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NAP Killzone Broadhead Review

by Justin Zarr 9. May 2012 01:54
Justin Zarr

The last gear review I wrote was about a quiver which, as I pointed out, is probably one of the least glamorous pieces of equipment you can carry into the field with you. This month we're doing a complete 180 and covering one of the most heatedly debated products in the bowhunting world; the broadhead. The business end of an archer's arrow is often held in high praise when things go well, and damned when they don't. In many eyes it can mean the difference between another taxidermy bill or more than a few sleepless nights. Ah yes, the broadhead is bowhunting's biggest scapegoat.

When it comes to picking a broadhead, there seem to be two general trains of thought. Either the compact, fixed-blade heads that are strong and durable, or the large expandable heads that are accurate and open up giant wounds in their intended target. Both will get the job done if put in the right spot, but many archers tend to pick one side of the fence or the other. For those who like big holes and a no-fail design, the new Killzone broadhead from New Archery Products may just be the next "big" thing. (pun intended)

The new Killzone broadhead from New Archery Products.  A rear-deploying mechanical broadhead with a 2 inch cut that uses no o-rings or rubberbands to keep the blades closed in flight.  

The Killzone is a rear-deploying 2 blade mechanical broadhead that opens to a full 2 inches as it enters the target. That is nearly twice the diameter as your average fixed-blade head. What that means for you mechanical broadhead shooters is giant entry wounds, and hopefully shorter and easier recoveries of game animals.

As you can see, the Killzone left a MASSIVE entry hole on this Kansas buck last November.   Bigger holes usually means better blood trails and quicker recoveries.

NAP Marketing & Sales Manager Brady Arview with his 2011 Kansas whitetail - one of the first to fall victim to the new Killzone.

A 2 inch cut mechanical broadhead isn't exactly a new idea, we all know that. So what makes the Killzone special? That little gem of innovation lays inside the ferrule of the broadhead, and is the mechanism that holds the blades closed in flight. NAP's patented spring-clip design has been around for years in the venerable Spitfire broadhead, and has helped bowhunters kill countless animals. Those who frequent Internet Forums or the local bow shop can atest that they've never heard anyone complain about a Spitfire blade opening in flight, which bodes well for the Killzone. The same can't be said for some of the other mechanical broadheads on the market.

With the patented spring-clip design the Killzone's blades will not deploy prematurely, which means you don't have to worry about your arrow running off course on accident. For the bowhunters who have always been leary of mechanical heads due to the possibility of failure this should bring a big sigh of relief.

The Killzone's blades won't open in flight, but they had no trouble opening up on my backyard target.  The top left arrow shows just how big the Killzone's entry hole is.  The other two arrows were tipped with a field point, and a Killzone practice head.  All shot from a distance of 25 yards, I'd say that's good enough to fill my tags this fall.

The Killzone comes in three different configurations - a chisel-style Trophy Tip, a cut-on-contact Razor Tip, or the red Deep Six model that is compatible with the new Easton Deep Six components. All three designs are available in 100 grains and feature the same 2 inch cutting diameter. Practice heads are available as well, which means you can save your sharp blades for when you really need them.

The razor-tipped cut-on-contact Killzone, in the closed position, shown next to the Killzone practice head.

As an admitted fixed-blade fanatic, I was a bit skeptical of these large mechanical broadheads. I'm a big proponent of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". However, curiousity has gotten the best of me and I truly want to see what the talk is all about.  With the new design of this broadhead eliminating any worry about blades opening in flight or in my quiver, I have a lot more confidence in this design than I did in before.   So when I take to the woods this fall, my Apex quiver will be full of Killzone broadheads with a Trophy Tip. And when the business end of my arrow makes the acquaintance of a wary whitetail, I'm sure you'll hear all about it right here.

Citibank asks "What's in your wallet?"  I ask "What's in your quiver?"

Watch this video to learn more about the new NAP Killzone.

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










Ground Blinds Galore

by Brenda Potts 1. May 2012 06:46
Brenda Potts

While walking the isles of the Iowa Deer Classic a few weeks ago I realized there are a lot of those semi-permanent ground blinds available today. There were blinds on display that resembled spaceships, giant cans, boxes, stumps or big pine bushes, and some were meant for ground use, others for elevated platforms. One even moves up, down and travels around. While many of these type blinds seem to have gun hunters more in mind, there are several that can also accommodate bowhunters. Here's a look at just a few of the ones I found.

"Why didn't I think of that?" is the first thing that came to mind when I saw the original Pine Blind. Then I remembered a few situations where during late winter nasty conditions the buck I was after would hide in a stand if pine trees. If only I had that Pine Blind in place! Their tag line is, "The best blind you can't find."

It has a realistic pine tree look with a full 360 degree view. Six panels with drop down windows are easy to adjust. Blind materials are of 100% plastic. It sits on a steel base and has 6 legs for easy leveling on all terrains. The blind is also handicap accessible. And it sure does look just like a pine tree or pine bush capable of blending well with the environment.

Another blind that blends in well with certain habitats is the Blind Ambition Bale Blind. Their tag line is, "The most realistic bale blinds on the market. " The blind looks like a big round bale which is something that animals get used to seeing in areas where these farming practices occur. The blind is lightweight, portable and easy to move. The main benefit I see with this type of blind is that deer require next to no acclimation time to this type of blind.

Moving from blending in to standing out, let's review a few of the box blind types. "Elevated ground blind" sounds like an oxymoron, but some of the semi-permanent ground blinds can also be placed on elevated platforms and not all are box shaped.
I like the name of this next blind...Window-Tree Deer Stands. The blind is a solid one piece unit made from polyurethane. It weighs 350 pounds and can be tipped into a full size pick-up bed for transport between locations. It has a heavy duty frame built to accommodate 4x4 posts so you can elevate the blind if desired.

"Get a Stump, Hear the Thump." Okay then. The Stump 1 does resemble a tree stump and the company has progressed to Stumps 2, 3 and Stump 4 Deer Tower which is a bigger blind with more room.

Shadow Hunter Blinds began as a way of making their own hunting blinds, but soon orders began pouring in as people heard about these blinds. They make several styles of blind in the Shadow Hunter Series including gun, archery, combo, crossbow, total view, octagon and wheelchair accessible. The 22 3/8 inch by 8 inch windows are large enough for nearly any angle of archery shot. There are many great standard features on each blind and upgrades are available.


I have heard many good things about the Redneck Blinds and got the chance to look them over while at the classic. Important features include roomy, well thought-out design of fiberglass construction with tinted tempered automotive glass windows that help hide movement inside the blind. According to the manufacturer these are among the largest windows in the industry. They blinds are modular and easy to assemble with high quality powder coating and weatherproofing details.


The 6x6 Buck Palace 360 Combo blind from Redneck Blinds is what I call one of those, "That's what I'm talkin' about!" blinds. It is extremely roomy and specifically designed for up to four hunters. It is great for filming hunts when you need room for the tripod, two people and gear. The blind features huge 46” tall bow windows enabling you to shoot from virtually any position within the blind, at any angle. The folks at Redneck Blinds identify 4 important questions that should be considered in any decision to purchase a ground blind. #1, Is the deer stand, deer blind, or camouflage well designed and constructed? #2, Are the products high quality, from fiberglass to resin molded material? #3, Will you be able to set up your hunting site easily? #4, Is the equipment portable enough for your needs?

With so many blinds on the market of many different proportions, features and materials, these are great questions to ask yourself when considering any semi-permanent ground blind or elevated blind purchase. Last but not least, is the Traveling Tower. "No Tree? No Problem!" Manufactured in MN, the Traveling Tower is built with electrolyzed powder coated steel which enables you to reach heights of 11 to 15 feet. The blind can be moved with your ATV and used for tree trimming, and other non-hunting activities such as gutter cleaning, painting, siding or working on variety of projects that would have required scaffolding or ladder climbing.  Don't we wish more of our hunting gear would double as honey-do gear!









Apex Gear Game Changer Quiver Review

by Justin Zarr 26. April 2012 13:15
Justin Zarr

When it comes to archery accessories, it's hard to think of one less glamorous than the quiver.  Unlike arrows and broadheads you don’t get to watch them impact your target with the telltale “thud” all bowhunters love to hear.  Unlike sights they don’t have any fancy micro adjustments or fiber optics to play with.  No, the quiver is a relatively simple device with one purpose – to hold your arrows until they are ready to be shot.   Let’s face it, nobody has ever killed an animal and stopped to thank their quiver.

However with all of that said, I feel quivers are one of the accessories that have benefited the most in recent years from new innovations.  The new Game Changer quiver is no exception to that.

When I was first introduced to the Game Changer by Apex Gear at this year’s Mathews Retailer show in the Wisconsin Dells, I immediately took a shine to it.  Anyone who has read my Blogs for any length of time (all 12 of you) knows I’m a fan of archery gear that is rugged and durable.  When I drop my bow or hit it up against a tree as I’m fighting my way through a briar patch in the dark (I get lost a lot) I don’t want to worry about breaking things or items falling off my bow.   The Game Changer seems to have been built with guys like me in mind.

The new Game Changer arrow quiver from Apex Gear.  It even comes in Lost Camo to match my new Heli-m, which is important.  What will the deer think if they're killed by a guy whose accessories don't even match??

First off let’s cover the basics.  The body of the Game Changer quiver is made from CNC machined aluminum.  That means its metal, and I like metal.   Metal is strong and aluminum is light weight; both qualities that I look for in a quiver. 

Next, the Game Changer features dual arrow grippers.  Grippers keep my arrows in place and make sure they’re still there when I get to my treestand.  I like that.  One area I can’t comment on that has been brought up by more than a few bowhunters over the years is how do the grippers work with thin arrow shafts, like the Easton Axis or Injexion.  Well, I’m shooting Carbon Express Maximas so I don’t know.  Sorry guys.

The hood of the Game Changer features what’s called a “Tru Touch” soft feel coating, which gives it an almost velvet-like feeling.  While it feels cool when I rub my fingers on it, I’m not sure how it really helps make the quiver any better.

In addition to the Tru Touch coating, the quiver’s hood does feature several rubberized inserts that help dampen vibration for those hunters who still shoot with their quiver on.  I’m not one of those guys, so they don’t do much for me.

The built-in vibration dampeners are nice, but not very useful for those of us who prefer to shoot quiver-off.

Inside the hood you’ll find a “technical” rubber lining with little cups to hold your broadheads in place.  I prefer this type of liner versus the traditional foam that can dull broadheads over time as they are taken in and out.  Although getting your arrow into the cup every time is a bit of a chore, especially when it’s dark.  If Apex could somehow color those circles in bright orange we’d be in business.

Sure, they're easy to see now when I use the camera flash.  But in the dim light of an autum eve, I'll never be able to see these without some help.

Now we come to the good stuff, and probably the biggest selling point of the Game Changer – the mounting system.   The mounting bracket that screws onto your bow sight is extremely small and light weight, which means it’s not obtrusive unlike some mounts.  The quiver itself features a cam-lock type latching system that locks the quiver in place.  You can very easily take the quiver off with one hand, although putting it back on can be a bit of a chore sometimes.  I’m hoping once I wear the connection in a little more, it will slide on easier.  Of course the big test will be how easily I can get it back on in the darkness after an afternoon hunt this fall.

When it comes to quiver mounting brackets, less is definitely more.

The Game Changer is now attached and ready to roll.

The quiver mount that screws into the aluminum body is adjustable vertically, which is another great feature.  Being able to slide your quiver up and down on your bow based on your arrow length and axle to axle length can help keep your nocks out of the mud, which we all know can be a royal pain.  I’m sure we can find more constructive things to do while on stand than picking mud out of our arrows with tiny little twigs.

Thanks to the in-line mounting system, the Game Changer mounts very close to your bow, which is supposed to help reduce torque and produce better balance.   Of course I don’t shoot with my quiver on so this isn’t a huge benefit for me.

Without mounting it directly to the riser, I'm not sure the Game changer could get much closer.

The final feature I want to point out is the machined aluminum bracket that allows you to easily hang the quiver on a hook or branch after you take it off.  Why every quiver manufacturer doesn’t do this is beyond me.  It’s so simple and so easy, yet such a great feature.  A big Thank You to Apex for including it.

The hood-mounted quiver hook.  An ingenious invention and a simple benefit that can make or break your buying decision.

Well, that about sums up the Game Changer quiver from Apex Gear.  No, I don’t think it will help anyone kill a 200 inch buck this fall, but it will certainly help you get your arrows in and out of the woods securely and quietly.  Which, come to think of it, is probably a pretty big necessity if you want to shoot a 200 incher.  So if you happen to be in the market for a new quiver, give this one a look.  I have a feeling you’ll like it.

Titanium Xtreme Bow Sight by Archer Xtreme Product Review

by Dustin DeCroo 18. April 2012 06:40
Dustin DeCroo

Every year I find a bowhunting sight that I like enough to use for the rest of my life, but each January my curiosity overwhelms me and my Mathews takes on a new look. This year my sight of choice is still unofficial, but the two competitors are the AXT (Archer Xtreme) Carbon Carnivore and the AXT Titanium Xtreme bowhunting sights. As of right now, the Titanium Xtreme is mounted on my new Heli-m but I can’t say for sure which one will be there come the Fall 2012.

Let's take an in-depth look at the Titanium Xtreme bow sight by Archer Xtreme.

The Titanium Xtreme bow sight by Archer Xtreme

The Titanium Xtreme (XT) bow sight is constructed of the strong, ultra-light material we all know as Titanium. The Titanium XT is built on the successful Carbon Carnivore platform with some minor changes. The first, and most obvious, is the switch from carbon fiber to titanium. Titanium is twice as strong as aluminum and 45% lighter than steel. The benefits of titanium (aside from a stronger and lighter material) are that titanium, unlike steel, will not rust and is not easily corroded.

Product engineering never ceases to amaze me in the archery industry. The Titanium Xtreme bow sight is the first sight constructed of titanium and is without question on the cutting edge. The Titanium Xtreme is a “no nonsense” sight. Bow manufacturers are producing light weight bows for back country minded hunters and Archer Xtreme is the front-runner for this trend when it comes to archery accessories. The Titanium XT design is super light weight with unnecessary material cut out around the sight housing and mounting bracket. There is only one slight change that may be beneficial to the design of the Titanium Xtreme and this would be to add a little bit of material to mounting bracket in the X-axis. This would provide a little extra rigidity to the sight and offer archer's some additional peace of mind.

The Titanium Xtreme sight is a light weight, well designed bow sight with clearly defined laser etched graduations and micro adjustment for fine tuning.

The Titanium Xtreme includes all the features that bowhunters expect out of high-end hunting sights. Tool-less windage and elevation adjustment are micro-adjustable. The adjustment knobs produce a very tight and audible “click,” when adjusting the sight housing there is no guessing as to how much adjustment you’re making. The sight housing adjustment blocks are also laser engraved for accurate adjustments. Around the large 2” sight housing is the HV Fiber Guard Ring system, this is a colored sight ring for proper peep sight alignment of the sight housing. The Fiber Guard Ring color can be ordered in fluorescent red, orange or green.

The adjustment knobs allow you to feel and hear each click while adjusting your sigh for windage and elevation.

The Titanium Xtreme includes five .019” diameter pins that come in green, red and yellow super flex fiber-optic. The sight pins of the AXT Titanium Xtreme sight incorporate C.C.P. (Center Core Pin) technology which is a tubular pin with the fiber optic running through the middle, this allows the fiber to be 100% protected at all times, eliminating the issue of broken fibers. The sight pins have an additional 8” of fiber for light accumulation in low-light situations that is neatly stowed out of the way down and around the sight mounting bracket with the Fiber Harness bracket system. Absolute Zero pin-gap spacing is possible for today’s high-speed bows.

Archer Xtreme's Titanium Xtreme sight uses Center Core Pin technology to protect the fiber optics.

One feature that is particularly nice to see included on a high-end bow sight, is the rear mounted LED pin light. The light sits at the very back of the mounting bracket where the sight mounts to the riser of the bow, turning the light on is simple and discrete.

The Titanium Xtreme comes with an LED light already mounted to the sight.

Archer Xtreme’s Titanium Xtreme sight is right/left hand adjustable by reversing the mounting bracket and replacing the bubble level to the top of the pin guard.

All in all, the sight is an excellent choice for the bowhunter looking for a performance driven bow sight. I used the Titanium Xtreme sight to take down my first animal with my Mathews Heli-m, a Rio- Grande turkey in Oklahoma. If you’re looking for a high quality sight to dress up your new bow or simply to upgrade the sight on your old favorite, the Titanium Xtreme by Archer Xtreme is worth a serious look.

My first animal of 2012, an Oklahoma turkey. My sight on this trip was the Archer Xtreme Titanium Xtreme.

