Fiber optic this, carbon fiber that, so many feet per second, flux capacitor limb technology, nano super lobe cams……the list goes on every year with bow manufactures and accessory companies. I still remember the day my ol’man paid $110 out the door for my Darton SL500 with a dozen of XX75s! Nowadays, hunting bows hover around $1000 mark before you start to think about all the gadgetry hanging off the riser. The price per pound of venison sure has gone up over the years! And for what? Are the new bows really all that much better than the bows of say 10 years ago?
Look, I am about as simple as it comes when it comes to shooting a bow and the equipment. I have been shooting a bow and arrow as long as I can remember. Tagging along with my parents to the local archery club for leagues and helping with the family’s part time archery business in the basement. If there is one thing that I adopted from my ol’man’s discipline of bows, it is to “Keep It Simple, Stupid”. Learning to shoot one pin and compensate for yardage. Know your equipment and know it well! The more equipment and moving parts you enter into the picture, the more can go wrong. Heck, I was still shooting finger tabs into the late 90s. I have to say in the 25+ years hunting with bow and arrow, this philosophy has treated me pretty good. Seldom did I find myself lacking confidence in my ability to place an arrow on its mark while in the tree chasing down whitetails. That confidence is something you can’t buy off the local archery shop’s shelf. It is something you earn.
Thirteen years ago, it was time for me to upgrade to a new bow. Single cam technology was all the rage, and I was all in baby! This also was back when the split limb Screaming Eagles were very popular as well. And just like my old Darton, my new Mathews and I got to know one another really well over the years. 25 yards and inside was a sure shot and out to 30 yards with a good deal of confidence. As the years went by, I continued to fill the freezer with venison using my trusty bow with little upkeep and maintenance. Life is good! Although, within the recent years, I noticed during my backyard bow league that groups and accuracy out to 30 and 40 yards are getting pretty tight for those shooting some of the newer bows. The 300 feet per second bows are now common place in the archery shops.
I started to realize that the bow technology today is really leaps and bounds beyond the trusty Mathews. Is the old “slow bow”, as some of my hunting partners would call it, still doing its job? Absolutely. But I started to realize that 30-40 is now the new 20 in that most bowhunters in the past would ear mark 20 yards as their maximum yardage to shoot a deer. Flatter and faster arrows are reaching animals quicker, lessening the chance of jumping your string causing poor shot placement or clean misses. Watching our video footage while editing always amazes me how fast an animal can react to the sound of a bow being fired! How many times have you let that big buck walk on by because he was out at 45 yards? In today’s archery world that is a shot a good portion of good archers will now take.
So this year marks another era of my hunting career! I caved and took the plunge into the new technology this past week. Within one hour from grabbing the new bow off the shelf with a sight and rest installed, I was driving tacks at 20 yards. As much as I am reluctant to change, I am really looking forward to this season!