How to kill a deer with a pistol crossbow

Written by michael kozlowski
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Using a pistol crossbow to kill a deer is a tall order. Pistol crossbows have limited power and do not have the inherent accuracy of a rifle crossbow or a gun. Pistol crossbows are primarily for hunting small animals and for target practice. If you do choose to try to fell a deer with a pistol crossbow, follow these steps.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 36.3kg. pistol crossbow
  • Bolt

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  1. 1

    Select a hunting area where you are likely to have deer come within a range of 15 yards. While hunters using compound bows and rifle crossbows often take shots up to 40 or 50 yards, the pistol crossbow has less power and the bolt, or arrow, will lose energy quickly.

  2. 2

    Load the bolt into the crossbow. Be sure that the safety mechanism is engaged so that you do not accidentally fire the crossbow.

  3. 3

    Wait for an optimum shot at a deer. The best opportunity to fell the deer will come with the deer in a position quartering away from you. This means the deer is facing away but still presenting its side to you.

  4. 4

    Aim the pistol crossbow at the area directly behind the deer's front shoulder. Placement of the shot should be vertically at the centre of the deer's body or an inch or so below centre. This shot, once penetrating the rib cage, will strike the deer in the lungs and/or heart and result in a quick, humane kill.

  5. 5

    Release the safety and pull the trigger of the pistol crossbow to fire the bolt. Be sure to take note of where the deer was located when you shot at it and where you last see it if it runs off. This will help with a quick recovery of the animal.

Tips and warnings

  • Practice regularly with the pistol crossbow prior to hunting. Accuracy is at a premium because of the lesser power of the weapon.
  • Be sure to check local hunting regulations regarding hunting with a crossbow. It is not legal in all states, and where it is legal, there may be restrictions on the weapons that can be used.
  • Pistol crossbows are not recommended for hunting large game animals. They do not have the force required to regularly fell a large animal, and even a good shot may be deflected by the animal's rib cage.

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