As the smokin’ hot days of summer transition to fall, bowhunters everywhere anxiously await the arrival of another exciting season of bowhunting adventure. Nothing seems to help pass the time of waiting for the opener like playing with the abundance of new gear and gadgets available to bowhunters. This annual product review highlights some of the top picks for bowhunting gear. As always, you’ll find no gimmicks here, but only the best of gear for the hardcore bowhunter. Just remember, purchasing all the items listed in this review could be hazardous to your marriage!
My search for the ultimate hunting pack led me to a company by the name of Blacks Creek Guide Gear (www.blacks-creek.com). I knew very quickly these guys had put an unbelievable amount of research and testing into their line of packs. Their craftsmanship is second to none and unlike many other hunting packs, Blacks Creek packs are designed for the serious hunter. One of their hottest packs is the Canadian pack featured in their Jim Horn Signature Series. The Canadian pack is one of those do-it-all style packs that can be used as either a day-pack, or a stay-pack. It has pockets galore with enough room to pack all the gear you’ll need for a day in the mountains – and then some. Or, you can stuff a sleeping bag in it, along with other gear to spend a night or two in the backcountry. Some of its features include: a bow carrier, rifle carrier, spotting scope pocket, dry-stow pockets for radios, cell phone, or GPS, 13 part organizer section, new high-tech H-Frame, and is H2O compatible. My favorite feature of this pack is that it is has a built-in expandable quarter pocket for hauling out meat. That’s right. With just a quick zip, this pack expands from 2200 cubic inches to 3850 cubic inches with a specially designed pocket for loading and hauling big game meat quarters out of the woods. I’m telling you?this pack has it all!
No archery gear review would be complete without a featured bow. My bow of choice for 2007 is the new Bob Lee Dark Archer Recurve (bobleearchery.com). This compact 54″ recurve is one of the smoothest and stealthiest bows you’ll ever shoot. As I’ve plunged deeper into the traditional archery addiction, I’ve found this bow to perfectly meet my needs as an avid bowhunter – particularly a ground blind hunter.
In fact, the bow was designed specifically for ground poundin’ bowhunters everywhere. The Dark Archer recurve is somewhat of signature series bow for the boys at Double Bull Archery, particularly, Brooks Johnson (A.K.A. The Dark Archer) (doublebullarchery.com). Despite its short stature, this black beauty pairs sleek design with powerful performance, sensational speed, and awe-inspiring accuracy. The bow is finished in black to blend in to the black interiors of most ground blinds on the market. Its short design allows you to shoot from virtually every position imaginable.
MOTHWING Camo (mothwingcamo.com) continues to come on strong with some amazing patterns for concealment, no matter where you go. MOTHWING Camo patterns are the original TREE-D camouflage patterns designed by God, concealed by nature. The concept is based on cryptic coloration and mimicry associated with the beautiful colors and camo patterns found on Moths’ wings. When it comes to serious camo patterns, their lives depend on it. MOTHWING camo utilizes the latest in computer software combine with high resolution images from an infinite number of moth species to create an endless number of camo patterns. These camo patterns provide some of the most realistic blending abilities available today. Be sure to check out MOTHWING’S new Mountain Mimicry. It offers great concealment for your fall hunts, whether in the east, or out west.
Another deadly camo pattern that has been around for years, unveils a new offering that will take their camo to the next level. ASAT Camouflage (All Season – All Terrain Camo) (asatcamo.com) are the makers of the Vanish Pro 3-D Leafy System, a camo system that will absolutely make you disappear into the landscape. The company now has their pattern available in the new high-tech clothing line from Sitka Gear (sitkagear.com).
If you’re not aware of Sitka Gear, you better check it out! Let’s face it, the hunting clothes industry has done a poor job of making clothes that fit – and fit properly. Sitka is truly turning clothing in to gear. The quality and craftsmanship in their product line is second to none. The Sitka system is based on layers, offering the you the ultimate in apparel no matter what the weather conditions, or terrain throw at you on your next hunt. Sitka Gear is available in both Mothwing and ASAT camo, as well as solid colors for your non-hunting adventures.
The new Trophy Taker X-Treme FC arrow rest perfectly blends total containment and fall-away performance. Quickly load an arrow in the angled slot of the X-treme FC. Once it is nocked, the arrow cannot come back out of the capture ring. Then, draw your bow from any angle or any position with 100% certainty that the arrow will be ready for the shot. Extra features include: completely silenced loading slot and containment ring, silenced launch pad for quiet launcher operation, attachment cord guide to prevent cord contact with fletchings and much more. All metal construction and a lifetime warranty make this the perfect fall-away for all X-treme hunters. (trophytaker.com)
If it’s the latest in technology you’re after, you got to check out the new Elite Prism Sight from Sims Vibration Laboratories (SVL) (simsvibrationlab.com). SVL engineers have developed a light collection lens system that loads ambient light directly into the end of the fiber optic material. End-loading fiber is by far the most efficient way to transfer the light source to the end of a fiber-optic pin.
In addition to this, the collection lens system is the only technology available that will take natural ambient light from anywhere above the horizon, not only directing it to the fiber end, but intensifying the natural light in the process.
SVL has also incorporated their NAVCOM? material at specific nodal points in the sight in order to eliminate vibration and noise. Incorporating the NAVCOM? components at just the right locations will ensure your hunting sight will be free of noise and vibration.
