Bowhunting and archery’s biggest event of the year has come once again, unleashing the latest and greatest in the world of bowhunting gear. The Archery Trade Association (ATA) trade show returned to Indianapolis, IN this year January 8th-10th. It’s the show where manufacturers unveil their best kept secrets to the buyers and retailers of the archery and bowhunting industry. After several days and many miles walking the showroom floor, I offer a look at a few of the stand-out items featured at this year’s show.
Truth 2 Dark Horse from Bear.
I took more time this year to “test-drive” some of the bows available to shoot on the indoor range at this year’s show. A few that I found to be among the best in shootability and hunter-friendly designs include the BowTech Admiral, Limbsaver Speedzone, Bear Truth 2, Diamond Iceman, and the PSE X-Force GX SS.
I continue to be amazed at BowTech’s ability to improve on what is one of the smoothest shooting bows ever built. The new Admiral is their sweetest shooter yet! One of the biggest improvements is their new one-piece riser design. Specs include: 31 1/16″ Axle-to-Axle, 7 ½” Brace Height, 320 IBO Speed, and 65-80% Let-off. (bowtecharchery.com)
A vibration-free shooting system is what you would expect from the folks at Limbsaver and that’s just what you get with their new Speedzone bow. Specs include: 34 ½” Axle-to-Axle, 4.1 lb. Bow Weight, 5 7/8″ Brace Height, 353 IBO Speed, and 75% Let-off. (Limbsaver.com)
As a ground blind hunter I was immediately attracted to the new Truth 2 Darkhorse from Bear Archery. The Darkhorse was designed to eliminate profiling inside a dark ground blind. The bow not only looks good, but shoots great too. Its specs include: 33″ Axle-to-Axle, 3.9 lb. Bow Weight, 7″ Brace Height, 318 IBO Speed, 80% Let-off. (beararcheryproducts.com)
The new Diamond Iceman offers many of the features of its blood-brother, the Admiral, yet at a price the budget conscious hunter can afford. The specs include: 31 ½” Axle-to-Axle, 7″ Brace Height, 318 IBO Speed, 65-80% Let-off. (diamondarchery.com)
PSE XForce GX-SS
You gotta love a short bow that not only feels good, but shoots very well too. That’s exactly what you’ll find with PSE’s X-Force GX SS. The bow features the new super-efficient Hybrid Cam System and the new Vibracheck Backstop which instantly terminates string vibration after the release. The bows specs include: Axle-to-Axle 26 ¾”, 3.6 lbs. Bow Weight, 7″ Brace Height, 336 IBO Speed, 80% Let-off. (pse-archery.com)
Octane continues to add to their line of bow accessories with their new NXS Bowsight. This new sight offers precision engineered micro adjustments in excess of anything offered in the archery industry thus far. The NXS Bowsight gives you an uncompromising means to a lethal end. This sight is loaded with precision locking micro adjustments. This sight has 2nd and 3rd axis adjustment as well as micro windage and elevation. The micro adjustable pins can be moved individually or gang adjusted. This sight’s innovation and quality takes micro adjustment to a whole new level. The newly designed pins can be adjusted to an absolute zero pin gap without the use of angular pins. The pins are designed on a two way track so that the fiber optics are perfectly centered in the housing for extreme accuracy. (fuelthehunt.com)
NX Sight from LimbSaver
The new LimbSaver PRISM-LITE Bow Sights were designed with that famous LimbSaver eye for detail, to answer the demands from today’s bowhunter. The PRISM-LITE sights are tough, rugged sights that incorporate the unique Light Housing System that collects light and then super-loads the fiber optics driving that light into the sight pins. So efficient is this system that the sight pins are highly visible even during the darker hours of early dawn and late dusk, the times when most game is moving. The PRISIM-LITE weighs in at 4 ounces and available in 3 and 5 pin models in .019 and .029 diameter pins. Each also comes with bubble level and circular Pin Guard with Peep Alignment Sight for easier sighting and faster sight picture acquisition. (limbsaver.com)
The crew at Black Gold continues to offer bowsights with the brightest pins and an unmatched combination of durability, adjustability and innovation, including the PhotoChromatic shell that automatically adjusts pin brightness. For 2009 Black Gold introduces their new FlashPoint RedZone sight. The sight features Instant Pin ID for instant pin identification on long range shots, Inch Wheel Adjustment, PhotoChromatic Shell, and FiberTrack all-metal pins. Also from Black Gold is the new Easy-Glider sight. The Easy-Glider is the first moveable bow sight from Black Gold. Its action is fluid and quiet and its design is clean and efficient. You’ll immediately notice how light this bowsight is thanks to the Exoskeleton body which eliminates unnecessary material. The Easy-Glider is designed so your quiver mounts to your sight without spacers, standoffs or other hardware. (blackgoldsights.com)
Terzo Products offers a new sight unlike any other. Their Zoptix sight allows you to see what you’ve been missing. The sight gives you unparalleled visibility and field of view. Featuring fully enclosed pins and protected fiber optics, this sight is tough. All pins are individually adjustable and each one is fed by over three feet of fiber optics. The sight is available in single, 4 and 7 pins models. One of the unique features of this sight is that you can shoot with or without a peep sight. (terzoproducts.com).
