Contributors to this thread:
Decision for old bow hunter.
I have been a member of Bowsite for a few years now. I don’t post or comment much, but I am pretty much a daily reader. I have bowhunted now for about 40 years. And for about the last 10 I have struggled with shoulder problems that have really affected my ability to shoot a bow, even at a very low draw weight. This past year I opted for Stem Cell Therapy to avoid two shoulder replacements until I am a bit older. I have never been a fan of crossbows in an archery season, but was wondering if anyone has ever opted for a crossbow medical exemption in a state that allows such? I am going into the AZ elk draw with 20 points and am trying to sort out my options. I almost like the thought of the muzzleloader over the crossbow option, but really like the longer archery season during my favorite time of the year. Sadly there is no way I can shoot a bow right now. Suggestions and advice welcome.
On the positive side, you can still hunt and there's nobody saying once you pick up that crossbow while you recover, that you can't put it down and hunt with your bow once again. I take care of an elderly gentleman that I used to take hunting and he can only wish he could get out of that hospital bed today. Go hunt sir, and enjoy life.
I say no shame with crossbow if you can’t draw a regular bow. If it was me though and having used a crossbow for one season I would go the muzzleloader route because I’ve carried a crossbow before and it sucked! I couldn’t imagine carrying it all over chasing elk. Carrying that thing would probably make your shoulders even worse.
There’s no shame or should I say shouldn’t be shaming of fellow hunters for any legal hunting method.I get the bowhunting passion and challenge but we can’t continue to shame people it’s divisive and with dwindling hunter numbers a dangerous path to follow in a time of anti everything. If it’s legal it’s not debatable.hope things go well.
Thanks Bear Track, I’m with you on that. I’m still in great shape, just wish my shoulders worked a little better. I just want to hunt.
Dave, Great words and wisdom there. Garbo, best wishes!
Actually, I love the bow but in reality the weapon does not diminish the hunt. Carrying a crossbow in the field is the number one disadvantage. Like you I would have to be forced to another primary weapon but a forty yard weapon is still a close range proposition. Do not let the handicap diminish the pursuit of the animal and do not suffer from someone else’s opinion of that pursuit.
Garbo- Shot recurves and compounds starting in '68. Wrote for most of the major bowhunting magazines, tested bows for several companies. In short, shot too dam much. Had too many shoulder injuries. Two surgeries on right shoulder, one on left. Finally, 10-years ago, no choice. Had to go to a crossbow. Hated it then, hate it now. But it beats the heck out of not going. You will soon cuss it as I do and find it is no advantage at all. But you will still be a bowhunter. It is not what you have in your hands. It is what you have in your heart. Go for it and don't spend a ton of money on one of the high-dollar ones. $500 will set you up nicely. But I do suggest you practice a little, maybe do some reading on them.
Good luck and hang in there.
This is how I handled my shoulder problems...http://forums.bowsite.com/tf/bgforums/thread.cfm?forum=36&threadid=453761#4226227
I would do whatever you are going to have the most fun doing. I picked up a compound this year (elbow problems) after shooting a longbow for the last several . Had an absolute blast with it. I wish you the best and hope you heal up. Have fun hunting brother!
I’m not a crossbow lover either... as a bow alternative. But , they were perfect for guys with ailments that love the archery season. You put your time in....... do what makes you happy. Post up your Arizona hunt and good luck!
Garbo, Enjoy your favorite time of the year and hunt as you wish.
When time comes or if I decide to use a crossbow, I will not think twice. Very simple decision. I love the out of doors and hunting to much to be distracted by the foolish rhetoric I / we heard many years ago when switching from a long bow or a re-curve bow in favor of a compound bow .
Garbo, you hunt and enjoy yourself. Your hunting implement is not of my concern nor should it be to anyone else.
The best to you with your therapy and to you in the Az. draw.
