Techniques and Methods
The crossbow turned the tide in several conflicts during the late medieval period because practically anyone could use one – whether it was hunting with a crossbow or fighting with a crossbow – this weapon made it’s mark.
Long bowmen were highly skilled thus highly valued warriors. To become a master at the longbow took years of training and dedication. Therefore, only a select few could be counted on to use the weapon effectively.
This reduced the overall effectiveness of the army until a weapon came along that even the untrained archer could master. The crossbow soon became a popular weapon with armies and hunters alike because of its ease of use and power.
Today modern hunters and others still use the crossbow for various reasons and anyone considering a weapon for hunting while in a wilderness environment should seriously consider a crossbow.
A crossbow is silent and is ideal for covert operations and on hunting trips. Flying bolts will not scare the game off like loud gunfire. If you find yourself in a survival situation, you may not want to reveal your location to others. Using a crossbow for hunting is ideal in these circumstances.
If using a longbow and game comes into view, you have to draw your arrow from the quiver then “nock/notch” the arrow, draw it back and release all the while tracking the game.
A cross bow can be fired immediately because you can maintain it in the ready to fire position as you stalk the game.
You can fire a crossbow from the standing, kneeling and prone position quite effectively or even from the squat position.
You can only shoot a longbow from the standing position effectively, however some can be effective when shooting from the kneeling position but this is awkward and takes practice. A crossbow can be steadied for better aiming on a log, sandbags or any secure object whether in a standing or prone position.
Once in a firing position you do not have to move your body if the projectile/bolt is loaded and ready to fire. Movement will give your position away and if using a long bow you may have to rise up to draw an arrow from the quiver and then draw the arrow back to fire. All this movement can create noise and any movement can be seen by anyone scanning the area.
Styles of Crossbows
- Recurve Crossbows have a lengthier draw, which reduces hand shock and better acceleration. The bow tends to be noisier, but bowstring silencers can be added – there are many recurve crossbows available, at various prices to suit your budget from a top of the range Excalibur Matrix 380, which will propel an arrow at a velocity of 380fps and will cost you around $1100 or at the value for money end, there’s the Arrow Precision Inferno, which is a great starter crossbow for $160
- Compound Crossbows will have pulleys and strings and because of all this they seem to be able to provide more energy more efficiently – they are precision made and offer the same sort of choice, money wish, as do the reciurve crossbows, with a good high end crossbow like the Barnett Buck Commander priced at $700
- Pistol Crossbows are compact and efficient and are the choice of many survivalists because they can be carried in a pack and concealed more easily. They can literally be aimed and fired like a pistol – the M48 Self-Cocking 80-Lb. Cobra Crossbow Pistol is a typical mid ranged pistol crossbow – far less powerful than the recurve or compound crossbow, but still usable for small game in the wild
- Rifle Crossbows as the name implies they are shaped like a rifle with a crossbow mounted on top. This is a favorite of hunters because it can be fired from cove/concealment, over objects, around corners and in just about any position, you can imagine. They are, according to some, more accurate than other styles. The weapon aims just like a rifle and usually has adjustable sights like the Man Kung 150lb Recurve Rifle Crossbow – the good thing is, you can pick this one up for $90 – if you want
If you do not have, any commercially made camouflage then use what is available from your environment such as mud, vines and so on.
Wrap leafy vines around the bow without interfering with the sights or other mechanisms, to blunt or subdue the outline. Strips of cloth can also be used if the colors blend with the area.