can you reuse your crossbow bolts

Can you reuse your crossbow bolts after you shoot a deer?

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If you are new to hunting, you might be wondering – can you reuse your crossbow bolts after you shoot a deer. Its a great question to ask considering you probably just spent money on a quality crossbow, hunting clothes, the hunting trip itself, a case and even a portable bow press. When starting out, you might be plagued with what we all are plagued with – staying on a budget.

But also you want quality equipment and a quality experience.

With the use of crossbows as a hunting weapon gaining popularity rapidly across much of the country, beginning crossbow hunters are seeking out what to look for when it comes to crossbow parts.

We surveyed many hunters on whether they reuse their bolts for hunting and received a variety of responses and a variety of tips for best success if you choose to do this.

Today we’re taking one of the most basic but fundamental questions, can you reuse your crossbow bolts after you shoot a deer and putting forth our information and some best practice tips  that you can hopefully take away and make an informed decision for yourself.


So Can You Reuse your Crossbow Bolts?

Well, it depends.

Yes. As long as the crossbow bolt isn’t cracked, dented, or warped it’s fine to reuse over and over again.

No. If its damaged or if its shot into the deer of a lifetime.

What were some of the individual responses?

I personally like to save what i can with them and take a picture with my deer and hang it on the wall with the bolt underneath it for memories and good times with my buddys -Ray

Only if the blades are straight and you sharpen them with the G5  –Tommy

All the time just inspect both for damage –Byron

Yes, I clean the broadhead/expandable -Amy

I take them apart and clean them every time I shoot a deer with them. The deer in my user picture is the 4th deer. –Jason

I reuse both. The broadheads I use have replaceable blades. If the blades are not bent or badly damaged, I will sharpen the blades. –Stacey

Yes. Just shot my 4th with same arrow and broadhead –Travis

Unless you put with trophy mount to record your kill shot -John

It’s all about condition. –Danni

Yes unless it’s damaged. -Byron
Personally, I don’t. The way I look at it is, if I lose or wound a deer because I cheaped out on a new broadhead I would beat myself up over it. -Johnny
I use Muzzy Phantom’s but have a half dozen of these for back up because they’re just as good.
As far as reusing a broadhead. That’s entirely up to you. I never would. My cross bow sends a bolt Into a target with an extreme amont of pressure. Whether you can see it or not, those blades are not as true as they once were after that strike. –


As you can see, it was a mixed response.  So the answer is still yes and of course, it depends.

Let’s dive in a little deeper ⤵️

How can you tell if you can reuse a bolt?

We strongly recommend taking a few practice shots at targets prior to re-using them for hunting.  This way you will be confident in whether this bolt is ready and can be used again.

  • Check for straightness
  • Look closely for any dents
  • Inspect for any damage
  • Thoroughly clean


Even with these tips, we know that many hunters will not reuse a bolt after it’s been fired. They would rather have a brand new one. However, between hunting and taking practice shots, crossbow bolts can start to get expensive and you can go through quite a few of them rather quickly, especially in deer hunting season.

What are the signs to look for in a bolt?

While there are a variety of different bolts, there are some common signs you can look out for.

First of all are the fletchings.

They are not all supposed to be straight, some are supposed to have a curve in them.

Check to see if its still straight or if it has a curve or bend to it, depending on the bolt.

The second most common problem to check for is the nock. Check to make sure it has not become loose or weak.

Next sign to look at is the shaft. The shaft absolutely needs to be straight.

Remember that during hunting, if the animal moves, or you hit a bone, or if you miss altogether and hit a tree, it can damage your arrows quite easily.


Bolt or Arrow?

Some people refer to the crossbow projectile as a bolt, that’s what we are referring to it as here.  Some hunters call it an arrow.

Keep in mind that a bolt is only used when talking about a crossbow, the term bolt is never used when talking about a regular bow.

Differences: a bolt has no stabilizing vanes near the back, while an arrow always has a stabilizing vane in the back.

The terms can be interchanged but they are not necessarily correct when doing so.



Crossbow bolts can be reused and I recommend doing so if all of the criteria above checks out. Inspect them after every shot to make sure they haven’t become damaged in any way. Repair or straighten where needed and reuse if you can.

About the Author Pink Crossbow

Jen loves the outdoors and enjoys exploring a wide-range of activities. A mother of 3 whose seen far too many friends suffer from cancer, she believes Pink Crossbow reflects a sport for LIFE. It's a reminder that archery belongs to everyone regardless of age, size, or gender...and real enthusiasts aren't afraid to wear pink!

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