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New Crossbows for 2012

by Daniel James Hendricks 7. May 2012 01:46
Daniel James Hendricks

   Each at the Archery Trade Association Show, the manufacturers from around the world unveil their new products to archery dealers.  Crossbows and crossbow accessories are garnering a larger share of the archery market every year and this year there were some wonderful new kids on the block at the trade show in Indianapolis.  As a matter of fact, there were so many new models that the ones included here are just some of the more prominent additions to the long and growing list of crossbow options for the horizontal bowhunter.


 01-Arrow Precision’s Inferno Hellfire II 
  The Inferno Hellfire II crossbow by Arrow Precision has a 185 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 310 feet per second.  It comes equipped with a 4x32 Multi Reticle Illuminated Scope, Quick Detach Quiver, 4- 20” carbon arrows, padded shoulder sling, rope cocking device and anti-dry fire mechanism. It comes in a camo pattern and has an ambidextrous auto safety with anti-dry fire Mechanism.  It has a Lightweight Machined Aluminum Riser, Precision Machined Aluminum Wheels and a large boot style foot stirrup.  It weighs just under 7 ½ pounds, is 36.5” long and 28” wide.  The limbs are made of Compression Fiberglass, the barrel is machined aluminum and the riser is case aluminum.  The best thing about the Hellfire is that the entire package is delivered to you for under $500.  For more information visit their website at:

02-Carbon Express Covert SLS
  The Covert SLS crossbow by Carbon Express has a 185 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 355 feet per second.  The Covert SLS measures 36” long by 17” wide, but is only 13” wide when loaded.  Precision Aluminum Alloy Cams, the Picatinny Rail system, adjustable forearm and tactical foregrip help to make the Covert SLS a comfortable fit for anyone.  It has a compact CNC machined aluminum riser and Compact Bull-Pup stock with custom adjustments.  It has an Anti-Dry-Firs System and ambidextrous safety.  The Covert SLS kit includes a Rope Cocker, Quick Detach 3 Arrow Quiver, 3 Maxima Hunter® 20" Crossbolts, 4x32 Deluxe Multi-Reticle Lighted Scope, Rail Lubricant and 3 Practice Points all for under $600.  For more information about the Carbon Express Covert SLS, visit their website at


03-Darton FireForce
  The FireForce crossbow by Darton has a 185 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 395 feet per second.  It had larger axels, sealed oversized Quad Ball Bearings, wide/stronger laminated Quad limbs, all combined with a compact front riser and redesigned Tactical Darton Stock first introduced in 2011. With Darton’s DualSync cams you have added performance and accuracy in a crossbow bow that is flat out fast, durable and accurate, shooting a 400 grain arrow a blurring 395-400fps. The FireForce is equipped with an integrated riser/string suppressor system and new Barrel Dampener [Patent Pending] to help reduce noise and vibration.  It has 17 ¼” power stroke, weighs 8.6 pound in weight.  It is 36” long and 24 3/8” wide.  For more information about the FireForce visit the Darton website at


04-Excalibur Eclipse XT
  The Eclipse XT from Excalibur has a 200 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 330 feet per second.  It has a thumbhole stock in a black gun finish and has Excalibur’s fine trigger, the S5 Sound and Vibration Control System as well as a matching cheek-piece.  It has a 15 ½ inch power stroke and weighs only 6.3 lbs.  Its overall length is 37.4” and it shoots a 400 grain, 20” arrow.  The Eclipse XT comes in a complete package including our Shadow-Zone scope and mounting hardware, four Firebolt arrows with target points, the Excalibur quiver mounting bracket and a matching quiver.  For more information on the this and other fine bows from Excalibur, visit their website at

05-Horton Fury
  The Fury crossbow by Horton has a 160 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 360 feet per second.  With its CNC-machined riser and lightweight aluminum barrel it produces incredible balance and accuracy. Precision CNC-machined cams and advanced laminated limbs optimize speed, integrated stumper arms maximize stealth while our custom Viper X strings deliver ultimate speed and durability.  It is 35 1/4” long and 17 ½” wide with a 15 3/8” power stroke.  When it is loaded it is a mere 13” wide.  It weighs 8.1 lbs and shoots a 20” arrow.  For more information on the Horton Fury, visit their website at


