best crossbow for deer hunting

Introduction

A deer hunting crossbow should be silent, accurate, and fast, with the ability to put down big game in seconds.

Gone are the days of Robin Hood and Leonardo Da Vinci when crossbows were essentially just simple hunting tools.

Back then, a crossbow’s functionality and accuracy varied from one user to the other. However, today anyone who is willing to learn the sport can use a crossbow and make a good hunt.

But how do you choose the right crossbow when embarking on deer hunting? This is a quick guide with our top recommendations for the best crossbow for deer hunting.

We will outline these crossbows and place them in beginner, intermediate, and premium categories.

3 Best Beginner Crossbows For Deer Hunting

1. Best Beginner Crossbow For Deer Hunting – Barnett 78134 Crossbow

Barnett 78134 Recruit Tactical Compound Crossbow Package W/2 Bolts, Adult - 330 Feet Per Second
Since 1962, Barnett Crossbows has been an industry leader in making safe, fast, and reliable crossbows in all shapes and sizes for hunters and sports enthusiasts.

The Barnett 78134 Crossbow is excellent for beginners. This 6.5 pounds crossbow comes mostly assembled and the precision is solid.

The 2018 model with a matte black finish is an addition to Barnett Crossbows’ compound series. It measures between 30 to 35 inches long with a draw weight of only 130 lbs.

These specifications give these compound crossbows better shooting precision without exerting too much physical effort.

They, therefore, are a good pick for smaller framed users, women, and young adults.

Barnett 78134 Crossbow features a single bolt assembly, which makes it easy to assemble, especially for a beginner.

It fires its bolts at a speed of 330 feet per second.  In addition, these crossbows have a lightweight composite stock that can adjust up to 2 inches.

The quiver can hold an arrow without a broadhead and three other arrows with broadheads.

The package includes a lightweight quiver, two 20” Barnett headhunter arrows, a rope cocking device, Lube wax, and a 4×32 premium red dot scope.

Pros

  • Shoots silently
  • Comes preassembled
  • Crank compatible
  • Uses anti-dry fire safety mechanism
  • Great for left-handed users

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a sling

2. Best Beginner Crossbow For Deer Hunting – KingsArchery Self Cocking Pistol Crossbow

KingsArchery Crossbow Self-Cocking 80 LBS with Adjustable Sights, 3 Aluminium Arrow Bolts, and Bonus 60-Pack of Colored PVC Arrow Bolts Warranty
KingsArchery’s Self Cocking Pistol Crossbow is a durable, lightweight crossbow with excellent precision.

The pistol crossbow has a draw weight of 80lbs and a velocity of 150 feet per second. It also features a power stroke of nearly 7 inches.

These specifications combined with its adjustable sights (for precision), guaranteed a fun hunting experience.

Another unique feature is its self-cocking system that is beginner-friendly when loading and reloading the bolts.

KingsArchery’s Self Cocking Pistol Crossbow uses the Cobra limb system, which is balanced at the front of the crossbow to reduce weight.

It comes with a safety mechanism behind the trigger guard that engages automatically when you pull the bowstring back in readiness for a firing position.

KingsArchery Crossbow Self-Cocking 80 LBS with Adjustable Sights, 3 Aluminium Arrow Bolts, and Bonus 60-Pack of Colored PVC Arrow Bolts Warranty
KingsArchery’s Self Cocking Pistol Crossbow comes with 63 aluminum crossbow darts, an Allen key set, vibration dampening pads, a polyester bowstring, a compression plate, a riser, and a prod.

Most of the crossbow parts are made of plastic while some are metallic. However, the bow itself is made of robust compressed, molded fiberglass.

Pros

  • Easy to use, assemble, and disassemble
  • Adjustable sights for precision
  • Small size yet equally powerful

Cons

  • Lacks vertical foregrip
  • Pre-assembly instructions could be clearer

3. Best Beginner Crossbow For Deer Hunting – Leader Accessories Crossbow Package

Leader Accessories Crossbow Package 160lbs 210fps Archery Equipment Hunting Bow with Quiver and 4pcs of Aluminum Arrow, Green Camo
The Leader Accessories Crossbow Package is comprised of 3 red dot sight scope, a padded sling, a quiver, four 16 inches long aluminum bolts, wax, cocking rope and a stringer.

