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8 Must-Have Bow Accessories for 2014

In my office, an assortment of outdated bowhunting equipment has found its way onto my shelves. The detritus from years past reminds me of plenty of good times, and also that we've come a long way in a short time with our hunting gear.

A sight, rescued from a bow I handed down nearly 20 years ago, is probably the most poignant reminder that things have changed.

A single brass sight pin, screwed into a plate and souped up with a touch of white paint on the end, comprises the entirety of the pre-fiber-optic sight. While I can look at a few of the recurves in my office and get nostalgic about how things have changed and how technologically advanced we have become, I don't feel the same about the sight for some reason.

Truth be told, I love seeing the latest wave of bow accessories that wash upon the archery industry each January at the ATA Trade Show, because I know each year I'll find a few that will help me shoot better.

Not everything that hits the market is a winner, just as not every product I look at fondly in its new packaging ends up impressing me in the field. The opposite happens often enough to make me somewhat hypersensitive to buying into any hype until I've actually hunted a season with something.

I had a quiver attachment snap clean off while bowhunting backcountry mule deer a few years ago, and several sights that didn't make the cut through in-the-field breakdowns.

Last season, in the days leading up to a spot-and-stalk antelope excursion, my setup suddenly decided that it didn't want to shoot broadheads accurately. This is an old-school problem that I don't run into very often anymore, and as I filed through a litany of mechanical and fixed-blade heads to try to find a suitable option, I realized that I was frantically searching for a Band-Aid to cover a bigger problem.

That problem, I later figured out, stemmed from the rest. More specifically, the bar that attaches the launcher to the main body of the rest had bent ever so slightly, which means it was nearly invisible to the naked eye, but off just enough to seriously alter my arrow flight.

If you are setting up a new-for-2014 bow, or just looking to increase the accuracy of your older bow, there are some promising-looking accessories available.

Although making tough shots is ultimately up to the space between your ears, it doesn't hurt to facilitate the process by using the best equipment out there. That may mean a bow outfitted with the latest accessories designed to increase accuracy, cut shot noise, and perform better in the field, is something we should all consider.

Apache EQ Stabilizer

If quivers miss out on some of the accessory appreciation, then stabilizers are nearly forgotten. This is probably because we tend to only think of stabilizers as accessories that might help our shooting, and disregard the fact that a good stabilizer will not only balance a bow, but also drastically cut down on shot noise. This isn't a big deal for some critters, but those of us who hunt pressured whitetails understand how important it can be. Enter the new-for-2014 Apache EQ Stabilizer from New Archery Products. The Apache is 6" long, weighs 4 oz., and is equipped with 30 different vibration-absorbing elements to greatly reduce vibration and noise during each shot. Adjustable dampeners allow you to shift balance and weight to find your setup's sweet spot. Price: $40

Hoyt Archery Arrow Rack In-Line

Hoyt Archery has also been hard at work on their quivers, with their new Arrow Rack In-Line being another personal favorite of mine. The In-Line holds six arrows, has an easy-to-use and quiet quick-detach system, will fit on any bow, and is designed to fit close to the riser to reduce canting issues in those situations that necessitate shooting with your quiver still attached. It's available in several Realtree camo patterns as well as Black Out. Price: $100

Mathews ArrowWeb CT-Series

In the interest of cutting-edge accessories, quivers don't get as much love as they deserve, and are often thought of as nothing more than an add-on once the serious equipment is brought together. This is a mistake, especially if you're concerned with overall function in the field. Consider the new one-piece ArrowWeb CT-Series from Mathews. This latest incarnation in the ArrowWeb line is a truly compact quiver that will accommodate mechanical or fixed-blade heads, is outfitted with noise-killing Harmonic Dampers, and attaches and detaches easily and silently through the Spider Claw quiver mount. The CT is available in a number of custom colors to match your hunting rig. Price: $N/A

G5 Outdoors CMAX

It's not just new sights that can help you deflate lungs better. Take for example the CMAX rest from G5 Outdoors. G5 has some of the archery industry's best engineers in their stable, and it shows with the full-containment, drop-away CMAX, which can be set up to be activated by either the top or bottom limb. The CMAX is extremely quiet, easy to set up, and promises total fletching clearance no matter what arrow orientation you prefer. Price: $135

KTECH MX5 Universal Stabilizer

KTECH Designs also offers a great stabilizer, several in fact. One standout in their extensive lineup is the 4.4-oz. MX5 Universal Stabilizer, which features a KTECH Damper and measures 5.6". Each Damper is adjustable for different weight and balance options, and a bevy of finishes are available for further customization. Price: $74

Trophy Ridge React-One

Another favorite of mine is the new React-One single-pin sight from Trophy Ridge. This sight operates off of the same Smart Pin Technology that their multi-pin React sight uses. You sight in at 20 and 30 yards, and this technology automatically sets the remaining distances in 10-yard increments out to 100 yards. It sounds simple and too good to be true, but it really is that simple. I set up a React-One late last fall, and I was shooting long distances with it during the first target session. Each React-One features second and third-axis adjustment, a .019" pin, 100-percent tool-less adjustment, and several mounting holes for custom mounting. Price: $200

Archer Xtreme Titanium Recon

An eye-catching new rest worthy of consideration by any serious bowhunter is the Titanium Recon from Archer Xtreme. The Recon is built with a blend of titanium and carbon components to reduce weight and increase durability. An internal trigger system on the Recon allows for micro-tuning not found on most rests. That enables you to fine-tune arrow contact for maximum guidance downrange. Contributing to that goal is the design of the Recon's launcher. It's lightweight and blistering fast, meaning it can support an arrow longer through the shot sequence and still get out of the way at the right time, resulting in an improvement in accuracy and arrow flight. Price: $170

Spot-Hogg Tommy Hogg

Spot-Hogg also offers a single-pin sight in their Tommy Hogg, which is as indestructible a sight as you're likely to run across. Micro-adjustable second and third-axis that is capped off with laser engravings for perfect tuning, along with an easy-to-use yardage knob, make this sight a winner. What's better, though, is that Spot-Hogg also offers their Spark Hunter, which can replace your sight housing and offer the chance to aim with crosshairs and a lens. I was skeptical of the Spark until I screwed one on in anticipation of a spring turkey hunt and started practicing with it. I couldn't believe the difference it made when shooting at a variety of 3-D targets. It convinced me it definitely has a place in many bowhunters' arsenals. Price: $223 (Tommy Hogg), $200 (Spark Hunter)

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