As a hunter, you know there are plenty of ways to track an animal. Guns have been around for a long time and they aren’t going anywhere soon.
Still, it doesn’t mean a crossbow isn’t the right piece of equipment for the job. The great news is you’ve come to the right place.
Here, we don’t do anything overly salesy; we simply bring you the information you need to make an informed decision.
Here's The Best Crossbow For Deer Hunting, Backed By 23+ Hours Of Research
Barnett Whitetail Pro STR
Why is it better?
5 Best Deer Hunting Crossbows
With that in mind, let’s now take a closer look at our top picks.
Let’s dive into the specifics and review each crossbow vise individually. You can use the list below to jump and review specific models, or you can read along and go through all the information.
Best Overall: Barnett Whitetail Pro STR
Cost-wise, the Barnett Whitetail Pro STR is a midrange model which won’t break the bank.
Typically, a middling crossbow can provide substandard features, but this isn’t the case with the Whitetail.
With kinetic energy of 140 ft lbs and a power stroke of 16 inches, it’s on the high end of the scale.
But, don’t worry about it letting you down from an accuracy perspective as the Pro STR has a trick up its sleeve.
The step-through riser platform allows the user to shift the weight from the riser to the stock for a more stable platform.
The result is that you don’t experience any ill effects of the power when you squeeze the trigger.
Recoil is a big deal because of the level of the power stroke, which is why the Whitetail comes with dampeners.
Plus, they are perfect for anyone who wants to hunt in stealth mode, as is the standard camouflage color.
With the CNC flight track, it’s easy to keep tabs on your arrows once they leave the quiver.
- It shoots bolts up to 400 fps
- Step-throgh riser technology
- String dampeners for sound reduction
- 3 Picatinny rails for accessories
- TriggerTech trigger
- No noticable cons
- Finger Safety Reminders
- Crank Cocking Device Compatible
- One Picatinny Rail
- CNC Machined Aluminum Flight Track
- Weight: 6.9 lbs
- Dimensions: 13.1 x 3 x 5.3 in
- Speed: 350 FPS
- Draw Weight: 165 lbs
Barnett Ghost 420 Revanant CRT2 Crossbow
Please don’t let the futuristic style but you off this crossbow.
It may look a little alien, yet it comes with some fantastic features which people who buy the weapon love.
As far as a hunting crossbow goes, this is one of the best in the Barnett range because of its 185-pound draw weight.
The extra power means you can fire an arrow at a rapid 420 feet per second, which the manufacturer admits is one of the fastest on the market.
And, due to the carbon step-through riser and the aluminum flight tracker, the bow isn’t heavy.
At least, it’s not for the number of add-ons is brings with it. The good news is this won’t impact the effectiveness of the shot.
You already know about the draw weight, yet the kinetic energy is high too, at 149 ft lbs. Compared with the Ghost 375, that’s an additional 24 lbs of energy.
Thanks to its illuminated scope and sight, shooters won’t have any problem tracking in low light or changing weather conditions.
With the TriggerTech trigger system, the Ghost 420 has a smoothness as well as increased accuracy when shooting.
It is worth noting it only has a single bolt assembly and it can be resistant which makes it hard to load.
For over $900, hunters might want more from the manufacturer than a basic single bolt assembly.
- Frictionless release
- Single bolt assembly
- Carbonlite rinser
- Metal injection trigger
- It is decently priced for its value
- Included accessories could be improved
- Pass-Through Foregrip
- Finger Safety Reminders
- Carbonlite Riser
- Single Bolt Assembly
- Weight: 7.25 lbs
- Dimensions: 33 x 13 x 7 in
- Speed: 420 FPS
- Draw Weight: 185 lbs
Crosman Sniper 370 Camo Crossbow
This crossbow delivers 50 fewer feet per second than the Ghost 420 at 370 fps.
However, it is almost $800 cheaper at $195 on Amazon. Plus, it’s arguably the best crossbow for deer hunting and big game on the list.
First of all, it arrives fitted with a sniper which lets the user scope in and out to magnify the shot.
Whether in low or bright light, it blocks out the elements and lights up the target. Plus, this feature is fully adjustable and perfect for left and right-handed people.
Game animals are sensitive to sounds, which is why it has a string suppressing technology. Not only that, but it’s integrated into the bow for a quiet, vibration-free shot.
And, there’s no need to fret about the size if it sounds like it’s damn difficult to carry around.
The aluminum STR keeps the weight off, but do does the style. Unlike the others in this crossbow review, this is assault rifle-like in its design.
The barrel and grip look and feel as if you have a AR 15 in your hands due to the 18” axle-to-axle width.
It also comes with a shoulder sling in case the weight starts to become an issue.
If money is a major factor, this has to be one of the best budget crossbows on the market right now.