Garbo: I don't want to sound like Bill Clinton but I feel your pain. I had my shoulder "rebuilt" if you will and spent some time with a crossbow. There is no shame in my mind if a crossbow will keep you in the game when you are unable to manage the hunting weight of a regular bow. Some things to keep in mind would be that in order to cock a crossbow it still requires strength unless you use a crank devise. Crossbow use is not without its problems when it comes to hunting with one. The folks that think a crossbow is so much easier to hunt with have for the most part never done it. Another thing to consider is the rules on crossbow permits as they apply to gaining a permit to use one during the archery season here in Arizona. In order to qualify for the crossbow permit in Arizona you are supposed to have a permanent disability of something like 90% in one of your arms. As I understand it, they will not issue a permit for a temporary condition and your disability must be certified by a medical doctor. Hope this helps with your situation and choice. Good luck.
A few years ago I suffered a lower bicep tender tear - although I got very lucky and did not have bone splinters tear loose with the tendon it still made it impossible to draw my bow. I had already received my Colorado license so I received a letter from my Dr. sent it into the Colorado Dept. Fish and Game along with their required paperwork and was granted a crossbow permit. As was said - it was a bit heavy to drag around but the alternative was to not hunt - to me that was NOT an alternative. I didn't bring home an elk, but I still enjoyed the hunt none the less.
Get the permit and have a great time.
I have been using Glucosamine 2000 mg. with good results . Toto Cuff issues.
Gary, I just turned 64 and in the past 10 years have had rotator cuff surgery and occasionally get tendonitis that would light up the moon. I've wondered many times about if - and when, pulling the bow back just ain't gonna happen & the crossbow question comes up for me too. Like most things in life - until you get there you just don't know for sure. The one thing for me that will absolutely be the biggest determining factor is - just being out there. My guess is it's the same for you. You'll do what you need to at the time and enjoy every moment. Safe hunts.........Dave.....
My dad switched over to a crossbow a couple of years ago, I will do the same when the time comes, its still archery, I dislike guns, only advantage over a regular bow is you don't have to draw it, I am more deadly with my vertical bow
If your state allows for draw hold devices or adaptive equipment for you bow just get one of those. No need to "BUY" a crossbow. That way you will be using equipment you are already comfortable with, full length shafts, broadhead set-up ,etc. Save yourself a lot of money that can be spent on hunting trips instead. The only thing that would be different is cocking the bow on the lock( you could do this with your good arm or arm, leg combo).
Alternatively you can find an old Dynabow which has tremendous speed and power for a single limb, single cam bow. That's what I used when my shoulders were injured 20 + years ago. Lucky with Glucosamine, PT was able to get back in shape for shooting 45-50 # recurves, 58-60# compounds.
You guys are awesome! Thank you for all of the support and great positive comments. I’m like most, I just want to be out there. Change can be difficult, and we have to adjust. I certainly don’t want to miss a September in the elk woods.
Go hunt with whatever legal weapon you choose and enjoy it.
Not my shoulder,,but pain is pain...no matter what area..I do understand where you are.... this knee is 19 days old,,,keep a strong positive attitude...it makes all of the difference in the world! You can and will be back to where you were.go with the xbow,as long as you need too..old archers are tough man,do what ever you need to to get a real bow back in your hands,you can and will do it, I'm sure,,never give up the bow brother...get the shoulder fixed,,good luck brother..
Bowbender77, I had recently checked the regs for the criteria to qualify for the crossbow or other mechanical advantage in AZ. It looks like I could come under two or three of the reasons listed. They do have a permanent or temporary disability card. I will make sure I buy the point guard in case I run into a problem.
Thanks Bowboy, that’s a great story. I’m afraid I’m past the the point of some good PT helping anymore. Ten years ago I had PT before my shoulder surgery and I think that was the best my shoulder felt in a while. I did fine for another five years but both shoulders really deteriorated. Now both have no cartilage and the bones are wearing on each other. I guess that’s what we get for beating ourselves up in our younger years.
