The Best Bowhunting Innovations for 2013

By Justin ZarrFebruary 6, 2013

LAST UPDATED: May 1st, 2015

Merriam-Webster defines innovation as “the introduction of something new”.  While many of us think of innovation as invention, that’s not always the case.  Often times real innovation comes in the form of solving a problem or improving a technology that has existed for years.  In 2013 the trend of innovation in bowhunting seems to be taking existing products and coming up with ways to not just make them better, but that allow us to become better, more effective bowhunters.

Carbon Express Maxima Red Arrow

Carbon Express Maxima Red Arrow

When Carbon Express first introduced their Dual Spine Weight Forward technology several years ago, hunters gravitated towards it for a variety of reasons.  Better accuracy, more penetration, and improved arrow flight made arrows such as the Maxima Hunter a #1 choice of bowhunters everywhere.  However, Carbon Express wasn’t about to stop there.  Since the release of the first DSWF arrows, Carbon Express engineers have been working on a new technology that has finally debuted for 2013. Introducing the new Maxima RED arrow.

What makes this new arrow unique is the “RED ZONE” found in the middle of the arrow shaft.  Through new manufacturing processes, Carbon Express has found a way to make both ends of the arrow stiffer than than “RED ZONE” in the middle; thus containing the dynamic spine of the arrow.  What this means for bowhunters is that the arrow is able to recover more quickly after it is shot, especially with a broadhead on the end.   Quicker recovery results in a more accurate arrow and tighter groups, which means better shot placement and quicker recovery on game animals.

In addition to the new RED ZONE technology, Maxima RED arrows are sorted and matched by weight and spine for best-in-class consistancy.  Spine selection sorting tolerance is +/- 0.0025″ and weight tolerance is +/- 1.0 grains.  In addition, each Maxima Red arrow has a straightness of 0.0025″ (that’s 1/10,000th of an inch). This means each arrow in your group will fly identical to one another.  For more information log on to

Trophy Ridge React Sight

Trophy Ridge React Sight

With modern bow and arrow combinations being more accurate than ever before, bowhunters are now able to extend their effective hunting range far beyond the 20 yard maximum that our parents tought us.  In order to make the process of shooting longer distances simpler, Trophy Ridge has released the new React bow sight with SmartPin technology.  This new innovation allows you to sight in any 2 of the sight’s 5 pins and the remaining three pins will automatically be adjusted for you.  By sighting in your 20 and 30 yard pins, the React sight uses the gap between those pins to determine the proper pin gaps for the remaining 40, 50 and 60 yard pins.  However, to acheive the most accuracy, Trophy Ridge advises sighting in your 20 yard pin, and the pin of the furthest distance you plan on shooting. 

In addition to SmartPin technology the React sight also features toolless windage and elevation adjustments, 0.019 pins, an included rheostat light, and is made from a ballistic copolymer which makes it both light weight as well as strong.

Rac-em-Back Bow Mag

One of the most controversial new products to hit the archery market for 2013 is the Bow Mag from Rac-Em-Back.  This innovative product screws to the front of your arrow and holds either a .357 or .38 bullet.  Upon impacting the target, the front end of the Bow Mag collapses backward, forcing the shell into a firing pin which fires the bullet. 

Looking at the Bow Mag it really is a very simple device with few parts.  However, it is certainly the first of it’s kind to hit the archery industry.  Legal and ethical concerns aside, you can’t deny that the Bow Mag is truly an innovative bowhunting product that may end up rewriting game laws across the country.

Tink’s Hot Shot

Tink's Hot Shot

When it comes to innovation, not many of us think of deer scents and lures. After all, lures like Tink’s #69 doe-in-rut buck lure have been luring in trophy whitetails for over 40 years.  So what makes the new Hot Shot so innovative?  No, it’s not the contents of this bottle that caught my attention but rather the dispersal method in which it works.  Unlike traditional glass or plastic bottles that are prone to spillage, or aerosol containers that are loud, messy and don’t work upside down, the new Hot Shot disperses an ultra-fine mist that allows your scent to both disperse more effectively as well as stick to anything it may encounter (trees, leaves, twigs, etc.). 

Additionally, the unique “bag in can” technology allows you to spray the Hot Shot upside down and in complete silence.  Due to the fact that no aerosol propellants are used to disperse the scent, what you get is 100% pure scent dispersal for maximum effectiveness.  A new take on an old product that makes it more efficient to store, carry and use.   For more information log onto

Axion Pulse Arrow Rest

Axion Pulse Arrow Rest

While many of the features of the new Pulse rest have been around for a while, this is the first rest that has finally put all of them together.  The Pulse is a full containment dropaway rest which means that once loaded, noo matter what angle you turn or tip your bow the arrow will not come out of the launcher.  What makes the Pulse different from other rests is that at full draw the cable is slack, not taught like most drop-away style rests.  This means there’s no added pressure or torque on your cable system at full draw, which can potentially affect your arrow’s flight.  In addition to that, the Pulse has an auto-reset feature which puts the launcher arm back into the armed position automatically.  Simply shoot your bow, and by the time you get another arrow out of your quiver the rest is ready to shoot again.

Hunter Safety System Elite Vest

Hunter Safety System Elite Vest

When it comes to safety harnesses and vests, most hunters who don’t wear them will often tell you they don’t like how they feel; that they’re too uncomfortable, bulky, heavy or hot.  The new Elite vest solves all of those common complaints and integrates all of the safety features you’ve come to expect from Hunter Safety System into a vest that’s just plain “cool”.  Through constant improvements in their products that help promote treestand safety and get more hunters to wear full body harnesses, Hunter Safety System has impacted more hunters’ lives than most of us will ever realize.

In addition to looking cool and keeping you safe the new Elite vest features a total of 8 pockets to safely store everything from your cell phone to your grunt call.  The largest inner pockets are fleece lined to help keep your hands warm.  On the shoulders of the Elite vest you’ll find a silicone webbing to help make sure your backpack straps don’t slide down the garment while you’re walking to your stand.  For more information log on to

What Do You Think?

Like most things in the hunting world, my opinion on which products are the most innovative for this year are somewhat subjective.  If you have seen a product that you think should be on this list, or see one you think shouldn’t be on the list, leave your comments below.  We’d love to hear what you think!

Justin Zarr
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Justin has been bowhunting for more than 25 years, harvesting a number of P&Y whitetails in his home state of Illinois during that time.  He co-hosts the popular bowhunting show 'Bowhunt or Die' and is a frequent guest on numerous hunting podcast.  Justin lives in the NW suburbs of Chicago with his wife and 3 children.
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