1 guy in our group of 4 uses a Xbow in WY. He hasn't shot an elk with it. He drives an Ebike too. See a few others carrying a Xbow, but the vast majority of hunters I've had contact with in WY are using vertical bows.
In 2017 in Wyoming I saw a nice bull killed by a Xbow in a General unit. This guy and his buddy each shot bulls that morning sitting together but the buddy had a regular bow. Think in the last 2 trips to Wyoming I have only seen 3 Xbows.
I'm 36: Twice! This past fall my shoulders got so bad that shooting my longbow became too much so in the middle of a 2 week hunt I picked up the X-bow I'd purchased for my son the previous year.
I carried it around and was trying to get in front of a group with a couple bulls bugling. The small bull came out and I passed. After a few more minutes he came back out of the thick, very noisy brush. Brought the thing up and put the cross hairs on him. He turned and came at a decent trot right at me. First I had a circle with and elk in the middle, then a circle with almost all elk, then a circle of hair.
I put the thing down to my side and as he went by at less than 2 feet, stuck the thing out and jerked the trigger. Shot distance was in inches.
Probably the smallest branch antlered elk I've ever killed but very memorable.
Hoping to use the longbow again this fall but will have to wait until I see the neurologist.
I spent some time with a guy hunting with a crossbow when I was scouting for my next years WY Elk hunt. Changed my mind about using them in archery season out west. They're a non issue and the idea that they'll ruin archery because of over harvest is not close to accurate. 40 years of crossbow use in WY has proven that. Western hunting is totally different than mid west whitetail hunting. At some point, advancements to size and maneuverability may change the dynamics and if/when that happens, changes should be made but until then, I have zero problem with them.
If you want to see crossbows during a Wyoming archery hunt all you need to do is hunt a crossover area where rifle tag holders and cow tag holders are allowed to hunt the last 2 weeks of the archery season and potentially add over 800 more people in your area. If you don’t believe that Xbox’s have an impact on archery hunting you should read the article in the Ethics magazine.
Up till now, x-bows haven’t had an effect on elk hunting in Wyoming. I’ve seen x-bows (loaded) on atv racks, and also being held with one hand. I’ve seen people in pickup beds with them (again, loaded), while they were being driven around. I’ve seen very few actually in the woods. As was pointed out, once they become lighter and less bulky, making them more maneuverable, then the impact will most certainly be felt. By the time it reaches that point, maybe the game commission will follow the G&F Dep’ts proposal that x-bows not be allowed during archery season, except for the disabled.
My hunting bud has used a crossbow for many years while I am a recurve or compound hunter. They seem convenient if you just sit on your butt somewhere but hauling that boat anchor around the mountains is no easy task even with a good sling. He has more range than my recurve but he usually keeps shots under 50. We occasionally hunt some rock and sage open country and his x-bow probably has an advantage there over my recurve but not necessarily the compound. I think it's a non-issue for elk.
Deer hunting from a stand is different than elk hunting from the ground. It's easier to not get busted from movement in a tree with a crossbow since you don't have to draw. My crossbow friend hunts deer from the ground in a ghillie suit usually sitting on the ground with his back to a tree.
I never saw one last I was in Wyoming. I have seen plenty of truckloads of guys in Utah riding in the back of trucks hunting with compounds, arrows nocked. Here is a picture of some muzzleloader hunters putting the sneak through private land.
The biggest effect of crossbows isn't what happens in the woods. The allow an easier entry into archery season. In situations where there are less tags than there is people who want them, it isn't a plus for bowhunters.
All the years I've hunted in WY as a resident only seen a handful. I think it's really more popular for whitetails in the east and south. I suspect there kind of a pain to haul around in the mountains. I have a friend who works at Sportsman Wearhouse in Cheyenne and they sell quite few of them.
I have a little experience guiding guys with x-bows. They are a little harder to haul around than a compound, but the biggest difference when hunting elk on foot is the fact that you've got to have an arrow cocked at all times while scrambling around. It's really disconcerting to have a guy stumbling around with a broadhead sticking out constantly. When I've got a rifle hunter I don't let him have a shell in the pipe until we are into elk. It really bothered me with the x-bow and I made the hunter walk in front. Agree with others that it's not a big advantage for elk hunting unless you are in a stand. I had one guy get a shot, but he had banged something up while hiking and it shot about 3 feet high at around 50 yards. Small sample size, but I would not be tempted in the slightest to haul one around the woods for elk.
Glunt and smarba brought up two very important points concerning x-bows and elk hunting in Wyoming. The overwhelming number of those that use x-bows aren't former vertical bow hunters, they're rifle hunters that see an x-bow as a way to also hunt during archery season. Up till now, it hasn't had much of an impact on success rates, but it certainly has had an impact on those hoping to draw a Type 9 license.
