So many of us have asked this question, especially when everything seems so easy on television. It is a question most commonly asked amongst beginners. Hunting deer and wild animals is an entirely different story compared to practicing with a fixed target.
Whether you decide to take on wild animals, you should be aware of whether your weapon is powerful enough to kill the animal. Apart from knowing the specs, here’s some more information to clarify how far you can shoot a deer with a crossbow.
Know your circumstances
There is no exact science on this topic. However, most specialists agree that there are some aspects that can define the maximum range of your weapon.
Firstly, your hunting technique is quite important as it makes the difference between a novice and a highly skilled hunter.
Secondly, you need to know that, as we mentioned, hunting deer is different from practicing with a fixed target. Lastly, the configuration and velocity of the weapon and arrow travel distance can also impact your results.
Consider your Environment
In controlled conditions, you might be able to shoot your target at around 60 yards. However, this will fluctuate depending on the environment where you hunt. For instance, the constant movement of your target, bushes, trees, and leaves can definitely impact the accuracy of your shot.
This also depends on the power of your weapon. For instance, when practicing, a weapon of a minimum of 300 FPS can go as far as 500 yards. Of course, at this distance, most likely, the accuracy will be off.
When hunting in real conditions, a similar weapon of 300 FPS can go around 50-60 yards, effectively hitting the target with precision.
For high skilled hunters, you can even go as far as 80 yards and have a shot powerful enough to bring down a bigger animal like a deer. You need to remember that, the longer the distance, the harder it will be to successfully target a vital organ. Thus, most specialists recommend an average distance of around 35 - 40 yards.
This recommendation is based not on the fact that you will miss your target at a longer distance, but most hits beyond 40 yards will fail to hit a deer in a vital organ, which will only wound the animal. Make sure you avoid this and go for a humane, clean kill.
Configuration of your weapon
Another important aspect that was also previously mentioned is the weapon itself. The main difference is made by the weight of the shaft or the broadhead. For instance, consider that a heavier arrow comes at a slower rate out of the crossbow compared to a lighter one. So, if you have heavier arrows, you might still be able to hit a target from a more significant distance, but it will not give a fatal hit.
Additionally, if you go for bigger distances, such as 100 yards, consider that your arrow could take a second to travel this distance. The deer can move, and the hit will only hurt the animal, which is frowned upon.
Arrows Are The Most Important
The arrows shot from your crossbow usually have between 300 and 400 feet per second (FPS). However, the arrow also loses speed when it travels a longer distance. Most arrows, even coming from the best crossbows, can start losing their momentum after only 30 yards.
If your skills are advanced, you might be able to consider around 50 yards, but for beginners, a maximum of 30 yards away is recommended. Furthermore, if you hunt in the woods, go for a maximum distance of 20 to 30 feet away because bushes and tree branches will further decrease your arrow’s speed.
So, how far can you shoot a deer with a crossbow? Theoretically, it is possible to hunt deer from quite a significant distance, but even highly skilled hunters stick to a distance of around 50 yards to make sure that they give a fatal hit.
It is necessary to keep in mind that you are hunting animals. Merely hurting them is not considered moral, so you should make sure you hit vital organs for a clean kill.
For beginners, hunting in the woods should be closer than 30 yards in any circumstances. This is because bushes and trees will decrease the arrow speed and accuracy, so it is recommended to have a distance between 20 and 30 yards.
If you don’t mind about hitting a target, some crossbows can reach as far as 500 yards, but this will not give a fatal kill to an animal, so make sure you stick closer.