Close this search box.

Crossbow Myths and Misconceptions

Hunter with crossbow walking with a backpack

There are numerous myths and misconceptions surrounding crossbows that you’ve likely come across.

These range from fears of them being overly accurate to beliefs that they possess the ability to decimate entire deer populations.

In this discussion, we will debunk these prevalent fallacies.

So brace yourself as we’re about to pull back the bowstring of truth and let it sail towards the target of these misconceptions.

The “Overly Accurate” Crossbow Myth

Contrary to popular belief, crossbows aren’t inherently more accurate than compound bows or rifles, and their use requires the same level of caution and ethical considerations for long-range shots.

This ‘overly accurate’ crossbow myth is among the many misconceptions circulating in the hunting community.

Crossbows, like any other weapon, require skill and practice to master.

While it’s true that a crossbow’s bolt doesn’t follow a significantly flatter trajectory than an arrow from a compound bow, factors like wind can hugely impact the accuracy of your shot.

It’s a myth to think you have an automatic advantage just because you’re wielding a crossbow.

Another of the crossbow myths you may have heard is the idea that crossbows have more knockdown power than compound bows.

The facts tell a different story. The ballistic performance of crossbows is similar to that of vertical bows, leading to comparable success rates.

The key to successful hunting isn’t just about your weapon but also your skill and knowledge.

Debunking the Deer Decimation Claim

Despite common misconceptions, allowing crossbow hunting during archery seasons has yet to devastate deer populations, which some predicted.

It’s one of the crossbow myths circulated widely, but studies show that crossbow hunters aren’t the cause of dwindling deer numbers.

Instead, it’s a combination of habitat loss, disease, and severe weather that can decimate the deer herd.

Crossbows, in themselves, aren’t inherently more deadly than vertical bows. The success of a hunt hinges more on the hunter’s skills and knowledge than the weapon they use.

States that allow crossbows in archery season have yet to see a significant decline in deer population.

Instead, crossbows might lead to fewer wounded animals due to their added accuracy.

Dissecting the “Greater Power” Myth

a graphic showing compound bow and crossbow ranges

One of the most pervasive myths you might encounter is the belief that crossbows possess greater power than compound bows, a misconception that, in reality, isn’t backed up by evidence.

When dissecting the ‘greater power’ myth, it’s crucial to understand that the energy dispensed into a projectile from a crossbow is comparable to that of a compound bow.

You might’ve heard that crossbows have more knockdown power – this is another one of those crossbow myths.

“Now, agreeably, the crossbow most often has a heavier draw weight, but the draw weight is not what determines the amount of kinetic energy transferred to the projectile it launches, it is the length of the power stroke or the distance that the string is actually pushing the arrow that determines the energy load.  The longer the power stroke, the more kinetic energy that is stored in the arrow; and that is one of the physical limitations in the design of a crossbow.”

In reality, both crossbows and compound bows show similar knockdown power when shooting projectiles of the same weight and speed.

Consider this: When shooting, a compound bow’s string propels the arrow over twice the distance compared to a crossbow.

Hence, a crossbow must double the compound bow’s draw weight to achieve the same arrow speed.

No tangible differentiation proves a crossbow superior in power when harvesting game.

Crossbow: A 100-Yard Weapon?

While it’s true that crossbows can shoot deer at distances of 100-plus yards, it’s highly unethical, and often unsuccessful, to attempt shots much beyond 50-60 yards.

Wind, for instance, significantly impacts a crossbow’s accuracy.

Even a light breeze can move the bolt 10 inches at 50 yards. Long-held crossbow myths often overlook this fact.

Crossbows don’t shoot as flat as rifles, and their ballistic performance is similar to vertical bows.

This makes them a versatile, legal hunting tool rather than a ruthless, deer-decimating machine.

Another misconception is that crossbows are a poacher’s weapon due to their potential range. However, range doesn’t equate to ethical or successful hunting.

A skilled and responsible hunter knows this and respects their weapon’s limitations and environment.

Before you go… 

So, there you have it. Crossbows aren’t overly accurate death machines; they won’t decimate deer populations, they don’t trump rifles in every aspect, and they’re not inherently superior in power.

And the 100-yard weapon claim? It’s more complicated.

We hope we’ve cleared up these misconceptions for you.

It’s also essential to recognize that crossbows serve an important role for individuals with physical handicaps who might not be able to use compound bows.

This inclusivity ensures that the sport of archery remains accessible and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of their physical capabilities.

6 thoughts on “Crossbow Myths and Misconceptions”

  1. Bullshit! Crossbows are Not archery: no archery skills
    More animals will be wounded by their light weight bolts and not be tractable.

    • I totally get where you’re coming from but crossbows really can be a great alternative for folks who might have a tough time with traditional or compound bows because of physical limitations – and many of those turning to crossbows have a rich history in hunting.

  2. Thanks for educating people. As an old bow hunter i now have a crossbow to hunt with.the new hunters look down on us old guys. Thanks agin.

  3. I enjoy Bow hunting greatly, but due to a shoulder surgery I’m unable to pull the compound bow back without my shoulder being in pain so I have switched to crossbow so I can still enjoy hunting without the pain in my shoulder.


Leave a Comment

deer harvested
Alexander Knobloch

Will Deer Blood Spook other Deer

When it comes to deer, there is a lot that remains unknown. One question that continues to baffle hunters and researchers is whether or not the blood of a deer will scare away other deer. Some people believe the scent of blood will scare away other deer, while others think a deer carcass or blood

Read More »
a white tail buck in the evening sun
Alexander Knobloch

How Do Bucks Skillfully Evade the Pressures of Hunting?

Through a sophisticated array of sensory abilities, bucks employ various strategies to evade hunting pressure and ensure their survival. Comparable to skilled detectives, bucks possess acute hearing, a strong sense of smell, and excellent peripheral vision, allowing them to detect and sense danger from a distance. Crepuscular by nature, they browse mainly at dawn and

Read More »