This crossbow package uses a 6 pounds trigger pull to attain a velocity of 210 feet per second with a 125-grain arrow.

Weighing 5.85 lbs. only, the crossbow has a draw weight of 160 lbs. It attains a maximum of 10.5 inch power stroke. As a result, it can put down a deer 35 yards away.

At this distance, it plows into plywood up to one and a half inches deep.

Hence, you have to ensure you know what is ahead of your targets to avoid unnecessary accidents.

The anti-dry-fire system in place limits the user from making accidental shots while getting ready to aim.

Additionally, its manual sights can be adjusted either vertically or horizontally.

The Leader Accessories Crossbow Package retails in either black or green camouflage colors. This is another top-notch crossbow that is great for beginners.

Pros

  • Shoots quietly with precision
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Easy to follow preassemble instructions
  • Great value for money
  • Ideal for both adults and younger adults

Cons

  • Stringing could be improved

5 Best Intermediate Crossbows For Deer Hunting

1. Best Intermediate Crossbow For Deer Hunting – PSE Archery Jolt Hunting Crossbow

PSE Jolt Crossbow Package
The PSE Archery Jolt Hunting Crossbow is a lightweight crossbow with quiet shooting features.

This crossbow uses a recurve limb style that makes it more stable, accurate, powerful, and silent than its predecessor models.

Measuring 32 inches long and weighing 5.8 lbs., the crossbow has a 12.5” power stroke.

By combining this power stroke, its unique rubber string groove that minimizes limb vibrations, with its draw weight of 175 lbs., the PSE Archery Jolt Hunting Crossbow delivers a shooting speed of 250 feet per second hitting a target at least 40 yards away.

PSE Jolt Crossbow Package
PSE Archery Jolt Hunting Crossbow is ideal for the average-sized person. However, taller persons can employ the crossbow’s retractable shoulder stock to extend it a further 1.25 inches.

It makes an excellent Christmas gift for the young family members.

Plus, if you put a sling on this bow, you can enjoy a bonding session with your loved ones and still bring back dinner.

The PSE Archery Jolt Hunting Crossbow uses the anti-dry fire safety mechanism, which gives you total control when firing.

The package comes with four 18 inches long bolts of 100 grain, a standard rope cocking system, rubber string grooves, a rail wax lube, and a red dot scope.

Pros

  • Precise shooting at a great distance
  • Lightweight
  • Talle people can use this crossbow

Cons

  • Assembly instructions could be improved

2. Best Intermediate Crossbow For Deer Hunting – Stryker Offspring Crossbows

Stryker Crossbows Offspring Crossbow Package, Black Ops, Adult
This is a product of the merging of two powerhouses in the crossbow engineering: The Stryker Crossbows and Offspring Crossbows.

This sleek packaging and great aesthetics make this crossbow eye-catching.

The Stryker Offspring Crossbow also shoots excellently and it has several impressive features.

The crossbow’s bolts propel at a speed of 360 feet per second with virtually no sound. It uses 20 inches long arrows that propel at a draw weight of 140 lbs.

The 12.75” power stroke gives it momentum to hit targets further ahead.

Additionally, this crossbow has a 3.5lbs trigger, one of the highest of all the crossbows in its class.

Weighing 7 pounds and measuring 27 x 25 x 7 inches, the crossbow’s short mainframe makes it stable and easy to handle.

The package includes a bow, high-quality Multi-Plex scope, scope mount and rings, a 4-arrow quiver and mount, 3 carbon bolts and an Excalibur C2 crank rope cocker.

The Stryker Offspring Crossbow is available in either the basic black color or the camouflage design (mossy oak country), meaning you can choose whichever design works best for you in the field.

