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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I use and write about Cartridge Guns, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows fairly extensively. In a survival situation, depending on particular conditions, I can see a place for each. Clearly, if people are what you are worried about, Cartridge guns - semiautos in particular, have the edge. However, if you are out of cartridges, you have a rather worthless hunk of metal.

For those who are more concerned about killing something for food as inexpensively as possible using simple components, Muzzleloaders are favored here. All you need is powder, lead, patch material and a sharp rock - if your gun is a flintlock. If you modernized just a bit, you would also have to have percussion caps and 209 primers. I can, have and do, feed myself mostly with muzzleloading guns.

Crossbows are silent, very effective at close range and have taken all of the world's big game animals including elephants. The shafts and points are rather specialized. I have a replica 15th Century crossbow that uses wooden shafts, but to make up a matched set that would fly with any degree of accuracy would be beyond my personal skills.

I use my bows every year too - for bowfishing. They are much less cumbersome than crossbows to use for fish, although I do use the more powerful crossbow on big gators.

It appears to me that there is a place for all of these tools. They are certainly fun to play with and learn how to use and effectively hunt with them. I advocate getting and using different tools to enable a person to take advantage of hunting multiple seasons. I personally find it easier to see, and kill, deer during the earlier archery and muzzleloading seasons than later in the year. We have ample deer in GA, but they wise up in a hurry.
 

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Harley Dude
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14,651 Posts
I have never shot a crossbow, they sure look lethal, but "Gators", I don't think so. I would be using my 450 Marlin if the boat was big enough to take the recoil.
 
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
You have got to be "close and personal with gators." In all of the states where alligator hunting is allowed (from South Carolina to Texas and even including Arkansas) a line must be attached to the gator in order to secure it before it is killed. Gun-shot gators will sink, and to keep from loosing most of the animals, a line must be attached before any gun shooting takes place. The crossbow or bow is not, by itself, used to kill the gator - only to fix a line and float to it. Nor does the pistol or bang stick do the job either. The killing is done when the gator is "stunned" with a projectile in the brain, has its mouth wrapped with electrical tape and drug somewhere and its spine cut with a stout knife. It is the knife that does the killing. Even so, the alligator may still thrash for 15 minutes before the three-man gator-hunting team (for trophy-sized gators) can load it into the boat. If the spine is not cut gators have a nasty ability to "come back to life" in the boat. Ask Jim Zumbro about his experience in Africa with a Crock that was damn near as big as the boat. This was after the thing's brain had been mushed with a .375 H&H. Others closer to home, such as a Georgia Outdoor News group, had the same experience. When they returned to the landing and got out of their boat, the alligator did too.

I have a video on my blog if you want to see it. I am the guy with the knife and that is Muzzy's Mark Land with his huge GA gator from last year's season. The other photo shows a second arrow put into the gator by the crossbow when the gator was pulled beside the boat after the first shot. You can see the knock of the bowfishing arrow and the 600 pound test FastFlight line that is often used for gators.

E-mail Killing by cutting the spinal cord.JPG E-mail Mark Land of Muzzy with his 2009 gator.jpg E-mail crossbow arrow in alligator.JPG
 
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