If your bow is more than five years old, you could be missing out on an entirely new world of exciting and useful breakthroughs in bow technology. Speed, silence, forgiveness, even eye appeal are all subjective terms and left to individual interpretation.
Still, nearly every bow presently offered the public boasts an IBO speed of 300 feet per second or more, even conservative ATA speeds (more closely resembling most realistic hunting rigs) of 250 or more. If 250 doesn't strike you as impressive, consider that only 10 years ago most of us were struggling to break 200. Bow silence has become such the rage that there are many bows available now that don't require string silencers, even when installed in a whitetail stand. Due to cutting-edge cam designs and better engineering, average bows today are much easier to tune and shoot well than those made only a few years ago. As for looks, we think you'll agree this year's lineup is sexier than ever.
Pushing the limits of engineering, Hoyt's new VTEC riser is stronger, more balanced and substantially reduces vibration according to Hoyt. To further dampen vibration, AlphaShox have been added to the limbs using Navcom material. The VTEC is fitted with Hoyt's Cam & 1/2 system and is available in Safari Grade, Realtree Hardwoods HD Green and a variety of target colors to fit your preference.
Contact: Hoyt USA, Dept. PB, 543 N. Neil Armstrong Rd. Salt Lake City, UT 84116; (801) 363-2990; www.hoyt.com.
The CK 3.4R by Jennings combines compression molding with multiple layers of continuous carbon fibers resulting in what they term CK (Carbon Kinetics). Their new j-REV single cam is designed to deliver power and speed without creating vibration and works in perfect balance with the 3.75-inch idler wheel. It also features the new Force Neutralizing Technology (FNT), a pre-bent compression-molded limb to be drawn past parallel. Added to that, company engineers have designed a bow that's balanced and vibration-free at a consistent 305 feet per second (IBO).
Contact: Escalade Sports, Dept. PB, 817 Maxwell Ave. Evansville, IN 47711; (866) 556-2754; www.escaladesports.com.
The Stealth Of A Cat
Martin's new ShadowCat Hunter bow features seven VEMs (Vibration Escape Modules) positioned at key points in the riser to maximize their dampening effect. The grip can be custom-tuned to your desire, having the option between a standard low grip angle or an ergonomic medium angle. The bow weighs less than four pounds and has an IBO speed of 310 feet per second. A 75-percent letoff with a 65-percent letoff option and either a 60- or 70-pound peak draw weight is available.
Contact: Martin, Dept PB, 3134 W. Hwy 12, Walla Walla, WA 99362; (509) 529-2554; www.martinarchery.com.
A Complete System
Alpine Archery's Denali Match Grade bow is ideal for hunters looking for a package. Included are a trouble-free, ball-bearing-mounted fall away rest, an Alpine MR2 Six Shooter Stabilizer and a custom-built Montana Black Gold fiber-optic sight. The bow comes standard with Alpine's Tundra VX Dampening Package, weighs 4.6 pounds, measures 34 inches axle to axle and offers the option of 60- and 70-pound peak draw weights.
Contact: Alpine Archery, Dept. PB, P.O. Box 319, Lewiston, ID 83501; (208) 746-4717; www.alpinearchery.com.
Big On Quality
Parker Compound Bows has introduced a parallel limb bow designed specifically for women and youth, the Micro Phoenix. Combining Parallel Limb Technology with the power and speed of their Phoenix cam, this bow is ideal for archers with shorter draw lengths and lower peak weights. The in-line riser provides perfect alignment with the riser, arrow rest and sight pins. It has optional draw lengths of 23, 24, 25, 26 or 27 inches, draw weights between 30-40 or 40-50 pounds and a brace height of 7.5 inches and measures 31 inches in length.
Contact: Parker Compound Bows, Dept. PB, P.O. Box 105, Mint Spring, VA 24463; (800) 707-8149; www.parkerbows.com.
Comfort And Speed
The new Allegiance VFT from BowTech combines the high performance of their new Equalizer Binary Cam System with a lenient brace height and the vibration/shock-suppressing qualities of Vertical Force Technology. The Allegiance has a brace height of seven inches, peak draw weights of 50, 60 and 70 pounds, draw length from 25 to 30 inches, axle-to-axle length of 33 3/4 inches, adjustable letoff of 65 to 80 percent, a light weight of four pounds, three ounces and an IBO speed of 322-328 feet per second.
Contact: BowTech, Dept. PB, 90554 Highway 99 North, Eugene, OR 97402; (541) 284-4711; www.bowtecharchery.com.
The Tempest Extreme from Darton Archery is ideal for archers looking for a bow with an adjustable letoff. By switching from 65 to 75 percent you are able to get an additional 1/2-inch draw length out of the cam system. The bow has an axle-to-axle length of 36 inches and a brace height of seven inches. At 60 pounds draw weight, tested with the 65-percent letoff module, this bow pumped out arrows at a consistent 311 feet per second. The lightweight 4.5-pound bow is Darton's most parallel-limbed bow to date featuring their eighth-generation CPS Extreme Cam and is available in Realtree Hardwoods Green camo.
