Cumberland Times-News

Outdoors

July 20, 2013

Calling them crossguns is OK with me

... and what’s up with rock snot

The thing about crossbows is that they are amazingly accurate instruments.
The users of vertical bows who look down their noses at the users of horizontal bows like to call them crossguns. They say crossbows are more like rifles than bows.
And, even though that terminology is meant as a put down, I could not agree more and that’s why I like them. I would not hesitate to shoot at a deer at 45 yards, as long as the animal was broadside and especially if it was not on alert.
It’s a very small sample size, but I have tagged three deer I shot with crossbows. As is my usual modus operandi, I went overboard and obtained two of the bows. One is the compound style with the cams and cable. The other is a recurve. Each fires bolts with almost pinpoint accuracy.
As a good friend of mine and a fellow high school graduate would say, “I wike em bof.”
You can spend a lot of money for a crossbow if you choose. I saw one costing $2,000 in a catalog. A fellow hunter told me there are crossbows that go for $3,000.
Combined, my crossbows, that came ready to shoot, cost under $1,000. I can’t imagine that a deer shot via a $3,000 crossbow would be any more dead than those I have tagged. One went 100 yards before succumbing, but the other two traveled less than half that distance.
Crossbows became legal for all hunters in Maryland for the 2010 season. In 2011, 9,504 deer (35 percent) were taken via crossbows throughout Maryland as part of the overall archery harvest of 26,929.
In 2012, the numbers were 9,378 and 27,216, or 34 percent, according to Brian Eyler, the deer project leader for the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service.
“That level of harvest was to be expected based upon the patterns we watched in other states such as Ohio,” Eyler said. “After Ohio introduced crossbows they slowly built in popularity.”

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