Check back next month to see a review of the Carbon Carnivore by Archer Xtreme. You can also watch a video review of this sight and other Archer Xtreme products by clicking here, Archer Xtreme Products 2012.

NAP Spitfire Gobbler Getter Broadhead Review

by Dustin DeCroo 15. March 2012 08:57
Dustin DeCroo

New Archery Products has built a solid reputation around designing and building top of the line archery products. NAP produces the oldest, most trusted fixed blade head of all time, the Thunderhead; and arguably the most reliable mechanical broadhead on the market, the Spitfire. Technology continues to progress in every aspect of life and the broadhead industry is no different. Welcome, Spitfire Gobbler Getter.

New Archery Products Spitfire Gobbler Getter

Bowhunters have long since discovered the advantages of mechanical broadheads for hunting turkeys and in 2011 NAP created an expandable broadhead designed specifically for turkey hunters. The Spitfire Gobbler Getter is a variation of the already proven Spitfire broadhead.  The expandable turkey broadhead is available in 100 or 125 grains, has a 1 1/2" cutting diameter and over 3" of cutting surface.  Similar to the original Spitfire, the Gobbler Getter integrates Micro Grooved Slimline Ferrule technology to allow air to pass over the ferrule with less resistance, thus, providing the truest arrow flight possible. The Diamize sharpened blades are sharpened through a rigorous process ensuring exceptionally sharp blades to produce the cleanest cuts for maximum hemorrhaging and quicker kills. The blades on both the Spitfire and the Spitfire Gobbler Getter are locked into place with a hidden blade tension clip that NAP guarantees will not allow the blades to open in flight. Finally, the radical change that transforms the Spitfire to the Spitfire Gobbler Getter is the shock inducing Gobbler point, a rounded tip in place of the hardened Trophy Tip. The sole purpose of the Gobbler tip is to minimize pass throughs, delivering the most shock possible into the gobbler. Why would anyone not want a complete pass through? Let us take a harder look.

Turkeys are tough birds, period. There is no arguing that fact. There are a couple of significant differences between turkeys and other big game animals that bowhunters pursue. The first being, turkeys have the ability to fly away after they are shot. Obviously, this creates its own, set of problems. Second, blood trailing a turkey can be extremely difficult because they don’t have much blood to lose and feathers can soak up the majority of your blood trail before it reaches the ground. For these reasons, the idea behind the Gobbler Getter is to put the bird on the ground where he stands or shortly thereafter, before he has the opportunity to fly. This is achieved with the combination of a large cutting surface and by the Gobbler point helping the arrow expend its energy in the bird. This delivered “shock” works the same way bullets deliver shock or “knock down power” to an animal.

The Gobbler point is designed to deliver shock in the same manner a bullet delivers "knock down power."

Let us be honest. Every broadhead on the market today will kill a turkey if the arrow is placed correctly. This holds true with deer as well. Every broadhead on the market will kill a heart shot deer. Unfortunately, I don’t make a perfect shot on every animal. My theory on broadheads, is that I don’t buy a broadhead for the perfect shot. I buy a broadhead that provides me the best chance of recovering my animal on a poorly executed shot. For this reason, my quiver was loaded with NAP Gobbler Getters in the Spring of 2011, and will be again in 2012.

In preparation for bowhunting turkeys, I practiced shooting my Z7Xtreme at distances out to 70 yards strictly to test the flight of the Gobbler Getter. The Gobbler Getter tipped arrows were flying like darts, at any distance, off the string of my Mathews. The Merriams and Rio Grande turkeys of the Western United States were kind to me, providing me the opportunity to take a total of five toms with the Gobbler Getter broadhead in the Spring of 2011. The NAP broadheads performed exactly as they were designed putting birds down on the spot on multiple occasions. My bow is set up with a 29 inch draw length at 70 pounds and I’m shooting a 413 grain arrow at 286 feet per second. That’s a significant amount of kinetic energy to be stopped in something as small as a turkey. While my arrows did pass through, they were all lying on the ground where the bird stood or were sticking with the fletchings straight into the air, thus, the energy was delivered to the bird instead of the dirt on the backside. On one particular bird in Wyoming, I made a shot that was higher than expected but the large cutting surface and cutting diameter allowed the shot to be fatal and the bird was recovered within 75 yards. 

These big Mearriams gobblers were two of the first toms to fall to my Spitfire Gobbler Getter broadheads.

The main criteria I have for selecting a broadhead are: true flight, sharpness, durability and performing in the manner they were designed (i.e. turkey shots, turkey head shots, or ultra penetration on large game). If we’re talking about a mechanical broadhead, I want the blades to open when and only when they strike the target, not in the quiver or on their way to the target. There are numerous quality expandable broadheads on the market but if you are looking for a five star turkey specific broadhead, I recommend giving the Spitfire Gobbler Getter a chance at taking down your next tom.


NAP 2 Blade Bloodrunner REVIEW - My Turkey Broadhead of Choice

by John Mueller 14. March 2012 14:50
John Mueller

In my opinion huge expandable broadheads are made for turkey hunting. I’m not worried about getting a pass through; I’d rather have my arrow stay in the bird. My goal is to do as much damage as I possibly can and do it as fast as I can. With its 2-1/16” cut when open the NAP 2 Blade Bloodrunner helps me achieve this goal.

The 2 Blade Bloodrunner is one wicked Broadhead.

When turkey hunting, unlike deer hunting, I’d rather have my arrow stay in the animal. If I don’t get an instant kill from my shot, having the arrow stay in the bird will prevent it from flying away. While a turkey is very good at running off after taking an arrow, he could put a lot more distance between himself and the hunter if he can fly away. Another benefit of having the arrow stay in the bird is he is much easier to spot lying in the woods with my Luminock sticking in the air glowing. I even back my draw weight off 5 pounds or so just so I have a better chance of my arrow staying in the gobbler.

When hit by a huge cutting diameter broadhead like the 2 Blade Bloodrunner, a massive amount of damage is inflicted to an animal the size of a Tom Turkey, putting him down in short order even with a marginal hit. Plus it delivers a great deal of shock to the animal, knocking him off his feet and disorienting him. Huge old Gobblers can be very tough animals to bring down. I’ve had a couple run off after taking a load of #5 shot from my 3-1/2” 12 gauge shells. I’m looking for all the stopping power I can get from my broadhead and the NAP 2 Blade Bloodrunner gives me that.

BloodRunner technology gives you the best of both worlds a fixed blade broadhead that expands upon impact and gives a hunter the peace of mind that it will cut no matter what! Just check out these impressive specs.
• 2-blade 100 grains (125 grain also available)
• Open Cutting Diameter: 2-1/6”
• Closed Cutting Diameter: 1-1/8”
• Blade Thickness: .039”
• Super-strong stainless steel razor sharp blades
• MSRP: $39.99 for a 3 pack
• Fixed position practice heads available

At 1-1/8" when closed and 2-1/16" when opened, NAP's 2-blade Bloodrunner is ready for the biggest of game.

The bloodrunner is unique in the fact that it is held closed by spring pressure and then expands to its full 2-1/16” cut upon contact with its target. It will stay open as long as it has pressure on the front of the broadhead. There are no o-rings or rubber bands to fail or loose. It cannot fail to open on contact. And if it starts to back out of the animal, the blades cannot close up like some mechanical broadheads will. So it will continue to do damage with its exposed blades.

Turkeys have a very small vital area when compared to the whitetails most of us are accustomed to bow hunting. The 2-1/16” cutting diameter of the Bloodrunner helps out just a little bit with getting the blades where they need to be. With this massive cut I don’t need to be as precise with shots. After all a Thundering Gobbler at 10-20 yards can give anyone a case of the shakes. I also do most of my bowhunting for turkeys from ground blinds and shots are frequently are taken from my knees and from odd positions to get the right angle out of the windows. All of these factors can have an adverse effect on my shots accuracy. The Bloodrunner gives me the advantage of having a small profile head in flight, but still gives me the huge cut after opening and allows for a little bit of the shakes.

Aim at the spot where the wing meets the body on a broadside gobbler.

My personal experience with the Bloodrunner doesn’t include a turkey kill as of yet. But I have taken a coyote and 2 whitetails with them. I couldn’t have asked for better performance from a broadhead. Once I had my bow tuned and had achieved perfect arrow flight, accuracy was never an issue. I knew if a shot presented itself, I could put the broadhead where it needed to be. Both the entrance and exit holes were unbelievable. All 3 animals were double lunged and recovered in less than 75 yards. I have no doubt if a gobbler presents me with a shot opportunity the Bloodrunner will do its job as long as I do mine. prostaffer Dan Schaffer doubled up on Merriams with his Mathews Bow in Wyoming last spring.

If you plan on pursuing Wild Turkeys with bow in hand this spring, do yourself a favor and use the biggest broadhead you can shoot accurately. I’m putting my money on the NAP 2 Blade Bloodrunner. Hopefully you’ll see me in an upcoming episode of our webshow Bowhunt or Die this spring sitting beside a big old Tom Turkey with my Mathews in my hand and a Bloodrunner on my arrow.

Check out this video REVIEW done last year by our very own Justin Zarr.

Mathews Heli M Bow Review

by Steve Flores 26. February 2012 11:01
Steve Flores

For someone living and chasing big-game in the rugged, mountainous backdrop of southern West Virginia, I can honestly say that “excess baggage” is a major liability when it comes to being a successful bowhunter. In order to enjoy any type of consistent success, I am constantly refining not only my hunting techniques, but my physical condition as well. You see, the mountains don’t care if I show up out of shape. They will show me little mercy. Therefore, it is imperative that I strive to stay as lean and agile as possible----if I want to enjoy myself in the timber and fill more tags in the process. These same principles also apply to my equipment. 

In my opinion, it seems counterproductive to focus my efforts on weight training and sheading excess body fat in the off-season, only to turn around and load myself down with heavy hunting gear once opening day arrives. This includes clothing that isn’t hefty and/or bulky, and a treestand system that doesn’t break my back. It also consists of the very weapon I hold in my hand when the moment of truth arrives. Recently, I had the pleasure of realizing that the latest offering from Mathews Inc. is the perfect weapon for that moment.


The new Mathews Helim is the culmination of 20 years of Mathews innovation including new technologies and features poised to make you a better bowhunter.

The New 2012 Mathews Helim is the ideal bow for those who choose not to be weighed down by their equipment….literally. It is the answer for bowhunters who push themselves to the limit and expect their bow to be a positive factor in the journey “getting there”; rather than a burden that diminishes their chances of success by slowing them down. As the name implies, this year’s flagship model out of Sparta WI, has to be held to be believed. But hold on! Before you start thinking that an overall reduction in weight is the only highlight of this bow, think again. The new Helim is packed with 20 years’ worth of Mathews innovation; just waiting to make you a better bowhunter and archer.

Light Done Right
Anyone who has followed my writing, either on this site or in magazine print, knows that I am an advocate for a heavy bow. To me, a heavy bow rig is harder to torque and stays on target much easier than a light-weight setup. Therefore, I’ve always made the necessary sacrifices in order to reap the benefits of a heavy bow. However, the new HeliM doesn’t force me to make sacrifices.


The accuracy of the Helim is superb, despite the fact that it is so lightweight. Traditionally, a heavier bow is harder to torque, thus making it more accurate. This bow goes against that logic proving it is as accurate as it is light.

Surprisingly, while it goes against my every thought regarding light-weight bows, the Helim still performs much like a heavier setup. In my opinion, that is true innovation; regardless of the name on the bow. Most noteworthy, is how stable this bow feels while at full draw. This inherent stability is indeed a major contributor to the tight arrow groups I consistently experienced while shooting the bow.

Reduction Measures
The moment I pulled the Helim out of the box I was in shock at how light this bow really is. This reduction in weight is due to several factors. However, while each factor may lend a hand in reducing the overall heft of the bow, they do not do it at the cost of functionality. In fact, the same Mathews excellence that has defined their bows for more than two decades can be found in this latest offering.

The new GeoGrid Riser
In 2010, the Z7 introduced us all to the Grid-Lock riser. That same concept takes a leap forward with the arrival of the new Helim. Although this new bow carries a similar Grid-Lock pattern throughout the riser, a closer look will reveal a more rhythmical flow; aptly called GeoGrid. The grids on the Helim riser actually turn in the same direction as the handle of the bow and also the curvature of the riser. This new change not only affects the overall appearance of the bow, it also makes it lighter, while still maintaining structural integrity.  Also, the traditional mounting hardware that allows attachment of the Mathews Spider Web quiver to the bow has been replaced with a lighter composite material; which reduces weight even further.


While the rhythmic flow of the new Geo-Grid riser decreases overall bow weight, it also allows the riser, and essentially the bow, to almost disappear when placed in a wilderness backdrop.

Lighter Vibration Innovation
Ever since the Harmonic Dampers were invented, Mathews’ shooters have reaped the benefits of placing a weight inside an elastomer wheel in order reduce recoil vibration within the riser. The result is a bow that is smoother and more pleasurable to shoot. This same technology eventually spawned the Harmonic Stabilizer. Working on the same concept, the weight inside the elastomer wheel is purposely tuned to be out of phase with the vibrations emitted from longer riser, parallel limb bows, such as the 2011 Z-Series line of bows, and can dampen more than 75% of residual vibration. The new Harmonic Stabilizer Lite, found on the 2012 Helim, offers the same performance as the original, yet is nearly 70% lighter!


Despite a major reduction in weight, this proven sound and vibration eliminating technology performs just like its heavier predecessor.

Dead and Smooth
Most of us already understand the advantages of incorporating a string stop to squelch noise and vibration when the bowstring jumps forward. For 2012, Mathews took it’s highly effective Dead End String Stop and changed the shape in order to shave the weight. This latest version is noticeably less “blocky” than the original, which results in weight reduction, while still doing the job it was designed to do. Another noticeable difference is the location of the Dead End String Stop Lite. Unlike previous versions, this string stop sits closer to the single cam, rather that slightly below the bow grip. This change allows the bottom String Suppressor to essentially be eliminated; thus, further reducing overall mass.

When it comes to how smoothly a bow draws, one of the main contributing factors has always been cam design. However, Mathews added another factor to smoothness when they introduced the Roller Guard. The roller guard, another Mathews first, dramatically reduces system friction by guiding bow cables with low friction wheels. This technology was drastically improved with the unveiling of the Reverse Assist Roller Guard found on the Z series of Mathews bows. The roller guard on the Helim sports the same benefits as its predecessors (super smooth draw); only it does it on a slimmed down, highly refined support arm. And while this support arm may not carry the same curvature and appearance as previous offerings, the simplified aesthetics perfectly match the simplicity found throughout the string stop as well as the rest of the bow. 



 Although the Reverse Assist Roller Guard and Dead End String Stop may look different, they still do what there were meant to do….only better.

High Grade Handle
One of the most distinguishing trademarks of a Mathews bow, other than the single cam and the Harmonic Dampers, is the wood grip. And over the years, shooters have watched this handle go through its fair share of refinements. Most notable is a change in the overall shape of the grip in order to provide the most stable, torque-free, shooting experience.

In addition to the signature wood handle, Mathews also offers the Focus Grip which is a synthetic rubber grip made to keep pressure concentrated to the center of the grip, thus reducing hand torque.

For 2012, the Helim grip is the thinner throughout the throat and narrower in the palm-swell area, but it comes in a highly attractive, Gunstock Grade wood. In my opinion, it is the most attractive grip of any Mathews bow to date; and it is a pleasure to shoot. Also available is the “Focus” grip which helps minimize hand torque in the event of poor hand placement by keeping pressure concentrated in the center of the grip, unlike typical flat top grips that move pressure to the outside edge which increases hand torque.

Manageable Horsepower
Historically speaking, speed has always come with a price. Yet, bowhunters seem reluctant to accept this hard truth…myself included. However, thanks to the many technologies listed here, Mathews continues to chip away at the tradeoffs between blazing-fast arrow speeds and an accurate, vibration-free, smooth-drawing bow. 

The power plant for the 2012 Helim comes from the all new Helim Cam. Culminating 20 years of Mathews innovation, this new cam is surprisingly smooth to draw, despite the fact that is propels arrows at an IBO speed of 332 feet per second! I say surprisingly, but in reality this type of performance has become synonymous with Mathews. When it comes to producing bows that are fast, yet easy to shoot, they are at the forefront. The Helim is a testament to that belief.

While the new Helim Cam may be a derivative of the Z series cams, it draws much differently than its ancestors. To begin with, this cam doesn’t hold its peak draw weight all the way through the cycle. Instead, Mathews designed the cam with a subtle slope in the draw. The result is a bow that pulls smoothly from the start and doesn’t feel as though it is “staking” throughout the draw-cycle. 

