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Gear & Accessories

Bowhunting Innovations: What’s the Most Controversial Ever?

by Ben O'Brien   |  June 10th, 2013 10

There’s no doubt the cyclical world of bowhunting has seen a whole lot of change over the years. Fred Bear probably wouldn’t have had much need for all the gadgets on the shelves nowadays, and his feathered fedora would’ve seemed weird alongside the studded jeans, black bows and tribal-style tattoos at the 2013 ATA show.

In the burgeoning years of our sport—the first bowhunting season was held in Wisconsin in 1934—carbon and plastic were used for space shuttles and Tupperware, and the long bow was the only game in town. Then came the recurve, only to be steamrolled years later by Holless Wilber Allen’s compound bow, which was approved for patent in 1969.

Most of the early innovations in bowhunting—aluminum arrows, plastic fletchings, stabilizers and the like—were met with excitement, but in an industry that prides itself on a traditionally minimalist approach, there’s been a fair share of new introductions that have gotten the shaft…literally.

The rules of fair chase and ethics in bowhunting are frequently up for debate, but there’s no doubt that these bowhunting innovations have caused the biggest stir.

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  • noitaint

    Rac-em-bac ricochet.

  • nijimasu

    Very sorry to see crossbow ads run the last two months. I quit subscribing to Peterson’s when they started into the crossbow business. Just a year ago, Curt apologized profusely for a crossbow ad errantly being run in Bowhunter -now it seems like they’ve snuck into the magazine. I love Bowhunter Magazine, but I will let my subscription lapse if crossbows become part of the advertising program.

    • Reaper Outdoors

      Its too bad there has to be infighting amongst outdoorsmen. Its all about getting as many people out there as possible. Also, crossbows allow some folks to experience hunting that have not had the same opportunity as others.

      • nijimasu

        Crossbows have their place. With the exception of helping out those who cannot draw and hold archery equipment due to a physical situation, that place is NOT during archery seasons. The difference in hunting with a pre-cocked weapon and one that has to be drawn while in close proximity to game puts crossbows in another class of hunt, which is inherently unfair to those participating in the same hunt with archery gear. In my state, any perception (real or imagined) of archery seasons reaching a higher level of efficiency will result in shortened seasons- this has been related to me by various fish and game officials. If the crossbow industry shoehorns itself into Idaho archery seasons, it will be very detrimental to our archery hunting situation here. During any-weapons season, crossbows sound fun. During archery seasons, they are unfair and detrimental.

        • David Guillen

          In your state(of mind) you should give up hunting as you can’t seem to not knock people who don’t hunt your way.I use a muzzle loader, shot gun, rifle, bow, and crossbows because of the time each gives me in the outdoors. Whiners like you are as bad as the antihunters America is full of unfair, so grow and stop bashing someone because he isn’t the whiner in the mirror. or hunt and be tolerant of other hunters ways, . Now pass the dynomite we’re going fishing!! HA HA HA David Guillen

          • nijimasu

            Please re-read my post for comprehension.

  • Bob

    Battery powered rangefinders? Really? Watch any hunting show and you will see them used for both bow and gun hunting. Pope and Young better go back over the ‘winners’ list and disqualify any who used one.

    • bud

      it is referencing only bow-mounted battery accessories. Anything not mounted is not included in this particular statement.

  • James Ritchie

    First, I don’t use a crossbow for hunting. I don’t use a compound bow, either. And despite the fact that you have to draw a compound bow, most have more technology hanging off them than a NASA moon probe. I use a plain old recurve without sights of any kind. I like it this way.
    But if you don’t like crossbows, don’t use them. It’s that simple. There are more than enough deer to go around. There are deer everywhere, and no hunter is going to fail to get a deer because another hunter is using a crossbow. That’s nonsense. So unfair advantage has nothing to do with it. Hunting is not a competition, you aren’t going to lose a prize fee, a deer, or anything else, because another hunter takes his deer with a crossbow.
    Hunt with what you most enjoy hunting with, and let everyone else do the same. I could whine and gripe and look down on anyone who uses a compound bow, fancy sights, arrows designed by the NSA, rangefinders, and you name it. I don’t. I just pull out my old recurve, grab some wood shaft arrows with plain old broad heads, and go enjoy my own hunt. The world would be a heck of a lot better place if we all did what we love, and let others do what they love.

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