Pros

  • Shoots quiet, forceful, and sturdy
  • Well accessorized for great customization
  • Features an advanced compound limb assembly
  • Uses a reverse dual cam system

Cons

  • Is not sold preassembled

3. Best Intermediate Crossbow For Deer Hunting – CenterPoint Specialist XL 370 Camo-Crossbow Package

CenterPoint Specialist XL 370 Camo- Crossbow Package
The CenterPoint Specialist XL 370 Camo-Crossbow Package comes as an upgrade of the original CenterPoint Sniper 370 Crossbow Package.

It includes a 4X32 mm scope, a cocking rope, a quiver with three 370 grain 20” carbon bolts, anti-dry fire, and auto safety, quad fiberglass limb composite stock, noise-suppressing stops, and a sling and rubber coating on the foot stock to reduce noise and vibrations.

CenterPoint Specialist XL 370 Camo-Crossbow Package shoots 370 feet per second.

It has 185 pounds draw weight and an overall bow weight of 7.9 pounds as well as an overall 36.5 inches length.

Its power stroke reaches 13.5 with an axle-to-axle measuring 21.5 inches.

At the side of the bow, you will find an adjustable and removable bolt quiver from 35 to 39.25 inches. It also features a foregrip to accommodate multiple shooting styles.

One may need to shoot a few times before getting used to where the trigger system brakes.

The CenterPoint Specialist XL 370 Camo-Crossbow Package uses a machine rail system that is extremely accurate. This crossbow can also be un-cocked with a rope cocker.

Pros

  • Delivers fast, accurate shots
  • Ideal for left-handed users
  • Have soft grips
  • Easy to follow user manual
  • Tough and durable

Cons

  • Sometimes makes a slight clinking sound

4. Best Intermediate Crossbow For Deer Hunting – KI Killer Instinct 415 415fps Pro Crossbow

Killer Instinct Crossbows Ripper 415 Crossbow Kit
Are you looking for a crossbow with proven high speed, efficiency, and optimal kinetic energy?

Check out the KI Killer Instinct 415 415fps Pro Crossbow. Weighing just 6.9 pounds, this Ripper 415 model is a lightweight hunting crossbow with a velocity of 415 feet per second.

The crossbow uses a rope cocker that is safe, fast, and easy to handle. It has aluminum CNC enhanced rail and a trigger pull system that breaks at 3.5lbs.

This trigger system de-cocks at the touch of a button.

The crossbow’s draw weight of 200 lbs together with a 15” power stroke can fatally hit a deer 60 yards away.

The crossbow is small in size with an axle to axle dimension of 17.75″/14.25″.

Its length is adjustable from 35 inches to 36.5 inches.

Killer Instinct Crossbows Ripper 415 Crossbow Kit
This Ripper 415 Model is easy to adjust. It has a customized feel on the heel, handgrip, and scope. It uses limb and string silencers and string suppressors that limit the noise and vibrations when shooting.

The package also includes 4X32 KI Lumix Illuminated Reticle W scope with 5 brightness settings and red and blue light.

There are 3 KillerTech arrows, 5 arrow quiver with tactical side mount, and rail lube.

Pros

  • Fires fast and accurate shots
  • Ideal for left-handed users
  • Extremely lightweight

Cons

  • Lacks an automatic cocking system

5. Best Intermediate Crossbow For Deer Hunting – SAS Troy 370 Compound Crossbow

SAS Troy 370 Compound Crossbow 4x32 Scope Package with Free Crossbow Bag and Extra 6 x Carbon Bolts
The SAS Company is a new entrant in the archery industry, taking up the market with high-performance machines.

The 6.8 pound SAS Troy 370 Compound Crossbow has sleek specifications that make it a fast, silent, and reliable hunting weapon.

The crossbow’s power stroke stands at 13.75 inches.

It also has a draw weight of 185 lbs and a speed of 370 feet per second making it one of the best crossbows in this range.