Contact: Darton Archery, Dept. PB, 3540 Darton Rd. Hale, MI 48739; (989) 728-4231; www.dartonarchery.com.
Browning Archery's newest Mirage 1.5 bow features the Cyber 1.5 Hybrid Cam System that allows four inches of draw length adjustment without the need of a bowpress and in 1/2-inch increments to suit almost any archer. The bow includes Browning's Radial-Lok pockets with Impacstop vibration-dampening inserts to eliminate shock. It has a 7 1/2-inch brace height and 70-percent actual letoff. Sixty- and 70-pound peak draw weights are available as well as 27 to 30 inches of adjustable draw length. The Mirage 1.5 shoots out arrows at 312 feet per second and is available in Mossy Oak Break-Up.
Contact: Browning Archery, Dept. PB, P.O. Box 5507, Tucson, AZ 85703; (800) 644-0245; www.browning-archery.com.
Quietness and speed are among the most desirable features in a hunting bow. The Vengeance from PSE is a performance package. With a 7 5/8-inch brace height, the bow is not only forgiving, but it shoots smoothly as well. PSE's NRG single-cam system is a moderately aggressive cam with modules for draw length adjustment and an 80-percent letoff (adjustable to 65 percent). The newly added SRS System (String Recoil Suppressors) attaches to the limb tips and applies a soft rubber cushion to the string for minimal vibration. Available in Mossy Oak Break-Up camo this 33 1/2-inch-length bow is perfect for toting and carries an IBO speed of 303 feet per second.
Contact: PSE Archery, Dept. PB, P.O. Box 5487, Tucson, AZ 85703; (800) 477-7789; www.pse-archery.com.
"Trad" Youth Bow
With traditional equipment becoming ever so popular, GreaTree now offers a youth and recreational bow in their GT series. The bow's riser is uniquely hand-crafted from maple and ash while the limbs are constructed of maple and fiberglass. GT series bows come in four lengths: 48, 54, 62 and 66 inches. The bow comes complete with a bowstring and GreaTree's No-Cushion arrow rest. Also featured are optional draw weights between 14 and 36 pounds, and the bow is available in right or left hand.
Contact: GreaTree Archery, Dept. PB, 29 Olcott St. Manchester, CT 06040; (800) 337-1128; www.greatreearchery.com.
One-Half Less Cam ...
With the same design as their PL-1, Cabela's has added their new Outfitter Series PL-1.5 bow to create a combination of speed, forgiveness and ease of tuning. Symmetrical top and bottom cams help deliver perfectly level nock travel. The extra-long, moderately flexed, machined-aluminum riser positions the short, powerful limbs on a near-parallel plane at full draw to reduce hand shock and noise. The Outfitter Series PL-1.5 has a narrow-throat grip with slim hardwood panels for torque-free shooting; low-stretch, low-twist BCY 450 Plus string; Cam-Lok cable guard and included nocking loop and Limbsavers, all in Seclusion 3D camo finish.
Contact: Cabela's, Dept. PB, 1 Cabela Dr. Sidney, NE 69160; (800) 237-4444; www.cabelas.com.
Quiet And Deadly
Mathews brings their most innovative bow to the market, the Switchback. Mathews' all-new Cobra Cam with dual perimeter weighted technology heads up this performance package. With a seven-inch brace height, the Switchback fires arrows at 318 feet per second IBO. For dampening effect they have included two more harmonic dampers built into its Roller Guard for a quiet yet smooth bow. This parallel-designed bow has draw lengths available from 26 to 30 inches in 1/2-inch increments; the axle-to-axle length is 33 inches with letoff options of 65 and 80 percent and draw weights from 40 to 70 pounds.
Contact: Mathews, Dept. PB, P.O. Box 367, Sparta, WI 54656; (608) 269-2728; www.mathewsinc.com.
Light And Solid
The hot new lightweight SX-5 from Renegade Archery has the design to provide unmatched flexibility due to its PTS solid limb construction and machined-aluminum reflexed riser. The 31 1/2-inch axle-to-axle length makes it ideal for everyone from beginning youth, to women, to professionals. It boasts draw weights from 25 to 70 pounds and is quiet and easy to maneuver in a blind or tree stand thanks to a mere three-pound construction. Draw lengths from 24 to 30 inches and letoff options of 65 and 80-percent are available. It's dressed in Realtree Hardwoods Gray with a brace height of 7 1/16 inches, and you can either get a one- or two-piece wood handle.
Contact: Renegade Archery Co., LLC, Dept. PB, 18706 Country Highway Q, Bloomer, WI 54724; (715) 568-2730; www.renegadebows.com.