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Deer hunting with a crossbow is an exhilarating and rewarding experience that brings you closer to nature and tests your skills in the field. With the right equipment you can enhance your hunting experience and improve your success rate. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the best crossbow for deer hunting in 2023, essential accessories, maintenance tips, safety precautions, and more. Let’s embark on this thrilling journey to become a skilled and responsible crossbow deer hunter.

Short Summary

  • Review of the top 5 crossbows in 2023, including best overall, with built-in cocking device and under $500.

  • Factors to consider when choosing a crossbow for deer hunting, plus maintenance tips and essential accessories.

  • Crossbow safety tips & how to improve accuracy. Legal considerations are also important.

5 Best Crossbows for Hunting

Finding the perfect hunting crossbow ensures a successful and enjoyable hunting experience. With countless options on the market, choosing a crossbow that suits your needs and preferences is essential.

In this section, we’ll unveil the top 5 hunting crossbows in 2023, highlighting the best overall, the best with a built-in cocking device, best recurve crossbow, the fastest crossbow, and the best under $500. Let’s dive into their features and see what makes them stand out.

Best Overall: Ravin R29X Sniper

Best Crossbow: Ravin R29X Sniper


  • 450 FPS

  • Weight: 6.75 lbs.

  • Length: 29”

  • Width Axle to Axle 6” Cocked

  • Width Axle to Axle 10.5” Un-cocked

  • Power-Stroke: 12.5”

  • Kinetic Energy: 180

  • Draw Effort: 12 lbs.

  • Draw Weight: 300#

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better hunting crossbow than the Raven R29X Sniper. What sets it apart? Well, for starters, it packs a punch at 450 feet per second speed. That means a quicker, cleaner shot, increasing your chance at a successful hunt.

But what’s cool about this crossbow is its compact size. It’s only 29 inches long, so it’s super easy to carry around and handle, even when you’re on the move. And despite its size, it’s pretty stealthy. Thanks to a well-integrated cocking mechanism, it’s quiet and smooth so you won’t startle your prey.

It’s also incredibly accurate and ready to hunt anything, even at longer distances, because of its state-of-the-art Helicoil technology. Plus, it’s built to last. No matter how tough the hunting conditions, this crossbow will stay reliable. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Best Crossbow with Built-in Cocking Device: TenPoint Vapor RS470

Best Crossbows with built in cocking device: TenPoint Vapor RS470


  • Up to 470 FPS

  • Up to 191 ft.-lbs. kinetic energy

  • 6.5″ axle-to-axle cocked, 12″ uncocked

  • Garmin® Xero™ X1i Rangefinding Scope

  • ACUslide cocking and de-cocking system

  • RX-7 cams and Vector Quad™ cable system

  • S1 2-stage trigger mechanism with 3.5-lb. trigger break

  • TEC-X stock with pass-through fore-grip

The TenPoint Vapor RS470 stands out as the best compact crossbow with a built-in cocking device. Its features include:

  • CNC-machined CAM system with balanced cams and up to 340 degrees of rotation, improving accuracy

  • Anti-dry fire trigger safety measure for safe operation

  • Built-in crank cocking device, reducing drawing effort to just 12 pounds

  • Ideal for users with back, shoulder, or hernia issues or injuries

However, the built-in crank cocking device may be prone to malfunction and does not offer the same loading speed as a rope cocker. Despite these drawbacks, the TenPoint Vapor RS470 boasts a compact design, lightweight construction at 6.5 pounds, and an impressive shot speed of 400 FPS. This reverse draw crossbow offers great value and performance, making it an excellent investment for deer hunting enthusiasts.

Best Recurve Crossbow: Excalibur Micro Mag 340

Best Recurve Crossbows/Beginner Crossbow: Excalibur Micro Mag 340


  • Velocity (Up To): 340 FPS

  • Draw Weight (LB): 270 LB

  • Draw Length (IN): 13”

  • Mass Weight (LB): 5.5 LB

  • Overall Length: 31.75”

  • Width (Cocked): 22”

  • Width (Uncocked): 25”

For those new to crossbow hunting, the Excalibur Micro Mag 340 is the ideal choice and the best crossbow for the money. This beginner-friendly recurve crossbow offers a draw weight of 270 pounds and a speed of 340 FPS, making it powerful enough for a successful hunt while remaining easy to assemble and sight in. Its design features finger grooves on the fore-end and finger grip to enhance control and grip for accurate crossbows, providing a comfortable and stable shooting experience with recurve crossbows.

The Excalibur Micro Mag 340 has several features that make it an excellent option for beginners looking to invest in their first crossbow.

  • Anti-dry fire system: This safety feature prevents the crossbow from firing when there is no arrow loaded, reducing the risk of accidents.

  • Fast rope-cocking: This feature allows for quick and easy cocking of the crossbow, making it more efficient to use.

