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Is Archery Innovation Slowing?

Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, innovation in the archery industry was frenetic. Today, not so much.

Is Archery Innovation Slowing?

A striking 38-year comparison: My 2023 Hoyt VTM and my 1985 Martin Cougar Magnum, complete with brass sight pins, homemade camo paint job, and some shooting advice on the riser.

I remember when the word “compound” first appeared in the outdoor lexicon. I was a gun hunter, but my curiosity was piqued, and I liked what I discovered. Like many others, I added the word “bow” to hunter — a wise, life-changing decision.

In those days, innovation in archery equipment was an avalanche triggered by the advent of the compound bow. New bowhunters were the benefactors of the advancements in bows, arrows, broadheads, and all gear, including treestands, which were nonexistent in the early days.

We spent weeks building callouses on our shooting fingers while experimenting with various finger-tab materials to find the best release possible. Then, we started to hear about mechanical releases, but they were considered evil, and you were considered scum if you used one.

Eventually, those of us who bowhunted in cold weather — wearing gloves with the fingers cut off, discovered we could get an excellent release while wearing warm gloves. Hmm…maybe a mechanical release wasn’t so bad after all.

The rest is history, as we enjoyed the advent of faster cam designs, fiber-optic sight pins, parallel-limb bow technology, always-straight carbon arrows, more lethal broadhead designs, and the list goes on and on. It was the golden age of innovation in bowhunting, with an annual glut of new products to explore.

Now, after nearly every possible cam design has been tweaked and most accessories and gear have been engineered to the max, innovation has slowed dramatically, except for all things digital, of course. Noteworthy advancements are harder to come by, and these new technologies have made gear more expensive. This combination has caused many consumers to hang on to their bows, accessories, and other gear for another year or two, rather than chase technology — a common tact in the ‘90s.

All this does not mean our gear isn’t getting better. It is. It’s just that the increments of change are less significant to what we were accustomed. However, if you’re one who has managed to get by with your bow and other bowhunting components for two or three years, you will find the 2023 bows to be faster, quieter, and more “dead-in-hand” than the bow you are shooting now. The sights are brighter, lighter, stronger, and more easily manipulated. Arrow-rest designs create better arrow flight, and arrows are more consistent in spine and straightness. Broadheads are designed for better performance, and clothing continues to evolve, as does other gear like treestands, saddles, blinds, backpacks, trail cameras, optics, and anything else you could possibly use.

Now is the time take advantage of the high-quality products in our annual June Gear Special. They are the best that have ever been available to bowhunters…until next year.

Or the year after.




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