How often do you hunt? Do you have the right crossbow accessories? If you’re a crossbow hunter, you need to be asking yourself these questions because the tools you use can significantly impact the outcome of your hunting trip and are often the difference between an adventurous and successful hunt or one that is tiresome and unrewarding.
Of course, not every accessory out there is a necessity, and some are just gimmicks, but you should at least have the essentials to ensure you can hunt efficiently and effectively. Most will spring to mind immediately, such as crossbow bolts, crossbow scopes, and quivers, but there are various other hunting accessories that you can also use to your advantage.
This guide walks you through all the must-have crossbow accessories and how to use them, plus we also discuss a few items that you simply can’t go without. Let’s get started!
Top 7 Must-Have Crossbow Accessories
1. Cocking Device
- Classic Handles with Black Rope
- Lets you manually cock your bow while reducing draw weight by 50%
- Molded string hooks will not damage the rail，Roller in string hook reduces friction, improves function
Even if you’re a first-time crossbow hunter, you probably know that a crossbow cocking aid is an indispensable piece of equipment you need to have with you on every hunting trip. This accessory comes in handy, especially when dealing with high-powered crossbows.
Some would argue that a crossbow cocking aid is the most important crossbow accessory because, without it, it can be a major struggle to load the crossbow bolts and never be able to shoot a bolt at all!
There are two primary types of crossbow cocking devices:
- Rope cocking device – Universal and easy to use
- Crank cocking device – Works for most crossbows but MUST be installed correctly
Both types of crossbow cocking devices are simple to use and don’t require any special skills to operate. Once you’ve done it once, it will be a piece of cake to do it out in the field.
Some crossbows come with an integrated crank cocking device, others allow a separate crank system to be purchased and installed. At its simplest level, all you need to do is wind the hand crank, which significantly reduces the draw weight and allows you to effectively cock your crossbow without straining.
Crank cocking devices can be temperamental, and for your safety and the longevity of your crossbow, we recommend installation by a professional. They also tend to be slow, which some crossbow users don’t like.
If your crossbow isn’t suitable for a crank, you prefer fast cocking, or you’d like a simpler and cheaper solution, you can go for a rope cocking device. These will reduce the draw weight by about 50% but will typically still require a reasonably large amount of force to draw your crossbow fully before loading the bolt.
The process is pretty simple, but it’s worth learning the proper method before blindly trying it on your own. Take a look at our guide on how to cock a crossbow for more details.
2. Crossbow Sight or Scope
- Descending diameter MOA reticle;Water resistant;Fog proof
Crossbows are for shooting at reasonably short range. They don’t pack the explosive power of a shotgun or a rifle and so need a greater level of precision to take down your prey. This is where a crossbow sight or scope comes in.
Crossbow sights and scopes are essentially the same thing, the difference is that a scope includes magnification or zoom that makes it easier to shoot with a high degree of precision at longer range.
Crossbow sights come in many different shapes and sizes, but the main types you will see are laser sights, red dot sights, fiber optic sights, and night vision sights. Add magnification and it becomes a laser scope, fiber optic scope and so on. Sadly, most crossbows are sold bare-bow and don’t come with any accessories, or at least very few, so you need to know what to look for to find the best crossbow scope for you and your bow.
On the plus side, I’ve seen several crossbow packages that include a scope that turned out to be trash, and I needed to buy a new one anyway. So at least when you buy a crossbow without any accessories, you aren’t wasting your money on a useless scope.
Good quality crossbow scopes can help you hit your target more consistently, particularly if they have premium features. These include night vision, magnification/zoom, illuminated reticles, and angle/distance compensation.
Either way, relative to shooting with a scope, all scopes are helpful in one way or another. Your next challenge is learning how to adjust them as your shoot, which requires constant practice.
Before going on a hunt, go to the range or get yourself some targets and practice how to change your scope across different magnifications and distances. This will help you become a more effective hunter. Check out our guide on how to adjust a crossbow scope if you need some help!
3. Noise Dampening Kit
- Private Labeled Exclusively For Tenpoint By Bowjax, Inc. The Noise Dampening Packages Progressively Reduce Decibel Level And Shorten Noise Duration
- Noise Dampening Package - For Crossbows With Limb Gap Of 11/16" - 1 3/8"
- Includes Limb Vibration Dampeners, A Retention Spring Dampener, Foot Stirrup Dampeners, And Barrel Dampeners
Noise dampening kits are a must-have for hunters going after skittish prey like deer or rabbits. Without one, there’s a chance you will scare off your target with the noise produced from your bow as you shoot.