  • Affordable price: Priced at $699, the Excalibur Micro Mag 340 is a budget-friendly option for those just starting out. However, it’s important to note that the weight of the crossbow can be challenging when using the rope cocking device. It’s recommended to practice proper technique and build strength to overcome this challenge.

Fastest Hunting Crossbow: TenPoint Nitro 505

Fastest Compound Crossbow: TenPoint Nitro 505


  • Power Stroke: 17″

  • Reticle: Illuminated

  • Axle-To-Axle (Uncocked): 12″

  • Axle-To-Axle (Cocked): 6.5″

  • Draw Style: Reverse-Draw

  • Draw Weight: 300 lbs.

  • Arrow Speed (fps): 505 fps

  • Weight: 7.9 lbs.

For experienced hunters seeking top performance, the TenPoint Nitro 505 is the fastest hunting crossbow on the market. Its remarkable speed of over 505 fps is achieved through its well-balanced design with a center-mounted riser and foregrip, as well as its superior cocking/decocking mechanism.

This high-performance hunting crossbow is perfect for those who demand the best in terms of speed and accuracy. The TenPoint Nitro 505 is not only fast but also offers a host of impressive features, making it a top choice for seasoned hunters. However, its premium performance comes at a higher price compared to other crossbows on the market.

For those who prioritize speed pinpoint accuracy when looking at the best crossbows and are willing to invest in their hunting equipment, the TenPoint Nitro 505 is a remarkable choice that won’t disappoint.

Best Budget Crossbow Under $500: Killer Instinct Boss 405

Best Crossbow for the Money/Crossbow Package: Killer Instinct Boss 405


  • SPEED – 405 Feet Per Second


  • TRIGGER – 3.5-LB 

  • WIDTH – 14.75″ Cocked//18.75″ Uncocked

  • LENGTH – 33.5″-36″

  • WEIGHT – 6.7-LB

  • DRAW WT – 220-LB

  • POWER STROKE – 13.25″

  • CAMO – Green Stock//Chaos AE Camo Limbs

When it comes to finding the best budget crossbow under $500, the Killer Instinct Boss 405 takes the lead. This budget-friendly crossbow offers a comfortable shooting experience, limb and string suppressors, and great reviews. Its adjustable buttstock and ergonomic grip make it easy to handle and shoot and is easily cocked with a rope cocker, ensuring a pleasant hunting experience without breaking the bank.

The Killer Instinct Boss 405 crossbow package includes:

  • A case

  • A sling

  • Nine broadheads

  • A quiver for added convenience

Although the scope mounts may not be of the highest quality, upgrading to aftermarket mounts and a scope can significantly enhance the performance of this affordable crossbow.

Overall, the Killer Instinct Boss 405 offers excellent value for the money, making it the top choice for hunters on a budget.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Crossbow for Deer Hunting

Selecting the right crossbow for hunting can be a daunting task, considering the numerous options and features available. To make an informed decision about compound crossbows, it’s essential to consider several factors, such as:

  • Speed: A crossbow with a higher speed is generally more powerful but may produce more noise and be harder to cock.

  • Draw weight: Draw weight is another crucial aspect, as it determines the force required to cock the crossbow and affects its accuracy.

  • Safety features: Safety features, such as an anti-dry fire system and auto-engaging safety, are vital for a secure and enjoyable hunting experience.

Size and weight also play a significant role in choosing the right crossbow. Here are some factors to consider.

  • A longer crossbow with a wider limb will generate more power and velocity, but it may be harder to maneuver in tight spaces and aim.

  • A lightweight crossbow is easier to carry over long distances but may compromise stability and accuracy.

  • It’s crucial to ensure your crossbow meets the legal requirements of your hunting jurisdiction, such as minimum limb width and bow length.

By considering these factors, you can make a well-informed decision and find the perfect crossbow for your deer hunting adventures.

Crossbow Maintenance Tips for Deer Hunters

Proper crossbow maintenance is essential to ensure its longevity and optimal performance during deer hunting. Regular upkeep will not only extend the life of your crossbow, but also enhance its accuracy and safety. To maintain your crossbow, follow these steps:

  1. Lubricate the trigger, dry fire mechanism, axles, and safety slide periodically.

  2. Clean the crossbow with soap and water to remove dirt and debris.

  3. Check for any misadjustments and make necessary adjustments.

  4. Apply crossbow rail lube to the rail.

  5. Wax or oil the strings and cables as needed.

By following these maintenance steps, you can keep your crossbow in top condition for successful hunting.

Inspect the crossbow and arrows for any signs of wear or damage, and replace any worn or damaged parts as necessary. Use bolts of the appropriate length and weight to ensure consistent performance. When storing your crossbow, avoid leaving it cocked for more than 24 hours to prevent damage to the limbs and strings.

With proper care and maintenance, your crossbow can last a lifetime and provide you with countless successful deer hunting experiences.

