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Crossbow season opens Saturday


The Southern Zone big game crossbow season will be starting up on Saturday, Nov. 4 – perfect timing for the whitetail rut. You must purchase a muzzleloader privilege before you head afield and also possess the crossbow certificate of qualification that can be found on page 9 in the current regulations guide or on the DEC website at You must be a minimum of 14 years of age to use a crossbow.

Here are some tips from Paul Vaicunas of East Amherst, Vice President of The Outdoor Group that represents CamX Crossbows:

  1. Know the distance. Crossbow hunting IS archery, and crossbows perform the same as archery equipment.  An error of only a few yards can result in a missed deer.  Use a range finder before you take your shot.
  2. Use a shooting stick, bi-pod or a resting aid to make a steady and precise shot. The magnification of a scope can make it feel like the crosshairs are moving all over the deer.  A rest can greatly enhance your confidence and aiming point while making your shot. Practice.
  3. Follow through with your shot… meaning watch the arrow all the way to your deer when you shoot.  “Peeking” over your scope at the moment when you shoot will surely result in a low hit or missed deer.
  4. Safety first. Always be aware where your forehand is on your crossbow to avoid your thumb or fingers being slapped by the string when you shoot.  Make sure your fingers and thumb are below your crossbow safety guards.
  5. Treestand Safety.  If you are hunting from an elevated position like a treestand, always cock your crossbow at the base of the tree before you climb into your perch.  Once safely seated and secured to the tree with a certified safety harness, hoist your crossbow up on a rope, and then load the crossbow arrow.  Cocking a crossbow and bending over in the small space of a tree stand can cause dizziness, a vertigo effect and possible loss of balance resulting in a fall.

If you are successful with your crossbow, be sure to send in a photo at

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