How much money does a good bow cost? Only as much as you can afford to spend.
Like a grizzly lurking in the alders waiting to feed on a moose carcass, it's a scary thing.
We work constantly to keep it at bay, but it's always there in our consciousness, making us think twice about every move we make. We hope it will eventually leave to feed elsewhere, but we're never quite confident that's going to happen.
"It" is the struggling economy. No one has been spared, except maybe Big Oil, and most of us are carefully considering every expenditure in our lives. Although discretionary spending -- the dollars we spend to support our outdoor passions -- has slowed, it's holding up better than some might expect. I guess it's because we put great value on those passions, and come hunting season we're just not willing to go without.
I'm confident this country will rebound -- it always does -- but in the meantime we're all looking for ways to get the most for our dollar. If you're in the market for a new bow, you can save some money in a couple of ways.
First, if you can't afford the so-called "flagship" bows offered by the various bow makers, look at their midrange bows. The most common question I get is, "Which bow should I buy?" The second most common is, "How much money do I have to spend to get a good bow?" My answer always is: No one except you can say which bow is best for you because only you know whether a bow feels good in your hands and falls within your budget.
But here is one fact -- a $400 bow will kill a deer just as dead as a $1,000 bow will. Are there differences? Certainly, but those matter only at the bowhunter's end. You can be a deadly bowhunter without the Ferrari. The Fords, Chevys, and Dodges have killed a lot of game!
Second, consider a "package" bow. Accessories such as sights and arrow rests can be very expensive additions to any new bow, but a package includes the necessary items to get you onto the range or into the woods economically. Several manufacturers offer package bow deals that include arrow rest, fiber-optic sight, quiver, stabilizer, peep sight, and wrist strap. Some even come preassembled and tuned so all you have to do is choose some arrows and do some final fine-tuning.
So, let's look at a short list of budget bow packages. These aren't youth bows, or "cheap" bows. They're quality adult bows that come ready to put some venison on the meat pole.
And in this economy, stocking your freezer is another great way to save money!
The Frontier Bow Package is an economically priced outfit that will get the job done in the field. This single-cam bow weighs 3.5 lbs., measures 35" long, and has a 7.25" brace height. The Advantage One Cam generates 300 feet per second (fps), and Alpine's factory-installed noise and vibration-dampening accessories assure a quiet shot. The accessory package includes Alpine's Fall Away Arrow Rest, a TruGlo fiber-optic sight, 5-Arrow Bear Claw Quiver, and Pro Flex Stabilizer. The whole works will set you back only $451.48.
Bear offers its RTS (Ready-to-Shoot) packages on several bow models, including the Lights Out, a 30" bow with a forgiving 8.5" brace height and IBO speed of 296-300 fps.
This smooth-shooting, single-cam bow comes with a Single String Suppressor. The RTS package includes a Whisker Biscuit QS arrow rest, Trophy Ridge Hawk Eye sight, Trophy Ridge Six-Shooter quiver, Trophy Ridge ShockStop stabilizer with wrist strap, Wheel Peep, and nock loop. Complete price is $529.99.
The Rage, with a 33.25" length and a 7.63" brace height, is capable of 300 fps. The Rage's single cam adjusts to draw lengths of 27"-30", or 25"-28" with another cam option. The Ready-To-Shoot package outfits your Rage with a fiber-optic sight, Whisker Biscuit QS arrow rest, Mongoose bow quiver, peep sight, and nocking loop -- and it's pre-tuned at the factory. You get all this for an incredible $379.99. Another option, the Field-Ready package, includes all the above accessories plus a Vibracheck Flexxtech stabilizer, Tru-Fire Hurricane release aid, wrist sling, four Carbon Force Predator arrows, and a deluxe nylon bow case. This option costs $509.99.
Diamond offers accessory packages with all its bows, but in keeping with the budget theme I'll highlight The Rock. This single-cam bow measures 31.63" axle to axle, and offers draw lengths of 23"-30". A 7" brace height cranks out plenty of speed and energy at 310-318 fps. The Backwoods Accessory Package outfits this bow with a Hostage Capture Arrow Rest, 3-pin fiber-optic sight, black 4-arrow twist-release quiver, braided wrist sling, and peep sight. It all comes tuned and ready to go for about $500. The next step up is the Diamond Stud, a more complete package, for about $679.
The new, mid-priced PowerHawk, a 32" bow with a 7" brace height, features Hoyt's new M4 Cam & ½ Performance System with 4" of draw-length adjustment and IBO speeds of just over 300 fps. The PowerHawk is available with two package options. The East Package includes a 3-pin TruGlo Ultra Extreme sight, Fuse Ventera Lite 5-arrow quiver, Whisker Biscuit rest, Fuse Injector Stabilizer, and TruGlo Peep. The West Package has a 5-pin TruGlo Ultra Extreme sight and a Hoyt Duralite 6-arrow quiver. Other accessories are the same. The PowerHawk and complete accessory package costs $629-$679.
Martin offers a variety of options, but the Cheetah fits our profile of an adult bow that won't trash your hunting fund. The 30", single-cam Cheetah is fast at 315-320 fps IBO.
The package includes an NAP 360 arrow rest, Apex sight, 415 Next G-1 Quiver, peep sight, and nock. This preassembled package will set you back only $479.99. To the basic package, the Complete Package adds four carbon arrows, stabilizer, release aid, armguard, and hard case to keep it all in. That bumps the cost up to $659.99.
Mission's newest bow, the single-cam Eliminator, can be bought separately or as a package. With a length of 30.25" and a brace height of 7.13", this bow cranks out an IBO speed of 319 fps. Factory-installed String Cushions and D-Amplifiers quiet the bow at the release. Three accessory packages are available. The midrange Bow Hunter Package includes a QAD Ultra-Rest drop-away, TruGlo Bright Site X, Alpine Bear Claw Quiver, TruBlock Mini-Stabilizer, and Paradox Braided Sling, all for a price of $549.
PARKER COMPOUND BOWS
The Trailblazer XP is an excellent midrange option. This bow measures just over 32" in length, weighs only 3.5 lbs., and offers 3" of draw-length adjustment. The Parker ARC single cam produces an IBO speed of 302 fps. Parker's Outfitter Package for the Trailblazer XP includes your choice of arrow rests between the Whisker Biscuit QS, the QAD Hunter Drop Away, or the Octane Hostage arrow rest. Also, you'll get a Montana Black Gold sight, Parker quiver, angled peep sight, braided sling, and string silencers.
This package runs $549.95, or $10 less if you choose the Hostage rest.
The Brute, a 32" single-cam bow with a generous 8.13" brace height, wrings out an IBO speed of 308 fps. The Ready-To-Shoot package for this bow includes a factory-installed Vibracheck Backstop string suppressor, Orion sight with a light, Whisker Biscuit QS arrow rest, Mongoose quiver and peep sight, and nocking loop -- all for $499.99. If you choose to add the Field-Ready package consisting of all the above plus four Carbon Force Predator arrows, Tru-Fire Hurricane release, Vibracheck Flexxtech stabilizer, wrist sling, and soft bow case, you'll pay $629.99.
The PSE Stinger is the next step down, but this single-cam, 31.5" bow is still putting out 304 fps. Draw-length range is 25"-30". You can buy this compact bow with the same Ready-To-Shoot package as above for $399.99 or the Field-Ready package for $529.99.
Both the Brute and Stinger come with all accessories installed, and the bows tuned and tested. You need only set the peep to fit your dimensions and sight in.
Parker Compound Bows