 06-Maximus Crossbow’s Ergo
  The Ergo crossbow by Maximus Crossbows  has a 175 lb draw weight and launches its arrows at right around 330 feet per second.  It is 31¼ inches long and 18¾ wide, axel to axel and weighs 8 lbs with optics installed. Unique features include an under-mount stirrup, a handshake pistol grip, elevated comb height and a winged and vented barrel for forehand safety.  It has a vented forearm, extended scope rail (for eye-glass wearers), an ambidextrous safety with anti-dry fire device and a 100% metal trigger with only a 2.5 lb trigger pull.  The efficiency of its design is also complimented by a 50% rear-of-center balance point for fatigue free shooting.  The package comes with an innovative 20 to 100 yard, 3-power scope with regular or illuminated reticle.  Cushioned scope rings, flip-up scope caps, 3-arrow side-mount quiver, 3-Maximus 100% carbon Slayer Arrows with field points and the new 102 grain Hammer inserts and a Universal rope cocking aid featuring their new safety hooks and T-handles.  For more information about the Maximus Ergo visit their website at


07-Parker Tomahawk
  The Tomahawk crossbow by Parker has a 160 lb draw weight and launches a 20”, 400 grain arrow at right around 320 feet per second.  The Tomahawk is 34.25” long, 20.375” wide and weighs in at 6.5 lbs.  It has Advanced Split Limb Technology, a G2 Bull-Pup Trigger, an auto-engage, ambidextrous safety and an auto-engage anti-dry fire mechanism.  The Tomahawk has a machined aluminum riser with a ballistic Polymer stock.  It has a vented forearm with safety finger flange comes with an option of regular or illuminated 3X Multi-Reticle scope.  All packaged include 4-Arrow Quick Detach Quiver and four arrows with field tips.  For more information about the Tomahawk visit the Parker website at www.

 08-SA Sports Vendetta
  The Vendetta crossbow by SA Sports has a 200 lb draw weight and launches a 20” arrow at right around 375 feet per second. It has a 14” power stroke and is only 19” wide when loaded.  Some of the top shelf features included as standard equipment are a finely crafted machined riser, a lightweight extruded and machined barrel, an ANTI Dry-fire trigger mechanism, 3.5lb trigger pull, high performance machined aluminum cams, illuminated red/green/black reticle 4x32 multi range crossbow scope, quiver with 4 carbon arrows, padded shoulder sling, ambidextrous auto safety, lightweight skeletal stock, and crank cocking device compatibility. It comes standard with a rope cocking device, an Integrated Step Through Foot Stirrup and is clad in Next G1 Camo.  It also includes assembly tools and hex keys for quick assembly and maintenance.  For more information about the Vendetta visit their website at

09-Scorpyd Ventilator
  The Ventilator crossbow by Scorpyd has a 150 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 400 feet per second with 140 lbs of kinetic energy.  The new Ventilator is only 19.5 inches wide, axle to axle, and only 12.75 inches wide when cocked which makes this crossbow easy to maneuver in a treestand or the tight quarters often found in a pop-up ground blind. The Ventilator is a mere 35.75 inches long and comes with a folding stock which makes cocking the crossbow easier in the seated position.  It weighs in at 7.9 lbs thanks to the vented barrel and a lightweight forged riser. The solid limb Ventilator is built with top notch components including Barnsdale limbs which are considered some of the toughest, longest-lasting limbs in the archery industry.  The Ventilator is available in draw weights 100, 125 and 150 lbs.  The 150 draw weight produces 140 lbs of kinetic energy and will throw an arrow up to an incredible 400 FPS. Like all Scorpyd crossbows, the Ventilator comes with reverse draw limbs and has a generous power stroke of 18.75 inches thus producing more kinetic energy with less draw weight than other crossbows. As a result, the Ventilator is extremely quiet when shot because large amounts of weight aren’t needed to produce extreme speeds. The Ventilator also comes with a light three pound trigger.  Find out more about the complete line of Scorpyd Crossbows by visiting

