February 13, 2015
Two things have stuck with me from the most recent Archery Trade Association (ATA) Show. The first is that the industry is getting back to its innovative ways and that people, myself included, are excited about the direction that bowhunting is headed. The second is a sore throat and a cough, courtesy of one-too-many-handshakes I suppose.
While the latter is a bummer, the former is a great sign. Many folks in our country view the American dream as becoming a mega rock star or the next Lebron James. However, the reality is that the real dream is starting and growing a company that deals in something you love. This is rampant in the archery industry and is a reminder that not only does everyone have a chance to go big with their ideas, they also have a chance to succeed.
From bow designs to camouflage patterns, to a litany of products that will actually help you hunt better, this year's ATA Show was something to behold. Whittling down the best of the best to a mere 10 products is impossible, so we selected products that are new and will certainly help the average bowhunter fill more tags.
Here they are:
Ameristep | Carnivore 2 Ground Blind
Built upon the insanely popular Carnivore ground blind, Ameristep
released the Carnivore 2
. This blind is designed with a 360-degree window curtain to allow for arrow flinging no matter how a buck or gobbler approaches your setup.
To ensure that you don't get spotted by sharp-eyed critters, each Durashell RuggedShield HD covered Carnivore 2 features the patented Edge ReLeaf design and is covered in Realtree Xtra camouflage. For further concealment, consider Ameristep's Blind Webb Concealment System that allows users to quickly attach local foliage to the blind and truly make it disappear into the background.
Archer Xtreme | Nitrix Quiver
Simplicity and functionality are two good friends of all bowhunters, which is one of the reasons I've included the Nitrix quiver from AXT
. This quiver extends from only 11.5 inches to a full 17.5; it will fit any bow and it weighs only 14 ounces. To preserve bow balance, the Nitrix utilizes an Articulating Mounting System so you can snug this quiver tight to your bow's riser.
If you're a quiver-off type of shooter, you can hang your Nitrix from the Steel Cable Adjustable D-Loop. Having played around with the Nitrix quite a bit, I can safely say that this quiver is obviously designed by hunters for multiple styles of hunting. That is always much appreciated.
Easton | Deep Six XD
Heavy, micro-diameter arrows hit harder and penetrate better than lighter, fatter arrows. This is true in targets and true in animals. They also catch less cross-wind in flight, which is an added bonus. The engineers at Easton
understand this well, which is evidenced by the new Deep Six XD
arrow, which is built with high-strength composite fibers and guaranteed to a straightness of +/- .003-inch. Choose from a 490 spine that weighs 8.1 grains-per-inch (GPI) all the way up to a moose-killing 295 spine that tips the scales at 10.7 GPI.
80 (per 6)
Hunter Safety System | LIFELINE
LIFELINE's from HSS
have been around a while and if you're not using them it's time to start. They keep you connected from the ground up to your treestand and, of course, back down to Terra firma, ensuring that should you fall, you'll still be able to walk and talk afterwards. The newest edition of the LIFELINE features a woven-in reflective strip, which glows when hit with a flashlight and is ideal for anyone who has ever walked into the pre-dawn woods and struggled to find their stand.
This latest release also features a Cow Bell Cover over the business end of the prussic knot where your carabiner attaches. This keeps all of the deer-spooking metal-on-metal noises created when getting into your stand to a bare minimum and will be much appreciated by hunters across the country.
39.95 (single) or $
Millennium Treestands | M7 Microlite
I realize that this new M7 Microlite treestand from Millennium
isn't the ideal stand for everyone, but it caught my attention and held it. I hunt a lot of public land and a lot of other places where I need to carry stands and sticks for a single setup. That means weight is always a concern, as is ease-in-use, so I can stay quiet yet move quickly. The M7 Microlite weighs only 8.5 pounds and fits the bill nicely.
It's pretty small, with a platform of only 11x20 inches, but I'll take that over something larger that weighs considerably more. Better yet, the M7 folds flat for easy transport and sports a ComfortMAX contoured seat. Very few stands on the market are as portable as the M7, which makes it a winner in this hunter's book.
Muzzy | XD Pro
While we've witnessed huge advancements in bowhunting technology over the last decade, one often overlooked area is bowfishing. Thankfully, companies like Muzzy are working to bring our fish-skewering necessities to the modern age. This is clearly evident with the new XD Pro Reel
, which is built with a finger-activated lever switch that very clearly indicates whether the bail is open or closed.
This reel is also designed upon a new mount, which is more durable and lighter in weight than its predecessors, and, even better, it's not likely to come lose while you're scrambling to reel in something ugly and covered in scales.
Rinehart | Booner Buck
Of all of the different critters I've missed over the years, big mule deer are some of the most common. Being a Midwestern whitetail hunter at heart, there is something that unravels me when I get within 50 yards of a tall, wide, beast of a mule deer. Rinehart
is well aware of that scenario, and it was the impetus behind the design of their new Booner Buck Mule Deer
This target simulates a true 200-pound, 58-inch tall mule deer with a giant rack. It's compatible with broadheads and field points as well. If you've never splurged on a Rinehart target, this would be a good start. It's pretty hard to find a target that lasts longer and looks more realistic.
Sitka Gear | Elevated II
I got the chance to hunt out of Sitka's new Incinerator Jacket and Bibs over a base layer and their new Shacket during the late-season in Northern Wisconsin. The last morning I sat it never got close to zero degrees, and although the only critter that showed was a lone ruffed grouse, I still sat for nearly three hours. Other than my hands and feet, I never got cold. It was, to put it mildly, amazing.
Sitka has been generous enough to release those products, along with an entire whitetail line, all covered with their new Elevated II pattern
. I realize that the cost of Sitka's products might be a deterrent for most folks, but it's worth it. Time in stand is the key to bowhunting success, and nothing will keep you there longer than being comfortable in all conditions. Enter Sitka...
Trophy Taker | Option
I made the switch to a single-pin sight in 2009 and have never looked back. I'm a firm believer that most bowhunters would shoot better in the field with a one-pin sight versus a multi-pin sight. Many will never try it, though, for fear of too much movement at the moment of truth. Thankfully Dan Evans of Trophy Taker looked at this situation and decided to create the Option Sight
line. These hybrid sights feature a rack of fixed, vertical pins and a single pin that can be used fixed or as a mover.
The Option sight housing that holds these pins is split in two and can be married together or pulled apart. It sounds complicated, but it's not. Essentially this 8.8-ounce sight features micro-adjust windage and elevation and gives you the option to use a multi-pin sight or a single pin mover. The hunting applications are endless.
Mossy Oak | Break-Up Country
In the past, camouflage patterns utilized smaller elements to make up a woodsy or marshy look. These tiny branches, leaves, highlights and shadows combined to blob pretty quickly at minimal distances. Knowing this, Mossy Oak
set out to do something different, and the result has to be seen to be believed. Break-Up Country
is comprised of larger leaves, limbs, bark, branches and other elements to create a pattern with much more depth.
Even better, Mossy Oak harnessed the latest in printing technology to ensure the pattern doesn't lose its luster when printed on your favorite hunting duds. Think about taking a high-resolution photo of the deer woods in November and being able to plaster that photo on a sweatshirt without losing any clarity. That's what Mossy Oak does with this pattern, and it's impressive.