What Is The Best Distance For Crossbow Hunting?

The best distance for crossbow hunting is 40 yards. Beginners prefer to kill their target within 20 yards. However, experts can handle a shot of 60 yards. So, 40 yards is an average range for experts and beginners.
By Rebecca Rios | Updated On November 7, 2022
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The Best Distance For Crossbow Hunting

The Best Distance For Crossbow Hunting

Crossbows are very common and manageable. Even a beginner can learn its use with just a little practice. A crossbow can be cocked with a hand crank or rope cocking device. So it is convenient for every person to handle and use it. If you are a learner or a beginner in hunting, you must have thought about the best distance for crossbow hunting.

I hear you and will guide you about the suitable distance for crossbow hunting. In this article, I will discuss everything from the best distance for crossbow hunting to common factors of the crossbow. Hook with the article till the end for the informational content.

What is the best distance for crossbow hunting?

When discussing crossbow hunting, it is the user, not the equipment, responsible for the perfect shot. An arbalist’s angle, eye, precision, accuracy, distance, and location matters the most, not the pricey weapon. Your experience and skill will kill any animal in the ground. Also, every person has a different experience level. So, the distance of crossbow hunting for beginners will be different from an expert. If you are a maestro in shooting 30 yards, then you cannot give a fatal attempt at 80 yards. However, an expert can do so. Hence, experience and practice are the two vital factors behind the distance for crossbow hunting.

If you are not concerned about the target while shooting, then the most powerful and modern crossbow can shoot beyond 500 yards. But if you have to kill prey, the minimum crossbow hunting distance from residence for the beginner would be 20-30 yards. After practice and an upgraded weapon, a beginner can give a lethal shot of about 40 yards. An expert can hunt a target of 60 yards. However, a very skilled arbalist can even kill animals at 80 yards. So, the crossbow hunting range varies according to proficiency. Also, a 180+ yards plus successful shot is possible for the target practice.

Factors for best distance for crossbow hunting:

Summarizing the above information into several factors for crossbow hunting distance:

  • FPS of your crossbow.
  • Experience level.
  • Location.
  • Priority of hunting or target practice.

These crossbow-hunting essentials decide the distance between the target and the user.

Effective range for crossbow hunting:

With a 300 FPS crossbow, 60 yards is the maximum distance, and 40 yards is the average distance. You should limit yourself within the range if you are a beginner. You can attempt the shot even at 80 yards if proficiency is high. But make sure to give it a decisive try so that it can kill the animal instead of wounding it.

Crossbow hunting from the ground will give a completely different shot from crossbow hunting from a tree stand. The view from a height will be clear to target the animal directly. However, many obstacles can ruin the shot from the ground.

crossbow range for hunters:

While indoor shooting, there is almost no hurdle in giving the perfect shot. Weather condition is stable, and the target is non-living, so it cannot move. You can give an accurate attempt of even about 100 yards. But on the ground with weather swings, the condition is entirely different. Also, targeting the animals is unlike shooting a 3-D target or punching holes in paper targets. Animals are living creatures, so they move unpredictably. Make your mind before coming to the hunting ground about these real scenarios. Adrenaline is natural and obvious for beginner hunters while shooting the animal. So, the shot can be unstable due to shaking.

Crossbow hunting rules of distance fluctuate with the hunters. The best crossbow hunting distance for a beginner is 20 yards. But an expert can release a fatal shot of about 50-60 yards. To keep the animals away from injury, beginners prefer to keep their attempts within 20 yards, which is suitable, though.

identify your crossbow hunting distance!

Be patient and give time to yourself by practicing various techniques. Spend time shooting and turn your target practice into trophy-taking. Try different positions and locations while practicing, such as; ground or tree stand. Practice with a friend or companion is even more challenging. Ethical hunting practices should be done in realistic conditions to remain prepared for different situations on the ground.  

Once you release your bolt for crossbow hunting, it cannot be taken back. So, be conscious of the distance and the shot. Your shot should be deathly for an animal. Otherwise, a wounded animal is a nightmare for any hunter.

If you are good at a fatal shot at 20 yards, your friend has jumped the target to 40 yards. Then, it is not necessary for you to jump also. Be consistent to 20 yards and gradually shift to 30 or 40 yards. At the end of the day, it is unethical to wound any animal instead of killing it.