If you love shooting your game while on top of a tree, this crossbow’s fully adjustable length of between 34.5 inches and 37 inches, an adjustable tactical stock, forearm, and a lightweight CNC machined aluminum rail makes it easy to haul around with little effort.

SAS Troy 370 Compound Crossbow 4x32 Scope Package with Free Crossbow Bag and Extra 6 x Carbon Bolts
The SAS Troy 370 Compound Crossbow uses an ambidextrous auto safety that limits your shooting until when you are ready.

The packaging includes a 4X32 scope, three 20 inches long carbon arrows, a detachable quiver, a rail lube, and a rope-cocking device.

The crossbow is fully accessorized for easy assembling and disassembling.

Pros

  • Fast, accurate and efficient
  • Excellent performance
  • Free from noise and vibrations
  • Comes with a free crossbow bag and 6 additional carbon bolts
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • The build could be slightly improved

2 Best Premium Crossbows For Deer Hunting

1. Best Premium Crossbow For Deer Hunting – Ravin R20 Sniper Crossbow

Ravin R20 Sniper Crossbow Package, Predator Camo, Crossbow Case, 6 Additional Arrows
Increased speeds and performance come at a premium price in the crossbow market – the Ravin R20 Sniper Crossbow is no exception.

This crossbow retails at a premium price with premium features that will not disappoint.

The first feature to stand out is its Vortex® Strike Eagle 1-8x 24 scopes. It gives it an accuracy level that is rare in crossbows.

Next is its high velocity of 430 feet per second and kinetic energy of 164 ft-lbs.

Combine these specs with a 13 inches power stroke and a draw weight of 12lbs and you have yourself a game-changer in deer hunting.

The Ravin R20 Sniper Crossbow uses Advanced HelicoilTM Technology that keeps the coils out of sight.

This gives you up to 340 degrees view when drawing and shooting.

Additionally, it uses the FrictionlessTM Flight System that makes the arrow and string to suspend freely on the rail, further boosting the crossbow’s accuracy and robustness.

The axle-to-axle measures 6 inches when cocked and 10.5 inches when un-cocked.

The overall length of this predator camouflage finish masterpiece stands at 34.5 inches.

Pros

  • Unmatched rifle-like accuracy and speed
  • On point trigger firing system for better downrange precision
  • Built-in cocking system that is easy to cock
  • User-friendly
  • Durable design
  • Comes preassembled
  • Comes fully accessorized

Cons

  • Uses branded arrows only

2. Best Premium Crossbow For Deer Hunting – Excalibur 1108709 E95857 Micro Suppressor Crossbow

Excalibur 1108709 E95857 Micro Suppressor Crossbow Package, Camo, One Size
The Excalibur 1108709 E95857 Micro Suppressor Crossbow is one of Excalibur’s crossbows in the micro-series class.

At a mass weight of 5.4 lbs and an overall length of 31.0 inches, this lightweight crossbow is compact and extremely quiet.

One is able to change or adjust the bowstring on the recurve without additional help.

The crossbow uses a Sound Deadening System comprising of five components that work together to suppress all the noise and vibrations from the machine.

This recurve hunting crossbow uses 16.5 inches arrows with a weight of 350 grains.

Additionally, the Excalibur Micro Suppressor Crossbow has 92.5 ft pounds kinetic energy on its arrow weight.

Excalibur 1108709 E95857 Micro Suppressor Crossbow Package, Camo, One Size
These arrows combined with the crossbows power stroke of 10.2 inches and a draw weight of 280 pounds achieve a top velocity of 355 feet per second.

The Excalibur Micro Suppressor Crossbow package includes an ambidextrous cheekpiece, a Tact-Zone illuminated scope with 30 mm rings, air brakes, rope cocking aid, three arrows weighing 150 grains each, field points

Pros

  • Fast and accurate
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to assemble
  • Noise-free

Cons

  • Excessive draw weight

Buyer’s Guide To The Best Crossbow For Deer Hunting

best crossbow for deer hunting

In the world of archery, the devil is always in the details.

