A few years ago, at the Pope & Young convention, a cursory glance around the room was all I needed to see that our ranks are dominated by a demographic consisting largely of middle-aged white men. This is no secret, but the truth is we are picking up the pace in other demographics.
An influx of youth has swelled our ranks thanks to aggressive recruitment and a dose of luck via Hollywood's sudden interest in archery. Along with those youngsters, we've started adding women. Lots of them.
There are any number of reasons why we've witnessed growth in the number of women bowhunters and archery enthusiasts. For instance, when I walk into the local YMCA to work out, I can see a hockey arena holding as many young girls working on their slapshots as young boys. As in bowhunting, women have sat on the sidelines long enough, and they have finally decided to participate.
Also, hunting is largely a family-oriented event, which has helped draw in the ladies as well. After all, family without Mom is nearly always an incomplete puzzle. To be sure, women bowhunters named Tiffany, Nicole, Vicki, and Melissa have brought women into our ranks the same way guys named Fred, Chuck, and Dwight have done on the men's side.
Perhaps the biggest reason why the fairer sex has taken to bowhunting is that women have unlocked the secret — it's an amazing sport. Fortunately for them (and us), the market has responded by taking this movement seriously, which wasn't always the case. Ten years ago you could find women's bows, camouflage clothing, safety harnesses, arrows, etc., but these products were little more than a youth or men's product spruced up with pink highlights and a clever name.
Not anymore. Any woman who wishes to pick up a perfect-fitting, highly efficient, moose-killing bow can now do so.
Following are eight companies producing top-of-the-line women's bows:
Bear | Bounty
I don't know if you could find a bowhunter who wouldn't be able to peruse Bear's
bow lineup and find something that will work for them. This is true of men, youth, and obviously, women. Their latest offering, the Bounty
, measures 29.75 inches and is available in peak draw weights of 40 and 50 pounds.
Draw lengths of 23.5 to 27 inches are standard, and even though the hybrid-cam Bounty is designed with a 7-inch brace height, it is still capable of hitting speeds up 295 fps. The Bounty is only available as a RTH (Ready To Hunt) package, which contains a Whisker Biscuit rest, 4-pin sight, stabilizer, D-loop, peep sight, and wrist sling.
Bowtech | Eva Shockey Signature Series
claims that the new Eva Shockey Signature Series
bow is the result of serious consumer demand. Few well-known women hunters can boast of the following that Eva can, and many of her fans wanted a flagship bow that is designed specifically for female archers.
The result is a 3.3-lb., 32-inch offering that sports all of Bowtech's top technologies like OverDrive Binary Cams (332 fps at a 28.5-inch draw length), a carbon riser, and the new FlipDisc 2 Powershift Technology that allows users the to customize their draw cycle for feel and performance. Peak draw weights of 40 lbs., 50 pounds, and 60 pounds are available, as are draw lengths ranging from 22.5 to 28.5 inches.
Elite | Spirit
When I first saw a press release on Elite's new-for-2015 women's bow, the accompanying photo was labeled 'Elite Spirit Ninja. ' Closer inspection revealed that the bow is simply called Spirit
, and Ninja refers to the black finish offered.
Still, the 3.9-pound Spirit is a wicked rig that is available in draw lengths from 24 to 28 inches, and peak draw weights of 30 pounds to 60 pounds. Top speeds reach 307 fps on the Spirit, which measures a shade under 32 inches from axle to axle. Take a close look at the Spirit and you'll see the Riser Cage, which is designed to maximize dynamic energy while dissipating shock and vibration.
Hoyt | Carbon Spyder ZT 30
has a history of creating quality women's bows, and their clairvoyance when it comes to this growing demographic is evident in that they now offer Vicxen editions of their flagship bows, like the Carbon Spyder ZT 30
. Hoyt's entire lineup of bows, from the Ignite through the various models of Carbon Spyders, is available in a Vicxen edition, which includes pink dampers, pink strings, and pink limb graphics.
If you dig deep into the specs of Hoyt's offerings, you'll see that most of them are available with a wide range of draw lengths (as short as 24") and draw weights (as low as 30 lbs.). Instead of offering a single women's bow, they've designed their product line to be lady friendly throughout the gamut, which is pretty impressive.
Mathews | Chill SDX
What woman wouldn't want to shoot a Chill SDX from Mathews
? This 3.84-pound rig is designed for ladies looking to shoot with the same accuracy, efficiency, and lung-deflating power of their male counterparts.
To achieve this, Mathews used the Perimeter Weighted AVS DYAD Cam system and a 6-inch brace height to achieve IBO speeds of up to 330 fps. Shooters looking for draw lengths in the 22- to 29-inch range will be just fine with the 30.5-inch Chill SDX. Choose from draw weights of 40, 50 and 60 pounds, and a couple of finish options that can all be enhanced with the optional PNK Graphics Package.
Mission | Flare
A lot of the women bowhunters I run into carry Mission Archery
bows, with a huge percentage opting for the Flare
. The sub-4-pound Flare is designed to hunt thanks to the standard String Suppressors, D-Amplifiers, String Stop, and a smooth draw cycle achieved via Mission's single-cam technology.
In addition to specs that are perfect for women, each Flare is offered with three different hunt packages, ranging from Pro Hunter to Basic. Each contains all of the accessories you need to walk out of the pro shop fully outfitted and ready to hit the deer woods.
PSE | Stinger-X Stiletto
Producers of one of the most comprehensive bow lines on the market, PSE Archery
has addressed the ladies' needs with several bows over the years. Their latest, the 3.5-pound Stinger-X Stiletto
, is a high-performance rig at the bargain-basement price of $300 for a bare bow, or $400 for a Ready To Shoot package.
Choose from 40- or 50-pound peak draw weights and draw lengths of 21 to 30 inches in this sweet-shooting bow designed with a 71„8" brace height, 75 percent letoff, and the snap necessary to hit IBO speeds of up to 316 fps.
Quest | Storm
Derived from the Quest Radical, the new Storm
is a great choice for aspiring and seasoned bowhunters alike. Women looking for a draw-weight range of 30 to 60 pounds, and draw lengths in the 23- to 27-inch range, will do just fine with the 31-inch Storm, which features a forgiving 7-inch brace height.
In a testament to true bow efficiency and design, the Storm is capable of producing arrow speeds of up to 290 fps, which when paired with the right arrow/broadhead combo, will blow through a bull moose. If one-stop shopping is your thing, feel free to opt for the DTH Package, which contains a rest, sight, quiver, peep sight, D-loop, stabilizer, and wrist sling.