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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: PA Dutch Country
In general I cock the bow at the truck before I walk in. Mine is a reverse draw with a sled. No ADF. For a ladder stand I will pull it up with rope. The ladder stands are permanent so the ground is cleared of brush. With a climber I put it in the third hand bow holder and take it with me. A little weight on the top section of the climber doesn't hurt. What I don't like is putting the cocked crossbow on the ground and hoisting it up swinging through branches/vines/tangles in the dark, especially as I often wind around a tree. The pack gets pulled up a rope, but not the crossbow if I can help it. Getting down, sometimes I will drop it down with the rope if I'm sure it's clear. I did that tonight, and it was an absolute mess. In the dark, the middle of the rope got tangled somehow between the crossbow and the bag. It went down about 10 feet and then wouldn't drop anymore. Had to pull it up and down twice before I got cleared, more than a couple minutes. A mess like that is exactly why I don't like using a rope for a cocked crossbow. I was only 20 ft up on a very nice tree and I was kicking myself for not just dropping the bag alone with the rope and climbing down with crossbow in the holder.
I can cock mine on stand, either ladder or climber. It is tight but can be done. The problem is possibly dropping the sled, making sure everything is routed right in the dim light, and if it is light enough, I may well see a deer on the way up in a climber. I shot one while climbing last year. I'll climb slow and look around, if I see one, pull the stabilizer straps tight, get a bolt out, and get ready.
Saturday morning I shot a fawn from a ladder and watched it crash after 40-50 yards (12 yard heart shot). I figured I may as well try for another, carefully cocked it without hardly moving, looked right, and saw one coming back to see what spooked them. Got the arrow out, and when it passed behind a tree I was able to load it. Shot that one through the heart at 9yds, same 50 yards in another direction. That was enough for me since it so warm yet, and I pulled up the rope to drop the bow down. One thing I will not do, and I know people that do, is climb a ladder with one hand holding the bow or rifle. Even just a two section like that one.
I couple years back in January I had a shot deflected by brush as it was getting dark. I was about 30 feet up and the deer scattered but didn't go far, so I went to recock...I had a couple deer watching me from about 40-60 yards, and I couldn't figure what was wrong with the thing. It seemed really hard to cock! I had to let it down once and get little more stretched out. I got it done and killed one a couple minutes later that was milling about at 30 yards. The next time I shot the crossbow I realized I hadn't doubled the rope over the back. It was a hard pull because it was 175lbs, 30 ft, with 6 sets of eyes on me! So that's another issue with recocking in a stand - it doesn't feel the same as on the ground, not the same muscle memory, and weird stuff can happen.
What I really wish about my crossbow is that I could decock it, instead of having to shoot it off. I don't see how it could possibly be done, but if I could I would decock in the stand before getting down after dark, every time.