hunter with rifle and dog

Hunting with a Rifle, Bow, or Crossbow

Hunting season is only a few months away, so it’s an excellent time to practice your marksmanship. Hunting takes many different forms and knowing different ways to hunt increases your survival skills and makes the hunt more challenging and fulfilling.

Hunting Rifles

Hunting rifles are the easiest to use and probably the most available. Every hunting store in Michigan will have one and store personnel will be most familiar with guns and their use. Rifles need considerably less skill to use than crossbows or bows — making hunting a lot easier. However, the loud noises they make scare prey away, so you better make sure your shot counts. A direct hit from a rifle is usually enough to bring down prey, even the larger antlered bucks. Shots fired from a rifle are impossible to see and the only way to know if your shot hit is by finding the target. Guns need a little more care because of their more extended range and more significant damage output.

Modern Crossbows

Crossbows are a lot easier to use than hunting bows, but they’re still aren’t as good for hunting as rifles. Shooting with a crossbow allows you to hunt within firearm and archery season, giving you more time to hunt. Unless you’re very skilled with your crossbow, you’ll probably need those extra hunting days. Bows and crossbows don’t compare to rifles when it comes to the number of deer taken. However, the elegance of a crossbow and the skill required to land a shot makes the hunt more fulfilling. Crossbows make minimal sound compared to rifles. This prevents surrounding prey from bolting, but it also prevents other hunters from noticing your presence. At times, crossbow hunters are required to wear orange for visibility and to prevent accidents.

Hunting Bows

hunting bow

Bowhunting is for the extremely skilled or the real survivalists. Bows require a lot of skill and coordination. If you’re not using a modern hunting bow, then it also requires a lot of strength. Hunting stores will probably have hunting bows available, but you might have a few problems finding traditional recurve or composite bows. Bows fire arrows at speeds still visible, so you can see whether or not your shot hits its mark. Using a bow seems like the most inefficient way to hunt (and it probably is, unless you count spear hunting), but it does have its own charm. Bow hunting strengthens your focus and improves your patience. Drawing a 50-lb draw bow requires a lot of strength, so practicing your archery is like a trip to the gym. Speaking of the gym, archery burns a lot of calories, especially if you retrieve your arrows from your target yourself.

However you choose to hunt, always make sure to prioritize safety over everything. Familiarizing yourself with different methods of hunting makes you a better-rounded hunter, but concentrating your efforts on a single hunting implement makes you a better hunter overall. Choose how you want to hunt and get those licenses because September is just around the corner.