March 03, 2015
By Tony J. Peterson
A lot of bowhunters start looking at new bows during the summer so they can get outfitted and start shooting before the season opens in the fall. Hardcore bowhunters realize that summer is about four months too late for that task.
If you've got the itch to shoot a few new bows — and maybe run up the credit card bill — there are plenty of options to choose from in 2015. Every couple of years it seems like several of the major manufacturers offer up something truly innovative, and those years are the best to shop for a new rig. This happens to be one of those years.
There are several models sporting new technologies that make shooting more enjoyable, which is way more important than arrow speed or mass weight of a certain bow. Having fun shooting is the key to shooting a lot, which is the key to being a good shot. Or at least, it's one of the key elements.
How have the manufacturers made these bows enjoyable to shoot? By focusing on draw cycle and the overall feel of the shot sequence. We've largely shifted away from chasing supersonic arrow speeds and are trending toward comfortable, accurate bows. This is good news for 99 percent of the bowhunters out there, and great news if you're looking for a top-notch rig to start your 2015 season right.
Following are 10 models to consider:
Bear Archery | Arena 30
I've been shooting an Arena 30
for a couple of weeks now in preparation for a Texas hog hunt and can say that it's one of my favorites. Bear Archery is firing on all cylinders with their flagships, and this 3.8-pound, 30.5-inch bow keeps the trend going.
The Arena 30 combines the H15 Hybrid Cam system with max-preload quad limbs for a one-two punch that delivers arrow speeds in the 340fps range. Measuring only 30 inches between axles, this bow is a compact rig that is perfect for treestands, ground blinds, and of course, spotting and stalking.
Bowtech | Prodigy
One of the most talked about bows of the year comes your way via Bowtech Archery, in the form of the 4.2-pound Prodigy
. What's the reason for the buzz, you ask? PowerShift Technology. This technology utilizes the ingenious PowerDisc to switch between three draw cycle settings (Performance, Classic, Comfort).
Point-of-impact and overall bow performance change very little between settings, but the draw cycle changes considerably. It's truly like having three bows in one. Of course, the 32-inch Prodigy also features Bowtech's OverDrive Binary Cams, FlX-Guard, and other notables to ensure accuracy and efficiency. Multiple finish options complete the Prodigy, which is designed with 80-percent letoff and a seven-inch brace height.
Cabela's | Instinct Xcite
When companies like Cabela's and Bowtech get together, bowhunters win. Such is the case with the new Cabela's Instinct Xcite
bow, which utilizes the new Xcite cam to generate a smooth draw and arrow speeds pushing past 330fps. This is even more impressive when you consider that the made-in-the-USA Instinct Xcite is a single-cam bow, which is one of the reasons why the draw cycle is so buttery smooth.
At 31.75 inches from axle to axle, this bow offers excellent maneuverability in the field, while Bio-Shock dampeners and a Clutch string-stop work together to ensure that when you do get a shot, it'll be whisper quiet.
Darton Archery | DS 3900
The DS 3900
from Darton Archery is designed for a lot of things, and speed is definitely one of them. Thanks to the Dual Sync Cams and EET Laminated Quad Limbs, the DS 3900 can send arrows downrange at blistering speeds in excess of 350 fps. Arrows moving that fast can make up for misjudged range, or the reaction time of a cagey whitetail allowing you to catch lungs before the chest cavity drops from your sight window.
To further ensure that critters don't get out of the way of your shot, each DS 3900 is outfitted with the Bowstring Noise Suppression System, which greatly reduces shot noise and unwanted vibration.
Diamond Archery | Infinite Edge Pro
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more adjustable or affordable bow than the Infinite Edge Pro
from Diamond Archery. For starters, draw weights are adjustable from 5 to 70 pounds, which is quite the range and is complemented by draw lengths from 13 to 31 inches. Each Infinite Edge Pro weighs 3.2 pounds, measures 31.5 inches between axles, and is capable of generating arrow speeds over 300fps.
All of this, along with newly designed cams, a user-friendly draw cycle, and an 80-percent letoff are available for only $399. This is the kind of deal that should get you thinking about the nearest bow shop.
Elite | Synergy
I've been shooting the 33.5-inch Synergy
since October, and Elite bows since they first came out. Very, very few people who shoot an Elite bow will ever buy any other brand. This is because they are so comfortable to draw, hold and shoot. This is quite evident in the 4.4-pound Synergy, which is built up on a radical new Riser Cage riser design.
The Riser Cage provides balanced energy distribution to the limbs and two-track cam system, which results in a quiet bow that is both accurate and shoulder friendly. Arrow speeds in the 325 fps range are possible with the Synergy, which sports Winner's Choice strings and cables.
Hoyt | Nitrum 30
I almost take it for granted how good Hoyt bows are these days. They are simply rock-solid performing rigs that do not disappoint. This is the case with several of their recent flagship bows, and certainly the case with the new 30-inch Nitrum 30
. Through its XTS Pro Arc Limbs, Z5 Cam & 1/2 System and Pro-Lock Pocket System, the Nitrum 30 generates a smooth draw cycle and chronograph readings up to 332 fps.
You'd likely assume that since the Nitrum 30 weighs only 3.9 pounds it sports a carbon riser, but it doesn't — it's aluminum. And speaking of the riser, you'll notice that its shape is different than anything Hoyt has ever produced. This is due to the Offset Riser Design, which dissipates vibration and shot noise to culminate in shots that are both silent and dead-in-hand.
Mathews | NO CAM HTR
The 32-inch NO CAM HTR from Mathews
is one of the smoothest bows I've ever shot. It was also one of the easiest to tune, which is always greatly appreciated. The draw cycle is achieved through the NO CAM ST Technology, which utilizes circular and concentric string tracks. This creates an extremely balanced and synchronized system. The result is less nock travel, a high degree of efficiency, and of course, the previously mentioned draw cycle.
This bow is a winner on all fronts, but the goodies don't stop with the NO CAM system. Harmonic stabilizers, the Focus Grip, RockMods and a host of other Mathews' features are standard on the NO CAM, which sends arrows downrange at 330 fps.
Prime | Ion
In my opinion, the engineers at G5 Outdoors have set the bar for bow accuracy through their Prime lineup. The level of accuracy these bows are capable of is extremely impressive, and it all boils down to the Parallel Cam system that is designed to keep the entire bow in line throughout the shot.
The 31-inch Ion
also uses the Flexis-AR to further allow it to stay perfectly centered while at full draw. The 3.9-pound Ion features a 7.25-inch brace height and is available in a couple of finishes not found on any other bows like Optifade Elevate II and Optifade Open Country.
PSE | Dream Season Decree
PSE has led the way in the engineering what it takes to achieve extremely fast arrow speeds but still remain fun to shoot. This is obvious in the new 3.7-pound Dream Season Decree
. The all-new Inertia Cams on the Decree work together to produce one-pin-for-everything speeds of up to 355fps.
Measuring just a shade under 32 inches, the Decree is equally well-designed for November treestand hunts as it is for spotting and stalking speed goats on the prairie.