My key suggestion is to practice beyond the expected range. Suppose you have the plan to shoot the target at 20 yards. Practice with the same weapon at 30 or 40 yards. The more comfortable and precise you are while practicing, the higher your success rate will be.

long-distance crossbow hunting:

The debate of the best distance for crossbow hunting is never-ending. The craving of a hunter to shoot from 60 to 80 yards is real. But is long-distance crossbow hunting a good idea? Let’s find out:

Kinetic energy:

Modern crossbow manufacturers aim to design fast weapons. Weight is also a significant characteristic of a crossbow. Light arrows are typically speedy due to less weight and more kinetic energy. But a heavy crossbow hunting arrow often performs much better than the lighter one. The arrow speed slows down when you release the arrow from the bow to hit the target. After covering a distance of 50 yards, an arrow is supposed to lose 15% to 25% of the kinetic energy. So, the bolt starts moving downfield.

If the distance between the hunter and prey is long (assume more than 50 yards), the arrow’s speed will be slow. Similarly, the kinetic energy of the bolt will be less than you imagined it to be. This loss of kinetic energy can lead to the risky result of wounding the animal.


The path of an arrow can divert just because of any physical obstruction. With the increasing distance between the hunter and the animal, the possibility of seeing the hindrance decrease. Just because of any minor obstacle, the bolt or arrow can hit the animal inaccurately. Yes, I know modern crossbows are designed with scopes for magnification. Still, unfortunately, even a high magnification cannot observe a thin branch or such sort of hindrances along the path. A long-distance should be avoided to preserve the arrow from deflection.

Jump the string:

Ask a hunter about the most annoying part of hunting, and the answer will be to jump the string. The possibility of jumping the string is almost non-existent in case of close range. But at a long distance, due to loudness and loss of kinetic energy, the chances of jumping the string of animals are very high. Jumping the string refers to reacting to the sound of the crossbow.

Assume the target animal is at a distance of 100 yards, and you are using the fastest crossbow, 450 FPS. 450 FPS crossbow is the latest and most rapid in the market. In almost 0.27 seconds, the sound of the bow will cover a distance of 100 yards. On the other hand, the bolt will take 0.67 seconds to hit the prey. With almost a half second between the sound and the hit, it is ample time for an animal to jump the string and move to resist. This long-range hit can only be harmful but not a fatal attempt to kill the animal.

I have listed some significant reasons to avoid long-distance hunting. Now, the decision is totally up to you. If you can handle a successful long-range shot, go for it. Otherwise, do not risk an animal’s life just for your pleasure.


I know practice is the key. So, this article cannot replace the experience of practicing in the field. But I hope this article gave you ample knowledge about the crossbow hunting distance. If you feel motivated to take the first step in crossbow hunting, go ahead. It is time; what you will learn from physical practice is a lifetime lesson. So, practice as much as you can to enhance your skill. If you still have any queries regarding the best distance for crossbow hunting, my comment section is always open for you. So, do let me know.


The beginner crossbow hunting range should be within 30-40 yards since they did not know much about the shooting skill and accuracy. However, a veteran can shoot at or beyond 80 yards. Only a very skilled arbalist can go in hundreds of yards. Also, modern crossbows can release a successful shot of hundreds of yards. Hence, crossbow shooting skill is based on past experiences and techniques.

Crossbows shoot bolts. Bolts are the smaller version of arrows. People confuse bolts and arrows as different, but both are the same with the only size difference. Bolts are designed according to the requirements of the crossbow. Bolts are also known as quarrels. Crossbowman kills various animals, including deer using a latch and trigger system.

The crossbow fps chart usually lies between 300 to 500 FPS.

  • 300 FPS is an effective range for successful attempts. The arrow speed is 265 – 380 feet per second (fps).
  • The latest crossbows can cover 280-350 feet per second with a 400 FPS.
  • 505 FPS is the fastest crossbow in history. It reset the standards with its 400-grain bolts.
  • 600 FPS is a new launch by Hatsan. The name assigned to the crossbow is the Harpoon. It strikes the targets at 600 feet per second.

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