Parker Bushwacker Review: Best Crossbow For Beginners

Parker recently upgraded the Bushwacker Crossbow by decreasing its weight to a mere 7 pounds compared to the 11 pound older version. This may not seem like much weight but, when you are out in the field for more than an hour, you will surely notice a massive difference. If you are looking for the best crossbow for beginners, the Parker Bushwacker is for you (see it on Amazon). Parker is a company that provides helpful how-to videos and good customer service so you don't feel overwhelmed with your purchase. In this Parker Bushwacker review I'll cover the specs, features, and reasons why this is a good crossbow for beginners.



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Parker Bushwacker Review

Images courtesy of ParkerBows.com

In a nutshell, this light crossbow is optimally balanced making it very easy to aim and shoot and also maneuver in and out of a tree stand. Parker recently upgraded the front end featuring their Advanced Solid Limb Technology with an integrated Micro-Lite Limb Pocket System.

The Bushwacker is an introductory crossbow that's great for target practice and hunting.You will be able to hurl a bolt downrange at over 300 feet per second for a clean and humane kill.



Use the Table of Contents below to skip to your most pressing questions.



Bushwacker Specifications


  • Draw Weight = 160 lbs (without a rope cocker's aid)
  • Mass Weight = 7 lbs
  • Length = 37"
  • Stroke = 11”
  • Axle to Axle Width = 23.25"
  • Barrel = Ballistic Polymer
  • G2 Trigger = auto engage, ambidextrous safety, anti dry-fire device
  • Forearm = Vented
  • Speed = 300 FPS (Feet Per Second)
  • Riser = Machine Aluminum
  • String = RED HOT Synthetic
  • Scope = 4x or 3x MR Illuminated
  • Finish = SpiderWeb Finish
  • Stock = Ballistic Polymer Black

What Features Come With The All NEW Parker Bushwacker Crossbow?


The Bushwacker Crossbow includes an ergonomically designed pistol grip and forearm that makes it comfortable to hold and easy to aim. It is designed to keep your finger out of the flight rail. This is really important to prevent slicing off your fingers with your field tips.


Its included Exclusive Synergy Cam can also reduce the cocking effort by over 50% when it is used with the RED HOT EZ Roller Rope Cocker. The EZ Roller Rope Cocker is not included in the package and must be purchased separately.


It comes with Anti-Dry Fire (ADF) protection which is really important because it will prevent the bow from getting damaged. Because of this, you also don't have to worry about making unnecessary noises that will scare game away.


This crossbow also comes with either a 4X MR Scope or a 3X Illum MR Scope to help you see your game clearly in all lighting conditions. To know what exactly these two scopes bring to the table, you can look further down on this review. 




Is The Bushwacker Good For Beginners?

This is a great crossbow for beginners. In fact it would be my first recommendation for beginners. Here are the main reasons: 

  • It is an economical price for you to get started and not over spend and still get a high-quality bow backed by a great company.
  • The trigger is very responsive and easy to use.
  • It has dry fire protection. This is very important, particularly as you are learning, so you don’t inadvertently damage your bow. (Dry fire damage is not covered by Parker's warranty.)
  • Coupled with the additional purchase of the EZ Roller Rope Cocker you can reduce cocking effort by 50%
  • It is very lightweight and easy to carry with you.

What Optics Does It Include?


Both of the scopes available for the Bushwacker crossbow are specifically designed for crossbows shooting 300 feet per second and faster. They are factory installed and laser bore sighted.

You can choose from one of two package options: the package with the 4X Multi-Reticle Scope or the package with the 3x32 Illuminated Multi-Reticle Scope. Here is what you need to know about these scopes:

  • Both scopes are constructed with a one-inch aluminum mono tube with a field of view of 50.2 feet at 100 yards. The MOA adjustments are in .5” increments to account for windage and elevation.
  • The ocular lens focuses easily so you will not miss out on any important shots. The lens is fully multi-coated to reduce glare from sunlight or snow.
  • As weather conditions can vary so greatly during hunting season from rain to fog to snow it is also good to know that both of these scopes are waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof.
  • They both take a common CR2032 battery that is easy to find at stores like Walmart, Target, and CVS.
  • Both of them are made in the USA from quality materials and have great reviews.

Here are the differences between the two scopes:

4X Multi-Reticle Scope Scope

  • Its magnification is 4X for a longer zoom.
  • It is a standard scope. It is NOT illuminated.
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3X Illuminated Multi-Reticle Scope

  • Its magnification is 3X for closer range shooting.
  • It is illuminated with red or green and comes in 5 brightness levels to accommodate varied lighting conditions and eyesight. This can make a difference hunting at dawn or dusk when lots of deer feel safe coming out.
  • It is made with a glass etched ballistic reticle to reduce glare.
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You will need to decide how important it is for you to have a scope that is illuminated or not. If you are planning to hunt in low light or foggy conditions it is better to purchase the Bushwacker with the 3X illuminated multi-reticle scope. If you simply want to be more accurate at greater distances then the 4X scope is better for you. It is also important to note that the 3X Illuminated Multi-Reticle Scope is more expensive.

Video comparison explaining the differences between the Parker Bushwacker scopes:

What Else Does The Bushwacker Come With?

As mentioned previously, the bow comes with a Premium RED HOT Optic Scope in either 4x or 3x MR Illuminated magnification. It also comes with four standard Parker Hunter Arrows with field points and a quick detach quiver for precisely four arrows.

