The memory, much like the ice that was hanging from my moustache that day, remains crystal clear. I had been sitting in that treestand for several hours in late December during the most bitter winter conditions I have ever bowhunted in. Blowing snow, high winds and frigid temperatures conspired to make even this Canadian boy start to question if it was time to find warmth.
At the time, I was using a 67-pound compound bow with a 50 percent let-off. During normal practice sessions, I could draw that bow hundreds of times without any great loss in accuracy. But when a deer finally walked down that cedar swamp trail and paused behind a tree 20 yards away, I simply could not draw that bow. The cold had taken its toll on my muscles and, as a result, a really nice late season deer walked off unscathed.
To be sure, that was an extreme case. But most bowhunters who hunt in these conditions are aware of how the cold, combined with heavy layers of cold weather clothing, can affect your archery abilities.
Some of us adjust our compound bows for lighter draw weights, others don’t stay so long on the stand and a few simply don’t hunt when the temperatures plummet.
These days, I use a crossbow. And, if they are legal during the bowhunting season in your area, I’d highly recommend you try one, too. I know there’s a lot of controversy in some circles regarding crossbows – and I won’t wade into that.
But what I will say is they are the perfect hunting tool to allow a bowhunter to hunt during the late season when conditions make using your traditional or compound bow much more difficult. And you need many of the same bowhunting skills to succeed. Good shot placement, sharp broadheads, accurate range estimation, and tracking skills immediately come to mind.
Furthermore, with a crossbow, you can be more comfortable by operating from a pop-up ground blind, which can break the wind and helps contain heat. That’s not to say this is the only time crossbows have their place. Just that in late season they really come into their own.
If the deep freeze is running roughshod over your bowhunting efforts, consider a crossbow. It will keep you in the game.
Interested in how a crossbow might help you? Check out these 5 reasons to consider using a crossbow