Howard Delo

Like most other folks, my wife and I have been sheltering in place with very little outdoor activity. I’ve done some puttering around in my “man cave,” with some organizing of my bookshelves and putting away stuff I had previously taken out to look at and inspect. I also did some online reading.

As you may remember, I had my right shoulder totally replaced a little over three years ago. It’s doing very well, but I lost the ability to draw and shoot my vertical compound bow because of the poundage of the pull on this hunting bow. I hope, someday, to work my way back up to having the strength to use that bow again, but for the immediate future, I had thought my archery days were over.

Then, I found a sale on the exact make and model of crossbow I had been thinking about (these things are not cheap!). The company was releasing a new and upgraded line of crossbows and were clearing out the older models. I bit the bullet (ouch) and ordered it.

I began the application process to get the disability exemption Fish and Game issues for folks to use a crossbow during bow-and-arrow hunts. I received a permanent exemption, but I need to renew every five years. I checked with the land managers where I tend to bowhunt to comply with whatever requirements they had. Essentially, they said if I carried a copy of the exemption information while hunting, I was good to go.

Over time, I bought a bunch of accessories online and had the crossbow tricked out nicely, in my opinion. These items included things like a detachable crank to more easily cock the crossbow, string and limb silencers, a set of open sights, a red dot sight (on sale, of course), an anti-dry-fire scope base, a vertical fore end grip to save my fingers, a better quality string, etc.

I recently received resubscription notices from the two archery magazines I read. Only one has any regular mention of crossbows, so I decided to drop the other subscription. I went online looking for a crossbow magazine to replace the dropped subscription. In my search, I found a crossbow magazine I intend to subscribe to. They had the previous four years of their magazine online and available for anyone to read and look at. I did.

One magazine had an article done by their gear guy where he “customized” a next generation model of my crossbow. I read it with great interest. The author did several things to the crossbow and a few of them really caught my interest. Thankfully, he listed websites in the article to learn about the respective upgrades.

The first is an adjustable attachment to the scope base which, once properly installed and sighted in, allows the simple turning of a knob to allow a person to compensate for the arrow drop over various ranges.

This gadget works like the sight I currently have on my compound bow. Simply range the distance, set the knob for that distance, hold dead on the target and shoot. No more “Kentucky windage” or guessing at a hold-over to hit.

The second improvement was a set of titanium bolts to replace the steel bolts currently used to assemble the crossbow. This change would slightly lighten the crossbow weight, but, more importantly, would eliminate the possible rusting of bolts while hunting in inclement weather. We all know it always rains during the fall moose season and spring bear baiting season, right?

The third improvement is a replacement stirrup setup for the front end of the crossbow. This gadget shortens the overall length of the crossbow, provides an improved foot hold while cocking or decocking the unit, and provides protection for the broadhead on the end of the arrow. This same company also sells improved limb and string silencers designed to reduce the noise and vibration common to shooting a crossbow.

Again, none of this stuff is cheap, so my penny-pinching begins anew. I think I’ll get the range adjustment scope base first and add the stirrup replacement/silencer setup next. I’m not as concerned about the titanium bolt replacement set just yet.

The author had several other modifications made to the crossbow which, if money was no object, might be nice. However, for my purposes, the scope adjustment base and the replaced stirrup setup with limb and string silencers would have the greatest benefit for me.

Now I need to come up with the money!

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