Accessories Crossbow Hunters Will Want

Crossbow hunters use the same accessories as compound bowhunters but need a few extra items. Here’s what you should be selling and why.

Accessories Crossbow Hunters Will Want

Forget the debates about compounds versus crossbows and which is more “real,” better, sporting or whatever. Many of your customers probably shoot crossbows or at least have some interest in them or will at some point in the future due to age, injury or opportunity. There is no debate whatsoever that crossbows are highly effective for taking down big game.

The leap in crossbow technology and design, especially the latter, in the last decade has been remarkable. Forget about speed. Hunters today know even the slowest, most basic crossbows can get the job done. What they’re looking at is the weight and width of the crossbow they’ll take into the field. Weight is being trimmed here and there. Width is another matter entirely. We have gone from wide-limbed crossbows to some today measuring less than 10 inches at full draw and barely more than that when relaxed. That makes a big difference when you’re in a treestand with limbs to navigate, or a ground blind or shooting house with narrow windows.

The first crossbow I shot and hunted with about 15 years ago was a Horton Hunter Max 150. It did not have finger safety rails or a trigger safety. The cocking mechanism was my boot toe to hold it down and two arms to pull the cable into locking position. It was topped by a 4x32 scope, fired aluminum arrows and came with a hard plastic carrying case that seemed as big as a golf course putting green. I killed a few deer with it. None went more than 10 or 15 yards, at most, before they died in a pool of blood. Feral pigs don’t like crossbows, either. Nothing with four legs likes crossbows.

Your cash register will like crossbows, though, when you sell them and the accessories for them. The crossbow is a big hit, but accessories keep hunters coming back for more. They’re going to blow off nocks and fletching, lose arrows, want more broadheads, see broadheads they believe might work better than what they’re using, and will like to see the other latest accessories to help them in the field. Their buddies will hear about something or a popular video crew will use something, and it will spark interest.

Consider these things when you’re running specials in late summer and on into the hunting season.

Safety Equipment

Safety harnesses and lifelines don’t garner a second thought today for most hunters, especially younger ones. They’ve grown up hearing about harnesses, lifelines and apparel designed to accommodate the tether hookups. Safety harnesses are inexpensive insurance. Many states require their use on public lands. Make a point to highlight these items on an end cap or in a highly visible location. It’s not taboo to mention or discuss how these products can literally be lifesavers when used correctly. Tell your customers you want to see them again to hear some successful hunting stories, and that using safety gear can help.

Arrows and Broadheads

Crossbow arrows haven’t dived completely into the micro sizes like those built for compound bows have, but it won’t be long before they do. Given today’s accuracy and precision with crossbows, hunters are capable of blowing up arrows in their targets before they get into the field. That’s bad for them but good for your sales team. Keep enough arrows on hand to have them ready for summer practice and the season.

Broadheads also are becoming more specific for crossbows, especially expandable heads. A selection of the most popular heads — fixed and expandable — is a great idea. Remind your team to emphasize having extra heads when hunters are shopping for them.

Targets, of course, are also a must for crossbow hunters. The power delivered by a crossbow necessitates targets that can stop hard-hitting arrows. Make sure buyers know the difference.

Shooting Sticks

This may be the best possible accessory to sell to crossbow hunters. If you’re making a “Get Ready for the Season” area in your store and site, be sure to include these. Crossbows have improved greatly in design in the last decade, including in weight reduction — but they’re still heavy. Holding one steady for long periods is challenging while a suspicious doe or buck stands in your shooting lane.

Sitting in a ground blind with a tripod rest allows the crossbow to be quickly placed and shifted into position. A monopod rest in a ladder or climbing stand, or if the hunter is on a stalk, works like a champ. Shooting rests offer collapsible and locking sections, rotating ball heads and other solid features. Make these a big part of your crossbow sales push this season. They might be a great accessory to pair with a bow for a discount; buy the bow, get the shooting rest at whatever percent off. Definitely keep these in mind to suggest to hunters, whether they’re using a crossbow, handgun or rifle.

Ground Blinds

The upside to treestands is being elevated and having an overview of your surroundings. This is a plus whether you’re using a bow, crossbow or firearm. Many more hunters are getting into ground blinds, however, as they find that being on the ground offers a different, safer and unique experience. In a ground blind, you’re on the same level with deer, hogs and other game. Offering a few good ground blinds is a great way to ring up additional sales.

Along with the blind, hunters usually will want a good chair to sit in. If they have family, especially young children or grandchildren, a ground blind, comfortable chairs and unique views make hunting a more enjoyable experience. Hunters can outfit a blind with brush or set up a camera nearby. A good ground blind offers viewing through one or more slots or mesh, and it can be put up quickly or left out in one spot for the season. These are prime selling points for your staff to make to crossbow hunters (especially older ones).

Ameristep Extreme -
Ameristep Extreme -

Treestands, of Course

While ground blinds may be seeing more of a surge, it’s impossible to forget about treestands. Ladder stands, climbers and lock-on stands are used throughout the country. Whether you have a good deal on basic stands or are offering top-of-the-line double stands with heavy-duty construction, hunters will be seeking these for their property. Crossbow hunters, like others, want to get these stands put together and in the woods well before the season opens. Lock-ons and climbers, of course, are portable, but some hunters enjoy putting them out early, too. Have these ordered and ready to pitch to hunters well before the season opens. 

Optics and Rangefinders

Improvements in crossbow speeds and accuracy have resulted in the same for optics. Hunters want to dial in a crossbow for their preferred ranges. Whether it’s out to 30 or 40 yards or possibly 70 or more with some select crossbows, optics play a critical role. Crossbow scopes often are part of packages now, especially with higher-priced bows that also come with arrows, tips and other items. Buyers may be fine with the optics in the package, but be sure to suggest others you have for sale.

What is not part of a package deal is a rangefinder, which every hunter should use in the field. Along with establishing accurate, ethical distances for shots, the rangefinder can be a source of fun during a boring period in a long hunt. With children or grandchildren, rangefinders can provide teaching moments about ethics and judging distances. Be sure to have a good selection of these on hand, along with items such as lanyards to attach to harnesses or belt loops. Retractable wire lanyards keep rangefinders secure and close until needed, and they are inexpensive accessories worth offering. 

Scent Control

One of the most discussed topics for hunting is scent control. It’s no secret this is one of the biggest segments of the hunting industry. Whether you believe in cover scents, odor-killing scents and the assorted products isn’t the issue. Many of your customers believe in them, which is why they’ll be asking about them, looking at the newest items, searching for their old favorites, and possibly mixing their oldie goldies with something new. This area covers the gamut, from lockers and blockers to deodorant and body wash, as well as sprays for apparel, boots and gear. Vivid signs and display areas can highlight the section in your shop where these items are located. Don’t make customers search for these. One other tip: Don’t combine cover scents with attractants, such as deer urine. Keep them separate so as to avoid possible confusion. 

Game Cameras

These are no-brainer sales items. Crossbow hunters will use game cameras, especially cellular cameras that are improving in technology, to pinpoint travel routes and other spots for possible stand setups. Do not overlook anything in this important sales segment, either. Cameras need batteries. Do you stock them, or will you tell a customer “No, sorry” and make them have to buy batteries elsewhere? Do you have a selection of SD cards from SanDisk or another reputable brand that will work with the cameras you offer? Many camera companies include an SD card, but hunters will want more. Have them available, along with anything else, including metal safety boxes, locks or whatever you believe might make a good display.

Hunting seasons never really end. For whitetail hunters, summer is time to get things lined out, dialed in and ready for opening day. Be ready for them with a variety of items and knowledgeable staff who can help.


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