Phantom MX Broadhead.
Muzzy, the makers of “Bad to the Bone” broadheads, introduced their new Phantom MX at this year’s show. Since Muzzy introduced the Phantom to its top selling line of broaheads, thousands of bowhunters all over the world have experienced great success with Phantom broadheads and know what “Leading Blade Performance” is all about. This year Muzzy has again taken the Phantom to the leading edge of design and performance with the Phantom MX. The Phantom MX’s design allows hunter to have increase accuracy and performance, without sacrificing penetration or cutting diameter. The head is a 100-grain 4-blade broadhead that features a 1 1/8″x1″ cutting diameter and offers a compact profile for superior flight and maximum accuracy even at high speeds. (muzzy.com)
The folks at Innerloc Broadheads introduce their new Blade Alignment Technology (BAT) for better broadhead tuning. Innnerloc says that now, for the first time, you can tune broadheads to carbon arrows. No heat, no glue, no problem. BAT equipped heads feature an allen wrench adjustment in the end of a threaded ferrule “stud” that screws into the broadhead body. Simply back the stud out from the fully inserted position to change the broadhead’s fit in the the arrow. The result is variable blade alignment. The special “friction” thread on the BAT threaded stud allow the blades to be adjust to any angle quickly and precisely. Once adjusted, every broadhead will nock with blades in the exact same configuration. (innerloc.com)
The Original Razortip Broadhead from Grim Reaper is no stranger to the world of deadly broadheads, but for 2009 they offer a new concept that creates an even greater cutting diameter – 2 inches to be exact! Other features of the RazorTip include the Trocrazor tip – razors in a trocar tip – that pulverize heavy bone and slice like a scalpel. No deflection on angled shots. No rubber bands or O-rings. Blades stay closed out of the fastest speed bows and crossbows. The three blades float independently on a rugged shock absorbing spring and open without any kick on the arrow. The blades only take one pound of pressure to open. (grimreaperbroadheads.com)
Bullhead Broad for Turkey.
The BullHead turkey head from Magnus was introduced last year as one of the deadliest options for the bow-totin’ turkey hunter. The BullHead eliminates the chances of losing a wounded bird. With the BullHead, it’s either a clean miss…or a clean kill. In the past, the hardest part of hunting with such a large broadhead has been transporting it to and from your hunting location. Safely transporting a 3 ¾” diameter head in the field is no small task. The guys at Magnus have answered the cry for a better way with their new BullHead Quiver Adapters. There’s no need for custom quivers to hold the BullHead. These simple and very cost-effective adapters allow you to safely transport your BullHeads to the turkey woods in the quiver you already have. Adapters are available for both the 3 ¾” and 2 ¾” BullHeads. (magnusbroadheads.com)
GROUND BLIND GEAR:
Rhino Labs Blind
There was no shortage of new ground blinds introduced at this year’s show. The number of companies that jumped into the ground blind business this year created quite a buzz. One of the hottest new ground blinds to come on to the market this year is the Evolution XP-1 from Rhino Laboratories. The blind allows for super-fast and easy setup and features shoot-through netting, DWR and Antimicrobial Treatment to help repel water and battle the growth of mold and mildew. The blind weighs in at 20 pounds, measures 69″ at the center and has 25 square feet of floor space. Some of its slickest features include silent window technology and a unique factory treated UV Blocker fabric protection. This blind is sure to be the death of many turkey, deer, and antelope this year. (rhino-labs.com)
Rack Pack Chair.