Manageable horsepower has always been a trademark of Mathews bows and the new Helim cam stays true to that claim. With ultra-smooth characteristics, and a seamless transition throughout the draw cycle, the Helim is speed “done right”.

Even more pleasing, is the seamless transition through the valley and into the backwall; which doesn’t have the sudden “drop-off” or “hump” that most speed bows poses. Having shot those types of cams, I can say that the “hump” in the draw is very distracting (at least to me) and usually requires more effort to pull back. This cam displays none of those shortcomings.

In addition to a super smooth draw cycle, the Helim Cam comes with a draw stop located on the outer edge of the cam. When the cam rotates, this rubber coated draw stop quietly contacts the lower limb which provides a solid backwall. While the Helim does have a short valley, this, along with the draw stop, will actually make you a better shooter because it conditions you to pull “through” the shot; rather than relaxing and letting the string creep forward just before release. This can happen when shooting bows that have a larger valley and allow you to creep forward and then pull back before releasing the arrow.

Final Thoughts
To be honest, I was skeptical with regards to just how accurately this bow was going to shoot. Like I said, I prefer a “heavier” bow and my initial thoughts were that while the Helim might be light as a feather, the downside would be increased noise and vibration along with a reduction in shooting accuracy; especially at longer distances. That simply just wasn’t the case. Arrow groups remained tight, even out to 50 yards and the Helim is as quiet and vibration-free as it is astonishingly light…..Simply amazing. 


Like every Mathews I've ever owned, the fit, finish, and overall craftmanship on the 2012 Mathews Helim is superb!

Featured Specs

IBO Rating: Up to 332 fps 
Axle-to-Axle: 30" 
Brace Height: 7" 
Draw Weight: 40-70 & 65 lbs 
Bow Weight: 3.5 lbs 
Let-off: 80% 
Draw Lengths: 26" - 30" Half Sizes: 26.5" - 29.5" 
String/Cable: String: 88"/Cable: 32 3/4" 
Riser Length: 26 1/8" 
Cams: Helim Cam™ & QCA
* All specifications are approximate.

Mathews Technology

Monkey Tails
Limb Turret
Parallel Limb Design
SE5 Composite Limb System
SphereLock Pivoting Limb Cup System
String Grub
String Supressor
Mathews Genuine Bowstring
Ball Bearing Idler Wheel

Choosing a Quality Archery Pro Shop - Part 1

by Steve Flores 26. February 2012 08:48
Steve Flores

Whether you're looking to purchase the latest bow on the market, or simply want to upgrade your current rig, the road to finding a quality pro-shop, one that knows how to set you up right, can throw more twists and turns at you than the track at Laguna Seca; but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, consider the following advice, and the next time you walk into an establishment looking for excellent service, you’ll be walking out with a smile.

Why Pro Shop?
There are several reasons why the beginning to mid-level archery enthusiast should choose a Pro-Shop. Perhaps one of the chief reasons would be a familiarity with bow “set-up” procedures; or better yet, a lack there of. Given the wide array of compound bows available today and the mind staggering number of equipment options being offered, choosing the products that will work best with you, your bow, and your style of hunting or shooting can be a daunting task; especially if you, like the majority of bowhunters, are not schooled in the “technical aspects” of archery. In which case, “properly” setting-up your new rig will be a difficult goal to accomplish.

To combat this harsh reality you will need to find someone who knows what works, what doesn’t----and why. You need to find someone with the experience and mechanical proficiency to do things the right way. To put it simple, you need to enlist the help and guidance of a quality pro-shop.


In archery, confidence can go a long way toward success. And nothing will give you more confidence than knowing your bow-rig is set up correctly. A quality pro-shop can make you an accurate, self-assured shooter by setting you up with the right gear.

A Good Start
One of the most critical issues faced while attempting to correctly set up your bow revolves around the arrow rest. Today’s rest of choice is almost unanimously the “drop-away” version.  While this style of arrow rest most often represents the most accurate choice, it only works when installed correctly. Simply adding one to your bow doesn’t exactly mean that you will automatically achieve “laser-beam” type arrow flight. Unless you know how to set one up and what to look for when determining whether or not it is functioning properly, you’re most likely not going to get the added performance you paid extra money for; perfect arrow flight after the shot with no contact between the rest and you’re arrow’s fletching.

 Most Pro-Shop experts will say the a critical starting point when setting up your bow involves choosing a quality arrow rest. Pictured here is the new NAP Apache Carbon drop-away mounted to a 2012 Mathews Helim.

Properly tuning a drop-away style arrow rest sometimes requires a lot of tinkering and technical “know-how” in order to get things just right. Some models simply do not match well with certain bow brands, some do not match well no matter what brand of bow you shoot, and some even require the shooter to orient the fletching a particular way. For example, some rests simply will not tolerate a cock-vane “up” orientation, conversely, others do. Some may call for a rotation with the cock-vane to the side in order to achieve good results, some may not. Unless you know which fall-away rest your bow prefers and how to correctly set it up, you could spend hours and hours trying to tune it. This is where a quality pro-shop can make all the difference. They’ve been there, done that. They know which rests work and what type of bow and arrow system they work well with. Obviously their knowledge can save you valuable time and money, but more importantly, they will insure the job is done right”.

Learn from the Best
Another significant reason for choosing a pro-shop is a shortening of the learning curve. Most aspects of archery are rarely cut and dry. Consequently, in order to avoid the many pitfalls facing a newcomer it pays to find someone who has been around the block a time or two. A quality pro-shop is the ideal place to find such an individual. In one afternoon, you can learn valuable insight with regards to shooting tips, equipment choices and bowhunting wisdom in general; things that otherwise may have taken you years of trial and error to figure out on your own. Talk about an advantage!  When you consider the valuable information available at top notch establishments and the immediate affects it can/will have on your success as an archer and bowhunter, it is clear why finding a quality pro-shop is so important. The “networking” potential in these venues is immense. 

 Anytime you can be around other bowhunters or archers is a great time to learn something new. No other venue offers as much opportunity for this than a quality pro-shop.

Added Benefits
In addition to insuring that your equipment functions as it should, along with the ability to speed up the learning process, pro-shops offer several added advantages over the DIY (do it yourself) route. For instance, good shops will often times offer their customers “free” shooting lessons and advice after purchasing a new bow-rig. Most often, at the really good shops, a certified IBO pro shooter will be on hand to assist with the lessons. Obviously, this type of professional attention is invaluable. Not only does it insure that proper shooting habits are instilled from the start, it also guarantees that the majority of bad habits that plague archers all over the country are immediately recognized and avoided.

Also, don’t overlook the fact that most quality shops will be happy to provide their loyal customers with “perks” so to speak.  These gestures of appreciation can come in many forms.  Most often minor adjustments are made to your rig at no charge. Sometimes hats and shirts are given away as well; providing advertisement for the shop owner and perhaps a means of showcasing favored equipment and/or facilities for (you) the shooter. 
Another nice benefit of the pro-shop is the option to go in and “test” drive new equipment before actually putting down your hard earned cash and then realizing you made the wrong choice. Without a doubt, pro-shops are a bee-hive of knowledge, experience and camaraderie just waiting to be discovered. 

Most good shops will have a place to “test drive” merchandise before actually buying it. This is an essential part of the process that ensures you leave with a smile on your face; the right set-up in the right hands will often cause such a reaction.

Making the Right Choice
When choosing a pro-shop one of the most important things to remember is that the devil is in the details. What I mean, is that there usually isn’t one or two defining characteristics that will reveal that you are in the wrong place. Rather, there will most likely be a number of little things that, while seeming trivial at first, could reveal clues too much larger issues.For example, be cautious of shops that try to push a certain piece of equipment into your hands.  Having said that, let’s make clear that in order to accurately judge the true intentions of the guy behind the counter you must first understand that there is a difference between pushing a product and eagerly suggesting one. If a certain piece of equipment really is better than the one you initially went in to purchase, the guy selling it to you should be able to explain exactly why it is better. If he can’t, then that might be the first clue that your best interest aren’t what he had in mind. 

Suggesting certain equipment options is fine as long as the reasoning behind such advice can be validated. If the transaction doesn’t ultimately benefit you the shooter, then it’s probably not a good investment. A reputable shop will do nothing without your best interest in mind.

In contrast, guys working at shops that are the “real deal” will often have their own personal bows on hand and can readily show you exactly what equipment they are using. More importantly, they can also tell you why they are using it. If that happens to be the case, pay close attention to what these individuals are telling you because odds are good that they have already sifted through the “low-grade” stuff and have found the best of what the market has to offer. Essentially, they can save you time, money and in the end make your set-up the best it can be.

Post-Sale Service
Another indication as to whether or not you have made a wise choice lies in what happens after the sale. Is that where the service ends? Are you no longer ministered to like customer #1? If things seem to drastically change after you’ve spent the last of your piggy bank funds, then you’ve probably made the wrong choice. Case in point, even though it has been a few years since my last bow purchase, if I were to walk into my pro-shop today, the owner (Frank) would treat me like I was the most important guy in the building. Frank Addington and his wife Kathy, own and operate Addington’s Bowhunter Shop in Winfield, WV, and have been providing customers top quality service for over 25 years. When it comes to knowing what the consumer wants and needs, they are masters. 

 The benefits of any good pro-shop shouldn't stop once a purchase has been made. In fact, service typically gets better and better if you’ve selected the right shop for your needs.

In addition, if I was having a problem with my bow-rig he wouldn’t hesitate to fix it for me. Now you might be thinking that I receive special treatment for being a “writer” or something along those lines ….wrong! Frank treats everyone the same---like a close personal friend.

To Be Continued

Of course, there are other important aspects that go into selecting a quality pro-shop. In Part 2, I will delve a little deeper into the process and offer some final tips that will get you pointed in the right direction.


by Brenda Potts 21. February 2012 10:34
Brenda Potts

For the past few months we have attended several shows (including ATA, SHOT and Eastern Sports Show) and reviewed hundreds of products. Many great innovations caught my eye but two are at the top of my list. I cannot decide which is my favorite so I am declaring a tie. First place is shared by X-Steps from JWJ Outdoors and the TreeBlind from Nature Blinds.

TreeBlinds. Combine the creative talents and imagination of a Hollywood set designer with his passion for hunting and you get one of the coolest ground blinds ever created. Nature Blinds is producing a ground blind that looks so much like a tree, even its creator has been fooled when taking hunters to the stand. The outer surface mimics the texture of real bark. Animals don't seem to notice the blind as Mr. Whitetail, Larry Weishuhn attested, "Deer were just a few feet away from us and never even looked at the blind."  Texas Outfitter Mike Stroff also believes in the blind's qualities stating," It's so quiet and soundproof inside, we can talk on camera with deer 10 yards away... incredible!" The folks from Nature Blinds also explained how the insulating qualities of this blind can bring the temps inside the blind up to a comfortable level with just the body heat of the individuals inside, while the outside temps are near freezing. The patented window system is one of the best I have ever seen in a ground blind.

While we are on the subject of ground blinds there were a couple more worth noting.

D.I.R.T. (Do It Right Treeblinds) If you are looking for a semi permanent box blind but don't want to build the thing from scratch, try ordering one of the "pre-fabricated" blinds from D.I.R.T. Many times, once a big box blind like this is built and set in place, it never moves. Which may or may not be a good thing. But with these blinds you can take them apart and rebuild them without having to be a carpenter. Which is right up my alley since my carpentry skills are a bit lacking, but after looking it over inside and out, I'm sure I could easily put this together with a little help. They attest that "If you can carry a sheet of plywood to your hunting spot, you can set up a D.I.R.T."

Snap Lock Hunting Blinds. For those interested in a relatively portable ground blind that is a step up from the fabric pop ups, the Snap Lock Blind has weather resistant, insulating qualities. This blind can easily be assembled without tools. It is lightweight and comes in 2 sizes. The blind can be fastened to a wooden floor for even more stability.

Several other products make my list of new and notable.

Night Com UV. Although they don't advertise this potential use, the Night Com UV flashlight  from  Streamlight has an ultraviolet LED that enhances blood trails. It works best when the blood is fresh. The flashlight is super bright on its highest setting, water resistant and of rugged construction. I have been a Streamlight flashlight fan ever since receiving one of their keychain lights called the Nano Light. This tiny flashlight has "saved the night" many times and is practically indestructible, made of machined aircraft-grade aluminum with anodized finish. I know I will never be without one!

Little Mule. How many times could I have used this! When it comes to deer hunting, I can do pretty much all of it on my own with the exception of dragging the deer out of the woods. This product makes that arduous task a breeze. The inventor has loaded the Little Mule with features including Kevlar tires, a built in winch, front and rear lights and an optional hitch making the cart capable of attaching to the back of your ATV once you get the ensemble back to the vehicle.

The Turkey Nightmare. I would love to try this invention for bowhunting turkeys. I also have a young grandson who hasn't quite grasped the concept of "Don't move." Maybe this would help!


Post Season Training: Next Season Starts Now

by Steve Flores 25. January 2012 13:01
Steve Flores

Now that most hunting seasons have closed, it is important to discuss a common “post-season” trap. And, while it may seem innocent in nature, make no mistake it is one that prevents a lot of bowhunters from reaching their maximum potential; with regard to bow shooting skills, number of tags filled and even overall physical fitness. I understand that after many long months chasing your favorite game animal the urge to “take it easy” for a while can be overwhelming. However, if you want next season to be better than last season, now is the absolute best time to work toward that goal. Later, in subsequent blogs, we will discuss Hunting Prowess (tags filled), and Physical Fitness in more detail. But for now, let’s take a closer look at the first of these three areas: Shooting Skill. 

Your favorite treestand may be sitting dormant, but that doesn't mean that the time for perparation is over. 

Shooting Skills
You don’t have to be a competitive shooter to be a successful bowhunter. In reality, perhaps the most deciding factor in closing the deal on your next bowhunting opportunity comes down to 2 things: muscle memory and your ability to handle pressure. Thankfully, if you put enough time into actually shooting your bow, muscle memory will take care of itself. This is important because you might believe that you can talk yourself through such details as picking a spot, bending at the waste, relaxing your shooting hand or squeezing the release trigger----all in the heat of the moment! But, the truth is, you will most likely forget, simply because your heart will be in your throat. I know because I have tried. It should come as no surprise that my odds of success were very low during those seasons when I tried to will my way through tough shooting situations. 

The off-season is a great time to introduce advanced shooting techniques such as "Blind-Bale Shooting" into your practice regimen.

During those seasons when I failed to pick up my bow until late summer, I was essentially “relearning” all of the skills I had worked so hard on during the previous year. As a result, even though I was practicing, I wasn’t really making any strides in my ability to shoot well. Thankfully, I wasn’t loosing much either. But honestly, I definitely wasn’t getting any better. I quickly learned that maintaining some form of consistency during the off-season was the only way to really improve my proficiency to hit what I was aiming at in actual hunting situations. Some of this included just slinging arrows in the back yard. A good deal of it however, entailed actually shooting from a treestand, long-range shooting, and even up close, blank-bale shooting. 

Shooting from the ground, in a kneeling position, while wearing a face-mask, can affect your odds of filling a tag; especially if you wait until the moment of truth to find out if doing so alters such things as anchor point and arrow flight.

I should also mention how important it is to make a good deal of your practice time “situational”. For example, if you primarily hunt above “terra-firma”, then you should conduct the majority of your practice sessions from a treestand. This will only add “realism” to the situation and better prepare you for the real thing; and, what better time to do this than during the boring winter months. In addition, shooting outside when it is cold allows you to evaluate your cold-weather gear for any potential interference problems with the bowstring. This can be hard to do in the heat of summer or just before opening day when temps are still high. 


While everyone else is spending time doing something non-archery related, why not try out a new grip or arrow and broadhead combination. The new Mathews Focus grip is great for reducing hand-torque and the new NAP Big Nasty broadhead, along with the new Easton INJEXION arrows should prove to be leathal. It's never too late to start dialing things in and testing new gear.

Your ability to handle a pressure situation in the treestand can be increased by spending time behind the bowstring. There is no question that when your shooting skills improve----your confidence goes up. When your confidence goes up, so does your ability to manage pressure; simply because you expect to perform well. The old cliché that archery is 90% mental carries a lot of merit. Even if you only shoot a few arrows a week, that is better than laying the bow down for the entire off-season (until just a few weeks before opening day).


When the moment I have worked so hard for finally arrives......I want nothing more than to deliver. For me, this starts in the off-season.

I like to think that my bow is an extension of my arm. I maintain that feeling by making sure I don’t let too much time go by without launching some arrows downrange. When faced with an actual shot on a living, breathing animal, I want my mind and body to go into sort of an “auto-pilot” mode. That way, all I have to do is find the single hair I want to split….nothing more. Of course, I am only human and completely capable of screwing things up. However, I can decrease the chances of that happening by constantly sharpening my shooting skills----year round. 