10-Stryker  StrykeZone 380
  The StrykeZone 380 crossbow by Stryker has a 160 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 380 feet per second.  The StrykeZone 380 measures 34.375” long by 19.2” wide axel to axel and weighs just 7 lbs.  It has a 15.5” power stroke and 123 foot pound of kinetic energy.  It has a double jaw string capture and the Killswitch Trigger of less than 3lbs.  It has the Auto-Flip™ magnetic safety that clicks into the safe position every time the bow is cocked and is engineered to click back into safe mode if the crossbow is dropped or the bolt is removed.  The Cease-Fire™ safety plug is a double barred insert that slides into place, locking the jaws and immobilizing the trigger until you remove it and are ready to shoot. The StrykeZone 380 is available in Mossy Oak® Treestand™ or Optifade® Forest. For more information about this bow, visit

11-TenPoint’s Carbon Elite XLT™
  The Carbon Elilte XLT crossbow by TenPoint has a 185 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 360 feet per second.  Like all XLT models, the Carbon Elite XLT’s bow assembly measures 13.5-inches from axle-to-axle when cocked and weighs just under 7 lbs.  The riser comes with a detachable, lightweight, coated aluminum foot stirrup and its 11-inch IsoTaper Limbs™ are double laminated for improved strength and durability and are equipped with NEW MRX™ cams and D-75 string and cables.  The Carbon Elite XLT also features TenPoint’s patented DFI™ (dry-fire inhibitor), highly regarded 3.5-pound patented PowerTouch™ trigger and patented GripSafety™. Equipped with the ACUdraw™ or ACUdraw 50™, TenPoint’s patented cocking units, and the RangeMaster Pro™ variable speed and power scope, the Carbon Elite XLT is double-dip fluid imaged in Mossy Oak’s® popular Break-Up Infinity® camo pattern.  The model is sold only as a complete package that includes a soft case, carbon arrows, silencer kit, and quiver.   For more information, contact Randy Wood, Vice President of Sales (800) 548-6837 or


12-Wicked Ridge Raider CLS
  The Raider crossbow by Wicked Ridge has a 180 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 330 feet per second with 101.6 fp of kinetic energy.  The Raider features an economically executed variation of TenPoint’s powerful Compact Limb System™ (CLS) bow assembly. Unlike TenPoint’s one-piece CLS riser and foot stirrup, the Raider comes with a detachable, lightweight, coated aluminum foot stirrup. Its 12-inch IsoTaper Limbs™ are fitted with MR™ cams and D-75 string and cables. Together, these features create a smooth-handling, high-performance crossbow that shoots 330 fps with 101.6 foot-pounds of kinetic energy.  With its NEW CLS bow assembly and an injection-molded composite semi-skeletal Verton® stock and ACRAANGLE™ barrel assembly, the Raider weighs in at 7-pounds. In addition, the stock is fitted with a safety-engineered winged fore-grip designed to help prevent finger and thumb injuries.  The Raider CLS comes equipped with a TenPoint™ 3x Multi-Line™ Scope and, like all Wicked Ridge models, it features TenPoint’s patented DFI™ (dry-fire-inhibitor) and patented 3.5-pound PowerTouch™ trigger. Equipped with the patented ACU-52™, the Raider CLS is double-dip fluid imaged in Mossy Oak’s® popular Break-Up Infinity® camo pattern. For more information, contact Randy Wood, Vice President of Sales (800) 548-6837 or



13-Winchester Stallion 
  The Stallion crossbow by Winchester Archery  has a 165 lb draw weight and launches its arrow at right around 350 feet per second with 110 fp of kinetic energy.  It has a 12.5” power stroke and measures 17” wide axel to axel.  The Stallion crossbow highlights the patent pending 12/277,860 Accu-Speed Technology (AST-X) cams to the patent pending Ultra Match stainless steel trigger.  It has a padded pistol grip, forearm and cheekpiece and weighs 7 lbs.  The Stallion has a retracted cocking platform, a bull-pup stock configuration, along with a fully machined barrel and riser.  It has limb and string dampeners, and our sophisticated dual 3K carbon rod string stop system making it one of the quietest crossbows available.  For more information about the Stallion visit the Winchester website at










