Nebraska: On Target with Crossbows for Spring Turkey Hunting

Turkey

Nebraska’s popular archery spring wild turkey hunting season is just around the corner, opening March 25. A growing number of hunters seem to have added another piece of legal archery equipment to their repertoire — the modern crossbow.

I enjoy hunting with a crossbow, but it’s not as easy as you might think. Besides having to be horizontally conscious with the shape of the instrument, the crossbow hunter must possess the same abilities, knowledge, woodcraft and nearly all of the same shooting skills as the compound bow hunter.

Basic hunter safety rules apply when using a modern crossbow. However, the most important safety tip to remember is to keep your fingers and hands away from the drawstring when the crossbow is cocked. Fingers and thumbs must be kept under the drawstring on the stock.

I had a learning curve when I first picked up a crossbow for spring turkey hunting several years back. You have to make sure you have a good rest on a solid object. You just can’t shoot it like a compound bow. If a gobbler is coming from right to left (I am right-handed), it can be hard to get the bi-pod shooting sticks and crossbow swung around and situated from a seated position in a ground blind. You’ll need to aim small for proper shot placement and have some things go in your favor.

I think the effective range of a crossbow for turkeys is at or slightly beyond that of a compound bow shot, even with a scope. Most average crossbow hunters might agree that any shot at live game over 40 yards is an unethical one. Hunters need to recognize their personal limitations, know their gear and how it performs.

With an easy-pull component, crank or push-button mechanization, you can cock your crossbow with little effort. This allows small-framed individuals, especially kids and physically challenged and older hunters with permanent shoulder, joint or upper body disorders, an opportunity to be in the field during an archery hunting season.

The modern crossbow is now enabling youths to hunt the spring archery turkey hunting season in Nebraska at a much younger age. At least with a crossbow, a shot can be steadied with the assistance of a rest. Additionally, some youngsters may not participate in a hunt because they’re scared of the recoil and loud bang of a shotgun or are unable to pull back and hold a compound bow. The crossbow eliminates these problems because of an uncomplicated loading device, cocking apparatus and a much calmer fire.

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Try a crossbow for your own archery wild turkey hunting in Nebraska this spring. It’s a challenging, fun and unique hunt.

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