Thanks Last Savage, that’s a dandy scar. Keep it moving, you’ll be back in the mountains soon.
Garbo, I have bow-hunted for over 46 years and feel your pain. After 31 years of 70# plus compound shooting and the last 15 years shooting recurve bows (45#-54#) and being a working electrician, my shoulders, spine issues and torn bicep is shot. I find it tougher every year to continue this sport I love. I too shall be joining the crossbow revolution in the near future to continue this love of bow-hunting. We have put in our time and NO shame to continue things we love to do.
Damn straight,,,I walked 2 miles yesterday,,10% incline,,stay strong my friend
I have hunted with a longbow for over 55 years. If for some reason I could no longer use my longbow, I would use a crossbow in a heartbeat. I am 71 and have always been pain free, knock on wood. Do what you have to do Garbo, after 40 years of pulling strings, you don't need to answer to anyone. Go hunting.
Here's the Hickory Draw loc.
A good friend of mine drew unit 9 AZ this year. Had an incident with a cracked carbon arrow. They allowed him to use a crossbow for the season.
Garbo, go for it! I wish you well!
I was out of commission a few years back for over a year due to shoulder surgery. It was horrible to not be able to get out in the woods with a bow in hand. As soon as I was able to draw my hunting bows back, I was right back at it.
Last Savage, hope you are back in elk shape by August and get out amonst 'em!
Garbo: I just had a look at the crossbow application in Arizona and was surprised to see that they are now issuing a crossbow permit for temporary conditions. They must have revamped there rules cause at one time that was not an option. They have also expanded there description of qualifying conditions. The only reason I mention it is because my wife applied for the same permit about 5 years ago and the wording as I remember it at that time was different. On a side note, they allow the use of crossbow during the Muzzleloader Elk hunt without a crossbow permit. Either way, hunt hard, life is short. Good luck.
Same here Garbo. I bought a crossbow and have my disabled hunting permit her in Ca. That was two years ago when I got it. I’ve been hunting once with it. I hate it. My other issue besides shoulders is my knees. Both replaced but one I’ve had two staph infections and two knees. Last staph infection I thought I was going to loose the leg. Stalking anything just doesn’t work well. Getting down in my knees trying to crawl or get up and down quietly just doesn’t work anymore for me. To the crossbow. I bought one that shoots a little over 400fps. I had to get a special target because it blew through everything. The new target stopped the arrows but then I couldn’t get them out without sitting on the ground and putting both feet on the target to pull them out. So now I have to lube the arrows before I shoot. It has taken the fun out of shooting. I hope you have a better attitude about using it than I do. I wish you well and success.
Garbo, I say hunt with whatever method you can and enjoy every minute of it. I'll throw out a possibility that may or may not have been mentioned - a mouth tab. I shot a couple of whitetails using a mouth tab after shoulder surgery in 2009. With a little practice it was deadly and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. With two bad shoulders, maybe it wouldn't work, but I wanted to mention it. Best of luck to you sir. Ron
Thanks Bowboy for the link, I will check it out.
Go hunt. Had elbow rebuilt a couple years ago. Didnt practice with crossbow. Wyoming elk. Had fun but who new you needed to hands to fire it and a budy to load. Had a bull at 20 and had to lay down and get freaking saftey with my arm in a sling. Then snuck into a grizz. Same color and was making alot of noise tearing up alog. I have never felt more vunerable. Lol. Still had fun.
I'll probably be in your shoes some year soon. A replacement is in my future, I'm going to try to put it off as long as I can. Probably will be down to 50 pounds this fall. Good luck with whatever weapon you choose.
Get 'em man. Anyway you have too.
Ron brings up an excellent option. Had a good friend crash skiing and tore the nerves in his arm. Heck, he kept bow hunting using a mouth tab! Even picked up a recurve and was set to get an elk with it, last time I talked to him. Might be an option for you.
12yards keep doing it while you can.