Next time we will discuss ways to improve our ability to fill tags. Again, post season is the optimum time-frame to accomplish this. However, there is more to it than aimlessly stumbling through the woods. You need to have a plan.

Hunting Boots: Finding The Right Fit

by Josh Fletcher 24. January 2012 11:54
Josh Fletcher

Each year hunters will spend thousands of dollars on outfitters, guns, and bows. They will research and spend hundreds of dollars on everything from calls, scents, to back packs; however the one item often over looked is proper foot wear. They will buy top of the line equipment from archery specialist at pro shops but will run to a big chain store to pick up a pair of hunting boots on sale, basing their boot selection just on price and looks.

Even the United States Military under stands the importance of taking care of your feet. A solder is no good if he has a bad case of trench foot or feet so blistered the soldier can’t walk.

Your feet and foot wear are just as important as the weapon you are carrying on your next hunt, because if your feet get cold, wet, or blistered your done hunting. If you don’t take care of your feet you won’t sit in the stand long waiting for a big whitetail to walk by. You’re not going to cover the amount of ground needed to find that big bull elk if your feet are blistered from an uncomfortable boot. You’re not going to stay in the woods or cover much ground chasing that long beard in the early April morning if your feet are wet from the morning dew.

I think by now you get the point, and understand the importance of proper foot wear. There is no magic boot out there, nor is there one style of boot for every hunting situation.  The key is to look for certain characteristics in a boot that will not only fit your foot but also your hunting situation.

In this article we will break down the three main types of boots to fit a variation of hunting situations. These are not the only style of boots out there however these are the most popular. Next we will take a close look at each type of boot and common characteristics that you will want to look for in picking the right boot for you and your hunting situation.

Keep in mind that with all the boots out on the market the main thing for all three categories is to get the best boot that you can afford. I am not saying that you will need to break the bank for a good pair of boots, but foot wear is an area of your hunting equipment you won’t want to skimp on.

We have noticed that you are better off paying up front for a good pair of hunting boots that will last you many years and treat your feet well versus buying a cheap pair just to get buy, which will often leave you buying a new pair year after year.

Again we want to emphasize that there is no one perfect boot, the reason is, there are too many variables in your hunting situation and environment for a one size fits all situation boots.  With that being said we will not focus on a particular brand of boot but common characteristics that you will want to look for in making your next hunting boot selection.

The three main categories that we will cover for hunting boots are, knee high rubber boots, hiking or hunting boot, and pack boots.

The knee high rubber boot is often best suited for the whitetail stand hunter. The guy or gal that walks a relatively short distance whether it be through swamps or upland, but is looking for scent control and who has the main goal of sitting in a tree stand for several hours. The other type of hunter that utilizes rubber knee high boots is that of a hunter in swampy wet conditions or a turkey hunter battling the morning dew.

The hiking boot or hunting boot is for the hunter who will walk through a variety of conditions, whether it is shallow swampy water, upland conditions, snow, or mountains of the west.

The third popular boot is the pack boot. This type of boot is often used in the far north ware hunting conditions consist of extreme cold and snow. Most often used for sitting long hours in the cold waiting for a deer to walk by.

Now that we have the three most popular types of boots available, let’s break them down to discuss what to look for in making the right selection for you.

Knee High Rubber Boots:

With rubber boots there is no laces to tighten up the boot around the top of your foot and around the ankle area of your foot. Because of this it is important to select a good pair of rubber boots that is form fitting in this area of your foot and ankle. Some companies such as the Irish Setter Company designs the boot to have a flexible cup for your ankle to stretch out from the boot allowing the top of your foot to slide down into the boot. By doing this it allows the company to make a more form fitted boot to your foot.  Other companies are now producing a more properly molded boot to the hunter’s foot. This will make the boot tougher to slide your foot into, however once your foot is slid into the boot it is more locked in and secure allowing less “slop” for your foot to slide back and forth in.

A good rubber boot such as these from Scent Blocker have an antimicorbial inner sole to resist mildew and bacteria growth.

This is very important to have a secure ankle and foot fit in rubber boots because if you’re a hunter who has a considerable distance to walk to your tree stand you will start to feel fatigue in your legs from trying to compensate your natural walk and to avoid the boot from slapping the back of your calf and to prevent your foot from sliding around.  Not only will this fatigue your legs, but will also create blisters on your ankles from the constant rubbing of the boot.

Next, you will want a rubber boot that provides good ankle support so that you don’t roll your ankle while walking through a given type of terrain. A good rubber boot will have a thicker rubber around the foot and ankle area.  Above the ankle you will want to have a more flexible rubber, some companies use neoprene in this area. The reason is that the boot above the ankle must flex with your shin to allow a more comfortable stride to your step.
You will also want to find a rubber boot that has a removable insole. The negative of rubber boots are that they do not breathe. Because of this, often the insoles of the boot will be ridden with foot moisture and need to be pulled out of the boot to dry and avoid bacteria growth.

Also pay attention to the outsole of the boot or traction. Because these boots are less flexible and forgiving as hiking boots and are often worn in wet muddy conditions you will want an aggressive sole pattern that will clean out and not get clogged up with mud limiting your traction.

Last and most important the boot must be comfortable. When trying on a pair of rubber boots, don’t just take a couple of steps in them and throw them in your cart. Walk around, make some laps in the store, you may get some strange looks but for the people that understand the importance of a proper fitting boot, they will know what you’re doing. If you feel just the slightest part of the boot that is uncomfortable or ankle slop, start over and look at a different pair, because what might  feel slight in the store with a flat smooth floor will be magnified tenfold in the woods on uneven ground.

It is also important to note that with all boots you want a good snug fit, especially in the ankle and the top part of your foot, however you don’t want a boot to tight that it will restrict the blood flow and circulation of your foot. Even just the slightest restriction will cause your feet to feel cramped and also cause your feet to get much colder very quickly. You will want room to freely wiggle your toes. If you know you’re going to be picking out a pair of boots at a store, wear the type of socks you will be hunting in, because if you wear wool socks while hunting they will fit much differently in a boot than thin cotton socks that you wore while trying on the boots in the store.

Tips for taking care of your rubber boots:

•The biggest thing to remember with rubber is that as soon as it is produced from the factory, when exposed to UV (ultraviolet light) the rubber begins to break down. To avoid your rubber boots from cracking, ultimately leaking, keep your boots out of any sun light when not in use. Don’t store them out on the deck or next to a window. Keep them in a tote or a box for best life of the boot.

•Try to avoid extreme heat on the rubber. Avoid keeping them in the vehicle for an extended period of time. Extreme heat can warp the boot causing a different fit.
•Because rubber does not breathe, after every use, pull out the removable insole and allow it to air dry. Next place the boot on a boot drier or have a fan blow fresh air inside the boot. By doing this will avoid bacteria and mildew from growing inside the boot. If your feet are like mine, I highly recommend sprinkling foot powder inside the boot after each use.

•A flexible rubber bonding glue works good for quick fixes of your rubber boots to patch minor holes or cracks such as “Shoe Goop”. However depending upon the amount of use, often this is just a quick fix and not a permanent one.

Hiking or Hunting Boots:

These boots are on average from 6 inches to 12 inches in height and often used for upland or mountain hunting. Just like the rubber boots mentioned above you will want the boot to fit properly. These are boots that you would wear on an elk or mule deer hunt in the mountains, a prong horn hunt in the prairies, or a pheasant hunt in the CRP grass. There are many different applications for the hunting boot and is the most adaptable for varied types of terrains.

Leather is the most durable and longest lasting material for boots.

When it comes to hunting boots I prefer all leather over Cordura for material. I have owned both types of material boots, and I got more life out of the leather boot than the Cordura. Leather is more flexible than Cordura, and when properly oiled leather will get you more years of use.
The problem that I have had with Cordura, is that after several years the Cordura begins to break down, especially in the crease where your toes bend in the boot.  I also prefer leather because when properly oiled, the leather its self has water repellency giving you extra water proof protection.

A friend of mine has a pair of leather hunting boots that he has worn for the last twenty years, and my last pair of leather hunting boots lasted me over twelve years.
If you do decide to go with a boot that has Codura, it is strongly advised to make sure the area around the toe, especially ware the toe bends, be made of leather. This is often the first area of the boot that Codura begins to break down at.

Next let’s look at the soles. There are two main ways of attaching the soles to the boot. One is sewn on and the other is glued on.  They both have their strong and weak points. I prefer sewn on soles because if I wear down the soles of my boots I can take them to a shoe cobbler and have them just sow on a new sole. The weak part of a sewn on sole has a tendency to feel like the boot is more top heavy while seated on the sole. What is meant by this is it feels like the bottom of your foot may tend to feel like they will roll over the sole on steep angles.
The glued on sole seems to provide more support on steep angles than the sewn on sole because most glued soles are molded to come up over the sides of the boots to provide more surface area for the glue. The negative of glued on soles is that the glue has a tendency to break down and not hold the sole on, causing the boot to leak or the sole to begin to come off.
You will also want to make sure your boot is 100 percent water proof, with no exceptions.  I feel so strongly about this that not only do I look for a boot that is water proof but it MUST be Gore-Tex lined. When I see a tag on a boot that says 100 percent water proof, my first question is, for how long? By being not only water proof but also Gore-Tex lined, I know that I will get years of use out of the boots without them leaking.

Dont just trust that the boot is water proof. Make sure they are Gore-Tex lined for added years of water proofing.

When trying on a pair of hunting boots, just like the rubber boots, make sure they are very comfortable with zero discomforts. Often people will try on a boot with mild discomfort, but they still buy the boot any way with the mindset that they just need to be “broken in”. However it always seems that the discomfort never goes away, and if the boot is not comfortable you won’t wear them, and if you don’t wear them, why even buy them in the first place.

Next you want to make sure that your toes do not hit the front of the boot while on steep angles. You want a good boot that provides great ankle support and also a snug fit at the top of your foot and front of your ankle. By having a proper fit in this location your boot will prevent your foot from sliding forward and slamming the tips of your toes in the front of the boot while on a steep angle. If you ignore this while trying on a pair of boots, you better invest in a lot of mole skin and band aids on your next hunt in the mountains.

Also just like the rubber boots make sure you have enough room to wiggle your toes so that you don’t restrict circulation, and pick a boot that has good aggressive outer soles for traction in many different types of terrains.

Tips for taking care of your Hiking Boots:

•If your hiking boots are leather, keep them well-oiled after each hunt using a quality leather treatment or a product such as Sno-Seal.

•Keep mud off your boots while not in use. Get a firm bristled shoe brush to help wash off the mud from your boots after each hunt. If the mud is left on while in storage it will cause the leather of the boot to dry out and possibly crack.

•Just like the rubber boots, remove the insole of the boot to air dry from foot perspiration, and also place boots on a boot drier or allow a fan to circulate air inside the boot to prevent mildew and bacteria growth.

•Keep boots from direct sun light. The UV from sun light will break down and dry out the leather of the boot.

•With boots made of Codura, treat with a thin layer of silicone water proofing spray after each hunt to maintain the boots water proofing abilities.

Pack Boots:

Pack boots are designed for extremely cold temperatures. These types of boots are often used by deer hunters that spend hours on stand waiting. Because of the large bulk and weight of the boots for insulation against cold temperatures, these boots are not meant for long walking.

Pack boots can be large and bulky, however you will never wear a warmer type of boot.

When selecting a pair of pack boots, keep in mind that the rating of the boots does not mean they will keep you warm down to that particular temperature. For example, if boots are rated for -25 degrees, does not mean your feet will be warm in them when the temperatures plummet to -25 degrees. Use this as a rating system to compare to other pack boots. An example is, if you plan on using pack boots for extremely cold temperatures or if your feet get cold very easily, you may want to go with a pack boot that is rated down to a -150 versus a boot that is rated to a -110.

When picking out a pair of pack boots you will want a pair that has a removable liner. The reason for this is similar to the removable insole on your hunting boots. After each hunt you will want to remove the liner to allow to air dry and also place the boot itself on a boot drier. While hunting under extremely cold temperatures you will want your boots bone dry before each hunt. Any amount of moisture in your boots will result in cold feet no matter how insulated the boots are.

Because you will most likely be wearing pack boots in snow, they must be 100 percent water proof with no exceptions. You may also want some extra room in the boot for thick wool socks along with room to attach adhesive toe warmers inside the boots, also just like the rubber boots and the hiking boots, a proper fit with good ankle support is a must.
Tips for taking care of your pack boots:

•Just like the hiking boots, keep the leather uppers well oiled. If the uppers of the pack boots are made of Codura spray them with a light coat of silicone water proofing spray after each hunt.

•After each time you wear your pack boot, pull out the removable liner and dry the boots on a boot drier or have a fan blow fresh air into the boot. When wearing pack boots you will want them to have zero moisture inside the boot. If your feet are damp, they will be cold no matter how well insulated the boots are.

•Most pack boots have rubber bottoms, just like the rubber knee boots avoid direct sunlight on the boots to prevent UV damage to the rubber.


No matter what style of boot you choose they must be comfortable. Do not put up with an uncomfortable boot with hopes of it “breaking in”. If they hurt your feet you won’t wear them to break them in. You will also want good ankle support in your boots and they must be snug around the ankle with no room for “slop” however you don’t want your boots tight around the toes so that it restricts blood circulation in your feet. Also keep in mind that if it just says 100 percent water proof on the tag, asks yourself, for how long?  Not only will you want your boots 100 percent water proof but you will want them to be Gore-Tex lined for many years of water proof durability.  Most importantly get the best boots that you can afford, and you will get many years of comfortable hunting out of your next pair of boots.

Stealth Cam Introduces the New Trail Camera Field App

by Todd Graf 23. January 2012 08:55
Todd Graf

If you know me personally, have followed my blog over the years, or regularly watch Bowhunt or Die, you know by now that I am a trail camera junky.  Over the years I have amassed an impressive (or embarrassing, if you ask my wife) number of trail cameras of nearly every brand.  There technology simply allows me to scout and monitor bucks without putting added pressure on them.  Trail cameras are a useful tool for bowhunters that promise to increase your success rate.

That being said, trail cameras have come a long way since their inception over a decade ago.  They now take crystal clear images, record HD video and can send your images wirelessly from the unit to your e-mail account (see Stealth Cam’s new Drone system).  Well, Stealth Cam, the trail camera I rely on most in the field, has taken scouting technology one step further with their new Trail Camera Field App.  This hunter friendly mobile app costs only $1.99 and is available for both Apple and Android powered devices.  

It comes packed with a boatload of innovative features that can assist hunters in a variety of ways.  It comes integrated with GPS mapping technology that not only allows you to mark your trail camera locations, but also other important marking points such as tree stands, water holes, scrapes, rubs, you name it!  You can save and share these markers to your Facebook page or your friends via e-mail as well.  Or, simply save them to your personal gallery.  

The app also has built in functionality that can help you plan out your hunts better as well.  Hunters can get weather forecasts by entering their city, state or zip code, or by letting the location based feature on the camera precisely identify your location.  Not only weather forecasts, DETAILED weather forecasts including 24 hour, 3 day or an extended 10 day forecast while not only providing your usually weather information, but also hunter friendly info such as sunrise and sunset times, moon phase and barometric pressure.  The Trail Cam Field App also has a built in photo managing / sharing function that allows hunters to fully customize their photo gallery by location, date, weapon or species.  You can then share your photos via social media and receive comments in real time.  You can also get video tips and information straight from the Stealth Cam Pro Staff as well. 

If this app is something that intrigues you, feel free to contact the Stealth Cam team for tech tips or general information regarding this app, I encourage you to check out their website here.  Happy off-season everyone! 

ATA Update

by Steve Flores 12. January 2012 11:39
Steve Flores

Here are some additional products to wet your appetite for new archery gear. Enjoy!





 The new NAP Killzone rear-deploying expandable head will definately leave a huge mark.

 Protect the new Easton INJEXION arrows and NAP compatable broadheads in this new 2012 Easton ARSENAL Quiver


 Limbsaver will help you take care of the other end of your arrow with their cool new Fletch Pod.



 PSE has developed an eye-catching pattern exclusively for select arrows and the VIBRACHECK line of accessories.


Exciting new clothing from Under Armour....aptly named UA Scent Control. Using cutting edge technology never seen before in clothing, UA is set to raise the bar by helping hunters get closer to big-game animals while remaining undetected.  

UA is also jumping into the liquid scent control market.


Scent Lok also has new technology in their scent suppressing clothing line as well.

Know for high quality backpacks, Badlands has decided to develope their own line of hunting clothing with models designed to fight the elements; helping you stay in the field longer.

