The 2018 ATA show is in the books, and it was honestly one of the best shows in recent years when it comes to items and gear that created lots of buzz in the hunting and bowhunting community. From tools that will make life as a bowhunter better to gear that raised a lot of eyebrows and skepticism, this year’s show delivered in a big way. Here’s a look at the 10 Most Buzzworthy Products of ATA 2018.
10) The Peep-It
The new Peep-It peep sight from Sawtooth Outdoor Products didn’t exactly turn our heads at first glance. Just another peep sight, right? But after talking with the guys in the booth we learned that this is not just another peep sight. The concept is actually genius. The Peep-It is a serve-less peep that installs in 10 seconds with the use of a bow press. Your bowstrings simply intertwine with the limbs on the peep. Other than a bow press no tools are required to install or remove the peep, thus eliminating the chance for any string damage. It’s simple enough that practically anyone can install their own peep, quick and easy, no experience required. And once installed, the Peep-It will stay in place. No slipping or sliding. The Peep-It comes in aperture sizes from 3/32 to 1/4 and multiple color options. $14.95
9) Kinex Single Pin Sight
The new single pin bow sight from Kinex Systems is a really cool single pin sight option with a lot of great features built in and at a surprisingly pleasant price. The machined aluminum sight features a sleek design that looks sharp. A 2x removable lens comes standard with the sight making it great option, whether you’re on the range or in the woods. It has a 4-way sight light for greater visibility and site tape mounted on inside of the riser for easier yardage reference. The sight also has easy-adjust knobs for quick and simple yardage adjustments without slipping. This truly is a feature-rich bow sight. $209.99
8) Sitka Gear Bow Sling
Sitka has long been known for their high quality hunting apparel, and for this year they’ve expanded a bit into other accessories. One of those in their new bow sling. Like many slings that have come before, the Sitka sling fully covers both the cams and string of your bow in order to help protect them as you travel in and out of the woods. However what makes this sling buzzworthy is the fact it comes with removable covers for your fletchings as well as your sight. Not only will the fletching cover keep your arrows from getting beat up, it can help keep you concealed as well since most archers opt for brightly colored versions in order to help see their arrow in flight. When not in use both covers tuck securely into the inside of the sling.
7) Raven In-Arrow Tracking System
There always seems to be a lot of buzz about the use of electronics for hunting. How far is too far when it comes to electronics? And while that question may never get answered, we’re pretty sure the new Raven In-Arrow Tracking System is a game changer when it comes to game recovery for your next bowhunt. The Raven In-Arrow Tracking System dramatically improves the odds of recovering your trophy in an ethical, sportsmanlike manner. It is said to be the first in-arrow, long-range tracking system to hit the market. Once your arrow hits the target, it transmits up to a range of 1-5 miles leading to easier game recovery. It’s a pretty slick system, but it will come at a pretty steep price. The basic receiver/transmitter kit is $1,195.
6) NAP Mantis Ground Blind
Cool new ground blinds seemed to be the trend at this year’s ATA show. And one of the best was the new Mantis blind from NAP. We took some time to visit with Keith Beam, the brains behind the blind, to hear and see what all the fuss was about on this new ground blind. The Mantis comes in 2 and 3-hub designs. The 2-hub Mantis is a smaller version that provides the ultimate in run-n-gun style ground blind hunting. Its unique shape and layout allows for more usable space in the blind, making it perfect for bowhunters and gun hunters alike. Brush loops make blending into the landscape a cinch. The new DragNet window system allows you to customize your setup for the best visibility and shootability. The Mantis is one of the few ground blinds on the market designed to be wheelchair accessible. At 14.5 pounds (cased) and priced at under $200, the 2-hub Mantis will be hard to beat. $199
5) Victory Xtorsion Arrow
Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s hard to get too excited about the advancements and improvements in arrow shaft technology. Victory Archery managed to stir things up this year with the launch of their new Xtorsion arrow shaft. The Xtorsion is a carbon/stainless steel shaft designed to be a heavy arrow with high kinetic energy for excellent penetration. It features layers of stainless steel woven into carbon, basically creating a carbon/steel wound shaft for increased strength and the ultimate in stability down range. It will bend, yet hold its straightness. The 350 and 400 shafts are 11.8 grains per inch and the 300 shaft is 12.9 grains per inch. The shafts come with a 30 grain aluminum outsert, or you can add their 60 grain outsert for increased FOC.