If you find it hard to understand the ambiguous terms used to differentiate the various crossbows in the market, this buyers’ guide shall come in handy.

The differences in the specifications are what determine the accuracy, level of noise or vibrations, overall weight, compatibility, and definitely the price of the crossbows.

Bargain vs. Class

With crossbows, your desired package determines the cost. Entry-level crossbows comprise the basic components, limited accuracy, and precision.

Most of their systems will require a manual set up.

If you opt for crossbows with the lowest price possible for practice purposes, ensure you get a brand whose user manual is easy to understand.

This will save you time assembling and disassembling the machine.

Ensure that you also understand how the fire safety mechanism works to avoid unnecessary accidents. You might have to contend with some level of noise from the machine and less accuracy.

Prices of crossbows, generally speaking, start from as low as under $200 to as high as above $2,000.

Crossbows vary in shooting speed, calibers, pulling mechanisms, size, and shapes. Do your research ahead of time to know what your specific needs are.

General Specifications

When purchasing crossbows, you need to compare various numerals.

These aspects work collectively to make your crossbow a lethal hunting tool. Below are some of the most critical aspects:

Velocity

A crossbow’s speed is expressed in feet per second. It varies depending on the weight of the arrow used.

There are crossbows with high velocity reaching 460 feet per second.

Such speeds can put down the largest game within seconds.

The crossbow’s velocity will vary from a recurve crossbow, to a compound crossbow and a reverse draw crossbow. It also depends on the drag forces pulling the arrow once it is in the air.

It is therefore prudent to use the velocity alongside other specifications in deciding on which of the crossbow for deer hunting you will purchase.

Draw Weight

The crossbow’s draw weight is a measure of the amount of weight required to draw the crossbow.

It varies from one crossbow to the other to accommodate for the varying hunting styles of users.

The bigger the target game, the more draw weight you will need.

The crossbow must have sufficient draw weight in order to hit targets with precision. The average draw weight of most crossbows ranges between 150 pounds and 175 pounds.

Some states in the US have set the draw weight limits for crossbows to 200 pounds.

Power Stroke

This is the length between the crossbow’s string when in a cocked position compared to its resting or uncocked position. It is an indicator of how fast the arrow will fly.

However, power stroke alone will not propel the arrow. You should also consider the draw weight, limb design, and string material.

Brand

Opt for brands with a track record for producing high performing crossbows.

With that said, there are some new entrants in the market that have hit it off on a high, churning out accurate, robust and noiseless machines.

Safety Features

One of the main safety features of a crossbow is the anti-dry fire safety mechanism.

This system ensures that your bolts do not engage when you are not ready to shoot.

Hence, this safety gear protects your wrists or any other object in front that you had no intention of hitting.

Crossbow Deer Hunting FAQs

best crossbow for deer hunting

Q. What Is The Farthest Distance That A Crossbow Can Shoot?

Crossbows can hit a target up to approximately 500 yards away.

Q. What Is The Minimum Draw Weight That Can Put Down A Large Deer?

At least 150 lbs.

Q. Do I Need A Permit To Use My Crossbow?

Yes. You must obtain a permit in order to use a crossbow during the archery season.

The permit requirements, however, vary from one state to the other.

Q. How Can I Stay Safe When Using My Crossbow For Deer Hunting?

Always un-cock your crossbow when you are not using it. Never put your fingers in the path of the string. This can easily lead to you shooting at your fingers.

If you are a beginner, always ensure you countercheck the manufacturer’s instructions every time you go out to use your crossbow for deer hunting.

Confirm limb clearance before shooting to avoid accidents.

Conclusion

The best crossbow for deer hunting must be fast, accurate and easy to handle. These three aspects boil down to the specifications of the crossbow you choose.

However, you can have all the basic requirements plus additional accessories in the crossbow package depending on your exact hunting needs.

Of course, if you are a beginner, you can pick a basic crossbow and once you have the skills, gradually move to the more sophisticated ones that require less effort.