Camo peep for the hunter that really wants EVERYTHING camo'd.



 Colorful Nitro stabilizer from Pine Ridge Archery. As well as Kisser Buttons, Peep Sights, and String Loop.


VitalXArchery offers an exciting bowsight that has a standard pin on top and a movable second pin on the bottom. For someone like me who is constantly torn between a fixed pin sight and a single pin moveable sight, the answer just might be found in this highly innovative sight. My personal favorite from the show.

Tru Glo has developed new technology into their Apex line that allows fiber optic pins to be removed by simply unscrewing the desired pin and replacing it with the new color you have chosen. This is all done without the need to remove the actual sight pin. Thus eliminating the need to resight your bow just because you want to change pin colors.

















Tru Glo also has a new quiver with a handy light in the hood. Perfect for safely placing a broadhead tipped arrow back into the quiver after sunset or anytime light is nonexisitent. This quiver also attaches to the rear of the above mentioned sight. 


Canon XA10 Video Camera Review

by John Mueller 31. December 2011 08:26
John Mueller

For those of you looking for a new video camera for next season the Canon XA10 from Campbell Camera's is one of the most advanced compact video cameras on the market today. Small in size, but very big on features. This compact camera has all the bells and whistles. But it is still very user friendly, for guys like myself who aren’t video experts. Some of the advanced features actually make it easier for the novice videographer. I have used mine the whole 2011 hunting season and will now give you my personal review. I just know a lot of you have that Christmas bonus burning a hole in your pocket. This would be money well spent.

A few controls are located under the flip out viewfinder.

There is not much this little camera can't do.

My camera complete with the 3rd Arm Tree Arm.

There are many things I like about the XA10, but the number one reason I decided on this camera is its size. Since I do all of my own filming and hunt in very hilly terrain, I need a small lightweight camera, one that fits in a small pack or carrying bag and doesn’t weigh a ton. The XA10 is just that, not that much bigger than a point and shoot digital camera. I carry all my camera gear in the Campbell Camera’s small carry bag.

Not that much bigger than my Android.

Two other really neat features on this camera are the Infrared Mode and the Touch Focus feature. The IR mode allows for filming in complete darkness. Much like the IR trail cameras, this produces a black and white video with very good picture quality. I find this most useful when doing interviews in the stand. I can do an interview either before the hunt or after while still in the stand. Sometimes I don’t want to be talking after sunrise or need to wait till after sunset if there are deer near my stand. The Touch Focus mode is great for those of us that self film our hunts. Once you have your deer in your view finder you simply touch the deer on the viewfinder screen and the touch focus locks in on the deer. Even if the deer moves or you move the camera, the camera stays focused on the subject. This prevents the deer from becoming blurry if it walks behind a tree or a branch gets between the camera and the deer. I totally love this feature when self filming.

Just touch the deer on the screen and the touch focus keeps it in focus.

The XA10 has a 64GB internal flash drive which can hold 6 hours of video when set on the highest quality setting and also comes with 2 SD card slots for additional recording time or for simultaneous backup recording. This means no fumbling with changing tapes or worries about running out of tape in the middle of your hunt. The SD cards really make it simple to download the video to a computer for viewing or editing. Just pop the card in the reader slot and away you go.

Another great feature is the lowlight capabilities of the XA10. This camera can film right up to the end of legal shooting light as long as you don’t have to zoom in too much. I was completely surprised at how little light is actually needed to get usable video with this camera.

I don’t have enough time or space to tell you about everything this compact camera can do. The truth is I’m still learning myself. What I have learned is this camera is very easy to use, with most of the controls on the touch screen.You can be as basic as you want be or explore all of the features and make some amazing video with this outfit. I plan on doing more research myself and adding more to my videos next season.

Most of the options are controlled right on the viewfinder screen.

The handle houses the sound level controls.

Even though the XA10 only has a 10 optical zoom, I have been able to use the digital zoom with very good results. As long as I have a steady rest I have no problem zooming in to 60-80x.

If you would like to see some of the video I’ve shot using the XA10, click on this link.

You can also get more info on the XA10 and ordering info from Campbell Camera’s here.

Stealth Cam Archer's Choice Edition Game Camera Review

by Josh Fletcher 27. December 2011 11:34
Josh Fletcher

This fall we had the opportunity to run the new Archers Choice TV Signature Edition game camera by Stealth Cam through an in-depth series of tests.  We didn’t just want to do a quick review on game cameras, we wanted to give you, the readers the best understanding and quality review, so that you can make your own decision on what game camera is right for you, and be confident in that decision.
In this review we break the camera down, from the size of the camera, factory specs on the camera, to the warranty and operators manual. We will also look at the cameras mounting system, ease of use, trigger speed, sensor distance, sensor width, IR (infrared) distance test, battery life and many more series of other tests and features of the camera.

The author using the compact Archer's Choice edition game camera by Stealth Cam

Under each category I list a score. The score is based on a system of 1 through 10. The score of 1 being the worst, and the score of 10 being the best. To understand the means of scoring we were very strict about how good a 10 really is, basically a 10 means it is perfect with no room for improvement.  We also used feet as well as yards to measure distance. The reason for this is most people have a hard time picturing how far 24 feet is but all bow hunters can picture how far 8 yards is.

At the end of the review we will give you an easy to view break down of the good vs. the bad of the game camera reviewed, along with our overall impression of the game camera. So let’s literally break the new Archers Choice TV signature edition game camera by Stealth Cam down to the nuts and bolts.

Test Conditions:

Controlled testing was done on September 20th 2011 in the evening hours with temperatures that averaged around 70 degrees.
Battery life test was conducted in a range of temperature from 70 degrees down to 10 degrees, along with rain and snow.

Make and Model of Game Camera:
Stealth Cam Archers Choice TV Signature Edition Game Camera. Model #: STC-AC540IR

Game Camera Size:

This camera has dimensions of 6 inches tall, 4 inches wide, by 2 inches deep. It is very small, compact and light weight.

Factory Specs features of the Game Camera:

Stealth Cam was really thinking when they designed this camera; it shows by the locations of the LCD screens, along with ease of use. Stealth Cam equipped the Archers Choice edition with the option of selecting 3, 5, or 8 megapixels. It also can capture video along with audio at 640x480 resolutions.  The photos are all stamped with date, time, moon phase, and temperature.  All of this data can be stored on a SD card with up to 16 GB of memory. With the camera set to take 5 megapixel pictures, you can store 5440 black and white photos, or 3264 color photos. With the camera set to take 30 second videos, you can store 544 black and white (night time) videos on a 16 GB SD card or 224 color videos. (Note that these are approximate number of images)

The Archers Choice edition is equipped with a generous 1.85” black and white LCD Display. This display is located inside the camera and shows you your different settings and menu. There is also a LCD display on the outside face of the game camera that shows the number of pictures taken. This is a great feature so you do not have to open up the camera to view how many pictures have been taken.

Stealth Cam designed the Archer's Choice edition to be easy to use and user friendly

This camera also has the capture options of 1-9 image burst mode. The burst mode takes the selected number of photos in a row. This feature is designed to capture several different angles of your buck’s antlers to provide a better judgment of the animal.  The pictures are saved to the SD card in a standard JPEG format. The time that each trigger is taken by the camera or also known as the time out feature can be set from 0 seconds to 59 minutes.  This is the time in between each event before the camera takes another picture(s).

This camera is also equipped with a time lapse mode. This feature is designed to provide a constant monitor of an area; the camera will bypass the passive infrared sensor (PIR) and take photos (not video) during the programed time frame.  For example , it will snap a photo every 10 seconds from 8am to 8pm. Then the entire days’ worth of data can be viewed in a short period of time. This feature is handy for monitoring food plots or field where the deer may be out to far to trigger the PIR but can still be captured in the picture.
On the front of the camera it had a red LED low battery light that indicates that the batteries need to be changed without having to open the camera to check the battery status. There is also a green test LED light on the front of the camera to test the range and angle of the camera.

Next, the camera has five buttons under the inside LCD display, these buttons are-the test, confirm, menu, and the up and down buttons for setting up the camera’s modes. On each side of those buttons there are two switches, the power on/off and the Posse Mode/ custom switch.

This camera is has a 1.85" B&W LCD display

The posse mode is a pre-set mode for the camera’s ease of use. If you’re not a very technologically advanced individual, all that you have to do is flip the switch to on, then flip the other switch to posse mode and walk away. In the posse mode the camera will automatically take 5 megapixel photos, with a two picture burst and a one minute delay until the next event.  Or you can flip the switch to custom and program the camera to take video, time laps, or photos.
Both the photos and videos are illuminated by infrared LED’s giving it a 50 foot or approximately 16.6 yard range.

Ok, now that we have a good back ground on the specs and features of the new Archers Choice edition game camera by Stealth Cam let’s start breaking it down and seeing how it scores.

Initial Impressions of the Camera:

Upon receiving the game camera we noticed that the camera had a very durable housing.  The camera is sealed tightly by two heavy duty plastic latches with metal C-bar.  Compared to other game cameras that we have used the Archers Choice edition game camera was more durable that most others on the market, and is able to with stand the abuse that the average hunter will put it through. This camera is a camera that can take a licking and keep on clicking.
Initial Impressions of the Camera score: 8.5

Operators Manual and Lay Out, Tech Support, and Warranty:

Stealth Cam’s game cameras come with an in depth operators manual.  If you lose your manual to your Stealth Cam you can go to Stealth Cam’s web site at and print off the manual to your model of Stealth Cam.

On the first page of the Archers Choice edition game camera is all the customer support information for the Stealth Cam Company. Not only does it provide the web address for the website, but also the companies mailing address, customer service number along with the email address to technical support.

The Stealth Cam Company has a one year limited warranty on parts and labor. The warranty covers defects in workmanship and materials.
Operators Manual, Tech Support, and Warranty score: 9

Camera’s Mounting System:

The Stealth Cam comes with a nylon web strap. On the back of the camera there are two molded slots for the web strap to slide through to secure the camera to the strap. These molded slots can also be used for other ways of securing the camera to a tree or fence post.  An example of this would be if you wanted to secure the camera using bungi straps instead of the supplied nylon strap.

The Archers Choice edition also has a tree screw mounting option on the bottom of the camera. This is designed for use with a tri pod to place the camera on if no tree is available or if you wanted to use a tree screw to mount the camera to a tree and not the strap.
Camera’s Mounting System Score: 9.5

Trigger Speed:

Independent test have been conducted on the Stealth Cam Hunters Choice model and has shown to have a trigger speed of approximately 1.5 seconds.

With a 1.5 second trigger speed Stealth Cam is not the fastest camera on the market. This is one area that I would like to see Stealth Cam improve on. On field tests this slower trigger speed didn’t affect the number of deer that we were able to capture on the field test as much as I had expected.  If a deer was feeding his way or even walking past, the camera does a good job at capturing the deer. If the deer was trotting through or on a run, the 1.5 second trigger speed may have a hard time capturing that image.
Trigger Speed Score: 6.5

Camera Ease of Use:

When the Archers Choice camera was designed you can definitely tell that ease of use was priority number one.  All it takes to get this camera going is a flip of two switches.  If you’re not person who likes to read owner manuals, just flip the power on and flip the second switch to the posse mode.  The camera preprogramed to take 5 megapixel photos with two picture bursts and a one minute time out. That’s it, just set it and forget it. It’s that simple.
If you wish to set the camera to your own custom settings, just preset the different features in the menu mode prior to heading out to the woods. Once in the woods just flip the power switch to on and walk away. Unlike some cameras on the market, you don’t have to go into the settings and manually arm the camera; with just a flip of the switch you’re ready to start taking photos.
Camera Ease of Use Score: 10

Camera Noise:

We wanted to add this topic into the review because we have tested several cameras that make a “clicking” noise while it is taking the photo.  This can be a major problem because it will tip of a mature buck of the cameras presence.  Once that buck is spooked and realizes his home has been invaded chances are he will shy from the area of the camera.

No camera noise is improtant so an animal close to the camera does not hear when the picture is taken

While testing the Stealth Cam and taking hundreds of pictures with it, not once did we notice any noise from the camera, so much so the only way we knew the camera took a photo was by picture counter on the front of the camera, or under low light the LEDs lighting up.
Camera Noise Score: 10

PIR (Passive Infrared) Sensor Distance Test:

Under a low light condition we set the camera up and began to walk towards the camera, once the LEDs light up we would measure the distance to the camera.  We conducted this test numerous time to be sure we got the most accurate results.

The maximum range we were able to get the PIR to take a picture was 14 yards or 42 feet

The camera would trigger at a distance of forty two feet or fourteen yards.  The most effective range for best results is thirty feet or ten yards.
PIR Sensor Distance Test Score: 8

PIR Sensor Width Test:

Again under low light condition we used the distance of 24 feet or 8 yards from the camera.  I then walked across the plane of the camera marking the location that the PIR sensor first picked up my motion.  We copied this from the other side of the camera.

The PIR sensor width at 8 yards is 5 yards or 15 feet wide

At 24 feet or 8 yards from the camera, we had a PIR sensor width of 24 feet or 8 yards wide. 
PIR Sensor Width Test Score: 8

Infrared Distance Test:

We used a 3-D target to represent our deer at the given distance to judge the picture quality and the effective distance of the Infrared flash.

The above picture shows the IR capabilities at 30 feet or 10 yards to the deer target

The above picture shows the IR capabilities with the deer target being 50 feet or 16.6 yards

After testing the infrared at the distances of 30 feet and the recommended maximum range of 50 feet we reviewed the photos.  This test showed that we could still identify antler characteristics all the way out to the 50 foot maximum range with good quality.
Infrared Distance Test Score: 9

Picture Quality:

To decide the score for the picture quality we reviewed photos that were taken under both the black and white infrared night pictures and color day photos. We also compared and reviewed both photos taken during the tests and in the field photos.

Stealth Cam takes great night time photos and has an excellent IR range

Some of the color pictures taken in the morning have a blur to them

The Stealth Cam took great quality night time photos, both in the field and under testing conditions. The day time photos taken under the testing were of good quality, however some of the day time photos in the field had a haze to them. 
Picture Quality Score:  (9 for infrared) (7 for day time)

Special Feature Test:

In the PIR mode the Stealth Cam has different zoom levels to achieve a close up picture at a further distance.


The above picture showing the quality picture set at the two power zoom



The above picture shows the picture quality of the camera set at the four power zoom

During the testing the zoom modes is a great feature, especially when using the camera for home security. The zoom at 4x (the maximum) showed a little bit of blur.
Special Feature Test Score: 8.5

Battery Life Test:

This camera runs off of 8 AA batteries and has the optional connection for an external 12 volt battery pack. Using the AA batteries we had the camera in place set on the PIR photo mode taking 8 megapixel photos. The camera battery life was monitored from the last week of October to the last week of December.

We wanted to test the battery life through this time frame since this is the time when most hunters have their cameras in the woods. Also this time frame gives us a wide range of temperatures. During this test we had temperatures ranging from 70 degrees down to 10 degrees, we also had sunshine along with snow.

We started with full battery power at the end of October, the last week of December we were down to ¼ battery power.  Given the weather conditions which this camera was tested in, we were very impressed with the battery life using the AA batteries.
Battery Test Score: 8.5

Final Impressions of Camera:

After running this camera through a strict series of tests, we are very impressed with the Stealth Cam’s Archers Choice Signature Series game camera.
This camera is small and compact in size, light and easy to transport. It has many great features that are useful for many different applications. It also has a good battery life, which has shown to be reliable under a variety of weather conditions.

The trigger speed is slower than we would like, however it is not the slowest on the market nor is it so slow that you’re going to miss animals walking through.

The picture quality and IR range at night is excellent, we were very impressed with the IR range. The day light photos were good quality with some of the early morning pictures having a slight blur to them.

We were also impressed with the durability of this camera. Stealth Cam did not make a cheap quality camera here; this camera can take a licking and keep on clicking with the quality and durability of the camera body.
Also this camera is very reasonably priced.  You can buy several of these cameras for the price of a different company’s camera.

If you are looking for an easy to use camera that does not require reading the owner’s manual from cover to cover and days to learn, this is the camera for you. You will spend less time reading and learning the camera and more time having the camera in the woods scouting for you. Stealth Cam designed this camera to be a no brainer and is super easy to use.

Over All Score: 8.5

Hopefully this review will help you with deciding which camera is right for you this year. All cameras have their strong points along with their weak points. There is no perfect camera on the market, and we hope that this review helps to assist you in picking out your next camera to get you on the biggest buck of your life.


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.



