There are a few questions I get asked about bowhunting gear every single year. The most common query is usually something like, “Do you really need a $1000 bow?” Of course, the answer is, no. You don’t need to drop a grand or more on a new bow to kill deer or elk. Or simply enjoy target shooting and hunting.
Certainly, if you’re not going to have to sell a kidney to buy a flagship, there are plenty of benefits in the top-end offerings. But truthfully, while flagship bow prices have continually climbed over the years, the bow manufacturers have also realized that they’ve priced out plenty of potential customers.
This is clearly evidenced by the fact that nearly all bow lines offer a mid-priced offering. Some have even created entire companies to address the budget-conscious crowd.
And the best thing about these bows besides price?
Well, if you take a look at the technologies that commanded high prices in flagships within the last few years, you’ll notice that those game-changing innovations have now migrated through the lower priced offerings. This means that while you’ll have a few extra Benjamins in your wallet by going this route, you won’t be missing out on too much in the way of performance. That’s a big deal.
Following are seven new offerings worth checking out.
Bear Archery LS2
One of the best deals on the market right now is the 4-pound LS2 ($550) from Bear. This bow measures a shade over 31 inches between axles, fires arrows downrange at up to 320fps, is available in peak draw weights of 60 or 70 pounds, and is offered in draw ranges from 23 to 30 inches. It is also one of the Ready-To-Hunt packages, meaning that you can spend half of what you’d spend on a flagship and not only get a killer bow, but also all of the accessories you need to hunt.
Cabela’s Fortitude Compound Package
Cabela’s teamed up with BOWTECH to create their bows, which seems like a pretty solid decision when you dig into the new Fortitude Compound Bow Package ($600). This 32-inch offering features a 6.25-inch brace height and is powered by BOWTECH’s Synchronized Binary Cam system to ensure moose-killing arrow speeds and ease-in-tuning. Since this is a package deal, you’ll also get a sight, rest, quiver, and pretty much everything you need to walk out of your local Cabela’s and start pounding backyard foam.
Okay, this is a youth bow but it’s worth inclusion because it’s an awesome option for kids. The upgraded Atomic can be adjusted from 12 to 24 inches of draw length and six to 29 pounds of draw weight, meaning that for $229 you can pick up a bow that will fit your youngsters for quite a few years. This 1.9-pound offering also comes standard with all of the necessary accessories and even three arrows. Someone at Diamond who was involved in developing this bow definitely has young kids, because new for this year are several flashy finish options. As the father of two five-year old girls, I can say that I appreciate that. A lot. Because kids are picky. So picky.
The ZRX limbs and Powermax cams work together on the Hoyt Powermax ($500) to produce arrow speeds in the 328fps neighborhood. With it’s 6.75-inch brace height, 3.8-pound mass weight and overall axle-to-axle length of 31 inches, the Powermax is the perfect choice for everything from treestand whitetail hunts to mountainside elk excursions. Choose from draw lengths in the 24- to 30-inch range and draw weights anywhere from as low as 30 pounds all of the way to 70. If one-stop-shopping is your thing, opt for the Accessory Package, which includes everything you need to hunt.
Martin Archery Carbon FeatherWeight
A lot of things are impressive about the new sub-31-inch Carbon FeatherWeight ($500) from Martin Archery. For example, it’s designed with a seven-inch brace height yet still manages to generate arrow speeds in excess of 340fps. If that’s not enough, this bow also earns its given moniker thanks to the fact that its carbon design results in an overall mass weight of only 3.5 pounds. Not only is that an ideal weight for anything whitetail-related, it’s a gift if you should happen to draw a tag where you’ll need to go up-and-down mountains for 10 days in a row. Peak draw weights of 60 and 70 pounds are offered, along with draw weights in the 25.5- to 30-inch range.
Mission Archery Hype DTX
Enhanced vibration control and an ultra-stable shooting platform are the intended consequences of arming the new Mission Hype DTX ($399) with the Focused Inertia Technology Cam System. A Dead End String Stop and Mathew’s Harmonic Stabilizer are also standard in this bow, which offers a huge range of adjustability. Easily adjust from 19 to 30 inches of draw length and 15 to 70 pounds of draw weight on this value-priced offering that is fully capable of covering every big game hunt you may ever go on – at least in North America.
PSE Bow Madness Epix
Good luck finding another $600 bow that will send arrows through a chronograph at up to 340fps. That’s because other bows aren’t produced by PSE, which is a company that has figured out the speed-to-comfort ratio in their extensive lineup. The 32-inch Epix also weighs four pounds, offers 80-percent let-off, and can be had in peak draw weights of either 60 or 70 pounds (24 to 30 inches of draw length). Choose from several finish options to round out your Epix.