After conversing with a local fellow last year regarding bow-hunting equipment, he mentioned to me that he needed a bow for his teenage son. He expressed his desire to purchase a used bow so that his boy would be able to hunt deer on their land and asked if I knew any that were for sale. I explained to him that his son needed to be measured for a proper fit to insure a comfortable feel and to be consistent in his shooting. After explaining that a matched bow will make the difference between success and failure, he looked at me with a degree of suspicion. Nevertheless, I told him that I would look around for him.
A few weeks went by and I found a really nice bow that matched his draw length and desired poundage. At $250.00 complete with high quality sights and a rest, it was a rare deal that most certainly wouldn’t last long. This gentlemen acted like the price was too high but said he wanted to think about it. He then stated that he would “Get back with me soon” with his decision. A few more weeks went by and I was gathering with some friends to shoot one weekend, so I decided to call this person and ask him if his son wanted to join us for the upcoming Saturday. If so, I explained, I would be happy to take him to purchase the bow and spend some time with him before the shoot in order to give him a chance to get comfortable with it. During our conversation on the phone, I was told “We already bought him a bow for a really good price from a friend of ours who is an expert archer”. Trying not to act offended, I responded with “Oh, that’s great, we’ll see your son next week”!
Saturday morning arrived and several of us lined up to shoot after indulging in picnic food and small talk. As we took turns to shoot, this young man walked up to the line and started flinging arrows that were going every way but straight. After missing the target from 10 yards each and every time, I calmly walked up to him to see if I could help him, as it was evident he was completely embarrassed. This poor young man had a bow that was built for an adult man with a 29” draw length, no arrow rest and a sight that was glued to the bow. I tried not to look disgusted (not at him but rather his parents) as I explained to him that he would need to share a bow with one of the other young men who had bows that were closer to his size. I later found out that the $125.00 they spent (and the $125.00 they saved) was because this was a better deal and that the “expert” exclaimed; “There was no need for all of that measuring”. I might have had a degree of sympathy for that family if they were tight on cash but after listening to their list of world travels from the following year, it came down to not taking his son’s desire to shoot seriously. So now this young man was left with an unusable tool, AKA junk, because it was totally worthless to him.
Unfortunately, this scenario is repeated all too often in many homes across the country. A non-hunting parent or an ill-informed hunter that’s unaware of how important proper archery equipment is. A bow, along with matched arrows, is a unit. Arrows, with a matched broadhead is a unit. A person with matched equipment is a unit. All become one. When considering your equipment, consider the outcome!
Needing quality equipment and upgrading to quality equipment should be done only when the time calls for it. Initially, finding a quality bow deems due diligence. One must first make the trip down to their local pro shop and simply get measured. Once the dealer has your dimensions, you must focus on comfort! Yes, comfort over speed! Lest face it, you only need 40 or so pounds to effectively kill deer, so why the fret over speed? It’s important for the shooter to test several bows for ease of draw and consistency in control. If you have to strain every muscle and bend every limb in your body to draw it, that bow is worthless in the timber. All bows have different draw cycles, which mean they have places along their draw cycles that will be more difficult to pull back, relatively speaking. Some cams are designed to “kick-in” at different times, affecting the smoothness of the pull, or draw. Finding a bow that will be fast enough to kill deer (without the deer jumping the string) and yet smooth enough to pull without moving your body too much, will ultimately find you happy when the time comes to utilize this tool! Today’s newer bows are also much quieter and that’s a nice feature to have when you’re in stealth mode as you pursue game. The older bows carry a bit of noise with them when the bow is released, so always keep an eye and an ear on alert when trying each one out.
A common problem I often see hunters do is switching their bow out for a new one every year. It’s more important for a person to know his/her equipment than it is to have the “latest and the greatest”. I shot the same bow for over 20 years before upgrading it to a newer one. That Oneida that I shot with downed many a deer but when I went to a ground assault, I switched out to something lighter and shorter. Having tested many of the newer bows lately, I settled with a new Bear Attack and a new Bear Carnage. Since I now travel more than I did before to hunt, I opted for two bows for the purpose of ground hunting or tree stand hunting. There are technical reasons why I personally like each bow for different applications, so I have both scenarios covered! Bottom line: I’ ll get to know these two bows very we
ll and will keep them for probably another twenty years! It’s more important to know and to use your equipment well, rather than to upgrade every year or so!
When the time comes for you to purchase a new bow, don’t sacrifice quality! Get what you need and make sure it fits YOU! Make your new bow your hunting partner and treat it as such. If a new bow is out of your pocket book range, don’t sacrifice; wait until you can afford it. Get the proper tools for the trades and execute a proper hunt. Spending little on something that doesn’t fit will cost you many times over that amount in pain and suffering come hunting season. Do it right, get it done right and enjoy it for many years to come!