Crossbow Review: Parker Hornet Extreme

by Daniel James Hendricks 20. December 2011 13:51
Daniel James Hendricks

As crossbows slowly gain more ground each year, the manufacturers continue to amaze me with the improved quality they are making to their bows. I have previously explained how I’ve become a Crossbow Tramp having one affair after another with some truly great and very beautiful bows. Let me share the details of my latest fling with a pretty lady from Parker by the name of Hornet Extreme.

Upon opening the box, I first noticed her soft, almost sensual skin. The Soft Touch Finish of a Parker bow is a wonderful thing to experience and the Vista camo only makes it more desirable. Her petite 32” length and 21.2” width is made more appealing by the 7.5 lb mass weight. When taken into your arms, her sleek stature is made even more pleasurable by the Thumb-hole Pistol Grip and the Vented Forearm with Safety Finger Flange.

Adding to the physical beauty is the Red Hot string and cable with an Auto-engage, ambidextrous Safety that, much to my personal pleasure, is completely silent when released. The tell-tale click of a stiff safety can bring calamity in the quiet woods, but it’s not a problem with the Hornet Extreme. The trigger on this bow is another dream feature. Smooth, quiet with a surprise release is what you can expect with every trip of her trigger. And when it comes to power and stamina, the Hornet’s 165 lb draw weight and 11.6” power stroke launches a 400 grain, 20” arrow at 315 fps. It is important to note that a moon nock is required for this bow and proper string alignment is necessary or a dry-fire could occur. As with all crossbows, the arrow must be properly seated and limbs must be clear of obstructions or misfortune could ruin your hunt.

Once assembled, I headed out to hunting partner, Perry Mason’s to utilize his range for the first rendezvous with my new lady friend. After we had allowed time for Perry to ooh and ah my new pal, we went to work to see exactly what she could do. My Hornet Extreme is topped with the Illuminated Multi-Reticle Scope with four circles.

We sighted the top circle in at 20 yards very quickly and then proceeded to determine the exact distance of the next three. Much to my surprise the reticules hit dead center in the bulls-eye at 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards. That doesn’t happen very often. Usually they vary to something like 20, 28, 35 and 42 yards, but seldom does a scope give your clear 10-yard increments. It’s very important to determine the marks for your scope before you take it into the field.

Shooting from Perry’s bench rest, we consistently pierced the bulls-eye at all four ranges. I am not entirely sure, but given the quality and performance of the scope, I believe it to be a Hawke Optic’s scope which makes some of the very best scopes in the industry. The consistency of the bow at the four distances and the repeated bulls-eyes made Perry and me giggle with glee. This Hornet is one dependable and consistent shooting machine.

The next phase was to take the bow into the field and see how it performed on a live target. The next scheduled hunt was at Ozark Mountain Outfitters, where we were plagued by a full moon, a bumper acorn crop and warm weather. Passing on a 50-yard shot at a doe and a 30-yard shot at turkeys the first day, I hoped for a closer shot before the week’s end. It didn’t come.

On the last morning of the hunt a flock of turkeys materialized out of the thick underbrush and fed along the far side of the food plot I guarded. I had ranged a lone pine tree at the far end of the plot at 50-yards, but held my fire in hopes that the birds would venture closer for a shot. It didn’t happen. When the birds began to filter back into the underbrush, I decided it was now or never.

There were turkeys pecking around the big pine, which I knew to be 50-yards. We had consistently shot bulls-eyes at that distance on the range so I was willing to give it a go. The ladderstand I was in had a rail around it allowing me to stabilize my shot. A bird near the tree came to attention when I moved my head to the scope, which provided me a great vertical target; it was up to me to manage the left and right.