"Idiot Proof Archery" book review

by Josh Fletcher 19. December 2011 16:45
Josh Fletcher

“Hi, I’m Josh Fletcher and I have target panic!” Yes that is right; I suffer from a major case of target panic. This year was the worst display of shooting I have ever done in my hunting career.  I owe it to the viewers who watch’s Bow Hunt or Die Series, and most importantly the animals, that every shot I make is the most accurate shot I am able to produce.

I’m no rookie at archery; I’ve been hunting and shooting a bow since the age of six. I remember running around the local woods with my brothers chasing small game with an old plastic recurve bow. The thing with archery is that it is a discipline, and even though I have been shooting bows my whole life I have picked up bad habits along the way.

For those of you that never had target panic, one of three things may have happened to you.  One you have not shot archery long enough to experience this problem. Two, you don’t know what the symptoms of target panic are. Three you are not honest with yourself and blame poor shots on anything other than yourself.

Being the type of person that I am, I’m not going to just sit back and live with the problem of target panic. I needed help. Now that I am in the off season I recently bought a barrage of different archery books. After reading numerous books and obtaining as much archery info my little brain could cram, I discovered a book that every archery hunter needs to read. Whether you suffer from an extreme case of target panic or just want to improve your shooting capabilities and range, this is a must read book.

"Idiot Proof Archery" is a must read book for anyone looking to improve thier accuracy

“Idiot Proof Archery” is written by Bernie Pellerite.  Bernie Pellerite has won over 75 tournaments and titles. Not only does the author shoot competitive archery, but is also an avid bow hunter.

As I have mentioned earlier, I have been shooting bows my whole life, and after reading “Idiot Proof Archery”, I analyzed my shooting form and habits and literally went, “yup I’m doing that wrong, that wrong, and that wrong.

Bernie Pellerite said it best in his book that most sports out there have coaches. Just look at golf. Virtually any golf course you go to has golf pro available to help you with your game. I grew up playing baseball, not once did I play a game without a coach. Now think about archery, when was the last time you shot your bow and had a true coach there to help you improve your game? And by true coach I don’t mean your buddy bubba that shows you his way of shooting and not so much the proper way.

“Idiot Proof Archery” is like having Bernie Pellerite as your personal coach. Idiot Proof Archery is a book designed in an easy to read, get you back to the fundamentals of correct archery, and building your accuracy.  What I like about Bernie Pellerite, is that he says it like it is and doesn’t care about being politically correct. His goal is to make you a better archer.

“Idiot Proof Archery”  is 338 page book that has lots of detailed pictures that show you exactly what Bernie is explaining.  Bernie also has “key points” throughout the book.  The key points re-emphasis of solid advice that is covered throughout the particular chapter.  What I enjoy about Idiot Proof Archery is that every chapter is like a building block, each chapter builds off the last and as you go through and read your way through the book you get a much better understanding of how to improve your shooting game.
The Chapters Covered in Idiot Proof Archery is listed below.

Introduction: Why You Don’t Shoot Like a Pro (Or Even As well As You Can)
Chapter 1: Equipment, Form, The Mental Game, And You!
Chapter 2: Your Personality… Can You Handel The Truth?
Chapter 3: The Importance Of Tuning, Shooting Form, And Draw Length.
Chapter 4: The Magic And Myths Of Bow & Arrow Setup and Tuning.
Chapter 5: How The Pros Do It… Part One- Aiming
Chapter 6: How The Pros Do It… Part Two- Holding Steady
Chapter 7: The Shot Sequence… Part One- The Defense
Chapter 8: The Shot Sequence… Part Two- The Offense
Chapter 9: Anticipation, Programming, Back Tension & Your Release
Chapter 10: “Hi, My Name is Bernie & I’ve Got Target Panic”
Chapter 11: 44 Form Flaws- When Things Go Wrong
Chapter 12: Shooting Inside Your Comfort Zone
Chapter 13: Perfect Practice, The Do’s & Don’ts Of An Accelerated Learning Curve
Chapter 14: Tournament Nerves, Choking Under Pressure, And Shooting In Adverse Conditions
Chapter 15: 3-D & Estimating Yardage… “Legal & Illegal”
Chapter 16: Hunting With a Bow

In "Idiot Proof Archery”, Bernie Pellerite explains methods recommended to produce the most consistent shooting form, because in archery you don’t have to do things right, you just have to do things consistently. “ Idiot Proof Archery” not only explains how to do things consistently but also gives you shooting drills to help you improve your accuracy and how to truly overcome target panic.

The issue that I have with shooting is target panic. With target panic I anticipate the release causing me to punch the trigger along with what is called a “drive by shooting” or “drive by sight picture”. Basically, once my pin is on the target, I’m afraid that I won’t be able to hold a steady sight picture like that you have while bench shooting a rifle. The thing is that with an archery sight picture, the pin will float over your target.

My issue is that once my pin gets close, I punch the trigger to make a quick shot before my pin moves off the target. “Idiot Proof Archery” explains that this is normal and your pin is supposed to float over your target. To correct this problem I need to anticipate the follow through not the release, I also need to produce a muscle memory of a perfect back tension release, causing the release to surprise me. Idiot Proof Archery teaches me several drills to perform this task. The last month I have been shooting at a blank bale at just three yards away working on muscle memory of the perfect back tension release.
In Bernie Pellerite’s book, he states that muscle memory needs to be engrained and it takes approximately 2,000 repetitions to engrain a particular grip, stance, anchor point, or release.

In archery you don’t have to do things right, you just have to do things consistently

This book taught me that in the off season to forget about shooting bulls eyes and work on having the proper grip, consistent anchor point, perfect back tension release, and follow through. Once that is ingrained into my shooting habit, then and only then will I began working on close range target shooting, and slowly extending my range. If I begin to pick up a bad habit, I need to immediately work on the fundamentals before going back to the target again.

Idiot Proof Archery gives you the knowledge every archer needs to build his own shooting regimen by using the tools presented in Bernie’s book.

There is one thing in this book that I dislike. The one and really the only thing, is in the beginning of the book, Bernie states that the archery industry keeps pushing more gear to make you shoot better and you need better equipment to shoot better and that he is sick of this.  He states to become a better archer you need to work on your fundamentals. I agree one hundred percent with this, that’s not the problem, the issue I have is that throughout the book Bernie mentions about his new release aids and bow shooting aids, basically doing the same thing he is blaming the archery industry for. This seems a little bit hypocritical to me, however the rest of the 99% of this book is great material that will help anybody to improve their accuracy and overcome target panic.

So if you’re already a great archery shooter or one that suffers from extreme target panic  like I do, this is definitely a book that needs to be added to your archery arsenal, so much so I keep mine with my archery tools and is just as important as a bow press to any archer.

On a scale of 1 to 10, “Idiot Proof Archery” by Bernie Pellerite gets a Solid 9. The only reason this book did not receive a 10 out of 10 is due to the sales pitches about his products when he knocks others in the industry for doing the same thing. But if you can get past or ignore that little portion this is one of the best books I have ever read and will definitely be referring to it and the advice Bernie Pellerite recommends to help improve my archery abilities this year.



New Bowhunting Products From the Mathews Retailer Show

by Dustin DeCroo 16. December 2011 12:02
Dustin DeCroo

We visited the 2011 Mathews Retailers show to check out some of the new products that will be available in 2012. While we don’t have time to review every new product, here are a few that caught our eye! More prooduct reviews will be released next month following the ATA show in early January.

Easton Injexion Arrows:
Easton introduces the Injexion and A/C Injexion arrows for 2012. The Injexion is an entire arrow/insert/broadhead system developed from the ground up by Easton and New Archery Products. The Injexion arrow is an ultra-micro diameter arrow that is second to none in crosswind performance, downrange kinetic energy and arrow penetration on big game animals. Deep Six inserts have been designed specifically for this arrow as it is smaller in diameter than it’s older brother, the Easton Axis. The Deep Six inserts have a different thread pattern than the 8-32 conventional thread, and NAP is exclusively producing the broadheads to fit these inserts. An RPS insert with conventional threads will be available as well. If you are looking for a high performance, super tough, small diameter arrow take a look at the carbon Easton Injexion and the A/C Injexion arrows.

Easton Injexion arrows tipped with NAP Deep Six broadheads will most likely fill my quiver this Fall.

Brunton Hunting Epoch Binoculars:
Brunton Hunting of Riverton, Wyoming continues the Epoch line of binoculars for hunters. The Epoch’s were the winner of the 2011 Best Buy award for binoculars by Inside Archery Magazine. Two models are available, the full size and the compact. The full size binoculars are available in 8.5 and 10.5 power with 43mm objectives and the compact binoculars are offered in 8 and 10 power with 21mm and 25mm objectives. The Epoch binoculars have a lightweight magnesium frame, are nitrogen filled fogproof lenses and are waterproof. Both black and camouflage models are available. SF prism glass allows for some of the best light transmission on the market for glassing in low light conditions. Brunton’s Epoch binoculars are backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

The Brunton Epoch binoculars are worth a look-through

Armortech Vision Sight by Axcel Sights and Scopes:
Bringing new technology to a mark that asks, “what more can be done?” The new Axcel Armortech Vision offers a new 2” housing for optimal view of your target. It brings new meaning to “seeing is believing!” The Armortech Vision also contains the innovative T.C.V (True Center Vision), a perfect circular picture, even when viewed slightly off center. Continuing the tough as a tank attitude found in the original Armortech, the same engineering is back with a vengeance in the Vision. The 3-time “inside archery” best buy award winner still features A.F.T. (Armor Fiber Technology) 100% fiber protection, 2nd and 3rd axis adjustment, interchangeable right and left hand capabilities, individual micro adjustment on each pin, engraved partial ring at the depth of the sight pins, for greater accuracy when viewed slightly off center. The Armortech Vision is available in popular models that include the Mathews Harmonic Damper, as well as the ever popular Pro Series with the micro adjustable dovetail bracket. The Vision is available with 4, 5 or 7 pins in .010”, .019” or .029” fiber size. The Armortech line of sights leave nothing to be desired when it comes to a top of the line hunting sight and it appears this trend will likely not change soon.

The Armortech Vision sight is built to withstand severe abuse

Mission Riot Bow by Mathews:
Mission archery introduces the Riot in their 2012 line of bows. The riot is 31” axel-to-axel and sports a 7” brace height which makes it a very forgiving bow. Unlike many bows, the Riot will fit 90% of archers right off the shelf as the draw weight adjusts from 15-70lbs on a single set of limbs and the draw length is adjustable from 19-30” on a single set of cams. The bow incorporates a Dead End string stop installed at the factory for improved feel and vibration dampening. The Riot is perfect for young archers that will grow as the bow with “grow” with them. At a retail price of $399 it will be difficult find a bow that provides more value for your dollar than the 2012 Mission Riot.

The New 2012 Mission Riot

Hardcore Max Release by Trufire:
The Hardcore MAX adds two new features to the already popular Hardcore line of releases. A screw located in a housing behind the trigger will adjust trigger pressure (separate from travel) anywhere between 3 ounces to 16 ounces. Also new is the comfort enhanced Evolution II buckle which will have 2.5 times thicker padding as well as a slightly wider strap profile. The Hardcore line of releases incorporate an open jaw, hook style release which makes for super easy D-loop engagement. The head of this release also pivots horizontally up to 20 degrees to ensure that there is zero torque on your bow from the release. These releases are available in Black or Lost Camo and the Hardcore Max is available in Black. Both of these releases are American Made.

Hardcore Max Release by Trufire

The iBowsight: Turn Your iPhone Into a Versatile Bow Sight

by Dustin DeCroo 16. December 2011 07:42
Dustin DeCroo

At we are always fascinated by cutting edge technology in the archery world, with that said, the iBowsight is very intriguing. The iBowsight is a two part system that combines the iBowsight app (for iPhone 4 or 4s) with a bracket that mounts to any bow with standard AMO sight holes. From there your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S utilizes the camera for your sight picture and can utilize the HD video camera in conjunction with your sight. This means, you can use the phone as a sight and record your hunt at the same time. The pins and sight ring are both fully adjustable in regards to color and size as well as offering a pendulum sight option for extreme angles.

This is what the iBowsight App/mount ready to hunt!

As interesting as this is, my skeptical mind began to ask questions about the “reliability” of an electronic and removable sight. With this in mind, I sent my questions directly to the manufacturers of iBowsight as I didn’t have the opportunity to speak with them at the Mathews retailers show where I was first introduced to the product. These were the questions that I asked as well as the responses from the engineers of iBowsight.

What happens when you get a phone call or text?

You can set your phone in airplane mode or have blue tooth on for incoming calls. With bluetooth, you can always answer with your headset, I personally will put mine in airplane mode when I hunt to lock out the distraction! For text it is simple, below is what it looks like when the text shows up, the text will show on top of the iBowSight Screen while in iBowsight mode even when at full draw. As you can see the text does not in any way interfere with your sight ring.

This shows what will be shown when a text is received.

Does the iPhone mount exactly the same way every time?

Yes for the first 1500 times it should be within +/- 0.003". To mount the iPhone 4(S) effectively, reliably, securely and quickly, a clamp system with 8 mounting points has been designed. This system allows the user to mount and remove the iPhone from the bracket in less than 10 seconds while maintaining the same position, +/- 0.003” from -4F to +120F.

Additionally, iBowSight allows users to create multiple profiles to meet the needs of the current bow in use. This means each profile can be set up individually and even be specific to the brand and length of the arrow being shot. One has the ability to build and tune these specific profiles to get within +/- 0.003” of an inch even in extreme temperatures. The beauty of these profiles is that they can be precisely recalled at an instant time after time. To make this a true sight system, the mounting bracket is predrilled to give up to 3 mounting positions on the bow and have a pre-tapped holes for a bow quiver. The back of the bracket is also predrilled to accommodate for future accessories and comes standard with a removable accessory mounting bar. There will be two different styles available at the ATA Show offered in Black and different Camouflages yet to be announced. The iPhone attaches to the bracket via the stainless steel bristle around the phone , the bracket does not attach to the glass screen because the screen can expand and contract due to temperature variances.

How does the app affect battery life?

The app does not affect battery life, unless you leave it in the foreground, with iOS5 multitasking, you can put it on back ground and it is just dormant. When running in the background mode, the battery will last 16hrs.

The app is designed to have a lot more features than most people can dream, like instant on, 2 seconds to in-focus from app being pressed.

How does the iBowsight work in rainy or snowy conditions?

With iPhone's water resistant design, there will be rain hood and USB plug sold as accessories for those who want to use it in those weather conditions.

How do you sight in the iBowsight?

Just like any other sight, but with iPhone you can micro adjust in +/- 0.003" once you have the iPhone bracket installed on your bow you can rough sight it in, then to do the fine micro adjusting to your sight. You will be able to micro adjust the sight within the iBowsight App. You will also be able to change the sight ring to any different color you want so that if you tilt the bow past level the color of the sight ring will change to warn you that you are not holding the bow level. In the App, you will be able to move the sight pins to sight in like you would with most other sights.

3rd Axis Calibration

3rd Axis Calibration

Color choices for pins, ring and bubble level.

The iBowsight has the ability to be a pendulum sight as well as a pin sight.

Pin Ajustment Mode

How do the lenses work with the sight?

The iPhone uses the built in optics of an iPhone, to reverse the wide angle built in lens, a fix focus telephoto lens is recommended to get a 1X1 ratio.

The app has a 4X Zoom. These can be purchased over the internet from various manufacturers with prices rangeing from $25.00 to $800.00, it all depends on how fine of optics you want... quality comes with a price.

As for optics, it is optics, you get for what you pay for. It uses standard 11/16" screw mount and I recommended non focus design lens.

The bracket will come with an installazion hole for the correction lense of choice.

The iBowSight App will be available for purchase via the Apple iTunes App Store in the near future. ( Should become avilable the day before Christmas )

The iBowSight App not only transforms the iPhone into a bow sight, by leveraging the iPhone’s advanced electronics and iOS 5, it is also a video camera which can film every shot and store them into the internal memory of the iPhone. The video will be recorded in 720p and 1080p when using the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S respectively.

