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Ten steps to set up treestands for crossbow hunters
Crossbows have taken the hunting world by storm, and it’s understandable why—these things are effective. But setting up treestand locations for crossbows isn’t exactly the same for crossbow hunting as with a compound bow or firearm. Here is a look at how to optimize treestand locations for crossbow hunters.
1. POINT TREESTANDS DIRECTLY TOWARD THE ACTION
Bowhunters oftentimes offset their treestands slightly left or right to make shooting easier. This is because, when drawing their bow, their draw-arm elbow tends to hit the tree trunk. So, angling the stand to the right of expected shot opportunities allows a right-handed shooter to shoot to their strong (left) side. In contrast, angling the stand to the left of expected shot opportunities allows a left-handed shooter to shoot to their strong (right) side. Of course, crossbow hunters can shoot straight on, no problem.
2. CUT MORE SHOOTING LANES
Crossbow hunters don’t have to move as much to get in position for the shot. They can hold the crossbow, wait for the action, raise up the crossbow, and send it. Bowhunters tend to hang theirs on a hanger, reach for it, stand up, draw back, and shoot. That’s a lot more movement. So, you can cut more lanes (and remove more cover) when fixing up crossbow stands.
3. CUT SMALLER SHOOTING LANES
In contrast, crossbow hunters can afford to smaller lanes, if they plan to retain more cover. This is because crossbows shoot much faster than compound bows, and there isn’t as much arc in the shot process. So, larger (taller) shooting lanes aren’t as necessary.
4. CUT LONGER SHOOTING LANES
Crossbows extend hunters’ range, even if only by a short distance. Therefore, make sure you cut longer shooting lanes when attempting to set up future cross- bow locations. This might lead to a shot opportunity you wouldn’t otherwise get.
5. USE A STURDIER PULL-UP ROPE
Most crossbows are heavy. In fact, these are significantly heavier than compounds. Therefore, using some of the smaller pull-up ropes that are marketed for use might not work well for these heavier horizontal bows. Set up that treestand with a heavier pull-up rope.
6. INSTALL A CROSSBOW HANGER
Some bow hangers are crafted specifically for cross- bows. These fit their unique designs and weight, and are optimized for safely hanging a crossbow in the tree. Installing these in the stand is a great practice that can increase efficiency and safety.
7. IMPLEMENT A SOLID REST
Shooting a heavy crossbow isn’t always easy. Be- cause of this, it’s good to implement a solid rest. Usually, this requires a ladder treestand with a shooting rail. This will prove an effective way to steady the crossbow for a shot opportunity.
8. USE A BIPOD
Not all treestands have shooting rests or rails. In- stead, they might use a bipod. This can be used in multiple ways and for shooting in multiple directions. Installing a compatible bipod is an excellent opportunity.
9. WATCH TO THE LEFT AND RIGHT
Most crossbow limbs flex and spring outward upon the shot—just like vertical bows. Therefore, it’s important to know what’s close to the limbs on the left and right. Don’t allow objects to get too close and be struck by the limbs or cams as they return to a relaxed state.
10. TAPE IT UP
Don’t want to have to range a deer in the moment? Put up yardage marker tape in various locations. Use different colors for different distances. For example, white can be 20 yards and in, green can be 30 yards, and red can be 50 yards. Regardless, the point is placing visible tape, so you don’t have to guess or move to range the target.
All things considered, put safety first. Most treestand falls occur while ascending or descending. Use a har- ness and lifeline system that keeps you safely tethered from the time you start ascending the tree until you re- turn to the ground again. While wearing a treestand harness and lineman’s belt, ensure that all stands are hung in a safe manner. Then, get ready for the hunt.
Cock the Crossbow on the Ground or in the Treestand?
Hunters have asked for years, should hunters cock their crossbows on the ground or once in the treestand? Which is the safer option? Well, according to Bowhunter-Ed.com, the best option is cocking the crossbow on the ground but NOT loading it with an arrow. Then, once settled in the treestand, hoist it into the air. Once ready to hunt, make sure the safety is on and load an arrow. It’s go time.
Likewise, if necessary, it further advises hunters to never lean over in the treestand to cock their crossbow. If it has a crank that can be used while seated and without bending over, it’s OK to re-cock the crossbow in the treestand for follow-up shot opportunities. Again, never lean over from an elevated position to cock a crossbow.