2013 hunting gear guide: bows

by Steve Galea | May 3, 2013

logo for 2013 hunting gear guide

If you don’t think Hollywood has an influence on the outdoors, think again. Box office hits like The Hunger Games and Brave, which feature bow-wielding heroines like Katniss Everdeen, have made archery trendy with youth.

“We’re having a hard time keeping up with demand,” said Shannon Bromley, president of Bromley Archery. “Parents are also joining in. The sentiment seems to be why watch when I can shoot too?”

Traditional bows, modern kids
Recurve bows, like October Mountain Products’ Explorer 2.0, are getting the lion’s share of attention. This three-piece take-down bow is available in left- and right-hand configurations in 54- and 62-inch models with draw weights from 20 to 40 pounds. That, and an entry-level price, make them ideal for youth and newcomers to archery. Aftermarket limbs allow the bow’s weight to be increased as the shooter grows.

PSE’s Snake recurve, which draws 22 pounds, is even finished in The Hunger Games colours, says Jack Richard of Porcupine Creek Supply, PSE’s Ontario distributor. “We’ve sold more of these and other recurves lately than in the past several years combined,” he added.

Gerry Dinesen, sales manager of Monsen’s Sporting Goods says Ragim’s Impala take-down recurve, an Italian import that comes in draw weights from 25 to 60 pounds and in 60- and 62-inch configurations, is also popular with new archers.

And Hoyt’s Buffalo is proof that traditional bows can benefit from space-age design. This pretty take-down recurve comes in 60- and 62-inch models with draw weights from 35 to 65 pounds and was designed with the serious big-game hunter in mind.

Bows-2013-guideUser-friendliness to the forefront
The trend in this year’s crop of compound bows is user-friendliness. Many can be adjusted to fit archers from a wide range of draw lengths without the use of a bow press. This feature, combined with technical refinements that maintain arrow speed without sacrificing shootability, provides the best all-around archery experience says BowTech’s Jeff Suiter.

Jack Richard agrees. “We’re getting far better value for our money. You can expect lighter, smoother, and faster bows that are ready to go, right out of the box.”

PSE’s flagship bow for 2013, called the Dream Season DNA, is a good example of a highly adjustable, sweet-shooting bow. Weighing in at only 3.7 pounds, this bow has a 5-inch adjustment range that covers most draw lengths, and shoots at an International Bowhunting Organization (IBO) speed of 344 fps. It’s available in 50- to 70-pound draw weights, is centre-shot, and loaded with a host of high-end features. And, it’s relatively well priced for a high-end bow.

Bowtech’s Experience model is in the same class, with a carbon-core limb, specially designed riser and other features that ensure smooth draw, stability, stealth, and speed.

Bear Archery’s Motive 6 is also quiet, highly adjustable without a bow press, and the fastest bow they’ve ever produced, at 350 fps IBO. Like the Experience, it’s a compact 32-inches axle to axle and is relatively inexpensive, considering all the advanced features.

APA’s Mamba S5 short draw is the company’s fastest, smoothest short-draw bow. Purpose-designed for archers with draw lengths of 28 inches or less, it boasts draw-length adjustability from 23 to 28 inches and an IBO speed of 348 fps, says APA president and owner Nibal Achkar. There’s a lot of punch in this little bow.

APA also offers a high-end youth compound bow with an incredible range of adjustment. The Rattler can be set from 20 to 60 pounds in draw weight and 16 to 28 inches in draw, making it ideal for youth and smaller framed archers. The same can be said of Winchester Archery’s Laredo, an entry-level bow, which can be adjusted without a bow press from 15 to 70 pounds and from 17 to 30 inches in draw length. Both bows are designed to grow with the archer.

Unconventional camo
One other trend is a move away from conventional camouflage. “Bowhunters are no longer stuck on conventional camo patterns,” said Jason Pickerel, marketing manager for Bear Archery. He cites high sales of their bows sporting Black Shadow and AP Snow patterns. Richard says PSE’s Skullworks camo, which sports deer antlers on a dark backdrop, is also a hit.

This year, there are a host of incredible bows and some fantastic values, too. I think Katniss would approve.