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Archery transport systems: products that get your most important gear from here to wherever in one piece.

SOME THINGS we occasionally take for granted, like our opportunity to hunt at all. Or to hunt on millions upon millions of acres of public land throughout our country. We also tend to take for granted the fact that if we drive or fly to our far-flung hunting destinations, our bows and arrows will get there as safely as we will.

Most of the time they do, but it's the times that they don't that will get your attention. Or at least it got mine. The scene was the Johannesburg airport, and it was three in the morning. I stood, weary after so much travel, absentmindedly watching the only functioning luggage carousel spin slowly, each revolution revealing fewer bags as other travelers plucked their luggage from it.

When it was clear that my bow case was not on the carousel, I tried to find someone who spoke English to help me. This was not an easy task, and as I was pantomiming my situation to a woman at the help desk, I caught a glimpse of my case coming through an unmarked door. Actually, "coming" and "through" aren't the right words--it flew into the air and crashed to the floor!

After reaching the outfitter's lodge the following day, we set up to fling a few practice shots. My sight rattled like the teeth of an Alabaman riding out the 11th hour of a Saskatchewan dawn-to-dusk rut hunt. It was busted beyond repair. So I swapped out the sight with my backup, re-sighted the bow in, and proceeded with the trip.

I also resolved to find a bow case that could endure TSA and my own rough and careless travel tendencies. I've tried out a pile of different cases, and now have a fairly pared-down system that has held up thus far on plenty of hunting trips. And it all starts with a bow case.

Even if I only plan to take one bow (not very likely on an out-of-state trip), I tend to opt for a double bow case. This gives me a chance to pack away extra arrows, broadheads, Allen wrenches, and other assorted bow accessories that might be necessary throughout a trip.

Increasingly, my choice for just such a case has been the Bowfile ELITE Combo ($290) from Lakewood Products. The ELITE Combo contains a 41 "L x 7.75"W x 15"H airline approved drop-in design bow case that can easily accommodate two parallel-limb compound bows. It also contains an 18-arrow storage box, along with a smaller case that is perfect for broadheads and bow tools. At only 21.5 lbs., the ELITE Combo is perfect for serious travel, or for the DIY hunter looking to keep all of his essentials in one sturdy package.

Another name in the indestructible case business is SKB, and their new Platinum Interior Watertight Bow Cases ($270) are ideal for anyone looking to protect their bows while hunting everywhere from the Yukon to the local deer lease. Each is designed to be waterproof, dustproof, and worry-free, thanks to the four reinforced padlock locations, four patented trigger latches, and a custom foam insert. To further increase your peace of mind, SKB backs their cases with the Million Mile Guaranty, which means that the company will reimburse you up to $1,500 should any of your gear get damaged during airline travel.

Plano also has a very useful new hard-sided bow case--the Parallel Limb Bow Case ($80). Just about anyone who likes to fish has used a Plano tackle box of some sort, and therefore knows exactly how functional and durable their products are. These attributes transcend their product line and cover their archery products as well. The Parallel Limb Bow Case is fully customizable and uses the unique PillarLock System to ensure your expensive bow and arrows arrive unblemished. Each measures 43" x 19" x 7.5" and comes standard with a 1309 Utility Box.

Not every hunt calls for a hard-shelled bow case, and for those trips the market offers a great selection of soft-sided cases. Outdoor industry powerhouse Cabela's produces an excellent option in their Deluxe Bow Case with Tackle Pouch ($70). This case is designed with 600-denier polyester, soft foam, and heavy-duty zippers to keep your bow and extras intact and undamaged from Point A to Point B. The Deluxe's dimensions are 39.5"L x 6 'W x 18"H.

Easton Outfitters has also entered the bow case space with an entire lineup of new cases. A personal favorite is the Micro Flatline 3617 Bow Case ($28).

This rugged bow case is designed with thick interior padding and high-denier polyester, and will fit most bows (36" x 17"). Stow your release, rangefinder, and other shooting necessities in the exterior mesh accessories pocket. Choose from either Black or Realtree Xtra. I n addition to their bow cases, Easton also makes the Arrow Tote ($20), which is one of my favorite ways to transport ammo. It holds up to two-dozen arrows, fits inside most of my bow cases, and features a locking adjustment system that allows it to extend from 24" long to a full 40".

Finding a case for an adult's bow isn't terribly difficult, but locating a quality case for Junior's bow can be. If you're on the hunt for a case to keep a youth bow protected, look no further than Allen Company, which produces an entire line of soft cases, including the Compact/

Youth Bow Case ($20). This camo case boasts an Endura shell, TV-thick foam, and a #5 zipper to ensure years of use. It measures 36" in length, so make sure you measure any bow you plan to stow away in the Compact/Youth Bow Case.

In addition to protecting bows and arrows, it's a good idea to keep your broadheads secure. When I'm hunting for a morning or an evening close to home, I don't bother bringing any more ammo than I can carry in my quiver. However, if I'm heading out of state, I tend to pack along extra arrows and broadheads. For instance, this past fall I drove down to Central Nebraska to bowhunt deer, turkeys, and small game on public land. The deer demanded certain broadheads, as did the turkeys, and while some hunters may use crossover heads, I don't. I also needed small-game tips for bunnies and squirrels.

I took three MTM Case-Gard Broadhead Boxes ($6) with me. One contained my deer broadheads and practice broadheads, another contained everything for turkeys, and the last contained small-game heads, Judo points, and fieldpoints. These cases are made of high-impact plastic, and a strong snap latch prevents them from popping open. Foam inserts with 16 precut holes house your heads in place. Although they aren't the flashiest cases on the market, they are highly functional, compact, and perfect for traveling. MTM also produces the 36.25" long Compact Arrow Case ($24), which is an ideal complement to their Broadhead Boxes.

Of course, if you do use crossover broadheads for turkeys and deer (and other critters), there is a high likelihood your broadhead of choice comes from Rage. Their Rage Cage Travel Case ($15) is designed specifically to hold all models of two and three-blade Rage heads. A blade-friendly foam insert holds six broadheads in place, or you can do what I like to do and store five heads and a small tube of replacement shock collars.

Quality cases are an insurance policy for any traveling hunter, which if you think about it, we all are. Every time you load your bow into the back of your truck for a drive to the farm there is the potential to bang it around and potentially loosen an accessory (or worse). Protect your bows, arrows, and broadheads each and every time you leave the house, and you'll never have to worry about missing out on valuable hunting time because of some travel-related mishap.

Manufacturer's Contact List:

* Allen Company, 1-800-876-8600,

* Cabela's, 1-800-237-4444,

* Easton Outfitters, 1-800-800-6686,

* Lakewood Products, 1-800-872-8458,

* MTM Case-Gard, (937) 890-7461,

* Plano Molding, 1-800-874-6905,

* Rage, 1-866-387-9307,

* SKB, 1-800-654-5992,

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Title Annotation:Tried & True
Author:Peterson, Tony J.
Date:Jan 1, 2015
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