Here I am, on my hands and knees, crawling through a deer-built tunnel that cuts through a briar patch, and suddenly I can hear my dad’s voice telling me exactly how to get where I’m trying to go.
I started hunting with Dad thirty-five years ago, when I was ten. I’ve hunted just about everything you could hunt in my home state of South Carolina, and I’m now looking to try hunting them in new ways. After all, half the fun of hunting is pushing yourself to your own limits. This year I decided to try hunting whitetail with a crossbow; something I’ve never done before now.
I started this project by researching crossbows and after countless hours scouring reviews and pricing, I chose the Barnett Ghost 360 FPS. Barnett has been making crossbows for a very long time and has built a massive following based on a reputation for quality. Barnett’s commitment to marrying quality and technology goes a long way in my book. Barnett boasts the Ghost as a 43% lighter crossbow due to its aluminum and carbon construction. The package I picked up came with an illuminated scope that has multiple stadia lines for setting point of impact at different distances, a cocking device, a quiver and three 20″ bolts and 100 grain field points. With an MSRP of $649, it is a solid package for the price.
With my crossbow in place, my focus turned to broadheads. I narrowed my choices down to these three:
- The Slick Trick Xbow 100 grain
- The Muzzy 100 grain Trocar
- Last (but not least) the G5 Montec – also in 100 grain
I really like the look of the Montec as it is a solid one-piece design and I read several reviews that sang its praises. On the other hand, I used Muzzy broadheads way back when I had a compound bow and always had really great results, but I decided on the Slick Trick Xbow. Not only are there tons of online reviews singing their praises, I have several friends that rave about them. Trying them for myself seemed like a good idea.
I also got several things that would help with getting the best set-up. I purchased two trail cams, one from Cuddeback and one from Primos. I put them out during the second week of August on some of the trails I found while scouting a new spot. (There will be more info on the location in following editions). I checked the cameras every 5 days and have several different deer on film. I only got one buck (a small 8 point) on film, but I’m going to hunt the area in the hopes that when the Rut kicks in a big Buck will come into the area looking for the does. Here’s a picture of an immature buck I caught on film a couple of months ago.
The final element in my setup was the tree stand. I actually have a lengthy history with deer stands that reaches beyond my hunting experience. I ran a video camera for a couple different hunting shows for several years. I mainly filmed bow hunters which means I had to develop a solid understanding in the difference in setting up bow stands as opposed to rifle stands. Bow stands must be close to where the deer move which in turn means the hunter has to be as silent and invisible as possible. My experience taught me to prefer Loc-on tree stands. When I use a Loc-on I rarely sit down. Usually I fold the seat back against the tree and stand up and lean against the trunk of the tree. I have found that when I’m standing I blend into the tree better. This allows me to set my stand closer to the ground as opposed to being really high up, and in turn puts outside the peripheral vision of the deer. When I’m closer to the ground, especially during early season, I have a less obstructed view of my surroundings. I ultimately chose the Summit Peak Hang On for this season.
HERE’S HOW MY FINAL SETUP LOOKS RIGHT NOW:
- Crossbow: Barnett Ghost 360 FPS
- Broadheads: Slick Trick Xbow 100 grain
- Game Cameras: Cuddeback and Primos
- Tree Stand: Summit Peak Hang On
It is difficult and taxing to jump into a new hunting discipline, but the reward is worth the journey. Learning more about the “how to” with new strategies and new equipment helps make you a better hunter. I believe that’s part of why we hunt. It’s not just about harvesting an animal. It’s about the process of challenging ourselves to do something different that may, or may not, help us be successful. Either way it’s a learning experience. So, go try something new, go somewhere you haven’t been and learn from the experience. And come back here for updates on my journey with crossbow hunting all season long.
From the armorer’s bench good luck and God bless.