How Far Can You Shoot A Deer With A Crossbow?

How Far Can You Shoot A Deer With A Crossbow?

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When I first started hunting, I used a hunting rifle as did my Dad and brothers.  However, I decided to begin shooting crossbows a few years back and I really had no idea of what to expect.  Like many who had never shot with them, this hunting option had me perplexed.  I mean, exactly, how far can you shoot a deer with a crossbow anyways?

Plus I had so many other questions like:

  • How do you load a crossbow?
  • How to cock a crossbow?
  • How much noise will a crossbow make?
  • What’s the trigger like?
  • Do they really have enough power to pierce through a deer and kill it?

This is an important question to answer as ethical hunters will want to have a shot that will kill the deer rather than injure it.  So doing the work to find out how close or far you need to be to meet this goal is important to figure out.

How Far Can You Shoot A Deer With A Crossbow?

How far will depend on a number of variables such as how experienced of a bow hunter are you, what is the weight of the arrow, how good are your skills and how good of a scope do you have.

There is not one factor that can determine how far your crossbow will shoot.

Experienced bow hunters: 50 yard shot

Novice: 20 – 30 yard shot


Bow Hunter Experience

If you’re making the switch like I did from a rifle to bow hunting, you can’t expect miracles.  It will take practice and a few other things to get better at this.

If you are using shooting sticks or a shooting rail on your treestand it will definitely help and can extend your range.

But it still comes down to practicing your technique first from short distances then slowly increasing to longer distances.

Newbies will want to start with practicing close on your targets  – you’ll want to start close to the archery target and then begin to work your way out, a little bit at a time. The more practice the more prepared you will be for the variables coming your way in a live environment such as moving animals, branches, tree limbs and brush.


What kind of arrow are you using?

A heavier arrow will come out of the crossbow at a slower rate but will retain it’s energy downrange better.

Keep in mind, you may have the crosshair on the vitals of the deer when you actually take the shot but do you know where  that animal will be when the arrow arrives?

Weight of Arrow

I think a good average hunting arrow should fall in the 6 to 8 grains per pound of bow weight, with lighter bows maybe even closer to 9 to 10 grains per pound. A typical 60-lb. bow should be in the 360- to 480-grain range, a 70-lb.

To address a point I made earlier about noise – a lighter arrow might be noisier.

Today a  serious archers is going to want an arrow weight than can pierce through ribs. Regardless of the arrow you choose I I have found that a heavier front insert is my best bet.


Crossbow Skillset

Hunting with a crossbow starts with choosing the right equipment. You can go to your local archery shop to get more guidance or look at these beginner crossbows.

Learning the basics of a crossbow is your first priority and we strongly recommend bookmarking this article as your go-to guide on Bow Basics.


Scope Concerns

Look through your crossbow scope. Do you see some crosses, dots, or patterns?

These are the markings that you’ll want to use for measuring the distance to the targets, aiming, and pointing them.


To prepare your scope, you must ensure:

  • Your scope is clean.
  • The mounting system fits your crossbow properly.
  • The scope rings stay compatible with your device.

Conclusion – so How Far Can You Shoot A Deer With A Crossbow?

With some time on the range with your crossbow you’ll find out that long distances are certainly possible on targets but when it comes to hunting, it’s best to get close and deliver a good, ethical kill.

How Far Can You Shoot A Deer With A Crossbow? Well you can start with 20 yards and increase from there depending on your dedication to the craft.

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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