It might not seem like much, but over a hundred feet, your target will have about one-fifth of a second between the time it hears your shot and the time the bolt arrives. It’s certainly debatable, but for skittish prey, it’s generally accepted that this is enough time for them to react, potentially failing to make a kill shot or even a complete miss.
With a noise dampening kit, the sound produced upon firing is considerably reduced and unlikely to be heard by targets further away. This means success comes down to your precision, not your prey’s reaction speed.
Even though a noise dampening kit is optional, you should still consider getting one to improve your hunting game to keep up with the top-tier hunters. A complete noise dampening kit will be fixed to your strings, bolt-retention spring, stirrups, crossbow barrel, and limbs, avoiding unnecessary noises that may alert your target and take them out of position.
4. Stock Extension or Recoil Pad
- Slip-on recoil pad for most rifles, shotguns and muzzleloaders
- reduces up to 70 percent of felt recoil
- LimbSaver AirTech Slip-On Recoil Pad, Medium
For consistency in accuracy and precision, it’s important to make sure that when in the aiming position with your cheek against the stock looking down the barrel or sight, your crossbow stock comfortably wedges into your shoulder in such a way that it feels natural.
If you can’t get into this comfortable position when aiming, your crossbow could slip, your accuracy will likely drop, recoil and noise from the shooting will increase, and you may even hurt yourself.
If your crossbow stock isn’t long enough or feels uncomfortable, don’t panic. You can get a padded stock extension to remedy the problem. The extensions are simple butt plates that add a small amount of length to the stock. Some just slot over the stock, but others may require you fix the pad to the crossbow stock. Either way, you’ll get less slippage and can find one that gives the perfect fit.
5. Crossbow Holder Or Sling
- Compatible with most Crossbows
- Durable nylon shoulder pad
A crossbow holder or sling is another essential item that all hunters need as it’s perfect for holding the crossbow when you’re not using it and can save you a lot of energy on a long hunt.
You’ll find it a bit tiresome each time you want to pull out your binoculars to the survey area if you don’t have a sling, and it’s almost impossible to grab a bottle of water to quench your thirst without one. Just make sure you set your crossbow facing downward to avoid any serious damage or injury.
While a crossbow holder or sling can help you store your crossbow, you have to ensure you get a quality product that will manage the crossbow’s weight and any other attached accessories, particularly if you are moving around a lot. You don’t want to damage your scope, bump your quiver loose or knock off any noise dampeners.
A good quality backpack for hunting will typically come with a crossbow holder, too, and it is a great choice for modern hunters. Backpacks can double as a place to put your crossbow as well as all the other hunting and crossbow accessories you need on your trip. Some can even carry a tree stand!
6. Practicing Targets
- LIFE-LIKE SHOOTER BUCK - The biggest toughest 3D Target in the Universe, This Life-like Buck stands 48" Tall, 125" P & Y Antlers
- BANG FOR YOUR BUCK - Includes a replaceable high density core insert that offers up to 5 times the shooting surface of other 3D Targets. The shooting insert extends the life of your target (Additional Inserts: Order GlenDel Model #G71630)
- STABILITY - the crossbow Shooter stands at 4 feet tall but it will never waver because ground stakes are included
Consider a crossbow target to get the most out of practice sessions. Most people use an archery target, but trust us, a proper crossbow target is worth the investment. Crossbow targets are designed to manage a crossbow bolt’s kinetic potential and energy.
There are various crossbow targets in the market, so you should be able to find one that suits your needs. We recommend block targets or 3D targets as these are designed for crossbow hunters looking for some extra practice.
3D targets are particularly good. These look like dummy animals and are available in the form that hunters typically pursue, such as deer, boar, and turkey. Given they resemble your hunting target, you can practice shooting your prey in their most vulnerable spots and get used to making kill shots at difficult angles.
The downside of 3D targets is that they are costly. Competition targets and bag targets are more affordable and will still get the job done, you’ll just need to use your imagination a little more!
7. Crossbow Case
- PLANO SPIRE CROSSBOW CARRY CASE: Sleek hard case storage designed to safely transport your bow (with scope attached), quiver, and bolts to your next competition or hunting adventure.
- HIGH-DENSITY POLY FOAM protects the fit, finish, and alignment, including any attached optics. Lashing straps hold your crossbow in place inside the hard-shelled, crushproof case.
- THREE HEAVY DUTY SECURITY LATCHES and padlocks provide supreme protection during transport, while securing your investment away from curious eyes and hands.
Budget for a crossbow case so you have somewhere to keep it when you’re not using it. This will make your crossbow and crossbow accessories last longer.