4) IQ Define Bow Sight
As you might expected from a company named, “IQ,” the new Define bow sight from IQ Bow Sights is one of the smartest bow sights to ever hit the market. It is a fixed, 5 pin bow sight with an integrated laser rangefinder built in. It gives you the opportunity to continually know the shot distance on an animal, even if it moves, walking closer or further from you. No more guessing the distance. The rangefinder function is built into the sight window so you don’t have to rubberneck around your riser to check a reading. The sight’s pins are fully contained, .019 fibers. The Define has multiple bow mount positions and provides tool-free windage and elevation adjustments as well as individual pin adjustment. It’s a ton of technology priced at just $349.95.
3) NAP Swingfire Broadhead
The new NAP Swingfire broadhead was creating a lot of buzz before the ATA show ever got started this year. It’s a really unique concept that’s got bowhunters on both sides of the fence speaking out, both for and against this new head. It’s a 100-grain broadhead with independent pivoting blades to reduce friction loss as the broadhead passes through an animal. This rear deploying head cuts a massive 2-inch entrance hole. It’s said to produce exceptional accuracy with its four extremely sharp blade surfaces that create a monster blood trail for easier game recovery. The head was designed to serve bowhunters and crossbow hunters equally well. The Swingfire’s blades are specifically designed and weighted to never open in flight. It’ll be interesting to see how this one performs on turkey and deer this season. $39.99 for a 3 pack.
2) Primos Surround View Blind
The latest ground blind offering from the guys at Primos created a lot of buzz this year as news of this super-unique blind began to spread. Everyone seemed to be asking, “Have you seen the new blind from Primos?” As the name implies, the Primos Surround View Blind gives you a commanding view of your complete surroundings. It was designed to eliminates blind spots when ground blind hunting. It’s a huge advantage to what we’ve seen in the past with blind spots and missed shot opportunities due to lack of visibility. I climbed into this blind on Day 1 of the ATA show to give things a look, and I’ll admit, I was pretty impressed. I love the opportunity to see so much. You almost feel naked with so much visibility from the inside, yet nothing can see in from the outside. It’s basically like a 1-way mirror. It’ll be interesting to see how well it works with the sun shining on the mesh, but, I’d say this blind is legit. It will be a fun new addition to the turkey woods this spring, no doubt. $499
1) Garmin Xero Bow Sight
The talk of the 2018 ATA show, hands down, would have to be the new Garmin Xero bow sight. No matter where you went, people were talking about this new bow sight. Some hunters praised it and were excited to try it, while others thought it was far too overpriced and swore they’d never try. Still others questioned whether or not a bow sight like this was taking things too far when it came to technological advancements in bowhunting gear. Seriously, we heard it all when it came to the buzz on the new Garmin Xero. And for those of you that haven’t heard, Garmin introduced the Xero A1 and A1i, two groundbreaking auto-ranging digital laser bow sights that automatically measure the distance to a target and provide a precise, virtual lighted pin for the shot. A silent, single-button trigger mounted on the bow’s grip lets the archer range targets at rest or at full draw, virtually eliminating distance estimation and hunter movement – two of the biggest challenges in archery hunting. The laser rangefinder instantly provides the precise angle compensated distance – up to 100 yards on game or 300 yards on reflective targets. The Xero then projects a precise, virtual LED pin that is only visible to the archer, and without the clutter of multiple physical pins. An ambient light sensor ensures the pin brightness is optimized for various shooting conditions. As you can imagine, the incredible technology built into the Xero won’t come cheap. The two models are priced at $799.99 for the A1 and $999.99 for A1i.
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