Essential Accessories for Deer Hunting with a Crossbow

Equipping yourself with essential accessories can significantly enhance your deer hunting experience with a crossbow. Some must-have accessories include:

  • Broadheads: the sharp, cutting-edge tips of arrows that penetrate the deer, ensuring a clean and ethical kill

  • Quivers: hold your arrows securely and keep them within easy reach during hunting

  • Scopes: provide magnification and improved accuracy for long-range shots

  • Slings: help you carry your crossbow comfortably and securely while keeping your hands free for other tasks

  • Cocking Rope: A cocking rope is a must have for easily cocking your crossbow

These accessories will help you maximize your hunting success and make your experience more enjoyable.

Scopes are crucial for accurate and precise shooting at various distances. They help you aim better by magnifying the target and providing a clear view of your prey. Many scopes feature illuminated reflexes, making it easier to shoot in low-light conditions. Slings are essential for carrying your crossbow comfortably during long hunting expeditions. They distribute the weight of the crossbow evenly across your shoulder, allowing you to walk and stalk your prey with ease.

By investing in these essential accessories, you can make your crossbow deer hunting experience more enjoyable, efficient, and successful.

Crossbow Safety Tips for Deer Hunters

Safety should always be a top priority when engaging in crossbow deer hunting. To ensure a secure and enjoyable experience, follow these safety tips when handling, cocking, and shooting your crossbow. First and foremost, never walk with a loaded crossbow or point it at anything you do not intend to shoot. Be aware of the width of the bow assembly and store the crossbow securely when not in use.

When cocking your compound crossbow, utilize a rope cocking device or a crank cocking device to reduce the risk of injury and ensure consistent draw weight. Before shooting, aim for the target and maintain a steady position of your arms and body. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

Finally, make use of safety features such as a safety harness, quiver, and scope to minimize the risk of accidents during your hunting escapades.

How to Improve Your Crossbow Accuracy for Deer Hunting

Improving your crossbow accuracy is crucial for successful deer hunting. A few tips can help you enhance your shooting skills and increase your chances of hitting your target. First, practice proper shooting form by maintaining a stable body position, keeping your arms and shoulders relaxed, and focusing your eyes on the target. Consistent practice will help you develop muscle memory and improve your accuracy over time.

Another way to improve your accuracy is to use a rest, such as shooting rails, shooting sticks, or bipods, which provide stability and support when aiming and shooting.

Finally, adjusting your scope can significantly impact your accuracy. Adjust the windage and elevation knobs to the appropriate settings and use a laser bore sight to verify that the scope is correctly aligned with the crossbow.

By following these tips and practicing regularly, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a more accurate and successful crossbow deer hunter.

Before embarking on your crossbow deer hunting adventure, it’s essential to be aware of the legal considerations involved. Laws and regulations concerning crossbow deer hunting vary by state or country, so it’s important to research and understand the specific requirements in your hunting jurisdiction. These may include:

  • Obtaining the necessary hunting license or permit

  • Meeting minimum draw weight and draw length requirements

  • Adhering to state or country-specific hunting regulations

To acquire a hunting license or permit, you may need to meet certain age requirements, have completed a hunter safety course, and possess a valid ID. Additionally, some jurisdictions may have regulations regarding the types of game that can be hunted, the time of year when hunting is permissible, and the type of ammunition that can be used.

By familiarizing yourself with these legal considerations and following the rules and regulations, you can ensure a safe, responsible, and enjoyable crossbow deer hunting experience.


In conclusion, crossbow deer hunting is an exciting and rewarding activity that requires the right equipment, knowledge, and skills to be successful. By choosing the best crossbow for your needs, maintaining it properly, using essential accessories, practicing safety precautions, and improving your accuracy, you’ll be well-equipped to enjoy this thrilling sport and experience the satisfaction of a successful hunt. Remember to stay informed about legal considerations and always prioritize safety, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a skilled and responsible crossbow deer hunter.

Frequently Asked Questions

How big of a crossbow do I need for deer?

When hunting deer, a crossbow should have a draw weight of between 75-125 pounds and reach speeds of at least 250 feet per second for optimal performance. This will ensure accuracy and distance when taking aim.

What is the best crossbow shot on a deer?

A broadside shot is the best choice when shooting a deer with a crossbow, as this gives you the widest view of the vitals for the most accurate aim. Even if your shot is slightly off-target, the arrow should still hit in the vital area and cause lethal damage.

What type of crossbow is best for hunting?

For hunting, the best type of crossbow is one that is compact, durable, adjustable, and silent such as the Ravin R20, Barnett Whitetail Hunter II, Killer Instinct Speed 425, Excalibur Micro Suppressor, Bear X Intense CD, or CenterPoint CP400.

For the best safety and accuracy, it is recommended that the draw weight of a crossbow should be no less than 150 pounds.

How often should I lubricate my crossbow?

As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to lubricate the components of your crossbow at least once every year. Doing so more often can improve its performance and reduce wear on the parts.

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