The Silent Hunter: 3 Badass Reasons To Own a Crossbow

Now it’s time to get back into some good instruction and topics for the New Year.  I want to cover the Crossbow and some of its advantages in the arenas of hunting, survival, and as an all-around great tool to practice marksmanship.

Crossbow round, vintage engraved illustration. Dictionary of words and things – Larive and Fleury – 1895.

The crossbow has been around a long time, and it saw widespread use in Medieval times as a means of utilizing a bolt to penetrate armor.  In the olden days, they made powerful bows backed by horsehair and sinew.  I’m sure there’s someone out there with knowledge about ancient crossbows and their uses.  We’d be happy to hear from you, and your comments are most welcome.  Nowadays the makes and models of crossbows are as numerous as you can imagine.  So, you may be wondering, what are the advantages to having a crossbow?  There are many, so let’s cover them.


The crossbow delivers power and accuracy silently.  It is an excellent piece with which to hunt.  JJ uses the Huntsman Advantage with 140 lb. draw weight and a foot-cocking loop, with a 10 power Simmons scope mounted on the top.  For more serious matters, there is the Barnett Commando with 175 lb. draw (It’s a little pricey, but well worth the investment, in my humble opinion.).  I prefer broad heads such a 150 grain Thunderchiefs, 4-blades on the head.

Can Be More Convenient Compared To a Compound Bow

The advantage of a crossbow can also be found in the fact that once it is cocked and ready to fly a bolt, the firer can rest: even letoff with a compound bow can be tiring if you have to hold the position for a long time.  Crossbows also allow you to fire in the prone position.  Such a stance cuts down on silhouetting and also drawing the notice of your intended quarry should you miss.  Their power cannot be overstated.  Either of those two draws I’ve mentioned coupled with a good broad head and accurate marksmanship will bring down the largest game.

The states vary in their issuance of permits for hunting with a crossbow.  Check with your state’s hunter safety board or the forestry service.  The information may also be found in the free annual hunting guide that holds the seasons and the regulations.  If you have an injury or something medically that prevents you from using a bow, most states will allow you a license to hunt with a crossbow, and it is this way in Montana.

It’s a Silent Hunter

From a survival perspective, the crossbow is silent and powerful enough to put meat on your table when it might be “inconvenient” to make a report with a firearm when hunting.  The crossbow is fairly light and can be toted with a sling or a strap across the back or affixed to a rucksack.  The bolts you’ll have to shop around for, both for length and for quality.  I prefer aluminum to fiberglass, but on this there’s no hard and fast rule that you can use one but not the other.  Just be sure to obtain a reliable bolt from a reputable manufacturer, such as Easton, for example.


Crossbows are also good for developing your marksmanship skills.  As the bolts can be used over and over, you have an unlimited amount of target practice that you can conduct.  I have found target tips in bales of hay work just fine.  Old furniture cushions (such as from that couch that seems to have a pin or nail in the cushions only when you take a nap!) and the furniture pieces (if no longer needed) make prime field-expedient targets.  Remember, there is no recoil, as it is basically a bow mounted on a rifle stock, and bows pull forward (minimally).

Prices May Vary, But Always Choose Quality Products

Prices vary, and it depends on what you want.  Quality is what you’re shooting for.  You can set yourself up just fine for anywhere between $250 – 500 with a crossbow that is effective for hunting and for home defense/survival.  Yes, a bolt (at 175 lb. draw) will penetrate body armor of an “assailant” or “marauder,” if you read me.  Let the actions of the invading individual define them as either one or the other.  ‘Nuff said there.

In conclusion, consider a crossbow for yourself and the family as an excellent survival tool and a great home-defense weapon and marksmanship aid that can meet your needs…whatever your target may be.  Everyone have a Happy New Year, and I hope some of you Guys and Gals already found a crossbow under that Christmas tree!  JJ out!

by Jeremiah Johnson

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.
Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.
Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

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