Ron, I remember hearing your story about you using the mouth tab a few years back. That was pretty amazing. I wish that was the case, but you are right about having problems with both shoulders. The back pressure against my bow arm is as much of a problem as trying to draw with the other.
Thanks again everyone for the great comments and suggestions.
I'm 73. Have been a bowhunter all my life. Last February severe injury to left shoulder rotator cuff. Surgery in March. Followed-up with physical therapy with the goal of being able to shoot my bow by mid-October. On Oct. 15,...no dice,...could not draw bow...left shoulder too weak & unstable. Evening of 10/15, feeling really down & depressed. Thought my 61st consecutive bow season was down the tubes. Tried to draw my bow as a left handed archer would. It worked. Bought complete left handed set-up next day. Taught myself to shoot left handed. Two weeks later shot buck & doe. Buck was a basket eight but he was a trophy to me because of all that had led me to where I was. I didn't give up or go to a crossbow. I fought the situation, found a solution, and adapted. My old Parris Island drill instructor would have been proud of my effort and persistence. I would say to him, "See I was listening." Semper Fi.
ANYONE willing to put in the mountainous effort to use a mouth tab,says volumes about there archery desire! Ron your the man.....try it Garb,ya never know..
Use what ever weapon u need to, I have killed bear, deer , elk, moose, with the bow I hunt for meat I use the rifle now but very capable of useing the bow. Dead is dead go for it. Good luck.
I’ve hunted with Garbo in Utah and he's a serious hard core bow hunter. Do what you need to do and be proficient. Good luck! C
I had heart surgery last October, which took me out of the fall,,,, I am 68 and kicking butt in rehab all the time,,,, its all about Attitude, no way am I going to quit life or hunting,,,,,,,,
I shot a nice doe last week, first time out,, with a cross bow, at 10 steps from the ground, I was very happy,,,,,, Hope to be shooting the compound by spring and my stick by summer,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
By the way, I am in shape, work out all the time, and to tell you the truth it means squat,,,, listen to your body,,, I had a mild right shoulder ache and went in,,, glad I did
If that is your desire, I would not feel bad about using your crossbow. In many states, modern scoped high tech crossbows are now legal for all hunters during archery seasons. Cherish your past as a bowhunter and move on as your health allows, good luck this hunting season.
Presently recovering from lower L3/L4 surgery. Doc says that have a left shoulder torn rotator cuff along with bicep damage. Not a lot of pain but cannot lift much with that arm. Considering not having it repaired as it does not handicap me much. Am advanced in age...any thoughts?
Garbo, my worst shoulder is the bow arm too.
I know it isn't cool to admit on Bowsite that you love crossbows, but I will. I made the switch this year with no regrets. I simply chose to after 25 years or so of hunting with a compound. My love of hunting with a compound was pretty much gone. I even thought about not hunting archery season, but that wasn't acceptable either.
I went with a lower price Wicked Ridge (by Ten Point) shooting about 330 FPS. I've yet to have a really fast bow, but have read that you will pay for that speed in a few different ways.
Admittedly, for stalking in thick stuff, a crossbow is not as nice as a compound. They do get tangled easier. Shorter axle to axle length and lower weight bow help with this . This is the main disadvantage I can think of.
The main advantages I see are the ability to use a scope and not having to draw when the game gets there.
If you go with a crossbow, you'll probably want a hush kit of some sort and I have found that aluminum arrows seem to be a little less noisy than carbon, while being not much heavier. Lighted nocks are even nicer with these short little arrows, too.
Oh and like the poster, I've been a member here for many years, post little but come here pretty frequently (it is a website about hunting, after all) .
Use a rifle if that's what keeps you out there. Who really gives a darn? This decision should be made by you and you alone without any outside influence as to what can keep you enjoying your past time. If you love hunting, than use a weapon that enables you to hunt. You can impose whatever restrictions you want to said weapon. You're not out to prove anything. Do whatever you enjoy. Heck, I'm 30 years old, good shape and I use a rifle now and then because I simply enjoy it. All types of hunting are enjoyable. Rifle hunting also enables me to hunt with people I wouldn't be able to otherwise.