In v1.0 of iBowSight, the following features are available:

  1. Sight ring can be size from 0.3” radius to an edge to edge radius of 2.1”
  2. Sight ring’s can have up to 2.6 millions colors of choice
  3. Sight ring can be micro adjust in an increment of 1/326”
  4. Each pin size can be adjust from 0.012” radius to 0.240” radius
  5. Each pin can have up to 2.6 millions colors of choice
  6. Each pin can have its own shape beside a standard dot. At version 1.0 there is a total of 9 shapes to start.
  7. One can add up to 7 pins to the sight
  8. There is built in digital zoom from 1.0X base on internal optics to 4.0X in an increment of 0.01X
  9. 3rd axis adjustment to accommodate the most demanding and complicated sight set up
  10. Built in water level for visual bow leveling
  11. Sight level confirmation via ring color choices. i.e. One can set the ring color to be green (color A) when leveled and red (color B) when the bow is tilted. Thus one can look at the ring color change instead of the water level to confirm if the bow is leveled.
  12. One can have the option to set the sight into an automatic pendulum sight when the bow is dropped below 45 degrees. This feature allows the best of both worlds. In pendulum mode, the choice of sight pin shape and color is totally independent from the original pins. However the reference position of the pendulum sight is still base on the 20 yard pin. Therefore setting the pins in use are critical for the pendulum sight options to function properly
  13. up to 20,000 storable profiles, (each profile also bow, arrow, arrow length, point weight, and other parameters settings)
  14. Operational indicators (mini icons to show on active screen which optiions are active

Master Target: Water, UV and Tear Resistant Targets

by Dustin DeCroo 13. December 2011 09:00
Dustin DeCroo

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Mathews retailers show in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.  One of the products that I thought was worth sharing with the bowhunting world is a super durable target made by Master Target.  These pin-up targets are constructed of what is called Durashot material, it feels similar to a high strength vinyl and is nearly impossible to tear.  The targets are waterproof and UV resistant so they can be left outdoors for a long period of time without fading or tearing.  Master Target manufactures targets of several different animal targets and the anatomical vital placement is very accurate.  The targets retail for somewhere around seven dollars each and in my opinion are far better than any paper target you will ever shoot.  Here are a few of the targets available today.

Many of the targets have scoring rings for those of us with a competitive nature

The vitals are very accurate for the angle of the photographed animal. 

This is one of my personal favorites! 

Mule Deer buck

With the deer season winding down, I expect this target will be popular in the upcoming months!

To find out where you can purchase a few of these durable and entertaining targets, visit

ScentBlocker's Mathews Solo XLT Camouflage Review

by John Mueller 26. October 2011 14:05
John Mueller

Whether or not you believe in the ability of carbon to conceal human odors, I believe you need to check out the Mathews XLT (Extreme Lightweight Technology) lineup of clothing from ScentBlocker. It is some of the best built camouflage I have ever worn. By the way, I do believe Carbon Clothing is part of a system of scent elimination. But I don’t forget the wind and just hunt. I have a scent reduction routine I follow religiously. I shower with scent free soaps, wash my carbon clothes in scent free detergents, store them in scent free containers and spray down with scent eliminating sprays before heading to the woods to hunt. But that isn’t what this review is about. So I’ll get to the meat of my review.

The Lost Camo blends in well with tree stand hunting.

The XLT line of clothing is designed to be worn in the warm weather of early bow season, but you can also just as easily use it as your outer layer in the colder temps. The fabric breathes extremely well during those warm September days of Missouri’s bow season. But it is a sturdy material that hasn’t shown any signs of wear or fading after over a month of heavy hunting and weekly laundering. The Lost Camo Pattern looks as crisp today as it did when I purchased it.

Closeup of the detailed pattern.

The XLT jacket and pants are loaded with features to make hunting easier and more effective.

Tech Specs
ScentBlocker® SPF 50 activated carbon with increased carbon loading
S3® antimicrobial technology to aid in odor control
XLT™ Xtreme Lightweight Technology fabric
4 Direction Stretch™ comfort
BodyLock™ collar, wrist cuffs and waist
“Hybrid” BodyLock™ Waist (front elastic, back drawcord) for maximum comfort, weather protection and adjustability
Silent Wrist Ratchet™ BodyLock™ adjustable cuff system
Innovative safety harness slit in back for easy attachment and concealment
Adjustable/removable arm guard to fit RH or LH
4 front chest zippered slash pockets
2 front waist zippered hidden pockets
2 back waist zippered slash pockets
2 sleeve zippered slash pockets
Rear grommet license loop
Die-cut rubberized shield patches on shoulders to prevent slippage
Is compatible with the Mathews® S3 Fleece Solo Vest or the Mathews® S3 Wool Solo Jacket
Sizes: M-2XL
Color: Lost Camo™

A few of my favorites are:

Totally Silent: The material used in the construction of the XLT line is some of the quietest fabric outside of fleece I have. But the advantage it has over fleece is burrs just brush right off with your fingers. Try that with fleece.

Lots of pockets with zippers: The jacket and pant combo has enough pockets that I usually don’t even need to carry a backpack or fanny pack. And the pockets are strategically positioned so the items inside them don’t stack on top of one another, like a lot of hunting clothing I have, making big bulges in your jacket or pants.

Lots of pockets on the jacket.

More storage in the pants.

Slit in back for harness tether: I hate having the tether for my safety harness running up along my neck scratching me with every move. The XLT Jacket has a weatherproof slit allowing the tether to exit the jacket between the shoulders.

Stretch Material: With the material having a bit of stretch to it, I don’t feel the tension I do with a lot of other jackets drawing my bow or climbing into my stands.

Lost Camo: The pattern does a good job of blending in when tree stand hunting. And when hunting out of my ground blind, I wear it inside out and have the black showing to conceal me in the blind.

Rubber Shoulder Patches: The built in rubber shields on the jacket’s shoulders are a big help when carrying multiple items with straps hanging on my shoulders. It keeps the straps from sliding off of my shoulders. I really appreciate this when carrying all of my hunting as well as filming gear to the stand.

Is this the perfect hunting apparel? Well if I were the engineers there are a few things I would have done differently. But some of this is just personal preference.

Cuffs: I’m not a big fan of the cuffs on the jacket. Especially when worn with the lightweight ScentBlocker Gloves. It tends to leave a gap of exposed skin on my wrist. Which isn’t a big deal in warm weather, but I’d like to wear the jacket as an outer layer in colder temps also.

My main gripe is the combination of the gloves and cuffs not covering my wrists and the use of velcro on the gloves.

Gloves: While I mentioned the gloves in the cuffs section, I’ll go into detail here. My main gripe with the lightweight gloves is the short length. There is no way to tuck the gloves into the sleeves of the jacket to keep my wrist covered. And then there is the use of VELCRO. In my opinion Velcro has no place in the bowhunting woods. It is too noisy if you ever have to adjust it or open it up.

Boot entry zippers: They are on the inside of the pant legs. When I walk in mud I tend to rub my boot against the opposite pant leg. This gets mud and debris stuck in the zipper. I think it would be much better if the zippers were on the outside of the pant leg.

Sizing: From my experience ScentBlocker clothing runs big. I would recommend buying one size down from what you normally wear in most cases. I’m 6’ 3” and 185 lbs and normally wear XL just for length in the arms and legs. The large in this line allows me more than enough room to layer after the weather turns cold.

Suited up and ready for action.

The XLT line of clothing is designed for warm weather hunting, but with some layering in can be your outer layer for most of the season with no problem. Even if you’re not a believer in carbon technology the quality of this clothing is reason enough to give them a look. It should last for many hunting seasons to come and the Lost Camo blends well in most hunting situations.

Crossbow REVIEW – Barnett’s Ghost 350

by Daniel James Hendricks 19. October 2011 01:53
Daniel James Hendricks

  Over the years I have watched as Barnett crossbows steadily evolved, getting better with each passing year due largely, I believe, to the creative genius of David Barnett.  Many still consider Barnett products to be inferior to most crossbows on the market based simply on the fact that Barnett is priced at a working man’s level of affordability.  One hears chatter about break downs and mechanical problems from the Barnett line, but based on my vast personal contact with grassroots crossbow hunters, there seems to be no more problems with Barnett than most other brands. In an age where crossbows are becoming far more complicated and increasingly powerful, I truly believe that a large part of mechanical troubles originate with improper usage by the owners.  Users who believe that an Owner’s Manual is a guide to refer to when you have a problem and not a instructional guide from which to learn proper handling and use of their new hunting implement.  Regardless of which crossbow you purchase, please spend the time to read the Owner’s Manual from cover to cover, at least once.  The time invested in that little booklet will pay big dividends in the safe use and longevity of your crossbow.

 The unique and artistic design of the Ghost incorporates the foot stirrup right into the bow.

 Barnett’s Ghost 350 arrived at my door in two pieces, which was not a transportation tragedy, but instead the traditional manner that it is shipped.  Once assembled with a single bolt, which firmly attached the bow to the stock, I careful inspected the crossbow.  The first thing that caught my eye was the classic design; one that incorporated the foot stirrup right into the contour of the bow in an undeniable artistic manner, giving the Ghost 350 a very unique and quite handsome appearance. 

 The 3x30 scope on the Ghost is enhanced by reticules are illuminated circles.

 The overall length is 37”; its only 24” wide and has a 12” power stroke; that combined with the 175 lb draw weight produces a stunning 350 fps.  The carbon riser and aluminum flight deck keep the total weight to right around 7.5 pounds.  The bow is enhanced with the Barnett AVI technology molded over laminated limbs reducing noise and vibration up to 30%.  Whiplash cams, a very sensitive anti-dry fire mechanism and one of the finest triggers I have ever seen on a crossbow top this package off.  The stock is beautifully adorned in Realtree APG Black camo.  My Ghost 350 package included an illuminated 3x32 scope, four 20’ arrows, a 4-arrow quiver and a rope cocking device.

 The overall appearance of the Ghost 350 is second to none.

 It all made for a very striking package in appearance, but I was anxious to see how the Ghost 350 preformed on the range.  My first observation was the bow’s extreme comfort when shouldered.  The fit was accented by the raised cheek rest, a thumb hole stock and the extra wide fore-stock (which also keeps one’s fingers clear of the string when firing), which naturally forms the bow to my body.  The scope was very close to zero and within the first half dozen shots the Ghost was impaling the bull's-eye with every release.  We zeroed the top mark in at 20 yards, which automatically placed mark #2 at 30 yards.  Mark #3 zeroed in at 35 yards and mark #4 was right on at 43 yards.  (Never assume that the reticules of the scope on your new bow will automatically be zeroed in at 30, 40, 50 and sixty.  Shoot and move until you have determined the yardage for each mark and then mark it down on a piece of tape and adhere in plain sight to your bow for reference.)  A note of the yardages was made and then there was little left to do but enjoy the smooth performance of the Ghost 350. 

 The trigger on the Ghost 350 is one of the finest I have ever seen on a crossbow.

 It was quiet, fast, consistent and deadly accurate, just what any person would expect from a state-of-the-art, respectably scary Ghost.  The thing that I am most impressed with, however, was that darn trigger.  It’s just as fine a trigger as I have experienced on any rifle.  Smooth, light and with a surprise release; it is just amazing to experience that well-crafted of a trigger on a crossbow.

 Since I present my reviews from a hunter’s point of view, the question is, “How did the Ghost 350 perform in the field?”  The targeted game for the test was Pronghorn Antelope on our annual pilgrimage to Douglas, WY.  I combined the Ghost with Lumen-Arrows and Grim Reaper broadheads experiencing excellent results.

Buck taken at 16 yards. 

 The buck was taken at 16 yards and went perhaps 50 yards.  I was not pleased with the shot as the nervous animal, from a standing broadside shot, actually began to spin away from the arrow before it arrived.  Entry was back a little far, but due to the angle of the body as it was turning away, the exit was just behind the front leg on the opposite side.  The buck expired within five minutes.  The Lumen-Arrow passed completely through the goat and was intact, although buried deeply into the sloping bank of the waterhole.  The doe was taken from a standing broadside shot of 18 to 20 yards.  The arrow passed through the heart damaging both front legs causing the animal to collapse in less than 30 yards, in all probability, being out before hitting the ground.  The arrow was broken due to the major contact with the front legs of the goat, but the Lumenok was retrieved in excellent shape and still burning brightly.

 The doe was taken with the Ghost 350 and a single arrow to the heart at under 20 yards.

 I ran into only one problem while using this bow and guess what?  User error!  And that is where, experience has taught me, most crossbow problems originate.  This problem was self-inflicted and occurred while trying to uncock the bow by firing an arrow from of it.  It occurred on the first day of hunting.  I had passed on a shooter-buck because I had been caught with a camera in my hands (that same buck became a victim of the Ghost 350 the following day).  When I attempted to take the bow off safe, the latch would not budge.  At first I thought I had gotten dirt into the latching mechanism, but a quick shot of WD40 had no visible affect on the problem.  After a few minutes of painful pondering the problem, the solution to dawned on me; I recalled that the Operation Manual had specified moon nocks and upon checking my arrow, I discovered that I was trying to unload my bow with a flat nock.  The anti-dry fire mechanism on this bow is so finely crafted that even this minor detail prevented the bow from being discharged.  That kind of engineering can only be admired and respected, which is more than can be said for my personal attention to arrow selection.  

The thumb-hole stock and raise cheek piece make this bow extremely comfortable to shoulder.

 The bottom line is that the Ghost 350 is one fine crossbow from this hunter’s point of view and the fact that you can get completely set up for around $600 only makes it better.  Barnett has been manufacturing some excellent and reliable crossbows at friendly prices in the past few years and if you are in the market, you owe it to yourself to check them out.  But whatever crossbow you decide upon, do yourself a big favor and study the Owner’s Manual carefully.  It will save you a lot of headaches, not to mention the inconvenience of service calls. 

The safety release and anti-dry fire mechanism are extremely well designed.











Hunting Boot Review: Cabela's Denali Boot by Meindl

by Dustin DeCroo 5. October 2011 12:04
Dustin DeCroo


There aren’t many things that can turn a good hunt miserable faster than cold, wet or aching and blistered feet.  I have cut short more hunts than I care to remember because of the previously mentioned reasons.  In the past five months I’ve put (literally) more than 100 miles on my feet and I’ve finally found a boot that can stand up to my demands, the  Cabela’s Denali boot made by Meindl.  The Denali is truly waterproof, lightweight, tough and extremely comfortable.  A combination that I require of any boot I wear into the field.

The Denali Boot by Meindl has everything I need in a hunting boot

Over the years I have tried a ridiculous number of different boots only to be disappointed in the end.  I have worn boots by: Danner, Rocky, Irish Setter, etc. with all the same results.  This year, prior to filming bear hunts in the steep and rocky expanse of Idaho, I broke down and bought a pair of Meindl boots and have been 100 percent satisfied to date.

Waterproof boots are an absolute must for me, regardless of the type of hunting that I am doing.  Plain and simple, wet feet open the “miserable feet” can of worms.  Two days after they were purchased, my Denali boots had their first opportunity to prove themselves when I walked across a shallow marsh to a bear bait.  Honestly, I was a little concerned that my next five hours in the blind would be spent with soggy feet.  To my surprise (and delight) my feet stayed as dry as could be.  The Meindl boots had passed their first test.

There is no substitue for waterproof boots


Followed closely by “water tightness” on my list of criteria for passing boots, is comfort.  I say second because, I can deal with less comfortable boots that keep my feet dry.  The Meindl boots are equipped with what is called Fit IQ technology.  Fit IQ technology is a system that utilizes memory foam inside the boot to fit perfectly to your foot  These boots are by far the most comfortable hunting boots I have ever worn afield.  Again, I was slightly concerned about chasing bears and dogs around the Idaho mountains in brand new boots.  At the end of the first day, I unlaced my boots with a smile as I didn’t have sore feet or the slightest hot spot that would suggest an oncoming blister.  Test number two, passed.

The Denali boots employ Fit IQ technology for superior comfort


Cold feet, I guess that’s something nobody wants to deal with... in any aspect of life, but for sure when it comes to boots.  The Denali’s are uninsulated which is what I wear for about 90 percent of my hunting.  Fortunately, my feet don’t get cold often and very rarely if I am walking at all.  I purchased the boots in May and the coldest weather I’ve worn the boots, is in the low 30’s.  My feet didn’t get the slightest bit cold even though “warmth” isn’t what these boots are designed for, I would imagine they’ll be put to the official, “test number three” in the next couple of weeks.

How accurate of a rewiew can you expect from a shny new pair of boots?  You can't, so here they are at work!

All-in-all, I give these boots five stars and highly recommend the Meindl Denali if you are looking for a new hunting boot this fall.  I have put these boots through the wringer when it comes to terrain and types of hunts and they are holding up exceptionally well.  The boots do run about a half size larger than normal so keep this in mind if you are ordering online.






Broadhead Review - NAP Thunderhead Razor

by Steve Flores 6. September 2011 14:31
Steve Flores

Each fall the scenario is the same. Months of summer shooting has built confidence to the bursting point as arrow after (field point tipped) arrow lands exactly where you want it to. Opening day draws near and you decide that it is time to dust off your broadheads and give them a practice shot or two. With confidence still breaming from beneath your camo hat, you draw, come to anchor, find your aiming point, and release. Much to your dismay, your broadhead tipped arrow flies well off the mark; nowhere near the point of impact you experienced during the previous months. It is odd, but in that one instance, all of the shooting confidence you had, which took months to acquire, suddenly slips away….effortlessly. With arrows that are impacting in different locations, and only weeks (maybe days) to correct the problem, panic often ensues and shooting prowess suffers. 