Is The Bushwacker A Good Crossbow For Hunting?

This crossbow works well for hunting small and medium sized game like turkey, boar, and deer. If you want to hunt larger animals like elk, moose or bear we recommend a more powerful crossbow.

Does This Crossbow Work For A Lefty?

The G2 trigger is ambidextrous and is specifically designed to give steady aim to both left and right handed archers. Also, the quiver can be mounted for left hand or right handed archers.

What Is The RED HOT EZ Roller Rope Cocker And How Does It Help Me?

This is a patented device designed by Parker to reduce cocking effort by over 50%. This makes the Bushwacker crossbow easy for anyone to use. It also reduces bad shots by ensuring proper string alignment and an even limb load.

The combination of this device and the lightweight and compact feel of the Bushwacker are a great combination for kids and women who might have a tougher time pulling back a crossbow with 160 lbs draw weight.

  • The RED HOT EZ Roller Rope Cocker does not come with the crossbow. It is an additional purchase. Check it out on Amazon.

Here is a video provided by Parker for you to see how the EZ Roller Rope Cocker works.

Is It Made In The United States?

You can feel good knowing that you have bought 100% American made carbon and components. Specifically, this company has started out and made it's mark in the great state of Virginia. 

What Kind of Bolts Does This Bow Require?

Parker Bows recommends that you should only use their RED HOT High Velocity Carbon Arrows or the four Parker Hunter Arrows that come with the Bushwacker Package.

This is very important as their arrows are specifically made to work with crossbows. The company has put significant research into making sure that their arrows are the best to minimize the chances of a dry fire; without proper alignment of the bolt and nock, a dry-fire could occur and this is definitely something that you do not want. Dry-fires can damage your crossbow and it would also be a tragedy to have this happen when the biggest buck of your life is standing right in front of you.

What exactly did they do technologically to try to prevent these problems? They came up with a unique patented capture nock design that gives you increased long range accuracy that also helps prevent dry fires. This gives you an advantage because they are specifically designed to ensure a string-to-nock connection with consistency every time.

All other crossbows use moon or flat shaped nocks. With those, the chance of dry-fire is increased which can easily damage your crossbow.

As an added bonus if you have another brand crossbow both of these arrows fit the following brands that require 20-inch arrows: Wicked Ridge, Excalibur, Ten Point, Barnett, Darton, and Carbon Express.

Here are more specific details of the two kinds of arrows that Parker offers.

Parker Hunter Arrows

  • They have a 3” vane.

  • Their mass weight is 300 grains without the point.

  • They have a heavy duty brass insert added to help balance the arrow.

  • They have a tolerance of +/- .004 inches.

  • Their inside diameter is .300”

  • Their overall length is 20.75” with nock and insert.

  • The shaft is 7.4 grains per inch.

  • Most importantly they have Parker’s patented RED HOT capture nocks.

RED HOT Arrows

  • 2.1” fusion vanes

  • An inside diameter of .300”

  • A tolerance of +/- .003”

  • A heavy duty brass insert to help balance the arrow for greater accuracy

  • A mass weight of 300 grains without point

  • 9.6 grains per inch on the shaft

  • An overall length of 20” with nock and insert

  • Comes with the patented RED HOT Capture Nocks

Parker Hunter Arrows are made in America from a top quality carbon that can stand up to the speed and power of your bow. These arrows are specifically designed for modern crossbows.

Here is a short video outlining the features of their Parker Hunter Arrows.

If you want to upgrade your arrows then check out their Red Hot High Velocity Crossbow Arrows. They have the added feature of a heavy duty weight forward brass insert that helps maintain the balance of the arrow to increase the accuracy with a broadhead.

They are manufactured with 100% wrapped American carbon which provides added strength and durability to stand up to the extreme conditions of hunting.

Here is a short video that better show you how great the Red Hot arrows they are:

What Is The Warranty?

The Parker Warranty covers manufacturer defects in materials and workmanship for your lifetime. It applies to the original owner who purchased their product and registered it within 15 days of that purchase.

This sounds great a first glance but it also means that you should take really good care of your equipment as normal wear, mishandling, neglect, abuse, rust, strings, dry-firing, accessories or cables are not covered by it. 

Click here to see their warranty details, which will also be in the package that you would receive if you buy the bow.

How Easy Is It To Assemble?

Parker is dedicated to making sure that you understand your bow and know how to assemble it. So most of the components are already pre-assembled.

You are really only putting sections of the product together: the front end assembly, the stock assembly, which includes the scope which is mounted and laser bore sighted, and the quiver assembly. The quiver can be mounted for a left hand or right handed shooter.

You will need standard sized allen wrenches, not metric.

Here is a well-explained video on how to assemble all Parker Crossbows:

Why Choose The Parker Bushwacker?

The Parker Bushwacker Crossbow is a great introductory, lightweight, and high-quality crossbow that will give you everything you need to hunt small game and deer and not break your budget.

When you buy a Parker Crossbow you are getting more than a product. If you visit Parker’s website you will see that they are dedicated to you understanding your bow and how to take care of it by providing dozens of videos that are short and easy to follow. You will not be left alone trying to figure it out for yourself.

It is clear that they not only want to sell their products, but they also want to provide a great customer experience as well.

All told, Parker is a trusted name in the industry and have been in continuous business since 1985. Their products are also made here in the United States so you can feel good about buying a great product with the “Made in America” label with a great warranty.

What do you think of the Bushwacker? Share your thoughts and comments below!

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