Good point Wyo, but I have a question. I don't have a complete knowledge of Wyoming's procedure, so please correct me if I'm wrong.....It seems like rifle hunters hoping to get extra time in the woods by hunting during the archery dates would still want Type 1 with the special archery tag, because they could then switch to rifle in Oct. if they didn't kill. This would put more guys in the woods in Sept. but it doesn't seem like they would likely put everything into the archery only tag....Opinions?
Brun makes some good first-hand " food for thought". I would think twice about any of my offspring hunting elk with an xbow around me after considering his experience. Brun, thanks for posting.......Bob
Some of you must hunt in caves or you are blind. There are crossbows all over the place in the Bighorns, mainly rifle hunters that are more than willing to take a type 9 tag away from a BOWHUNTER so they can hunt bugling elk in nice weather. I find it interesting that the statistics don't show an increase in success since G&F doesn't differentiate between x-guns and bows. And for those of you that it matters to, PSE is the entity you can thank for them remaining legal in Wyoming. Every time I see a PSE product I get pissed. Bottom line, X-guns take away bowhunting opportunity.
I've done 6 elk hunts in WY. I've seen lots of guys with Xbows. All have had WY lic plates. A 400 inch elk killed in the area I was hunting one year was killed by a guy with an Xbow. Biggest A-Hole I've ever dealt with while hunting (another hunter) was an X-Bow hunter. That's been my experience with WY and Xbows.
Honestly, I feel they're just rifle hunters enjoying the archery season with a weapon that's somewhere between a compound and a rifle, but closer to compound. If that's good/bad/ok, is for an individual to decide, but that's what they are.
"Honestly, I feel they're just rifle hunters enjoying the archery season with a weapon that's somewhere between a compound and a rifle, but closer to compound."
Remember the last time you nestled the shoulder stock of your compound into your shoulder, wrapped your fingers around the pistol grip, steadied the forearm on a solid rest, had the proper reticle illuminated on the scope from the blue tooth enabled rangefinder, which is 87. 5 yards, flipped the safety off, and squeezed the trigger. Smiling while remembering Ravin's "Meet your next 100 yard rifle ad"? Ya,me neither.
Kinda hard to work up a tear for a guy who hunts pins/trigger/rangefinder when he loses out in the Draw to a guy who has only added a gunstock to the mix. ...
There was a guy at the club with a sight that had an on-board rangefinder; may as well have been using a scoped .22, as far as his accuracy was concerned... except that he had several stabilizers that took his rig well out of the same class as my .22 bolt.
So no.... while I certainly oppose the use of crossbows in Archery seasons, I’m not entirely sympathetic when someone who uses unrestricted tech with a Compound starts to whine about them....
Brun: I wonder if scope mounts on x-bows are sensitive. I've had two friends (both excellent marksmen with rifles) miss big bulls when scopes got moved. Probably related to the cumbersome nature of handling the x-bow in thick timber. Even worse, one of the guys wounded a cow but eventually killed her with the third shot. I know on that hunt I felt really good about using my fixed crawl on the longbow that killed my cow.
I agree with Bob. I think they are a non factor out west. As far as back east, in reality they are a non factor. KY hasn't had over harvest issues and they definitely haven't had over harvest issues due to crossbows. If someone hunts with a crossbow, I have no issue with it whatsoever. I do think that many of these guys would enjoy vertical bows more, but understand not everyone wants to put in the extra time to learn the craft as many of us do. I think that we (guys who can't stay off Bowsite because we are obsessed) are wired a little different than healthy guys who choose crossbows. That's ok with me too.
I have been a compound bow hunter for 37 years. I bought a x-bow last year. So far, i have not hunted with it much at all, anywhere. If i draw Wyoming this year, i will consider taking it with me, along with my compound. Whether i use it or not is still undecided. Sometimes i get tired of animals getting away. Sometimes i love the challenge.
I also think they're a non-factor, my dad's the only guy I've seen out there use one. My dad toted one of those around for 2 weeks a couple years ago during our archery hunt in WY and told me after it was done he wouldn't be doing that again. It's just a big awkward piece of equipment that just doesn't carry like a compound.
Lots of older bow hunters in Wyoming have moved to crossbows, not just guys wanting to get out in archery season. As far as the Type 9 tags, most Wyoming resident hunters do not want to choose your weapon, i.e. choose archery or rifle. We like having both seasons in most areas to fill our freezers. I see no difference between them and a compound in this day and age. I have one but have never used it in archery season, just not bow hunting for me, and too heavy and awkward to haul around the mountains.
