The shot finally comes after days, possibly weeks, of preparation, scouting, finding the right location, and setting up your bow stand. If you did it right, you might bring home some venison. And when hunting whitetail deer, how you should set up that bow stand may depend on whether you’re hunting with crossbow or a compound. Let me explain. The basics are the same. Find a spot in a well-traveled area with ample sign, the proper orientation for prevailing winds, and an unobtrusive means of access. The differences are more subtle.
One of the biggest differences is surrounding cover. Bowhunting requires maximum concealment to help you blend into the background and break up your outline when game is close at hand. The more natural vegetation you can leave around your platform the better. But you also need maneuverability to move your bow left and right or up and down depending on where your intended target is.
This is where the crossbow offers a distinct advantage. You can leave more natural cover and even add more artificial cover when hunting with a crossbow because you only need a relatively narrow horizontal “window” to maneuver and shoot through. A compound bow requires more open air in front of and beside you because of the vertical configuration of the limbs.
Another advantage is that crossbow hunters can also employ the luxury of a shooting rail to provide a steadier rest and as an attach point for a curtain or natural vegetation for added concealment. Crossbow hunters also gain a slight advantage in situations where cover is limited because they don’t have to draw their bow at the moment of truth, when sharp-eyed whitetails are nearby.
There are far more commonalities than differences between setting a stand for either type of bow, but each and every location has its own particular set of constraints and opportunities. Figuring out how to use them to your advantage is all part of the fun.