December 31, 2015
By Tony J. Peterson
I hear bowhunters comment on new bows all of the time, and one of the things that is most common for them to say is something like, "I don't need a new bow to kill a deer. My 12-year-old you-name-it is good enough." And it's true, an older bow will kill a deer, or bear or moose.
That doesn't mean a new bow is a bad thing, however. In fact, even when compared to bows of just five years ago, the latest and greatest will undoubtedly be more accurate, harness more energy, and be quieter. Those are all good things, but they pale in comparison to the best reason to buy a new bow - confidence.
Most of us tend to engage in more target practice when we've got a new rig mostly because we want to shoot more. Combining more practice sessions with a bow that is both accurate and fun to shoot does wonders for shooting confidence. And if you've ever lacked confidence that you could hit what you're aiming at in the deer woods, you know exactly what I'm referring to. The best hunters believe they'll perforate two lungs with every shot and that belief can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you're ready for a rig upgrade, the market for 2016 is not likely to disappoint. Following are seven new bows for 2016 that will make you more confident - and lethal - in the woods this fall.
Bear Archery | BR 33
Bear Archery's 2015 Arena 30 was my favorite bow that I hunted with last year. I don't know why, other than I really enjoyed shooting it and every critter that I shot at with it assumed room temperature very quickly. That is one of the reasons I'm so excited for the new BR33, which sports the EAZ Hybrid-cam system that feels like a single-cam throughout the draw but is capable of dual-cam arrow speeds to the tune of 330fps. The BR33 weighs 4.2 pounds, measures a shade over 33 inches between axles and is available in draw weights of 45 to 60, and 55 to 70 pounds.
Bowtech | The Legend
This bow has been out since July, but is worthy of inclusion for a couple of very good reasons. First off, it's a tribute bow to American hero and Navy SEAL sniper, Chris Kyle. For every one of these bows sold, BOWTECH makes a donation to the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation. Secondly, "The Legend" also happens to be a sweet shooting 32-inch, 4.2-pound bow that can generate arrow speeds of 343fps and KE measurements of over 91 foot pounds. It also happens to be loaded with BOWTECH technologies like OverDrive Binary Cams, Center Pivot Extreme, and FLX-Guard, which eliminates riser torque. What could be better than showing our your support for the men and women who defend this great country of ours, while also picking up a killer bow? Nothing, that's what.
Elite | Impulse 31
Few bow companies are creating absolutely perfect whitetails bows the way Elite is. This is clearly evidenced by the 4.2-pound Impulse 31. While you could certainly kill more than just deer with this bow, it belongs in a treestand thanks to the two-cam IM31 Cam System that not only produces arrow speeds up to the mid-340s, but also contributes to a draw cycle that is seriously smooth. Peak weights of 40 to 80 pounds are offered, as are a litany of sweet finishes like Realtree Snow or KUIU Verde.
Hoyt | Carbon Defiant 34
Bows weighing under four pounds have become standard for Hoyt's flagship lineup. The trend continues this year with the Carbon Defiant 34, which tips the scales at 3.8 pounds, which is pretty feathery when you're talking a 34-inch axle-to-axle hunting rig. The DFX Cam & 1/2 system, in conjunction with UlfraFlex limbs and Zero Torque Cable Guard all work together to create a smooth draw, solid back wall, and top-end arrow speeds of 325fps. The Carbon Defiant 34 is also extremely quiet and dead-in-hand at the shot (think carbon technology here). While there is plenty to love about this bow, my favorite aspect of it, as well as the other members of the Carbon Defiant line, is that they are available in draw weights as low as 30 pounds - an ideal weight for youngsters, beginners, and women.
Mathews | HALON 6
The NO CAM was one impressive bow. It was, in fact, the easiest bow I've ever tuned, which is why I can't wait to get my hands on a new Halon 6. This bow is inspired by the NO CAM technology and utilizes the unique Crosscentric Cam to ensure that the new 4.55-pound bow is highly accurate and tunable. It's also capable of firing arrows well beyond 350fps. It would be safe to assume a bow capable of those speeds would probably be loud, but you'd probably be wrong. Mathew's has a well-deserved reputation for churning out bows that are not only accurate and silky smooth, but also very quiet and dead-in-hand. Anyone who has hunted pressured whitetails knows how important that is. Choose from 40 to 70 pound peak draw weights and draw lengths from 25 to 31 inches.
Prime | Rize
The downside to owning a Prime bow is that you're likely to spend more money on arrows. This is due to the higher likelihood of Robin-Hooding your ammo. I can think of two separate times that I did just that while setting up new Prime bows. They are built to be ridiculously accurate, which they are. But they also handle very nicely. The latest, the 4.3-pound Rize, is a 33-inch tall aluminum-risered rig that can produce chronograph readings up to 335fps. A 6.75-inch brace height ensures your shoulders will stay healthy while shooting the Rize, which is offered in draw lengths ranging from 26 to 30 inches and draw weights ranging from 40 to 70 pounds.
PSE | Carbon Air
2016 isn't the first, or the last year, that PSE will change how we look at bows. They've done it before, and they'll do it again. Right now though, it's time to focus on the Carbon Air. PSE True Carbon Technology allowed engineers the opportunity to create a 32-inch bow that weighs just over three pounds, which is amazing. The engine behind this bow is the PSE HD hybrid cam system, which delivers arrows downrange at speeds up to 340fps. The Carbon Air features an 80-percent let-off, is available in peak weights up to 70 pounds, and is offered in a litany of finishes ranging from Mossy Oak Break-Up Country to Skullworks.