By Ashlee Lundvall ~
My husband, Russ, and I moved to his hometown of Cody, Wyoming, in 2007. Two years later, I was asked to participate in my first hunt using a borrowed crossbow. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, I didn’t like that Russ had to cock the bow for me in order to harvest my mule deer. I longed for an independent adventure, despite my poor balance as a result of my paralysis.
I took a few years off to start our family, and when I returned to hunting in 2012, Russ surprised me with an early birthday present…the Parker Concorde Crossbow. I immediately familiarized myself with the bow by watching the training DVD. It wasn’t long before I was outside shooting at my block target with encouraging results. I harvested another mule buck that fall, and although Russ went as my companion hunter, I was able to cock, load, and fire the crossbow in complete independence.
The beauty of this crossbow is in its patented Quick Draw System, which allows the shooter to cock the bow with the push of a button on the butt of the stock. To fire the Concord, you push the carrier handle forward until it clicks. Once the string is engaged, you place the Concorde nose down on a flat surface in a vertical position and press and hold the cocking button. The included CO2 canister draws back the string in one quick, smooth motion (takes about two seconds), engaging the safety. As you release the button, the canister makes a quiet hiss and the bow is ready to be loaded. I was concerned at first about the noise of the canister, but in my experience hunting these last two years, my prey have not so much as flinched as I prepared to take my shot.
This crossbow is easy to sight in and has proven to be very accurate. The scope is equipped with illumination and is efficient. The CO2 canister is a standard nine-ounce bottle, and it can be swapped out with similar canisters. It is also refillable. I take my canisters to my local welding business, where they are refilled at a minimal cost. Parker states that a full canister can cock the crossbow approximately fifty times, but I have noticed that this number is definitely affected by cold weather.
If the CO2 canister were to ever malfunction in the field, the bow can also be cocked manually, just like any other crossbow. A roller rope cocker is available as an additional accessory, if desired. To avoid a dry fire, the Concorde can be un-cocked as well by using the same Quick Draw System button. The set-up seems complicated at first, but the training DVDs that come with the crossbow are informative and make operating the bow very easy.
In my opinion, this crossbow has two negative issues to consider. First, with a full CO2 canister, the bow is quite heavy. Depending on the abilities of the user, shooting sticks are most likely needed, which is what I use. The bow does rest easily on a tripod or wheelchair mounted shooting rest, but the weight of the crossbow should be acclimated to before going out into the field, as it also affects the ease in which it is maneuvered.
Second, the Parker Concorde is more expensive than the average crossbow. Depending on the package that is purchased, the cost can range from $999.95 to $1099.95. You can definitely find less expensive crossbow options, but none that include the automatic cocking feature. For me, an independent bow hunt was worth every penny!
For more information on the Parker Concorde Crossbow, visit http://www.parkerbows.com/crossbows.html?action=detail&detailsku=1109.
For funding options for this bow or other adaptive hunting equipment, visit http://www.challengedathletes.org/site/c.4nJHJQPqEiKUE/b.8325463/k.AF50/Grant_Application.htm. The grant application opens September 1st, 2015 for qualifying athletes.