I placed the 50-yard circle on the bird’s chest and gently squeezed the trigger. The silence was shattered as the Lumen-Arrow broke free of its constraints and set sail for the other end of the little lea. The bright red end of the arrow lit the shaded sky as I watched it arc across the little glen and then disappear into the chest of the luckless wild turkey. The bird dropped like a pole axed steer, its spine completely severed by the Grim Reaper broadhead.

Upon further investigation, the shot had been exactly 52 yards; the arrow impacting exactly where I’d aimed. I had my first crossbow turkey thanks to the precise performance of the Hornet Extreme. This crossbow starts out at around $600 and has the definite approval of the Crossbow Tramp. But please, if you choose this bow, take the time to watch the instructional video that is included in the package before you fall in love with your new Hornet Extreme.



Another Lighted Nock Advantage

by Daniel James Hendricks 15. August 2011 07:21
Daniel James Hendricks

As the brisk wind added to the cold misery of the dying day, I made the decision to fill my tag if I was given the opportunity thereby bringing to an end the MN bow season for this year.  There was only a few days of the season left, we already had two feet of snow and the real fun had faded a week ago.  The next deer that came along was toast regardless of size or sex; I just hoped that it was tonight, because I was cold and tired.

As the daylight dimmed, I caught the dark form of a whitetail moving along the crest of the ridge my stand overlooked.  The terrain on the far side of the ridge dropped steeply down to the shore of a small lake.  I had very little time as I brought my crossbow to my shoulder, flipped the safety off and found the animal in the scope.  I had one narrow shooting lane and when the whitetail stepped into the lane, I pulled the trigger.

The waning light of the day was set on fire by the flight of my arrow, which was nocked with a bright red Lumenok.  It was like I had shot a flare gun at the animal.  The arrow disappeared from sight and the animal sped off melting into the dense gray of the dusk shrouded, falling snow landscape.  Quickly climbing out of the stand, I moved down the shooting lane hoping all the way that my perception of the arrow passing through the center of my target was not an illusion.  When I reached the crest of the ridge, I was treated to a massive blood trail on both sides of the freshly made trail that had been plowed through the freshly fallen snow.  

The arrow, which I had already kissed good bye in my mind, had passed through the animal and flew over the ridge, down towards the lake.  I checked in that direction and was startled to see a warm red glow on the surface of the snow just ten yards away.  I walked to the glow, reached into the powdery white-stuff and pulled out my arrow still brightly shining.  Without the Lumenok, I would not have been able to find that arrow until spring (if I remembered to come back and search for it)  That was the fourth whitetail I had taken that fall and all had been taken with a Lumenok.  The buck I had taken at Palmquist’s Farm is the only one that I hadn’t benefited greatly from the Lumenok as that one had been shot at high noon (an excellent time of the day to kill a rutting whitetail).  In the final analysis, I had ended the season being an avid fan of the lighted nock concept.  My enthusiasm for the product has gotten me involved in numerous conversations about lighted nocks and the biggest complaint I hear about them is that they are so darned expensive.  Well, let’s analyze that statement.  Using Lumenok as an example (since that is the extent of my lighted nock experience) let’s see exactly how expensive of a deal it is.  Individual Lumenoks sell for $11 each and are available in a choice of flat or moon nocks.  Wow that is a lot!  Or you can buy three arrows already equipped with Lumenoks for $55/3-pak.  That’s a shade over $18 for each arrow.  Wow, again that’s a lot!

For additional data I went to the Information Highway to learn that I can buy crossbow arrows for any price from $5 to $15 each.  Now of course that is without the Lumenok.  Then I shopped broadheads and again discovered that one can spend from $5 to as high as $20+/broadhead if you go for whatever the rage is.  Doing an average on the math would give us an average of $10 for an arrow and $12.50 for a broadhead for a grand total of $22.50/projectile.  Now let’s say that you just added the Lumenok end to your arrow and that $11 investment helps you find just one of your $22.50 arrows.  Well, according to my math (which is the old math as I haven’t a clue what new math even means, let alone how it works) if the Lumenok helps you find even one arrow that would have been lost it just paid for itself twice.  Not a bad investment. 