Look for one that is stiff, hard, and rugged on the outside with a soft-sided inner protective layer so that your crossbow and other bow accessories do not get damaged. If you can, get a bow case with a zipper so you can access it quickly when you need it.
Crossbow Necessities, Not Just Crossbow Accessories
1. Crossbow Bolt
- THREE-PIECE SYSTEM - Alpha-Brite Lighted Nock System includes a Nock-Receiver insert designed to accept a combined LED unit and translucent pegged Alpha-Brite nock.
- TRACK YOUR POINT OF IMPACT - Upon firing the crossbow, the bowstring activates the lighted nock for superior flight visibility.
- CROSSBOW ARROWS - The 20-inch Wicked Ridge XX75 2219 aluminum arrow is fletched slightly offset with 2.0” Easton Bully Boattail Vanes.
A crossbow bolt is integral to your hunting experience. Without bolts, there’s no point owning a crossbow.
Crossbow bolts are arrow-like but are notably smaller in size. They are designed to fly at high velocity to fiercely strike through the animals, giving them a minimal chance of survival.
Bolts are made from different materials but are typically aluminum alloy metal and carbon fiber. Different materials and designs will have different weights, which can be an important factor in selecting an appropriate bolt. Larger, heavier bolts are more suitable for larger prey, and lighter, smaller bolts are more suitable for smaller prey.
Bolt weight and size will also have an impact on the flight path and the noise produced by your crossbow (assuming no dampeners are installed). Heavier bolts will produce less noise when shot but fall faster in flight, whereas lighter bolts will be louder when shot but maintain their height for longer.
The crossbow bolt itself is a necessary part of any successful hunting trip, but the tip you use for your cross bolt is also an important choice. Field points (pictured above) are a standard choice for target practice or smaller game and broadheads will be your go-to for larger game.
2. Crossbow Broadheads
- PRECISION - Rage broadheads are known for their accuracy and their wound channels are legendary
- MASSIVE CUTTING SURFACES – Rear-deploying, SlipCam design with huge .039” leading-edge blade and razor sharp .035" thick stainless steel expandable blades. 2" cutting diameter.
- TECHNOLOGY - Improved Shock Collar Technology ensures proper blade retention while arrow is stored and in-flight and allows for broadhead to open upon impact
Crossbow broadheads do serious damage. They are placed at the leading tip of the crossbow bolt and are the first part to cut through the skin of your prey. Broadheads do the dirty work and a well-placed shot will generally ensure that the animal goes down and stays down.
There are two types of crossbow broadheads, mechanical and fixed.
Fixed crossbow heads are deadly sharp but fixed in shape and size from the moment you load the bolt to the moment it takes down your prey. Mechanical blades look more closed and narrower when loaded in your crossbow, allowing for a predictable flight path as well as quick and effective penetration. However, once they puncture the target they spring open, ripping through flesh and lodging inside.
While practicing or if you’re after smaller game, we recommend you use field points, but if you’re after a big trophy buck, broadheads are a must. Whether you prefer mechanical or fixed broadheads comes down to personal choice.
3. Crossbow Quiver
- Arrow Compatibility - Fits both carbon and aluminum arrows with shafts .229" diameter and larger Fits both mechanical and fixed-blade broadheads.
- Construction - Lightweight. Compact durable composite
- Gripper Design - Rubberized, secure double-grippers
A crossbow quiver is also an essential accessory because it holds your bolts as you survey the area for prey, making it a must-have crossbow accessory when hunting. They also safely hold the sharp blades of broadheads often taken out by hunters, significantly reducing the chance of unexpected injury.
Typically, crossbow quivers come with a capacity of three, four, or five bolts, and many will clip directly to your crossbow. Good quality quivers for your crossbow can also act as stabilizers, helping to balance the crossbow as you aim.
Alternatively, you can put the quiver on your belt. Whatever your preferred method, just make sure that you’ve got a strong crossbow quiver to effectively hold your bolts and broadheads and limit the chances of unwanted setbacks.
Crossbow Accessories – Wrap Up
Crossbow accessories can be a game-changer. If you want to compete with the best of the best, then it’s worthwhile investing in some if not all of the crossbow accessories we’ve highlighted here. They will make your crossbow hunting experience more adventurous and more enjoyable.
Before you purchase any crossbow hunting accessories, it’s worth considering which are necessities and which are nice-to-haves. Particularly if you are on a budget, learning which ones you need and which you can do without can be very worthwhile.
We’ve listed the main crossbow accessories you’re likely to encounter, but you still have to consider your priorities and settle for what best suits your needs.
Also, don’t forget to check past customer reviews before you buy to understand the pros and cons of the specific product you’re interested in.