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The Newest Gear for Traditional Bowhunters

Tradition never dies, and there is plenty of new tackle for "old-school" archers.

The Newest Gear for Traditional Bowhunters
Featuring a modular riser with removable and interchangeable limbs, Bear Archery’s Take Down was revolutionary when first introduced in 1969. The Take Down is still in production more than 50 years later and remains one of the most popular traditional bows on the market. (Photo courtesy of Bear Archery)

It’s a question I contemplate every season — will I hunt with a compound or pick up the traditional stick and string. I love hunting with traditional tackle, and though my sum total of success — half a dozen whitetail bucks, a few black bears and countless wild Texas pigs — is far lower than the number of critters I’ve taken with a compound, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every ounce of traditional bowhunting success and even found joy in the many failures. There’s just something special about feeling the string slip from your fingers and watching the arrow glide away.

I know I’m not the only compound bowhunter who enjoys carrying a lightweight longbow or recurve afield on a regular basis, as it seems more and more “modern bowhunters” are being bitten by the trad bow bug each year. If you fall into that category and want to make 2024 the year you finally follow through on your traditional intentions, now is the perfect time to get started. Fall hunts are still many months away, and with the pleasant weather of summer just around the corner, you have plenty of prime outdoor time to set yourself up with the necessary gear and become at least reasonably proficient by opening day. Remember, traditional bowhunting is a close-range game, and many participants, even those with decades of experience, limit themselves to shots under 20 yards.

However, even consistent 20-yard trad bow accuracy is easier said than done. You must commit to learning the craft, and fortunately there is no shortage of high-quality traditional bow equipment to help.

Traditional Bows

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Bear Archery Take Down

Obviously, picking a quality traditional bow is where you start, and no traditional bowhunting column would be complete if we didn’t include Papa Bear himself. Bear Archery’s Take Down ($679.99) features two riser designs and interchangeable limb sets, so there’s an option that will fit virtually any shooter. The Take Down’s AMO length ranges from 56-64 inches, and although it was originally designed as a recurve, Bear now offers new Long Bow Limbs ($429.99) that are sure to be a crowd pleaser. Plus, to celebrate 90 years of innovation, Bear introduced its old-school green glass on selected Take Down models this year as well. The riser is available in African bubinga, black maple and bubinga/phenolic blend with all sporting a black accent stripe. Limbs are constructed of layered hard rock maple with handcrafted tips reinforced for today’s Fast Flight strings.

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Hoyt Satori

Hoyt may not the first brand you think of when it comes to traditional bows, but don’t let the popularity of the company’s compound bows fool you. Traditional bows are where it all started for the Hoyt brand some 90 years ago, and the Satori ($949) is just the latest innovation in the traditional bow space. Building on decades of experience, the Satori’s machined aluminum riser is matched with performance-driven hard rock maple core limbs that are surrounded by carbon and glass. The riser is available in 17-, 19- and 21-inch configurations matched with three ILF (International Limb Fit) recurve limb designs for broad AMO lengths ranging from a short 58 inches to an ultra-smooth-drawing 66 inches. The Satori will fit virtually any hunter, and with its exclusive shelf module plates and Pivot Block Limb Alignment System, achieving perfect arrow flight is a breeze. The Satori riser is available in Black, Bourbon, Wilderness and the new Tombstone.

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Lancaster Archery Galaxy Sage Takedown

One of the most versatile traditional bows at an entry-level price is the 62-inch Galaxy Sage Takedown ($129.99) from Lancaster Archery. Its ultra-comfortable grip — coupled with zippy, dual-core hard maple limbs and 19-inch Dymondwood, oak and hard maple laminated riser — makes the Sage a pleasure to shoot at the 3-D range or when a deer slips under your stand. The riser sports a crowned arrow shelf cut past center and accessory ports for a rest, sight, stabilizer or bowfishing reel, while metal limb pockets ensure rock-solid performance with every drop of the string.

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October Mountain Sektor

Another bow that won’t break the bank is the 62-inch takedown Sektor Recurve ($349.99) from October Mountain. Sektor’s 17-inch riser is crafted from a premium blend of zebrawood and phenolic composite with a crowned arrow shelf that is cut .047-inch past center. The limbs feature quick-reacting bamboo cores with a black glass laminate and reinforced limb tips for today’s Fast Flight strings.

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Damon Howatt Hunter

Celebrating more than 60 years of bow-building success, the Hunter ($765) is the flagship in Damon Howatt’s traditional recurve bow line. This one-piece gem sports a riser crafted from a handsome blend of dark shedua, bubinga and zebra woods, with rock maple highlights and limbs under black glass. Originally released in 1960, the Hunter is handcrafted from beginning to end and designed to deliver speed, accuracy and forgiveness. With a 62-inch AMO, it features a silky smooth draw and is available in draw weights from 35-65 pounds.