This past fall is the first fall in my hunting career that I didn’t lose an arrow.  I did have one arrow broken when the broadhead was stopped by the scapula on the far side of my target and the deer fell on it when it died.  Otherwise, I recovered and am able to reuse all four broadheads, all four Lumenoks and three of the arrows. The Lumenoks were definitely a fine investment the first year of use; and, I will be using the same Lumenoks this next season.  Lumenoks were the original lighted nock and their concept must really be a sound and intelligent idea based on all of the other companies that are following suit with their own versions of the concept.  The most sincere compliment any company can receive is to be copied and Lumenok is being copied, big time.

After just one season of using lighted nocks in my crossbow hunting, I am soundly sold on the concept.  Not only for the savings in dollars by recovering arrows that may have been lost, but also because of the enhanced ability to follow arrow flight and being able to accurately determine where the arrow hits the intended target.  I strongly recommend that you try a three pack (arrows or just the nocks) of Lumenoks this next season as see if, in the long run, the Lumenoks don’t save you money.  Remember if you find just one arrow that would have been lost, you have paid for two Lumenoks.  How many arrows did you lose last year?  If the answer is more than zero, perhaps you should try hunting with a flare.  





The Koda-Express Leaves Lasting Impression on Canadian Bear

by Daniel James Hendricks 21. July 2011 11:34
Daniel James Hendricks

My recent trip to Canada for spring bear provided me with an opportunity to begin development of a personal relationship with one of the new kids on the block of the rapidly expanding crossbow world – the Kodabow.  Kodabow is an American made crossbow distributed out of Pennsylvania.  It is of recurve configuration and is an extremely well made piece of equipment.

The Koda-Express from Kodabow is every bit as good as it looks. 

On this particular mission I was using the Koda-Express, which has a 185 lb draw weight and is rated at up to 305 fps in the speed category depending on arrow weight.  That’s a lot of power as far as crossbows go, but Kodabow has two more models that are even more powerful than the Koda-Express.  I have always been a proponent of “it’s not how fast your arrow goes, but where you put the broadhead that counts!”   Shot placement is critical and the first thing that I learned about the Koda-Express is that it is an extremely accurate shooting bow.  Confidence, which in my humble opinion is the most important asset a hunter can possess, is quickly acquired with this crossbow and from that point on the rest is just plain fun.

 The Hawke Optics HK3244 Scope greatly enhances the performace of this bow.

Easy to assemble, the Koda-Express comes complete with a rope cocker, a destringing aid and several optic options.  My bow is topped off with a Hawke HK3244, which is perhaps my favorite Hawke scope.  Choosing my favorite Hawke is a tough call, but it is reassuring to know that one of the best, new crossbows in the field comes adorned with one of the best crossbow scopes in the field, as well.

The projectile of choice for this test run was the Lumen-Arrow by Burt Coyote.

The Koda-Express I received must have been zeroed in at the plant by the senders because when I took the first shot at 10 yards, I was a little high of dead center.  At 20 yards, I was right on the money.  The second mark was right on at 28 yards and the third zeroed at 36.  I did not go beyond that mark as there is little likelihood that I would ever shoot beyond that distance and as always, lack of time to play with my new toy was a major consideration.

 The adjustable military style stock and pistol grip definately enhance use.

I really like the Military-style adjustable stock and rear pistol grip.  It allowed me to adjust the bow to a perfect fit and the pistol grip makes for easier handling.  The bow has an adjustable 90 degree hand grip on the fore-end, but I was not impressed with that option and did not use it other than to stabilize the bow in the ladder stand.

 I was not personally impressed with the grip on the fore-stock, but it worked great for locking the bow onto the safety rail.

An automatic safety engages when the bow is cocked and has an ambidextrous release that is clearly marked.  There is an anti-dry fire mechanism to prevent accidental discharge, which could seriously damage the bow or its user.


The ambidextrous safety automatically engages on the Kodabow.