Also, most adjustable hunting sights pivot the housing to achieve longer-range pin position. The problem is that it also changes the sight picture and potentially affects the archer’s anchor point. SVL’s new adjustable pin moves within the mixed sight housing and can be used in conjunction with the five fixed pins that come with the sight. This is a great feature for longer-range hunters or for anyone who wants to test their target skills past 60 yards.
NAP MAGNETIC NOCK:
An easier way to nock arrows is just one of the added benefits of the NAP’s (newarchery.com) new ThunderBall Magnetic Nock System. The Thunderball installs in minutes and eliminates accuracy-robbing string torque, so you can shoot consistently tighter groups. ThunderBall allows for infinite vane indexing by simply rotating the arrow while it’s nocked. The system also improves tuning on bows with nock travel. The ThunderBall fits Easton Super-UNI and most other popular carbon sizes.
PORTABLE BOW PRESS:
The folks at Ram Products offer the Ram Ratchet-Loc Bow Press (ram-products.com). This fast, easy-to-use, light-weight, portable bow press allows you to work on your bow at home, on the range, or in the woods. Simply slide the press over the limbs and ratchet the nylon strap tight. The press will fit on any bow and easily fits into a pack. This is an item that any serious bowhunter should not be without. Got a big hunting trip planned, far from your local archery shop? Don’t neglect to pack this press along with the other vital gear you take on that next journey.
ARIZONA E-Z FLETCH:
Here’s a must-have tool that you don’t want to go on any hunting trip without. It’s the E-Z Fletch from Arizona Rim Country (ezfletch.com). The E-Z Fletch allows you to fletch a dozen arrows in less than thirty minutes! Best yet, it is small, allowing you to easily stow it in your bow case, or even the smallest of archery bags. Whether it’s just a quick fix, or preparing a dozen arrows for the upcoming season, the E-Z Fletch allows you to get the job done. The E-Z Fletch is known in archery circles as the fastest and most accurate fletching tool on the market today.
One new decoy product that I came across at the NWTF show this year was BuckWing’s Bobb’n Head Deer Decoy (buckwing.com). Deer are naturally curious about other deer in their territory. When you use the Bobb’n Head Deer Decoy, buck and doe will come to check it out because of the realistic body size and color. Plus, the head, neck and tail move with the slightest breeze, making the decoy come ALIVE! Great for both archery and gun hunters, it’s especially effective for drawing deer into bow range. How many times have you tried everything to get that cautious deer in close, but never got the shot? By positioning a Bobb’n Head Deer Decoy 15 to 20 yards from your tree stand, then grunting at a buck, he’ll not only hear the grunt, he’ll see the deer (decoy) that made it. The added lure of the decoy will give you the edge by bringing your prey in close and at the same time, distracting the deer from you as you move to reposition or draw your bow. Moveable body parts allow ears to be positioned high or low and head raised or lowered. Only 11 lbs., this decoy assembles quickly and breaks down to convenient parts easily carried in the provided mesh backpack.
The Double Bull Matrix (doublebullarchery.com) is a carry-over from last year, but the newness has yet to wear off with this unbelievable pop-up style ground blind from Double Bull Archery. For the ground pounder that likes to shoot his game at eye-level, the 360 degree visibility and shooting opportunities from the Matrix just can’t be beat. The blind features a Silent Slide window adjustment system, shoot through netting, adjustable fiberglass framework, a generous 6-foot-plus shooting diameter, 67-inch center height, and a black backed interior. Best yet, the blind sets up in just 7 seconds!
One totally different offering on the broadhead market is the new Piston Point Broadhead (pistonpoint.com). Piston Point is the first and only broadhead with piston cylinders that utilize the shaft’s extreme inertia to “hammer the broadhead” into the target for ultimate penetration. Hammer-Impact technology results in much larger entry holes which equal higher game recovery. Features include: .55″ in-flight diameter, 1.5″ cutting diameter when blades are open, razor sharp, stainless steel cut on contact tip, rear blade expansion, piston thrusts forward to open blades and lock them, and blades fully open before entering the skin, meaning larger entry holes and better blood trails.
Another product that I was introduced to at this year’s Archery Trade show was Bow Loco Archery’s Windage wind monitor (bowloco.com). Sure, wind checkers are nothing new, but if you’ve noticed, most of them are a little bottle you stick down in your pocket or pack. Fact is, the times when you need to check the wind the most are often times when digging through your pocket or pack is not an option. Its go time and you need something quick and accessible. The Windage wind monitor is easy to use, comes in a small rubberized plastic container, and easily attaches to your belt, waistband, or backpack with its mini-clip attachment.
I never cease to be amazed at the improvements and performance that Nikon (nikonsportoptics.com) continues to offer bowhunters. They just keep out-doing themselves year after year. This year was no different as they unleashed the Monarch Gold Laser 1200 7X25 rangefinder. Whether in bowhunting or competition, Nikon’s compact Laser rangefinders with Tru-Target technology rule in speed, precision and ergonomic functionality. The First-Target Priority mode gives an instant reading of a lone object in clear view. The Distant-Target Priority mode ranges the farthest target the laser reaches. It features a backlit LCD, 7X multi-coated optics and is waterproof and fogproof.
Like I said, the previously mentioned items are tools that work. They can and will make your time in the woods more enjoyable and will better prepare you for the moment of truth – the shot however, is still up to you. Check these guys out via their website for some of the best gear of the year. Good luck and God bless you and your bowhunting adventures this season.
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller and outdoor writer/videographer. Check out his website at www.brooutdoors.com .