First off always read the included safety guidelines and handling recommendations included in your crossbow’s manual, if for some reason your crossbow didn’t come with a manual you can usually find an online manual on the manufacturers website.
If your crossbow is not equipped with an anti-dry fire feature and even if it is, always be sure that the safety is engaged directly after you cock the crossbow and in addition to this always keep your fingers away from the trigger and the front of the crossbow pointed down until absolutely ready to fire.
Before loading an arrow you should inspect it for obvious signs of wear and if any such signs are present, discard said arrow to prevent any accidents from a splintering arrow.
When ready to fire make sure that the safety is disengaged and that your fingers are clear of the crossbow’s rail, string, and wheels if using a compound crossbow.
If using a rope cocking aid make doubly sure that it is properly secured before attempting to cock the crossbow to lessen the chance of the device losing contact with the rope and slipping off.
If your crossbow has a foot stirrup make sure to utilize it whenever you cock the crossbow to ensure maximum stability while cocking.
Make certain that your shooting destination is completely clear of any bystanders; in addition make sure that anyone in the general be aware that you are ready to fire.
Treat unloaded and loaded crossbows the exact same and never point one at any person or living thing at any time even as a joke.
Before firing ensure proper seating of your arrow and never fire a crossbow which does not have a bolt loaded as this can result in damage to your crossbow as well as potential injury to yourself or others.
If firing into a target always make sure that there is enough material to fully stop your arrow inside the target so that it cannot penetrate fully and possibly cause injury to a person or animal. In addition place a backup shield in place just in case the arrow over-penetrates a 2×4 or thick Styrofoam block works well and are inexpensive options.
Again never place your finger(s) near the trigger of the crossbow unless you are prepared to fire.
Staying safe while in a hunting scenario
Follow all applicable rules from the shooting safety section of this guide.
In addition always wear some sort of distinguishing article to help avoid being mistaken for an animal, also when hunting with a partner be sure that you are aware of each other’s locations at all times.
When hunting from a stand always make sure to keep your harness attached to your person.
If positioned in or near a tree always make sure your crossbow’s trigger and limbs are clear of any limbs or branches that may interact with those parts of your crossbow and cause a misfire or jam up the crossbow.
Ensure that your arrows are positioned with the heads facing INSIDE of the quiver.
Crossbow Maintenance Basics
Although today’s crossbows are built with technology and features which help them last longer than ever before, however no amount of technology can make up for improper maintenance. Here are a few tips on how to keep your crossbow in tiptop shape and shooting for as long as possible.
Waxing and Lubrication
WAX YOUR STRING, this is probably the most important crossbow maintenance tip that we can give, properly waxing your crossbow’s string and cables ( if applicable) with a high quality wax will be the primary factor that determines how long those components will last. Waxing protects your crossbow’s parts from the elements and prevents fraying and in addition will save you money in the long run by decreasing the amount of strings and cables you must purchase over the span of your crossbow’s life. Failure to regularly wax your crossbow will result in a significant performance drop off and potentially injury
To apply wax to your parts, rub the wax into it and then get a paper bag or light cloth and proceed to rub back and forth along the length of the string about ten times, this will heat up the wax slightly and cause it to melt which will fuse it more thoroughly with the string and allow the coat to last a bit longer.
The necessary frequency of waxing varies from crossbow to crossbow but a good rule of thumb is that your string should be waxed after any major shooting or hunting session.
Lubrication of your crossbow’s rail and moving components is also very important as those components get the most abuse along with the strings and cables. A thin oil based lubricant is preferable; two of drops should be applied to all necessary parts (rail, trigger box, and any exposed screws or nuts).
While proper maintenance will maximize the amount of time your crossbow’s parts last you will eventually need to replace them. In order to determine when it is time to replace or retire you should carefully inspect each part of the crossbow after each major use and learn what signs to look for that show that a component is worn out.
Make sure to bring a spare string with you on any long session.
If you need to replace cables or wheels, be sure to thoroughly consult your crossbow manufacturer’s instructions.
Before loading an arrow carefully inspect it for signs of weakness or potential failure.