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Point-And-Shoot Whitetails

Distinct steps in crunchy leaves caught my attention and a flash of antlers sealed the deal.  I was sitting on the ground among some small shrubs and knew that the approaching buck would quickly spot me.  A quick glimpse of its antlers showed it was a legal 4×4 and I knew I must act quickly.  I immediately flicked off the safety, aimed at the direction of the buck, and readied the shot.  As expected, the buck’s chest appeared in the open, its head went to immediate alert, and no doubt it would have bolted in the next instant.  Too Late!  The range was 20-something and I knew the speedy arrow from the Ravin 26RX would be within an inch of point-of-aim.  Within seconds, I saw a small tree shaking and knew the deer was down.  This success was the perfect example of point-and-shoot.

Aim Like a Cell Phone Picture

I’ve taken tens of thousands of pictures with a 35 mm camera during my outdoor writing career.  My big Nikon takes great pictures, yet it’s bulky, I need to know the focus, lighting conditions, and carefully construct the image I want people to see.

Despite the camera’s many attributes, it often stays in my backpack since I can get nearly the same results with my point-and-shoot cell phone camera.  In today’s digital world, a computer chip makes all the decisions you need for a near-perfect photo every time.  Likewise, the speed of today’s crossbows allows you to point and shoot with near-perfect results.

The Secret is the Sight-In

The outdoor industry has programmed archers, compounds, and crossbows, to think in terms of 20 yards.  Most scopes have their adjustments based on this range and it is natural to want a shot at this distance.  However, if you sight your crossbow in at 25 yards, you will find that arrows fly slightly higher than point-of-aim (POA) and a tad low at 30 yards.

Depending upon the speed of your bow, you may well be within the kill zone of a whitetail at 35 yards.  The variation from POA will vary according to the speed of your bow and the weight of your arrows.  The beauty of the point-and-shoot sighting system is the elimination of ranging which can cost critical seconds when a big buck suddenly shows up.

Red Dot- Right On

Red dot sights are ideal for point-and-shoot and I’ve taken several bucks with them.  Shown above is the Burris Fast Fire III which offers a red POA in varying brightnesses with a battery that lasts for years.  I have an Idaho deer tag which requires a sight with zero magnification and I’m setting up this exact sighting system for the hunt.

I’ll sight in my bow at 25 yards which will give me a point-and-shoot aim at 30 and a bit beyond.  If I have a longer shot, I’ll simply aim higher on the animal to compensate for the arrow drop.

Practice for Perfection

Crossbow hunters should practice until they know the impact of their arrows at varying distances.  Part of the fun of this system is experimenting with distances and arrow weights.  I’ll be using Sevr Robusto 150-grain broadheads for my mule deer hunt.  Although the added weight increases drop as compared to 100-grain heads, by setting up the system for the 150-grain head, the difference is minimal.

I will practice off-hand at 40 and 50 yards knowing that I must compensate for the drop of the arrow, while an ambush shot at a waterhole or travel area will be point-and-shoot.  If you expect to shoot at longer distances, your laser rangefinder becomes critical.

3-D Maximizes Preparation

Finally, point-and-shoot only works if you point at the right spot.  I liked this Morrell Back-to-Back target so much that I flew it to Africa on a safari last year.  It’s very portable, will handle arrow speeds up to 500 fps, and forces the hunter to pick a spot.  I cheated a bit by placing a mailing label on the point of aim, yet keeping this sight picture in mind will help when even a fraction of a second counts.

For the tree stand hunter who rarely shoots beyond 30 yards, the point-and-shoot system can be a game saver.  Even medium-range shots can be made accurately once you know the trajectory of your arrow.  Using point-and-shoot is a bit outside the box, but can be the difference between a buck on the wall and next year.



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