A feature that I really appreciate is the anti-dry fire indicator level which allows the user to visually confirm that device is working and also that the arrow is properly seated when it is loaded.  The trigger pull is smooth and crisp allowing for steady and accurate release.  

The oval "ringy-thingy" is one is a sample of Kodabow's carefully thought out construction.

My Koda-Express has a machined riser with built in string-dampening pods that serve to make the bow quieter when fired.  Its rail is also machined from solid aluminum for durability and lightness and is designed to safely keep my fingers away from the string.  One of my favorite features of the Kodabow, as silly as it may seem, is the flat, oval ring that is attached to the bottom of the riser.  I don’t even know what its proper name is; I just call it “Wonderful”.  Not only can it assist in keeping your fingers away from the string when you are shooting, but when resting in the stand it allows the shooter to comfortably and stably balance the bow on their lap, hands-free, without danger of it tipping or falling from the perch.  This bow is packed with “little things” that demonstrate the long and clear thought that went into its design and construction.  And with the crossbow market becoming so competitive, it’s the little things that can really make the difference in the long term relationship with your crossbow.

The new  Rage Crossbow Head prvided the cutting edge at the moment of truth.

The Koda-Express performed flawlessly in the field while serving as the core of my hunting equipment package.  I combined it with Lumen-Arrows and the new Rage Crossbow broadheads.  The combination proved to fatal for my quarry with only a fifteen yard chip-shot being required in order to close the deal.  All of the time spent shooting arrows into the target with the Koda-Express paid handsome dividends at the moment of truth when the hunt ended in the blink of an eye with one perfectly placed shot.  The startled bear hit the large tree right behind the bait and nimbly climbed to escape danger unable to stem the doom that had already be sealed by the killer Kodabow.  The shot was clean, humane and quickly dispatched the bear.  I really didn’t have to shoot the bear as the fall out of the tree would have killed it.

All Kodabows are of recurve configuration with a solid and well designed string attachment.

In the final analysis of this hunt, the Koda-Express did all that was expected and required of it and is a super value at a MSRP of $800. And there were a few unexpected benefits realized from the many hours spent in the ladder stand with the bow, but the bottom line is that I am looking forward to the next outing with one of the newest and most solidly built crossbows on the market.  Now I know that there are two even more powerful Kodabows available, but it is my humble opinion that the Koda-Express is equipped to handle any animal on the North American continent and therefore is all of the crossbow that any hunter would ever need.  Personally, I would be more inclined to want to examine Kodabow’s Alpha Strike, which is their 155 lb draw weight model.  Any more power than that contained in the Koda-Express is unnecessary overkill - unless you are hunting a Tyrannosaurus Rex. 

The very last night of the hunt, the Koda-Express was responsible for creating one very happy hunter.















Crossbow Accessories for Bear Hunting

by Daniel James Hendricks 13. July 2011 12:04
Daniel James Hendricks

Okay, let’s go down the check list for your spring bear hunt. You have researched, selected and contracted an outfitter, paying the required deposit to reserve your hunt…check.  You have decided how you’ll travel to Canada and made the required arrangements…check  After careful consideration, you’ve selected the crossbow you will use to take one of the many world record black bears your outfitter claims are in his territory…check.

2-3 small flashlights, a headlamp, rangefinder, treesaw, sharp knife and small first aid kit are all good things to have in your pack for a spring bear hunt.

The next step is to decide what accessories you’ll need to pursue the wily bruin in the thick, Canadian bush.  Most equipment that’s used on your hunt will be the same that you use while hunting whitetail deer.  A good, sharp hunting knife and a treesaw are necessary items, along with a thick cushion to prevent brain damage during the long sits in the stand.  You’ll need two good flashlights and one headlamp with plenty of extra batteries.  This gear is standard back or fanny pack stuffing, but what else should you include.

Bring an extra crossbow just in case you have problems with your primary bow.