Months of summer shooting and the confidence it builds can quickly vanish when field points are replaced with your actual hunting setup.

Like a lot of bowhunters, I have experienced this dilemma. It isn’t fun. Even with a highly tuned bow, and arrows that have been meticulously constructed (see additional blogs), I have had very little luck getting any type of fixed-blade broadhead to fly like my field points. I have heard it said that no broadhead will fly like a field point. Honestly, I used to believe that. I mean, after all, when you replace a bullet shaped nose with one bearing “wings”, arrow-flight is bound to get dicey. And for the most part, it always did. That was, until I started using products from New Archery Products, also known as NAP. 

The New NAP Thunderhead Razor exhibited the best flight characteristics of any fixed-blade broadhead I have ever tested.

As an outdoor writer and bloger, I am sometimes approached with the prospect of using certain hunting items. In addition, some of the products I use are a direct result of relationships I have built in the outdoor industry. I receive product, and in return, I use it and promote it whenever I can. This leads some to believe that I have no choice but to churn-out “good ink” for sponsors.
In reality, I value my efforts and time spent in the timber too much to take chances with faulty equipment, sponsor or not. Simply put, if I don’t believe in something I won’t use it. So, when I was faced with the prospect of trying out some new fixed-blade broadheads, I was a little more than skeptical. Why? Well, I guess it is because I’ve never been able to find one that flew like my field points. Even more, most never flew with the dart-like characteristics of a field point tipped arrow. Instead, they mostly wobbled off of an obvious center-line all the way to the target. As a result, I had turned to a highly effective mechanical-style broadhead for all of my hunting. 
With these experiences in the back of my mind I headed out to the back yard target. My first shot landed a field-point tipped arrow into the bulls-eye at 30 yards. Cool, but it was time for the real test. Next, I placed a new, out-of-the box, NAP Thunderhead Razor to the end of my Carbon Express Mach 5 arrow and came to full draw. When my broadhead nearly cut my other arrow in half I immediately saw visions of a downed buck. However, I tried to contain my excitement for a few more minutes. Retrieving my arrow I quickly scurried back to 50 yards and again drew back with the Thunderhead tipped arrow. Realizing that this distance would surely reveal any imperfections, not only in my shooting form, but the arrow, broadhead, fletching combination I was using, I wasn’t expecting the same outcome I had received at the closer 30 yard distance. 

Field-point and broadhead groups like this, shot at 50 yards, can only mean one thing.....dead-on accuracy.

When the release trigger broke, I watched as the arrow flew with laser like precision and dead-centered the baseball-size dot. Words can’t explain my excitement. Finally, after so much time spent searching, I had found a deadly accurate, fixed-blade broadhead. Shot after shot proved that my setup, and meticulous attention to detail while building my arrows, had paid off. More importantly, was the fact that I was using quality broadheads combined with unique arrow fletching. 

Without a doubt, the business end of the Razor is very intimidating. This thing will definately let some blood flow.

The NAP Thunderhead has been around for a long time. However, with advancements in technology, the flight characteristics of this new (Razor) fixed-blade head are amazing. With a micro-grooved ferrule, off-set blades, and patented trophy-tip point, the Thunderhead Razor delivers accuracy and bone-splitting penetration, while providing a 1 1/8” cutting diameter. Certainly that is plenty of medicine for a big-timber, WV buck or anything else I may encounter this fall. In addition, the Razor comes fully assembled and ready to shoot right out of the box. That means you don’t have to spend time assembling the blades onto the ferrule.  

I hope to introduce this guy to my new broadhead of choice very soon.

If you’ve tried to get your fixed-blade broadheads to fly true but seem to be coming up short, maybe it’s time to give the  Thunderhead Razor a try before opening day. In my humble opinion, when you combine this head with precisely made arrows and the awesome NAP Quick Fletch system, you will experience the type of hunting accuracy that will drive nails and launch confidence into the next stratosphere. Visit for more info.

Timney Triggers Archery Release REVIEW

by Dustin DeCroo 31. August 2011 09:49
Dustin DeCroo


For 60 years the Timney Triggers company has been recognized for producing some of highest quality aftermarket firearm triggers available.  In 2011, Timney Triggers has taken their long time upstanding reputation and their outstanding product line into the world of archery.  I had the opportunity to shoot two of the releases in their line-up this past week and was happy to see that the quality I feel on the trigger of my .223 is mirrored in Timney’s releases.

Timney Triggers new archery releases are American made.

I’ve been shooting a “hook-style” release since 2004 and the thought of changing styles has never crossed my mind.  I imagine it’s the same as anything else, if it works for you and you get comfortable with it, why change?  The particular release I shoot is the T.R.U. Ball Short n’ Sweet with the straight trigger.  Personally, I’ve never understood shooting an archery release where the trigger is set back from the jaws or catch point of the release, as an archer loses that length out of their draw length (if maintaining proper form).  With that said, I haven’t had a whole lot of options to choose from for a hook-style release with a trigger that doesn’t eat my draw length.  T.R.U. Ball and Scott (now Timney) are the only ones that I’m aware of and I was eager to shoot this new release.

When the trigger of the release is on the same plane as the string catch, you lose no draw length.

At first glance, it’s easy to see the release is built with quality in mind.  The jaws and trigger are made of steel and the housing is made of a 6061 alloy.  All of the Timney Trigger products are constructed in the United States and carry a lifetime warranty.  The wrist straps (in my experience) were soft leather, buckle style releases.  These wrist straps are comfortable and have two additional loops that are designed to hold the release in place while the buckle is released.  I don’t think this feature is necessary, and I personally wouldn’t use it, but it doesn’t create any problems that I could see.

The Timney Trigger "Hook" release

The trigger of the release is super smooth, all the way through the shot.  The feeling is different than any I’ve ever shot, it’s difficult to explain but it is fantastic.  Unlike many releases, there is no noticeable “break point” when the string is dropped.  The tension on the trigger is constant all the way through the shot and after.

This release has one of the best feeling triggers on the market.


The hook of the release breaks away so that it moves completely out of the way as the string passes by.  The majority of hook style releases that I have seen and shot, pivot the hook in a single direction, the Timney Trigger hook actually moves away.  One thing to be aware of, is that the hook doesn’t automatically reset itself.  My Short N‘ Sweet will reset the hook when the trigger is pulled, but after replacing several of the reset springs I’ve learned to reset the hook manually, so the Timney reset doesn’t bother me at all.

This photo shows how the hook is completely removed from the string path.

Overall, I would definitely recommend giving Timney Trigger releases a test drive, and if nothing else, consider the idea of gaining back a half inch or more of your draw length by changing to a release without a trigger setback.

Lone Wolf Alpha Hang On Review

by John Mueller 30. August 2011 13:16
John Mueller


When looking to add a couple new hang on stands to my collection this fall I chose to go with the leader in the industry. Lone Wolf was the first company to offer the one piece cast aluminum platform, making them one of the quietest stands in the woods. Plus the  stands are completely made and assembled right here in the USA, in the middle of Illinois to be specific.

Lone Wolf Stands, once again made in the USA

The Lone Wolf Stand and Climbing Sticks together are a deadly combination no matter how you use it. But where it really shines is packing it in, setting it up and hunting out of it immediately. Especially on public lands where you aren’t allowed to leave stands set up or you are afraid to leave it set up. The climbing sticks stack neatly together and then strap securely to the stand. Making it a rattle free, tight unit weighing in at 24 pounds for the Alpha Hang On and 4 Climbing Sticks. I like using 4 sticks in my set ups, because it allows me to attain a height of up to 20 feet. Most of my hunting is done in hilly terrain, so if I’m not high enough I end up at eye level with uphill bucks.

The complete package only weighs in at 24 pounds.


Once you find “The Tree” in a matter of minutes you can be up the tree and seated in the stand ready for the hunt. The procedure I use to hang my stands goes like this. I secure the bottom stick to the tree with the supplied strap. Then I tie one pull up rope to my bow and another pull up rope to the stand. I fasten my lineman’s belt around the tree and throw 2 sticks over my shoulder and carry one in my hand. Once I reach the top step of the first stick I strap on the second stick. I continue strapping on the 3rd and 4th sticks on my way up the tree. Once at the level I want to hang my stand I secure my lineman’s belt into position and pull up my stand. Secure the 2 straps supplied with each stand to the tree and climb aboard. Pull up your bow and you are ready to hunt. This can all be done in one trip up the tree fairly easily with just a little bit of practice, even in the dark.

Find "The Tree" and in a matter of minutes the stand is hung.

4 sticks and and a stand and I'm ready to hunt.

After the stand is hung you’ll notice a few neat features that add to the comfort and convenience of the stand. The first is the leveling features. By moving the adjustment you can set the platform to the level most comfortable to you. The seat also has a screw that allows you adjust its level. There is nothing worse than felling like your about to slide off the seat all night long. The seat also folds up out of the way when you stand, giving you more room to maneuver.

Easy leveling adjustment.

One of my favorite features is the built in bow holder. I hate having to hold on to my bow all hunt and this lets me place my bow in the holder and out of the way without having to bring anything else along with me. Why more stand manufactures don’t include a bow holder on their stands is beyond me. It should be standard equipment.

The cast in bow holder.

Holding my Mathews ez7 securely in place.

Bow positioned right out front and center.


The features of the Alpha Hang On are as follows:
Huge 30" x 19.5" one-piece cast aluminum platform.
Distinctive 3-D camo platform design. (US Patent #D4452015)
NEW In Cast Bow Holder accommodates most parallel limb bows.
Large, contoured foam seat pad for great comfort.
Fits trees 4" - 22" in diameter.
Seat size 14" x 12", height 21"
350-pound weight rating.
Backpack straps included. (optional padded straps available)
Just 14 pounds!
Includes TMA Approved 6-pt Fall Arrest System.

The climbing stick features are:
Pivoting V-Brackets adjust to match the natural contour of the tree.
Fits 4" - 22" tree diameter. (Strap extensions available)
350-pound weight rating.
Single tube design.
Reversible Steps.
U.S. Patent #6547035 BI
Stick Length: 32"
Distance between steps: 15"
   2.5 pounds per stick
   10 pounds for a set of 4

The Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks are unique in a few ways themselves. The”V”-Brackets that attach the sticks to the tree actually pivot so they conform more readily to the natural curves of the tree. This allows a more secure connection to the tree. There are no metal hooks or connectors on the straps, meaning silent operation when setting up. After setting up you can flip the steps over, putting them on the opposite side of the tube. This can come in handy if you end up stepping onto your stand with the wrong foot at the top of the steps.

If you’re in the market for a new hang on stand, you need to check out the feature packed Lone Wolf Alpha Hang On. Especially if you ever pack your stand in and hunt from it. At just 24 pounds for a stand and 4 sticks its one of the lightest, easiest packing stands on the market, not to mention the quietest.

Nikon Binoculars Review

by Brenda Potts 24. August 2011 07:28
Brenda Potts

I didn't think I would find a reasonably priced, light weight bino that I like better than my Nikon-SHE Safari binocular for bowhunting. Don't get me wrong, I still love the SHE Safari binos because they are so small, made for a woman, super light weight and they are available in cool colors with a beautiful carrying bag. My SHE binos took a beating last year as I wore them on all my Midwestern hunts  and they stood up to the abuse very well.

But the new Nikon Pro Staff 7 Binocular has a great feel and fit. If you want me to get all technical and discuss things like angular field of view (whether it's apparent/degrees versus real/degrees) or objective diameter, well, I'm not. You can go online and check out all the techy stuff. I am just impressed with hands on performance and practical use. But here are a few facts - the phase correction coated roof prisms result in higher resolution. They also have a high eye point design which I really like and the rubber armouring provides a comfortable grip and shock resistance. They are also light weight which I appreciate even more.

Left to right Pro Staff 7,   EDG 10x42,    EDG 8x32,    SHE Safari 10x36

Of course the EDG are still the top of the line bino from Nikon. They are great for every type of hunt but I used them mostly on my western hunts where lots of long range glassing was required. 
I have to admit it is so funny to see warnings and cautions in the instructions in several languages that tell the user to "never look at the sun directly while using binoculars," or "do not look through the binoculars while walking, you may walk into something and get hurt" or "do not swing the binoculars by their straps, they may hit someone and cause injury." Well duh!
It is good to read the instructions. If I had done so when I first got my EDG binos I would have realized the reason I could not get them to focus precisely was because the diopter had not yet been adjusted to my eye. The diopter adjustment ring is covered by the focus ring and made apparent by pulling out the focusing ring, so it is not apparent at first glance. It is a simple adjustment once you read the instructions. Once again, well duh!

The EDG binos have very bright, clear fields of view with sharper, clearer images all the way to the lens periphery.  I noticed this was a huge help in long range glassing over lots of wide open terrain.  And their ability to let you see well into the late hours of the day as light quickly fades are another big advantage. Plus they are waterproof.

I also like the design of the protective eyecap with a neck strap eyelet so it will not get separated from the binocular (I am notorious for losing those things if they are not attached in some way).  You may use optional horn-shaped rubber eyecups that come with the binocular. These are easy to slip on and off as needed but cannot be used with eyeglasses. The objective lens caps attach to the body of the binos and are easy to slip on and off quietly.  I noticed they sometimes pop open if you lay the binos down horizontally on a flat hard surface. They can be removed if you prefer not to use them at all. The focusing ring is large, smooth and easy to adjust with either hand.

I recommend the Nikon lens cleaning kit that is compact and easy to carry with you in a pocket or pack.

For the past couple weeks we have been watching big bucks in the bean fields in the evenings and have been able to use the new Nikon EDG and Pro Staff 7. So far, both are impressive. The true test will begin in a couple weeks. We will let you know how both binos make it through the season.




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.  





TRUGLO TRU-TEC Quiver Review

by John Mueller 26. July 2011 14:04
John Mueller

The new Tru-Tec Quiver from TRUGLO has just about everything I look for in a quiver plus a few innovations that I wouldn’t have thought of putting on a quiver. And all for a price that won’t break the bank, $69.95; quite a bargain for a top end quiver these days.

The new Tru-Tec Quiver by TRUGLO

The one thing my quiver has to be is removable. I do not hunt with my quiver attached to my bow. I like to have my bow mounted to the side of my stand and having the quiver attached prevents this. It also makes my bow much more maneuverable on stand or in the ground blind. The attaching mechanism on the Tru-Tec Quiver is innovative and rock solid. And it’s one of the easiest systems to operate that I have ever used. Simply grab the quiver in your hand, depress the lever with your thumb and give it a slight twist and the quiver is in the palm of your hand. To reinstall the quiver place the V on the post and slide the bottom of the mount into the clamp and it’s there for keeps. This system is also silent on and silent off.

Simple, silent, one handed removal.

Rock solid when locked into position.

My next favorite feature is the twin grippers to hold my arrows in place. I much prefer this system than the more standard single gripper and foam in the hood. I feel continually sliding broadheads into and out of the foam will eventually dull them. And having foam in the hood makes it hard to store mechanicals without having them open or hang up when removing them. The grippers hold carbon as well as aluminum arrows securely.

Two rows of rubber grippers hold the arrow in place.

The rubber lining in the hood hold the broadheads in place.

Somebody finally got it right. Do you know how long I have been adding a piece of rope to my quiver so I can hang it from a limb or tree step? For as long as I have been bowhunting I believe. The Tru-Tech Quiver has it’s own built in rope so you can hang the quiver on a convenient limb. Nice touch TRUGLO!

I no longer have to add my own rope.

This quiver also has 2 features that really make it stand out from the crowd. The first is the Tru-Touch Soft-Feel finish. Much like the In-Velvet finish on Bowtech bows, this finish is soft to the touch and helps quiet the quiver down if you do bump it into something. And what I feel is the most innovative feature the light inside the hood option. It has a threaded hole in the base of the hood which accepts any TRUGLO or APEX Gear light. How many times have you tried to put your arrow back into the quiver after the evening hunt, only to not be able to find the right slot in the quiver? Problem solved. Turn on the light and you can see exactly where your arrow needs to go. No bumping around and no cut fingers trying to guide the broadhead into the quiver.

The light in the hood is the icing on the cake.

The only problem I might see with this quiver is, it’s so tight and compact that my vanes almost touch no matter how I arrange my arrows. I take my quiver off whenever I hunt so I won’t have a problem with this, but for those of you who hunt with your quiver attached, the vanes may rub against one another and create a buzzing noise at the shot.

A perfect fit on my ez7

TRUGLO put a lot of research into the design of this quiver. And I feel they did a really good job of putting the best features all into one package. I give it a 9.5, it has everything I want in a quiver and more.

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