Skip to main content

Most Controversial Bowhunting Innovations of All Time

Most Controversial Bowhunting Innovations of All Time

There's no doubt the cyclical world of bowhunting has seen a whole lot of change over the years. Fred Bear probably wouldn't have had much need for all the gadgets on the shelves nowadays, and his feathered fedora would've seemed weird alongside the studded jeans, black bows and tribal-style tattoos at the 2013 ATA show.

In the burgeoning years of our sport — the first bowhunting season was held in Wisconsin in 1934 — carbon and plastic were used for space shuttles and Tupperware, and the long bow was the only game in town. Then came the recurve, only to be steamrolled years later by Holless Wilber Allen's compound bow, which was approved for patent in 1969.

Most of the early innovations in bowhunting — aluminum arrows, plastic fletchings, stabilizers and the like — were met with excitement, but in an industry that prides itself on a traditionally minimalist approach, there's been a fair share of new introductions that have gotten the shaft...literally.

The rules of fair chase and ethics in bowhunting are frequently up for debate, but there's no doubt that these bowhunting innovations have caused the biggest stir.

Sheds Tell The Story

In 2009, this would have been a very difficult buck to pass on. These sheds were found by my hunting neighbor Jon Sarver on a nearby property. In 2010, pre-Freak was a serious trophy, and was wounded twice by unlucky hunters. By 2011, his rack evidenced signs of non-mortal encounters.

Wounded Warrior

My neighbor John Hayes found six inches of carbon shaft completely healed over under the Freak's cape, and multiple other non-fatal wounds he overcame during his lifetime.

Aged to Perfection

When killed in 2012 sporting his best rack to date, the unusual three-point burst on the tip of his left main beam mirrored almost identically the same feature found on his right main beam in 2010. I estimate him to be at least 6.5 years old, and that's assuming the 150+ rack he sported in '09 was grown as a three year old.

The Freak

This early October trail cam picture revealed that the Freak developed a nontypical left beam in 2011, the result of two previous wounds.

A Fighter

By early December 2011, he had busted off the irregular G-2 on his left beam; the Freak liked to fight.

A Perfect 10

Easily the most satisfying buck I've killed, this buck had everything I admire in a mature Midwest whitetail: mass, length, height and character.

The Stuff of Dreams

A host of surreal events led to my chance encounter with this embattled 17-point buck, known far and wide in our local hunting circles. He fueled many bowhunters' dreams and proved a nightmare encounter for others.




GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

T.R.U. Ball/Axcel has taken some of its most popular release aids and bow sights and created the new-for-2024 Tactical B...
Gear

30 Years of TenPoint Crossbows!

T.R.U. Ball/Axcel has taken some of its most popular release aids and bow sights and created the new-for-2024 Tactical B...
Gear

APX — The Newest Pattern From Realtree

T.R.U. Ball/Axcel has taken some of its most popular release aids and bow sights and created the new-for-2024 Tactical B...
Gear

Buck Commander Releases New Buk Ops Technology

T.R.U. Ball/Axcel has taken some of its most popular release aids and bow sights and created the new-for-2024 Tactical B...
Gear

Easton's Sonic 6.0 a Versatile Arrow Shaft

T.R.U. Ball/Axcel has taken some of its most popular release aids and bow sights and created the new-for-2024 Tactical B...
Gear

Easton Introduces the Match Grade Pro Series Arrow

T.R.U. Ball/Axcel has taken some of its most popular release aids and bow sights and created the new-for-2024 Tactical B...
Gear

Primos Double Bull Delivers New Raised Hunting Ground Blind

T.R.U. Ball/Axcel has taken some of its most popular release aids and bow sights and created the new-for-2024 Tactical B...
Gear

Primos Delivers Steady Shooting With Edge Tripod System

T.R.U. Ball/Axcel has taken some of its most popular release aids and bow sights and created the new-for-2024 Tactical B...
Gear

The QAD Ultrarest Gets Better

T.R.U. Ball/Axcel has taken some of its most popular release aids and bow sights and created the new-for-2024 Tactical B...
Gear

A QAD Ultrarest For Everyone

T.R.U. Ball/Axcel has taken some of its most popular release aids and bow sights and created the new-for-2024 Tactical B...
Gear

Primos Legacy Grows With Icon Call Series

T.R.U. Ball/Axcel has taken some of its most popular release aids and bow sights and created the new-for-2024 Tactical B...
Gear

Going Light With Dryshod Boots

T.R.U. Ball/Axcel has taken some of its most popular release aids and bow sights and created the new-for-2024 Tactical B...
Gear

Tactical Bowhunting from T.R.U. Ball and Axcel

Bowhunter Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Bowhunter App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Bowhunter stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Bowhunter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now

Never Miss a Thing.

Get the Newsletter

Get the top Bowhunter stories delivered right to your inbox.

By signing up, I acknowledge that my email address is valid, and have read and accept the Terms of Use