Swagger Stalker QD42 Field Test: A Game-Changing Crossbow Rest for Treestand Use

After years of searching for an effective crossbow rest to use in a treestand, the author finally finds one in the Swagger Stalker QD42.

Swagger Stalker QD42 Field Test: A Game-Changing Crossbow Rest for Treestand Use

From a ladder stand with a tiny platform, the author used a Swagger Stalker QD42 rest to support his crossbow and make an accurate shot on this 2021 Wisconsin whitetail.

I bowhunt with a crossbow in Wisconsin and a compound in Minnesota and South Dakota, At times I’ll choose my recurve, too. I enjoy the variety of using all three bow designs.

When hunting with a crossbow, I’ll shoot only with the aid of a solid rest. As a rule, crossbows don’t have crisp, clean triggers like those found on top-notch centerfire rifles, and as a result it’s difficult to accurately shoot a crossbow freehand. Sure, I can put an arrow into the lungs of a big whitetail from very close range without the aid of a rest, but at distances of 15 to 30 yards (30 is my self-imposed maximum range) I always use a rest.

Because of the rest requirement, I hunt from the ground with a crossbow 90 percent of the time. I have a couple comfortable ladder stands featuring shooting rails, and these work well for supporting my crossbow. However, I have a few hang-on portables and ladders with tiny platforms and no shooting rails in areas I love to bowhunt, but I’ve never been able to figure out an effective crossbow rest that works well from these compact stands. At times I’ve used a monopod with a large base that won’t slip through a stand's platform, and that works okay, but I’m limited to shooting in only one direction.

For example, as a right-handed shooter in the sitting position, if I set up a monopod between my feet for shooting straight ahead (12 o’clock), there’s no way I can adjust it for shooting to my left (9 o’clock). The hang-on platform isn’t wide enough to move the monopod for the 9 o’clock shot. And if I swing my crossbow to 9 o’clock to shoot a close-range whitetail freehand, then what do I do with the monopod currently set up for a 12 o’clock shot? With two hands on my crossbow, the chance of the monopod falling to the ground is high. Don’t ask me how I know this: A 3-foot-long monopod falling to the forest floor from 17 feet has a way of spooking a nearby deer. (The monopod isn’t attached to my crossbow.)

As I teased in this article’s subtitle, I’ve been searching for a solution to this problem for years. The one system that caught my eye a couple years ago is the TenPoint SteadyEddy. The key to the SteadyEddy monopod is you can place the base of it near your waist; it doesn’t touch a treestand’s platform. Because the SteadyEddy mounts to the crossbow’s forearm, there are no parts to fall from a treestand. While sitting, you can shoot straight ahead or to the side simply by adjusting the SteadyEddy base slightly on your waistline or high on your thigh. The only problem with the SteadyEddy is it’s designed exclusively for TenPoint crossbows. There’s probably a crossbow hack on YouTube for mounting a SteadyEddy to other crossbow brands, but I was hoping to find something simpler.

The Swagger Stalker QD42 works equally well on firearms or crossbows. You push the button to slide the rest on and off a Picatinny rail or the included adapter, which attaches to a sling swivel.
The Swagger Stalker QD42 works equally well on firearms or crossbows. You push the button to slide the rest on and off a Picatinny rail or the included adapter, which attaches to a sling swivel.

A Solution From Swagger

I’ve been aware of Swagger shooting rests for several years, but only recently while pondering my crossbow/treestand problem did I consider the company’s Stalker QD42. I couldn’t find anyone online talking about using it with a crossbow in a manner like a SteadyEddy (meaning resting it on your waist or thigh), so I decided the only way to know for sure was to try one myself.

My crossbow has a Picatinny rail on the bottom of the stock, so I knew the QD42 would easily mount to it. The Stalker QD42 features what the company calls Flex Ready Technology, but would it flex/bend enough for me to shoot my crossbow comfortably from a treestand with the base of the rest on my waistline or thigh?

Here’s what I discovered — and it’s all good!

  • The Stalker QD42 (Quick Detach) slid easily onto my crossbow’s Pictanny rail. Note: I waited until I was in my treestand to attach the rest. I carried it in a small daypack with other gear from my truck to the treestand.
  • After it was attached to the bottom of my crossbow’s stock, the QD42 flexed easily and allowed me to place its base on my waistline or thigh while sitting.
  • The clip that is fixed to one leg of the QD42 snaps around the second leg, meaning you can use the rest as a monopod or bipod. In a treestand, I use it as a monopod.
  • The rubber feet at the leg bases are comfortable when resting on your body, and they don’t slide around as you adjust your aiming point.
  • The leg length adjustments were silent, simple and quick. From a treestand height of 15 feet, and planning for shots of 10 to 30 yards, I had the Swagger’s legs adjusted to 20 inches, and I could easily aim over that entire range by slightly leaning forward or backward.
  • Finally, while sitting I could shoot from 8 o’clock to 1 o’clock. In order to swing my bow throughout this window, I simply repositioned the latched legs a few inches from my left thigh to my right thigh. Doing this with whitetails at close range was 100 percent silent and effective.
Crossbow shooters in treestands move the base of the QD42 from thigh to thigh in order to aim and shoot effectively throughout a wide range.
Crossbow shooters in treestands move the base of the QD42 from thigh to thigh in order to aim and shoot effectively throughout a wide range.

Important note: The QD42 comes with a sling swivel adapter, so if your crossbow doesn’t have a Pictanny rail under its stock but has a sling swivel, then this rest will work for you, too.

As you can see from the top photo, I scored recently on a Wisconsin bow buck and the QD42 allowed me to quickly get on target. Winds were howling and I didn’t spot the fast-walking rutting buck until he was already within 25 yards. (I had my head turned the wrong direction as he approached.) My crossbow was resting on my lap, with the QD42 hanging vertically from the foregrip. I quickly raised my bow and placed the rest’s legs on my left thigh, flipped off the safety, bleated to stop the buck in my only shooting lane (9 o’clock), aimed and fired. No more than 7 seconds passed from the time I spotted the buck until my broadhead penetrated his lungs at 15 yards.

Note: For all the reasons I’ve outlined here for crossbow use, the Stalker QD42 would work just as well for use on a rifle or slug gun for deer hunters in treestands. And of course, if you decide to leave a treestand and hunt from ground, the rest works just as well. It’s a smart system, and I’m glad to have finally found it.

Having an effective crossbow rest for use in treestands allows me bowhunt those areas that give me the best chance of success on any given day. In other words, I don’t have to limit my choices to ground ambushes only.

MSRP for the Swagger Stalker QD42 is $129.99, so it’s not inexpensive. That said, the rest appears well made, and the ability to use it on multiple hunting tools (crossbows and firearms) makes it a good value in my opinion.

The Swagger Stalker QD42 comes with an adapter so it can be mounted on a crossbow or firearm’s sling swivel. The author didn’t use the adapter because his crossbow has a Picatinny rail mounted below the foregrip.
The Swagger Stalker QD42 comes with an adapter so it can be mounted on a crossbow or firearm’s sling swivel. The author didn’t use the adapter because his crossbow has a Picatinny rail mounted below the foregrip.
The QD42 works well from the ground, too. It adjusts from 14 to 42 inches and can be used as a monopod or bipod. It weighs only 15 ounces so it’s significantly lighter than many bipods and tripods.
The QD42 works well from the ground, too. It adjusts from 14 to 42 inches and can be used as a monopod or bipod. It weighs only 15 ounces so it’s significantly lighter than many bipods and tripods.
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


Discussion

Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.