November 04, 2010
By Curt Wells
A Bow With No Achilles Heel
By Curt Wells
Hunting bows are like prize fighters. Each has its individual strengths. Some boxers have stamina; some have a knockout punch; others have quickness. Some hunting bows are smooth; some are fast; others are quiet at the shot. Like Muhammad Ali, Hoyt's new flagship bow, the Vectrix, has it all -- no weaknesses, no glass jaw.
I've always believed hunting equipment should out-class the user, so I'm always looking for the best of the best. With a red stag hunt in New Zealand on my schedule earlier this year, I chose a Vectrix -- and it performed flawlessly.
When choosing a hunting bow, I look for several strengths. First, it has to have a smooth draw with no harsh break at the end of the draw cycle. I don't like a jerky motion because it may attract the attention of a big whitetail buck on a cold November morning. The Vectrix has a silky smooth draw cycle that allows me to get to full draw in one fluid motion. Its draw cycle actually feels several pounds lighter than it is -- always a plus.
Second, since I have a 30-inch draw, I took advantage of the longer version of the Vectrix, the XL, which measures 36 inches axle-to-axle. The longer bow is a bit more forgiving of form and grip, and the string angle is not as acute, keeping the peep sight closer to my eye. The regular Vectrix is 33 inches long with a brace height of seven inches, a half-inch shorter than on my XL.
(l. to r.) Hoyt Vectrix, Hoyt Vectrix XL
Third, I prefer a bow that's quiet at the shot and doesn't have too much hand shock. Whether or not the variation in noise generated by one bow or another makes a difference in spooking game is up for debate. My philosophy is: shoot the quietest bow possible, just in case it "does" make a difference. Each animal is an individual, and you can't predict its reaction, so why take the chance?
A lot of effort goes into making a Hoyt bow quiet -- but it pays off. I found the Vectrix to be both quiet and steady at the shot. The new StealShot String Suppression System significantly reduces both vibration and noise and keeps the string from slapping your forearm. Other features contribute to the quiet Vectrix, including the RizerShox in the TEC riser holes, AlphaShox in the split limbs, and StringShox in the bowstring.
Although I'm not a "speed freak," I do like a fast bow. A flatter trajectory helps when an animal tries to jump the string and can also compensate for slight errors in yardage estimation. I'm fairly good at guessing yardage to 3-D targets, but when it must be done quickly in a real hunting situation, it's easy to be off a few yards, especially when there's no time to use a rangefinder.
The Vectrix XL has an IBO rating of 315 feet per second, which is accomplished by shooting a 350-grain arrow out of a 30-inch, 70-pound bow with just a nocking point on the string. I set my 30-inch Vectrix XL's draw weight at 68 pounds and shot a 410-grain arrow off a string with a loop, peep, and StringShox installed. I was still able to wring 292 fps out of my setup. That's plenty fast for me!
The engine that drives the Vectrix is the Vector Cam & 1/2. Its design is a major contributing factor to two of this bow's greatest qualities -- smoothness and speed.
Hoyt Vector Cam & 1/2
"I chose a Vectrix -- and it performed flawlessly." -Curt Wells
These qualities became evident during my trip to New Zealand last April with Larry D. Jones to hunt free-ranging stags. It was an amazing trip that started off with a near-opportunity on the first day. I had my Vectrix drawn on a good stag, but he wouldn't stop walking. The next day, I added too much yardage on a shot to a very large stag that was taking his leave, and my arrow zipped harmlessly over his back.
Later that same day, I managed to slip close to a roaring stag, but he spotted me and took off running. Larry, who was behind the camera, had the presence of mind to roar, which stopped the stag. I quickly guessed 40 yards, and the Vectrix took over from there. It wasn't quite 40 yards, and my arrow struck a bit higher than I was aiming -- but it hit the spine with more than enough kinetic energy and dropped the stag in his tracks!
If you seek maximum arrow speed, you might consider the Hoyt Vulcan, a bow that is proving to be very popular with bowhunters looking for a flat arrow. Because the Vulcan's TEC riser employs some serious reflex geometry, the brace height is shortened to six inches. That lengthens the power stroke, creating a very fast bow with an IBO speed rating of 325 feet per second!
The Vulcan features all the same 2007 technology as the Vectrix, including the StealthShot String Suppression System. It's a relatively short bow with an axle-to-axle length of just 33 inches and is also powered by the Vector Cam & 1/2 system.
Eleven of Hoyt's 16 bow models are new for 2007, so you have plenty of options. If you prefer a longer bow, or if you shoot with fingers (no, you haven't been forgotten at Hoyt), the 38 Pro and 38 Ultra are two bows with all the latest technology fitted to a bow that's a forgiving 38 inches long. The 38 Pro has an 8.25-inch brace height; the 38 Ultra's is 7.5 inches.
Both bows are rated over 300 feet per second. These two bows are the only other bows in the Hoyt line that come equipped with the StealthShot system.
(l. to r.) Hoyt 38 Pro, Hoyt 38 Ultra
Hoyt has not overlooked the growing population of women bowhunters, either. A new bow, the Selena, was designed specifically for women. It's 31 inches long and weighs just over three pounds. With a brace height of seven inches, the Selena still flings an IBO arrow at 287 feet per second.
Hoyt also has updated its accessory lineup. A new stable of sights is armed with a Metal Optic Pin System with five durable bladed pins. The colored fibers terminate in a light-gathering coil, making these sight pins extremely bright in low-light conditions. The MicroElite and MicroLite sights both feature micro-adjust design, while the AccuLite sight is a slimmed-down version that also comes in a three pin model.
Another new product for 2007 is the Hoyt TriFlex Stablizer. Three AlphaShox are integrated into the frame of this stabilizer, and a Sims Stabilizer Enhancer is attached to the front. At six inches long and weighing eight ounces, the TriFlex Stabilizer completes the mission of achieving a quiet bow.
Finally, Hoyt designed the new Quick Detach Quiver for ultra-quick removal. The Lever-Lock Mounting System works slick and allows you to remove your quiver when shooting at game.
(clockwise from top left) Hoyt TriFlex Stablizer, Quick Detach Quiver, and MicroElite sight.
FUSE Smart Drop-Away Rest
You can equip your new bow with all of Hoyt's latest accessories, or you might want to check out FUSE Accessories -- their sights, quivers, stabilizers, and Whisker Biscuit arrow rests feature Shock-Rod technology. The rods are made of LimbSaver Navcom, an elastomeric material that deadens vibration and silences any noise it creates.
While hunting in New Zealand, I outfitted my Hoyt Vectrix completely with FUSE Accessories -- the FUSE Smart drop-away rest and the Intrepid 5-pin sight. I also used a FUSE Posi-Lite quiver and six-inch Axiom stabilizer [PHOTOS-4]. All performed as advertised.
Maybe my red stag didn't care what model of bow and accessories I was using, but I sure did. And my Vectrix with all the trimmings satisfied my needs.
There's nothing quite like having Muhammad Ali in your corner.
(clockwise from top left) Axiom Stabilizer, FUSE Posi-Lite Quiver (2 pieces), and Intrepid 5-pin Sight.