The first thing you might want to consider is an extra bow or, if you are shooting a recurve crossbow, at least one extra bowstring.  Things happen and if you’re deep in the wilderness and your crossbow blows up, you don’t have a lot of options.   Chances are slim that there is a proshop in the area and you don’t have the time required to send your bow back to the factory.  Now you can always borrow a firearm from your outfitter, which they are sure to have; but if you are determined to take your bear with a crossbow you had best pack a spare, just in case the unlikely happens.  Be a good Boy Scout and be prepared!  Check with your outfitter and find out the average distance from the stands to the bait and then adjust your sighting-system accordingly.  If all his baits are within 30-yards set your first mark at 10 yards, second at twenty and third at thirty.  Bring along the trusty old range finder so that you know the exact distance to the bait once you are at the site.  Some outfitters have the stands as close as ten yards, but with the 10-20-30 plan you will be prepared. 

Bear Spray is seldom neccesary, but could be a life saver.

If you have chosen to hunt from a ground blind (which we will discuss in greater detail in another column) you may want to have bear spray on your person.  Very rarely does a hunt turn dangerous with a black bear, but it does happen.  Bear spray will deter a curious or even an aggressive bear.  If you are in a treestand, a bop on the head with the fore-end of your crossbow as it reaches your platform is usually all that is needed.

Trail Camera can keep an eye on the bait when you are not there. 

A trailcam is a handy device to bring along to monitor what is happening at your bait while you are not there.  Most outfitters will have you sit during the last half of the day; bears, however, may visit the bait any time of day.  If you have really good bear traffic in the early part of the day, then your trailcam will tattle on the bears and you can be there waiting to greet them with open sights.

Thermal-Cells are a wonderful invention and they really work!

 Misquitoes are a very important factor on a Spring bear hunt so you might want to consider bringing along a Termal Cell to repel the little buggers.  This marvelous invention really does work and it is well worth the investment to have one along on the hunt.  Make sure you have plenty of butane refills and repellent pads just in case you ene up sitting the entire week to score your bruin.  And don't forget to bring extra rubber-coated treesteps when hunting with a crossbow.  You will need one to hang your bow from, another for your quiver (I like to remove my quiver while hunting or to carry a non-attached quiver) and a third step for your back or fanny pack.  It is always better to have them and not need them rather than need them and not have them. 

Lighted nocks can be a real asset on your hunt. 

Another suggestion would be lighted nocks for your arrows.  A lot of bear movement, especially for the larger bears, happens right at dark.  Lighted nocks are a new tool in my arsenal and I am really impressed with how they enhance the moment of truth.  You know exactly where your arrow entered the bear and usually exactly where your arrow is after the shot, as most shots are pass-through.  Although spendy, if a lighted nock helps you recover just one arrow that would have been lost, it has paid for itself.

Scents and lures can assist in the success of the hunt. 

Cover scents, bear lures and scent eliminators can be beneficial to your hunt.  Scent eliminators remove some of you scent, but it is impossible to remove it all even if you bathe in the stuff.  Cover scents will assist your efforts, but in the end wind direction will be the dominant factor.  There are some really great attractants in an assortment of flavors like blueberry, bacon, and fish.  There are even some that burn like incense which cover your scent and attract the bears, but can also be used right in the stand to help you monitor wind direction.


A KneePod or some other form of shooting rest can be a real asset when adrenaline hits your system.   

One more thing that you will want to bring is some form of bow rest to help you support the heavier weight of a crossbow for long periods of time.  Movement is a key factor when hunting bears so fumbling around, trying to get your bow off the hanger when the bear comes into the bait is not a good thing; especially if you are hunting a really large bear that is more cautious and careful then its younger clan members.  As the day begins to come to an end, you should have your crossbow resting on a Kneepod, a Steady-Edy or some other form of shooting stick.  This handy little device, which ever one you decide best meets your needs, will support the weight of your bow allowing you to take a steady shot when the moment of truth arrives.  It also stabilizes the tremors that are known to afflict the bear hunter, especially when Mister Big enters the arena of death.  And experience has taught us that at that magical moment even the smaller bears in the forest have been known magically seem bigger, making the steadiest of hunters begin to quake.
Your list may be longer, but the above items are all things that should be on you equipment inventory for your crossbow bear hunt. 

A great plan makes for a great hunt!


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