As a mature eastern gobbler made its way down the steep hill and out into the lush green grass, I stood in my treestand, trying to remain hidden as I tucked in behind the white oak tree. My mind quickly began racing with ideas of how to get my crossbow in position and make the shot without the gobbler catching sight of my movements.
The day had already proved to be one in which things had not played in my favor. Earlier that morning, well before sunrise, I quietly made my way along the edge of the massive CRP field that would connect to the timber edge of the adjacent field where my stand stood tall in an oak tree. After attaching my safety harness to the tree, I pulled my Horton Storm RDX crossbow up with a rope, only to realize that I had left the reel handle that aided in cocking the bow in my garage, seven or eight miles away from the area I was hunting. Because the crossbow was a reverse-limb style bow, there was no option of cocking, unless I made the trip back home for the reel attachment.
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After what seemed like hours of driving, I returned to my home, retrieved the reel, and was back in my stand, ready to hunt. After settling in the stand, I encountered a mature long beard sneaking behind my setup as I cautiously moved into position to make a shot. As my bad luck continued, I realized I would need to hold the crossbow up in a shooting position for an extended period as the tom made his way slowly through the field, slightly out of shooting range. Without shooting rails on the stand, I finally had to forfeit holding the bow and lowered it to rest on my knee. Unfortunately, the gobbler saw my movement and was gone, ending my hopes of having a turkey dinner.
After my less-than-ideal hunt concluded, I made a personal vow never to hunt with my crossbow without double-checking for the gear needed to cock the bow into position and ensuring I had a crossbow shooting rest to help hold it in the proper location until I was ready to shoot.
Using a shooting rest is vital in making an accurate shot and remaining in the proper position until the animal being hunted gives the right shot opportunity. Whether hunting high up in a tree, on the ground, or while sitting inside a blind, to help narrow down the choices when shopping for a suitable shooting rest, I have gathered five different models that each have a specific purpose that secures their place on the list of one of the five best crossbow shooting rests.
Best Overall – Swagger Bipods 29&42 (See Price at Amazon)
Price Ranges between $130 and $160
When looking for a shooting rest that can be used virtually in any hunting situation, including while in a treestand, it is hard to beat the QD29 and QD42 from Swagger Bipods; that is why the Swagger Bipod wins as the best overall rest.
The QD system from Swagger is a hybrid design that takes Swaggers Quick Adapt Technology from their original Hunter Series of bipods and turns it into a versatile shooting system that can be used on shotguns, rifles, and crossbows. The QD42 is short for quick detachment and 42” in height and the QD29 is 29″. When attaching the QD42 or 29 to a crossbow, the hunter uses an adapter that sits over a sling stud and features a small picatinny rail that the bipod quickly attaches and detaches from.
The most significant features of the QD42 were the ability to adjust from 14” to 42” while using it when seated, standing, or in a treestand. And, weighing only 15 ounces, the QD42 is lightweight and compact enough to keep the bipod attached to the crossbow or easily packed inside a backpack until ready to use without any extra weight to carry.
Retails between $129.99 and $164.99 depending on size and color; for more information, visit Amazon
Most Well-Built – BOG CAMO DEATHGRIP (See Price at Amazon)
When taking a youngster hunting from the ground or inside a ground blind or elevated box blind, having a steady shooting rest that keeps the crossbow in the shooting position is a must. The BOG CAMO DEATHGRIP Aluminum Tripod is hands down the steadiest rest on the market. This product is a tripod-style shooting rest engineered to be one of the most stable precision rests available. The CAMO DEATHGRIP receives its name because of BOG’s patented clamp that safely secures any weapon, including a crossbow, to the top of the tripod, allowing the hunter to remain hands-free to use a call or binoculars while keeping the bow in the proper position.
The most crucial feature of the BOG CAMO DEATHGRIP is the stability and durability that make up this good-looking rest. Whether a young child is hunting for the first time and is too small to hold their crossbow for an extended period or a hunter is searching for the most stable rest for increased accuracy long-range, The DEATHGRIP is the right choice. It is available in Realtree EXSCAPE or Mossy Oak Bottomland camo to keep the rest concealed anywhere
Price may vary, last seen for $145.49 at Amazon depending on color selections
Best Treestand Model – BOG TREEPOD (see price on Amazon)
BOG is known for producing well-built, sturdy shooting rest that are somewhat hunt-specific. The BOG TREEPOD is made with the same durability and steadiness, yet it is specifically designed to be used while hunting from a treestand. Whereas the CAMO DEATHGRIP is designed to be used mostly while sitting on the ground or in a chair.
The BOG TREEPOD is engineered to give deer hunters benchrest accuracy from the top of the stand. The TREEPOD features a metal base that attaches to the stand’s platform and allows a full range of motion so that the hunter can follow the game, no matter which direction they approach. This rest also helps support a steady, accurate shot.
The metal-swivel design in the BOG TREEPOD allows the hunter to safely secure their crossbow, even when twenty feet up in the air. The swivel design also allows the hunter to use their rattling antlers, deer call, or optics such as a rangefinder or binoculars while keeping the crossbow secured and ready to make a shot.
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Most Compact – SteddyEddy Crossbow Monopod System
TenPoint Crossbows has been the maker of top-notch crossbows for many years. With the ability to design some of the most innovative crossbows with unmatched technology, it is no surprise that they would develop accessories that meet the most crucial demands of hunters. TenPoint designed the SteddyEddy Crossbow Monopod System with its customers in mind. The SteddyEddy was meant for hunters to be as successful in the field as possible.
The telescoping two-section monopod ensures motion-free shooting, whether hunting in a treestand, blind or while standing. The monopod shooting stick can be used by supporting it against the hunter’s mid-section, a tree, or on the ground to give the hunter a steady shooting rest. The SteddyEddy adjusts from 25” to 36” simply by turning the extension pole to loosen or tighten in place.
The versatility of the SteddyEddy is what makes this shooting rest shine. This rest is lightweight and compact enough to carry in one hand while walking, in a backpack, or with the included clamp; it can conveniently fold under a crossbow stock when not in use. The smaller SteddyEddy attaches to the crossbow using a 360-degree rapid-pivot tube equipped with a snap-on connection.
Retails for $109.99; for more information visit www.tenpointcrossbows.com
Most Affordable – TRUGLO HIP-SHOT CROSSBOW SHOOTING REST ($32.72 at Amazon)
A trophy deer hunter will often tackle the most challenging task to ensure they can harvest a mature buck. One difficult undertaking that many hunters must make is completing a successful spot and stalk.
One of the most affordable shooting rests I have found for spotting and stalking with a crossbow is the TRUGLO HIP-SHOT Crossbow Shooting Rest. It is no easy task to gain ground on a mature buck or a strutting gobbler when making the way through the heavy timber or along the edge of a field. Add the inconvenience of having an unsupported shot with a crossbow when the animal is finally within shooting range, and the hunt can be ruined in a split second.
The HIP-SHOT shooting rest provides a stable platform that can quickly go wherever the hunt leads. By bracing against the hip or the ground, the hunter can take advantage of the stable 3-point support that works while sitting, standing, or kneeling.
The HIP-SHOT is made of lightweight aluminum and composite materials, weighing only 10 ounces. Hunters also can adjust the rest from 20”-29”, providing the ideal shooting rest for crossbow hunters to take along with them when hunting in a treestand, blind, or while etching their way into close range while on a spot and stalk pursuit of an animal.