- High velocity
- Light and compact
- Adjustable grip and stock
- Extensive package with all accessories
- 5 year warranty
- Lots of creep in the trigger
- Included shoulder sling
- 4×32 scope
- Machined aluminium rail
- Integrated string silencers
- Weight: 7.9 lbs
- Dimensions: 33.6 x 11.3 x 5.4 in
- Speed: 370 FPS
- Draw Weight: 185 lbs
Wicked Ridge By TenPoint Invader G3 Crossbow
Although the Center Point isn’t as expensive, the Wicked Ridge makes up for it by including all the essentials you need to go on a hunting expedition.
The above can cost as much as $100 to $200 depending on the quality and time of year, so the TenPoint Invader might save you money in the long run.
Again, this is an AR-type crossbow so it is quite light already at 6.6 lbs without the accessories.
What makes it one of the lightest in the industry is the ACUdraw cocking mechanism. The self-retracting rope which is integrated into the ACU reduces the poundage by up to 50%.
On a long hunt, this will make all of the difference to your comfort levels and overall experience.
However, there are a handful of drawbacks. Speed wise, the feet-per-second is down at 330.
Although it’s not terrible, it is 90 down on the Ghost 420 and 40 down on the CenterPoint Sniper.
Considering the difference in price between this and the CP, it’s quite a lot of velocity to lose.
Also, Wicked Ridge claims it’s the narrowest yet the axle-to-axle width is wider than the CP sniper.
- Lightweight & highly accurate
- Self-retracting rope-cocking aid
- Comfortable grip
- Easy to assemble
- Comes with an adjustable 3 dot scope
- A little loud
- Durable magnesium riser
- Redundant safety system
- Made in the USA
- Easy to sight
- Weight: 2.7 lbs
- Dimensions: 39.8 x 4 x 14 in
- Speed: 330 FPS
- Draw Weight: 165 lbs
CenterPoint Tormentor Whisper AXCTW185CK Compound Crossbow
The Tormentor is Whisper by name and whisper by nature.
With only a 14” axle-to-axle when cocked, the bows slides out seamlessly without making a noise.
Plus, this makes it easy to transport on a long hunting session. Probably the jewel in the crown of this ultimate camo weapon is the silencing system.
The Whisper 380 comes equipped with a mechanism which keeps the noise to a minimum.
And, at 380 feet-per-second, the target in your sights won’t have a clue what’s coming next.
With the quad limbs and the compact design, there is no doubt this is designed for hunters who don’t want to be seen or heard while on the move.
On the flip side, there isn’t much special about this bow if you’re not invested in the stealth element.
The draw load is 185 lbs, which is standard, and there is an anti-dry system which is typical, too.
You will love the auto-safety device that puts the user’s security front and center, yet it isn’t a novel thing either.
In simple terms, this hunting crossbow is for anybody who takes silence seriously. With a 4×32 scope, you’ll be like the wind: gently passing through before striking.
- Easy-handling, hard hitting crossbow with accessories
- Sends bolts downrange up to 380 fps
- Whisper Silencing System reduces noise and vibration
- Compact design – just 14″ wide when cocked
- All-weather composite stock with padded rubber grips and cheekpiece
- Draw weight can be hard for beginners to use
The Cost Of A Good Crossbow
It’s important to start by saying that crossbows are no by means cheap, and any reviews that say otherwise are disingenuous.
Most of them are modified for the user experience and to give you the best chance of making a hit.
That being said, you can still pick the best crossbow for the money as long as it’s in your price range.
Everybody wants the best bang for their buck, literally and metaphorically speaking.
The crossbows in this review range from $100-$200, $200-$300, $300-$400, and $400-$500, all the way up to $1,000.
Please note spending more money doesn’t always correlate into a better bow, but some of the greatest ones are pricey.
The final decision is yours and yours alone, so be careful and give it plenty of thought before pulling the trigger.
If you’ve never used a crossbow for hunting, here is a good YouTube video outlining the basics of cocking and uncocking a bow:
We’re aware that choosing a product is straightforward when there is a crossbow review to hand.
But, what about when you’re out of your depth and don’t recognize the makes and models?
Picking is difficult, which is why you should consider the following things:
- Brand – although it sounds sloppy, you can make a purchase based on the manufacturer. At the very least, you won’t end up with a mediocre crossbow that won’t do the job. With the likes of TenPoint, Barnett and Wicked Range, you can be safe in the knowledge the product is legit. Others to look out for are Excalibur, Parker, Horton, and Pse.
- Speed – some people want to fire a shot as quickly as possible. If you fall into this category, a compound bow is the best option as it offers the terminal velocity. The alternatives are recurve and reserve limb bows, but they are better for accuracy, comfort, and stealth.
- Weight – carrying a crossbow around for hours on end is going to hurt. So, you want something which is light and not a burden. However, there is also the steadiness element to factor in as light bows are tricky to keep steady. As a rule, anything between six and seven pounds is the perfect mix.
- Durability – no one wants to spend hundreds of dollars on something that will break. With this in mind, keep an eye out for stainless steel and aluminum coated in nitrogen. Accessories such as lube wax should stop the ropes and bows from fraying too.
Which one is the best crossbow?
The answer is a personal decision. They all have their specific qualities and it’s down to you to pick a model which is an excellent overall fit.