One of the discussions that came up last time I was at deer camp was
crossbows. And more specifically, whether hunters are better off
with either a compound or recurve crossbow.
I just sat back and
observed, and it was really interesting listening to what the
different guys had to say. One fellow absolutely swore by his
compound crossbow, insisting it was faster than anything he could
get in a recurve.
He said he was getting more than 360 feet per second and that a
recurve couldn't touch that speed. One of the other hunters then
responded, "Oh yeah? Well, my Excalibur recurve beats that by about
20 fps!" Oh boy, the sparks really started flying then.
Then another one of my pals chimed in and said, "What the h---
difference does it make? 340, 360, 380 ó one speed doesn't kill a
deer any deader." Good point. All the guys agreed that shot
placement was key, making crossbow accuracy the most important
thing. I couldn't agree more.
So, the discussion went to whether compound or recurve crossbows
were more accurate. It was decided that both were equally accurate,
as long as the compound variety was properly tuned. A mistuned
compound crossbow is an inconsistent shooter.
With the recurve crossbow, tuning was considered a nonissue since
recurve limbs are inherently in tune with one another and have no
cams, cables, moving parts, etc. that can go out of tune.
Next up for discussion, springing from talk of cams and cables,
was dependability. The boys agreed that the recurve won on
dependability because of its simplicity. Moreover, the recurve
earned extra points because it requires no professional service. If
a compound crossbow needs tweaking, off to the pro shop it goes
(unless you're an owner with a bow press and that kind of tech
Related to dependability was durability, and the general
consensus was that the recurve crossbow was tougher, too ó given
the absence of cams and other elements that could conceivably break
by accidentally dropping the crossbow from a tree or something.
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Noise was also discussed. And while modern crossbows today get
more and more silent, the nod went to parallel-limb compound
crossbows for quietness. Then there was a big argument about whether
a deer at 40 yards can hear a bow and then have time to even react
as a crossbow bolt is zipping his way at 350-plus feet per second.
I continued listening and was definitely in the recurve camp on
this debate. But what sealed the deal completely was the fact that
at the end of a hunt with a compound crossbow, you have to fire that
weapon to unload it. That means carrying a target with you, having
to remove your broadhead and replace it with a field tip (to
preserve blade sharpness), or, worse yet, firing your bolt into the
ground. The owner of the Excalibur crossbow said, "I can just take
my bolt out and uncock the crossbow; itís that easy."
Bottom line, no matter what your compound versus recurve
preference, crossbow hunting is a total blast. Today's crossbows are
wickedly accurate. Modern bolts and broadheads are devastating. If
you haven't hunted with one yet, I strongly encourage it and would
love to hear how you like it by dropping us a note or posting a
picture on my Facebook page.
[By BABE WINKELMAN]
Babe Winkelman hosts "Good Fishing" and
"Outdoor Secrets," the most-watched fishing and hunting programs on
television. Tune in on NBC Sports Network, Destination America,
Velocity, Time Warner Sports Texas & New York, and many local
broadcast channels. Visit
Winkelman.com for airtimes and more information. Follow
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