Set for Success: How to Hunt Happy with a Crossbow

The struggle to legalize crossbows during the Missouri deer season proved difficult. And now that crossbows are legal for the 2016 deer seasons, fans of this weapon are facing other challenges.

Crossbow sales have taken a steep climb after the announcement made by the Missouri Department of Conservation said that crossbows would be legal for anyone old enough to hold a hunting license during the 2016 Missouri deer seasons.

However, many crossbow users are running into purchasing issues. Apparently, all crossbow retail outlets are not created equal.

Danny Sanazaro, of Fanning 66 Outpost in Cuba, Mo. believes people need to take several things into consideration before buying a crossbow.

“Crossbows can be a big investment,” Sanazaro said. “A lot of hunters are excited about the possibility of being able to hunt with a crossbow in 2016 and they are in the market to buy one. For many hunters, this will be their first time to own a crossbow.”

He believes the excitement of being able to participate in a new hunting method can often lead to quick, spur-of-the-moment purchases without considering all the facts

“One of the biggest mistakes I see people making in crossbow purchases is not buying from a reputable dealer.”

Hunting and shooting with crossbows has grown considerably in the last three decades. Battles raged as hunting enthusiasts of different disciplines argued the pros and cons. Many compound bow users felt that crossbows would give users extra advantages. However, after 30 years of research by several states, which allowed crossbows for hunting, statistics have indicated that compound and crossbow users have the exact same harvest ratio of deer with 15-percent success rates.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is cautious about making regulation changes, but could not ignore the facts. Additionally, crossbows have proven to be an asset when it comes to attracting new hunters and shooters, and especially women and kids. And with sales of hunting licenses dropping in many states, allowing the growing number of crossbow users to hunt with their weapon of choice not only bolsters hunter numbers from more demographics, but the conservation coffers as well.

The numbers of crossbow hunters has been increasing in Missouri, according to Sanazaro.

“Sales are up, but people are making mistakes in their purchases,” he said. “Customers need to ask the dealer they buy from about warranties and service capabilities. Crossbows are not cheap, and warranties need to come with them. Dealers need to service what they sell. If an individual buys from a dealer who does not offer service—and when a problem arises—that individual will have to pay the expense of sending his crossbow off somewhere plus be without his bow for an extended period of time.”

Sanazaro also recommends that people should not buy used crossbows, if they can.

“There are a lot of moving parts on a crossbow and a number of things can go wrong. Many people may not be able to recognize some of the problems that can exist, such as hairline cracks in limbs, worn pins, strings and limbs. If buying a used crossbow, you can be setting yourself up for equipment failure and disappointment.”

He added that this especially true if you get it without a warranty. Buying crossbows online is not a good proposition either.

You may have a warranty with an internet purchase of a crossbow, but most likely, there will be no service available. Even if there is service available, you are going to have to pay expensive shipping costs to and from the service location.”

Another problem attached to buying used crossbows and one online is that a local dealer may not have the capability to work on that crossbow or simply may not want to work on an item not purchased at their facility.

“To replace a string on a crossbow, it has to go on a press,” Sanazaro explained. “If we work on a used crossbow or one bought elsewhere, we take on a liability if one of the limbs break. There most likely is no warranty; that puts us in a spot. So, like most reputable dealers, we don’t work on those items. If potential crossbow buyers will take these few tips into consideration before giving up their hard-earned money, they will be a lot happier and more successful in the field in the long run.”

Sanazaro welcomes anyone to stop by Fanning 66 Outpost Archery on old Rt. 66 west of the town of Cuba to check their line of crossbows. They offer a full line, from Ten Point, PSE, Mission and Stryker. Service is also available. And it’s not too early to get ready for the upcoming fall hunting seasons.