Indiana legalized crossbows in all archery seasons back in 2012. It took only eight years for the crossbow harvest to exceed the vertical bow harvest. It will only get worse over time. Crossbows are doing to compounds what compounds did to traditional archery. Difference being the learning curve between rifle to crossbow is virtually nonexistent.
I agree with Rob (wyobullshooter). It is only a matter of time before the crossbow industry introduces lighter and more compact models. When, not if, that happens, the west will not be immune to the same affects we're seeing in the east. I'm disheartened by growing bowhunter apathy towards these weapons.
I know 3 people with X-bows, and hunted with one this last season here in Idaho (had a doctors note). This friend broke his hand fighting and had to get one last minute. The other lives in Iowa and I hunted with him this year. He hunted for 30 years with a compound, but found his shoulders aren't what they once were. The last one is a friend of mine whom doesn't really hunt much at all. He never consulted me that he was going to even buy one, or I would have told him to get a compound, and I would have had him shooting groups at 50 yards in a week. Plus he can't in Idaho without a doctors note. He still hasn't hunted with it yet. So, this idea that all X-bow hunters are just rifle hunters trying to get more out of a season hasn't been my experience. Not saying there isn't those that do that, just saying it hasn't been my experience.
I started with a long bow, then recurve then compound. Killed deer with all but the longbow. I am 77 years old and my old shoulder was giving me problems. I have a Ravin cross bow just like the guy in the video. I can hit the end of a soda can at 50 yards from a rest. The scope on the bow has dots marked in ten yard increments out to 100 yards. The dots even light up, green or red. The only complaint I have is you never find your bolt and they are expensive. I use Jak Hammer broad heads designed for crossbows since I am shooting 425 FPS. I have only shot deer but I guarantee you it will put a bolt all the way through elk or moose. BTW I am not a rifle hunter and have always hunted the shotgun season with a bow since I was a kid.
I hate xguns they have ruined the public land in Indiana and well on the way to it in Illinois. But I will likely be forced into using one as I blew out my left rotator cuff mid-December and docs can’t even evaluate until I rehab some range of motion. They won’t do an MRI due to my pacer. So my Sept. Oregon elk may have been my last with a vertical. :(
I live in Wyoming and have seen a huge swing in the number of crossbow hunters. The thing is, these guys aren't even good rifle hunters. True rifle hunters enjoy the cold, snowy conditions and the challenges/ rewards it presents. The guys that switch are guys that aren't even good rifle hunters. They just think it's easy with nicer weather and bugling bulls, just like in the videos.
I think something that might help with guys taking 100 yard shots with the crossbows is not allowing them to use scopes, only pins. The thing is you can't regulate stupidity. There are guys who fling arrows at elk at 80 yards with compounds.
pav, have the overall harvest numbers in archery changed? Has there been any significant increase or decrease?
Crossbows have been legal here in several southern states for a while. Here in La there was a lot of opposition but they were eventually approved. As of a couple years ago, all the fears of archery harvest numbers going through the roof proved to be untrue. I'm not sure if that is still the case but haven't heard anything to the contrary.
With that being said, season and tag structures are definitely different here than in the midwest and rifle harvests outnumber archery numbers tremendously.
Jeremy, crossbow liberalization was included with the same rules change package that greatly increased available tag numbers per hunter. There was a spike the first couple years, followed by a downward trend most of the remaining years since.
I can tell you pre-crossbow, bowhunters typically accounted for 22-25% of the overall harvest. The latest numbers available (2018 season) indicate bowhunter harvest has dropped to 14%. The 2019 harvest summary is not yet available, but the word is out that crossbow harvest exceeded vertical bow harvest last season. Crossbow harvest continues to climb while vertical bow harvest continues to decline. Bowhunters have become a minority in a season established for bowhunting. All indications are this will only get worse over time.
Not in WY, but have killed a couple over the last 3 years since I switched. Had to for bad back. Cbows have there downsides - heavy, don't pack easily, very rarely will you get a chance to get a 2nd shot off, etc but better than not being able to hunt!
Haven’t hunted elk with an x-bow yet. Have been a vertical bowhunter most of my life but just found the x-bow interesting and picked up my first back in 2013. Since then I’ve hunted quite a bit with both bow and x-bow for a number of different species. And yes, I still bowhunt after successfully hunting with a crossbow. In my experience the x-bow is a superior ambush weapon, especially in cold weather. But hunting with an x-bow isn’t the slam-dunk lazar beam some make it out to be, and the vertical bow is definitely superior for spot and stalk - less clunky to stalk with and much quicker / smoother to get off an accurate shot. I’ll still do my fair share of bowhunting but suspect I’ll increasingly appreciate the x-bow as age and injuries continue creeping up on me,