbows in the United States. It discusses hunts to Africa and Australia, and includes one to Canada’s Northwest Territories for musk oxen.

The controversy over the use of a crossbow may rage on for years but it mostly falls on deaf ears except for some traditional bow hunters. Many traditionalists argue that the use of these modern imitations of medieval weapons will cause an erosion in the ethics and proper respect for the game being hunted.

Personally, I’ll continue to hunt with my compound bow. However, for those who choose a crossbow because of health reasons, I’m all for them to hunt with this now-legal but old-fashioned method. People will grow accustomed to the bow, and whether I agree or disagree with the crossbow issue is immaterial.

Let’s face it, folks. We’ve lost some hunters over the year. This use of crossbows could bring a resurgence of enthusiasm and interest for hunting among our older sportsmen. We need to save as many of these hunters as possible.

This book makes a solid case for crossbows for hunting. Now that it’s legal in Michigan, each and every hunter must make a personal decision. It’s very possible that this book could provide the knowledge needed for hunters to make a logical and wise decision before buying a crossbow.


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