KX, you are not alone. In states such as Wisconsin and Michigan, nearly half of all former compound bow users have switched to the modern scoped crossbow. Wisconsin has published statistics to show the trends.
Modern high tech crossbows are exciting and superior weapons to the compound which is why they were originally suggested for those with physical limitations. Now, in many states such as Wisconsin and Michigan, crossbows can be used by "all hunters" during the general archery seasons. As you can see in other threads, modern compounds in able hands are generally accepted as weapons for hunting out to 80+ yards. No doubt, modern high tech, scoped crossbows, can extend that ranch to over 150 yards with some practice, range finders, etc.
Bowhunting, as defined by the P&Y Club, is in rapid decline in the US and this trend will continue as more and more hunters drop bowhunting for the crossbow.
Good hunting to all in 2018!
I got a crossbow and used it for a few hunts in Michigan, where they are legal during the general archery season. I hated carrying that thing to the back of the 80 acre farm. Can't imagine humping that thing around the mountains here in Colorado. I used it to get my nephew into hunting, then donated it. With my recent shoulder issues, I have been pondering the same question. For me, I would get the permit, but doubt I would get another crossbow. I have, and like ML and rifles. I think if I need to make the decision, I would opt for a ML tag.
casekiska, great story. Way to stick with it.
Casekiska, awesome story. I've also taught myself to shoot lefty. My dad is left handed so I had the perfect chance to learn at no cost. I just always wanted to be ready because you never know what hardships life will send your way. That said, when the time comes, I will use whatever legal means necessary to keep hunting. I hope Garbo finds one he's happy with and has the hunt of his lifetime!
Just saying...I spent 22+year in pro-rodeo. I have had surgery on both knees, both elbows a wrist, both shoulders and one ankle. There will come a time when you wake up and say, this is it. Nothing you can take by mouth will help. You are done. All the advice in the world, including this, is useless. Do what you feel is best for you.
I am approaching 74 and I am worn out. Almost every joint is a train wreck. I will do whatever I need to do, as long as it is legal, to continue hunting. I suggest, you do the same.
It wouldn't even be a question for me. . . . I'd hunt. However I could, whatever it took. Weapon doesn't matter so much to me as the hunt itself. I'm 36, and have had a few very minor shoulder issues, the doc has called them impingements. Which made sense at the time he explained it. I figure the day is a-coming. . .
I've heard many say the crossbow is such a pain. . .I would probably buy a crossbow for deer hunting, but I imagine I would just rifle and muzzleloader hunt. Maybe spend my archery season hunting coyotes, or get back into waterfowl hunting in a bigger way. Every year around this time I do a couple duck and goose hunts, and then always wonder why I don't do more of it earlier in the year.
On those deals where I've been banking points for 20 years, I think I'd probably just try to use them on a rifle or muzzleloader tag. But who knows. . .
Good luck whatever you choose, but for me, it would be easy, I'm hunting. Something with some weapon.
Garbo, I solved my problem by selling my Z7 and Outback, both 70# bows, and buying an Elite Pure 55/65 and turning it down to 60. I'm using an Elite Synergy now at 58 and have no problems pulling it. My left shoulder limits how long I can hold it steady though. In practice I limit myself to four sets of three arrows at a time. By then my shoulder won't let me go any more, but I can do it again in thirty minutes. It's never a problem on game. If I have to hold the bow up too long, I either let down or drop the release to my chest area and rest the cam on my knee since I'm always sitting and in a blind. Good luck to you !
Points well taken, there is always change in everything we do. Nothing will diminish my love for the hunt and the great outdoors. Whether it’s with a bow, xbow, muzzleloader or rifle, is still hunting. Tag apps are coming soon, more decisions to be made. Maybe AZ this year. Good luck to all.