In this article, I wanted to write about a lot of different topics regarding archery. One item dear to my heart has been to have a competency test for persons who want to hunt with archery equipment. I submitted this proposal to the BCWF and even offered to co-ordinate it with all the BCWF member clubs. It was submitted, but it hasn’t garnered much support – so much for that, for now.
Regarding equipment, bows, and particularly crossbows, are getting faster and faster. Now some crossbows are shooting at 500 feet per second or more. My thoughts are that crossbow manufacturers are on a slippery slope with those speeds because it is making them too fast and above the level of being primitive and why we have a bow season. If they keep getting faster, not only will they require a firearms permit to purchase, but it may even make them illegal one day during bow seasons. In Alberta, they are already not allowed in the bow zones. I have always said, for example, when a group wanted to ban scopes on crossbows, that we do not need to do that, but we should keep speeds down below 400 feet per second. Keeping the speeds down would still keep crossbows to ranges of 40 yards or less, as bow hunting is intended to keep it a primitive sport and allow us the benefits of a longer season.
A lot of the latest compound bows have become smaller. The reason is most manufacturers cater to that element of bowhunters who hunt exclusively out of tree stands and ground blinds. The danger is if you are a tall person with a long draw length, when the draw length equals or exceeds the axel-to-axel length, that is a recipe for a derailment of your bow. Remember, when you pull a bowstring back farther and farther, it is barely on the wheels. A small amount of hand torque at that point could cause the strings to be pulled off when the bow becomes square like that. I would strongly suggest a person avoid smaller bows that become square like that. In my shop, I tell a person do not buy a bow when I feel that is the case. I see it a lot lately, when someone buys a bow that is not suited to their body type, but it’s within their budget. Unfortunately, a less expensive starter bow is of the shorter axel-to-axel variety and the combination of an incorrect bow and an inexperienced shooter leads to a lot of damaged bows for us to fix.
I want to share a tip from one of my customers, who called me while I was writing this article. Because he has a bad shoulder, he bought a rubber shelf pad for a fall-away rest and put it at the point his limb stop contacts the post of his cam and it made an amazing, less-harsh hit when he drew his bow to draw length on his damaged shoulder. A great tip when your limb stop hits hard while you are injured or for a softer feel.
These days, manufacturers are building such amazing bows, I do not believe you can buy a bad bow any longer. Each manufacturer has a different gimmick or advantage over the other. Prime offers the benefits of the INLINE system, where the cable guard comes in line to reduce side torque applied by rigid cable guards. They also offer free strings every two years for the rest of your bow’s life. Bowtech offers cams with comfort or high-performance module adjustment, as well as an adjuster to move the cams right and left to line up perfectly straight. Elite offers much the same, where you can adjust the cam by moving it right or left to improve your paper tear, if you are that person. Hoyt offers an integrated rest mount on the riser, to get the rest mounted on the centre of the riser and not on the side to unbalance the bow. They offer a real carbon bow for people who do not want the weight and freezing hands while hunting in cold weather, like most aluminum bows produce. PSE is offering a high-tech carbon bow also, which is unbelievably light and strong and has combined ideas from the Nock On technology and speed in other bows in their lineup. APA has their many items, like cam synchronization adjuster right on the cable guard, as well as their tool station and built-in handle. Mathews offers increased integrated rest mounting, as well as sight mounting inside the riser and not on the side of the bow and a streamlined quiver mount in an effort to get all the accessories mounted inside the riser to get the bows balanced better. The only thing is some of the dovetails do not fit the hole space for their new inline mount and a lot of the conventional sights do not adjust far enough right and left because sight companies did not know that this is where the future was going. If you are buying a Mathews, your accessories may not work with the integrated system so you might have to buy new accessories to work with the new Mathews bows or simply mount them in the conventional place.
This year also has brought out more rangefinder sights for crossbows, like the new Garmin A1i Pro and Burris Oracle 2, which I own. Burris also makes the Oracle X, as well as Halo and Omega II, which does range finding and video at the same time and attaches to both bows and crossbows.
More bowhunters are adding both front and side bar stabilizers to their ultimate hunting rigs, to make them as accurate as a target bow, and manufactures are selling kits to make them cost effective. Once you have a bow that is well balanced both front and sideways, you will never go back.
Trail cameras have gotten more sophisticated as well. New cameras can take pictures and send them to your phone in real time. This means not wasting time checking cards and putting human scent in the area. It’s even fun doing your scouting early with these cameras, so you can know what’s in the area and if legal animals frequent your hunting spots so you know where to be that opening day of bowhunting.
Bows, crossbows, bow accessories and coaching are all getting better and better to help people taking up archery. We are seeing an increase in interest in our sport, which is always good news.
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