One of my favorite new tools of the trade at this year’s show was the RackPack chair from Magnus. The RackPack’s strength lies in its versatility and can allow you to escape the crowds and comfortably haul your ground blind, decoys, gear, or whatever you need for your hunt. Once you’re there, the RackPack coverts into a convenient and comfortable chair allowing you to sit without stress or strain and to stay longer. After your hunt, the RackPack becomes a sturdy packframe, hauling your game out of the woods. The pack also works great for predator hunting, duck and goose hunting, photography, and even hauling all your ice fishing gear. The RackPack truly allows you to go farther and stay longer. (magnusbroadheads.com)
There was quite a buzz stirred at this year’s show over the new camo concept from Gore-Tex – Optifade Concealment Technology. To the hunter used to traditional camo patterns, Optifade will not look like much. Of course, that is the idea. In the Science of Nothing, Gore abandoned outdated tenets of conventional wisdom, and then, applied current understanding of such complexities as isoluminance, focal and ambient vision discriminators, and dichromacy. Gore has approached camouflage from the prey’s eye view and has achieved the Science of Nothing.
Due to the principle of isoluminance, even the highest definition mimicry patterns that look perfect at a one-meter range tend to block up into a recognizable mass of gray at standard engagement ranges. Optifade is the only concealment system to combine a symmetry disrupting macro-pattern with fractal geometry based micro-pattern designed to become nothing in the eyes of prey at engagement ranges of 20 meters and beyond. (optifade.com)
Optifade will be unleashed as an exclusive camo pattern for the Sitka Gear line of clothing. This year Sitka has added to their line of clothing designed for the hardcore hunter with the new Kelvin Insulation Series. Developed to capture maximum heat with minimum weight, Sitka’s line of insulation pieces focus on high heat-to-weight ratios. The warmest pieces are designed to layer under one of the soft or hard shell pieces. The insulation pieces utilize Primalofts’s superior synthetic loft material. The Kelvin Vest, Jacket, and Pant with Primaloft are thermally efficient, water resistant, breathable, and wind resistant. One of the most impressive new garments from Sitka would have to be their new Dutch Oven Vest. The Dutch Oven Ardica Heat & Power System allows you to turn the heat on whenever you feel like it. That’s right! With just the flip of a switch, like the light on a wall, you can turn the heat on when the weather turns cold. The Dutch Oven has been set up to run Ardica’s new personal power system, providing continuous heat for up to 8 hours without recharging. The rechargeable battery system also provides enough juice to power your GPS, cell phone, iPod, or any other electronic device that connects through USB. (sitkagear.com)
For those still in hot pursuit of wild game after the snow flies, the new Vanish-Pro Leafy 3-D Snow camo from ASAT Camouflage will be tough to beat when trying to blend in to the winter landscape. The snow suit is identical to the original Vanish-Pro Leafy 3-D Suit, but in a perfect combination of white, dark grey, and light grey. Whether you’re after predators, bucks, or late season ducks, ASAT’s snow suit will help you go undetected.
I also had the opportunity to check out some of the new merino wool garments from First Lite and ASAT. These are without a doubt some of most comfortable garments I’ve ever put on my body. First Lite’s latest moisture wicking garments include a 400-gram button-up shirt/jacket, 400-gram zip-up shirt jacket, 400-gram zip-up vest, wool pants, socks, and beanie. First Lite wool not only offers killer comfort, but also provides super-efficient moisture transport. While sweat itself has no odor, if it remains on the skin bacteria will develop and create unpleasant body odors. Merino reduces the opportunity for odors to generate because it is more efficient than other textiles at absorbing sweat and evaporating it into the air. (asatcamo.com)
Be sure to check out Part 2 of the ATA show gear review in next month’s issue. We’ll be taking a look at the latest in arrows, arrow building supplies, bowfishing gear, game calls, decoys, treestands, optics, and other must-have bowhunting gadgets.
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, and seminar speaker. Check out his website at www.BroOutdoors.com.