Traditional Arrows

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Gold Tip Traditional Classic

A good recurve or longbow is only as good as the arrows that complement it, and Gold Tip’s Traditional Classic Hunting Arrows ($99.99 per 6) are a top pick. Built from a heavyweight, small-diameter carbon shaft, they are equipped with stainless steel inserts and reinforced ballistic collars for increased FOC and penetration. The Traditional Classic’s strength and durability, coupled with the wood-grain look, makes them a solid choice for hunters seeking hard-hitting traditional arrows. Available in spine stiffness 340, 400, 500 and 600.

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Easton Carbon Legacy

Traditional archery legend Fred Eichler needs no introduction in these pages. So, you know his signature arrow from Easton Archery has to be good. Dubbed the Carbon Legacy 5MM Fred Eichler Edition ($99.99 per 6), these micro-diameter carbon arrows combine a dark teakwood finish with a white dip cresting under shield-cut, hand-fletched, 4-inch feathers. Designed to hit hard and drive deep, the Carbon Legacy series comes standard with 5MM X Nocks and 16-grain HIT inserts, and are available in 340, 400, 500, 600 and 700 spines.

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Black Eagle Vintage Crested Arrows

Black Eagle offers a unique style with its Vintage Crested Arrow ($74.99 per 6). Sporting a classic, wood-grain look, each arrow is hand-painted with three cresting and feather options. Every pack is sorted to ensure the straightness and tolerances you expect from Black Eagle, while also sporting hand-fletched, shield-cut, 4-inch turkey feathers. Plus, with the extra-long 34-inch shaft, they are ideal for gap shooters.

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Rose City Archery Extreme Elite

Although today’s traditional carbon shafts are top-notch, if you really want to keep the tradition, then real wooden arrows are the thing. Rose City Archery  is your one-stop shop, and the Extreme Elite ($77 per 6) is hard to beat. Only premium shafts with grain weight ±10 grains are selected. Then, four coats of clear gasket lacquer are applied with a double coat crown dip and hand-painted bands for a special look. Topping them off are shield or parabolic barred feathers and nocks.

Recommended


Traditional Broadheads

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Iron Will Single Bevel

One look at Iron Will’s Single Bevel Broadhead ($119.95 per 3) and you know they are an ideal choice for traditional bowhunters. The single-bevel design ensures the arrow flies like a dart while maintaining spin throughout impact, and since they are engineered from hardened A2 Tool Steel, they are tough as nails. The 1.0625-inch solid main blades line up perfectly with the ferrule for enhanced accuracy, and for an added bonus they also feature .75-inch bleeder blades for even more tag-punching devastation. Available with both right and left bevel options, they come in eight weight options from 100-250 grains.

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Wasp Sharpshooter 200

Wasp Archery’s  Sharpshooter 200 ($59 each) is the latest in the popular Sharpshooter series. Complementing the 100- and 150-grain models, the new 200-grain offering will boost FOC and is the first single-bevel broadhead in the Wasp family. It sports a 1.75-inch, right-wing, single-bevel main blade with cut-on-contact tip that delivers a 1.125-inch cutting diameter with complementing .027-inch bleeder blades to ensure even more devastation.

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Helix FJ4

Taking the popular single-bevel FJ2 and enhancing its blood-letting effectiveness, Helix Broadheads added a pair of bleeder blades to the mix with the new FJ4 ($78.99 per 3). Mounted directly into the ferule, the additional bleeders add even more cross-cutting penetration that provides a cutting surface of 2.0625 inches on the 100- and 175-grain heads, 2.125 inches on the 125- and 200-grain heads and 2.25 inches on the 150- and 225-grain heads. Additionally, the FJ4 sports either an aluminum or stainless steel ferrule, depending on weight.

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Cutthroat Screw-In

Another fan favorite among many traditional bowhunters is Cutthroat’s Screw-In ($77.99-$114.95 per 3) broadhead. Machined from solid steel for enhanced structural integrity and strength, this single-bevel head can be ordered with a right or left bevel to match your feathers and are available in 125-, 150-, 200- and 250-grain options. Its Tanto chisel tip, coupled with a 1.125-inch cutting diameter and blood channel, ensures solid penetration, while the black oxide coating prevents corrosion. Made in America with a lifetime warranty, the Cutthroat Screw-In is also available in a harder S7 Tool Steel for even greater strength and shock resistance.




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