Archery hunting is becoming a gear-driven sport, which makes some traditionalists cringe. For gadget guys like me, though, there’s never been a better time to be a bow hunter. I love cruising the aisles at the annual ATA show and seeing brand-new bowhunting accessories, not because I’m trying to find some way to spend my money or to impress everyone else in deer camp but because, like you, my time in the woods is limited and valuable.
I know several crossbow hunters who spend the entire work week dreaming about getting to the woods before first light on Saturday or Sunday morning. Trying to balance time in the woods with family commitments and the responsibilities of daily life can be a challenge, and any product that extends or improves our time outdoors is of value.
I don’t believe accessories turn a bad hunter into a good one, but I do believe that the right gear can help improve a proficient hunter’s odds of success. Here’s a look at some of the most innovative products for the upcoming season, the stuff that helps you make the most of your valuable time on stand.
TenPoint ACUrope crossbow cocking aid: This lightweight, portable rope-cocker fits easily in the pocket of your hunting jacket or pack and helps reduce draw weight by half. That means no more fumbling with ropes when you’re in the tree and trying to get ready for a follow-up shot. The draw cords on the ACUrope are made of heat and abrasion-resistant SPECTRA 1000 fiber, which is, pound-for-pound, 15 times stronger than steel. The slip-resistant handles are textured so you can easily draw the bow even when wearing gloves, and the durable design will hold up for several years. Say goodbye to that tangled rope cocker that’s floating around in the bottom of your backpack. ($59)
Bednar Perfect Puller: Today’s high-density block targets are more durable than ever, but there’s one problem—an arrow driven deep into these targets is a bear to remove. Enter the Bednar Perfect Puller, one of the most functional arrow pullers available.
Named after the late hall of fame archer Bill Bednar, the Perfect Puller has three interchangeable rubber grippers to provide a firm hold on any size arrow shaft. That means no more foot-on-target battles with deeply embedded arrows. There’s also a cutout in the handles that acts as a nocking tool. ($20)
Primos Trigger Stick Short Bipod: One of the great things about crossbow hunting is that it allows you to set up on the ground much easier than when hunting with a vertical bow. The Trigger Stick allows you to adjust height with one hand quickly, and you can use these sticks from a kneeling or standing position. The lightweight design makes these sticks easy to carry and the detachable V-yoke also allows you to mount a camera or optic when you aren’t shooting. ($99.95).
TenPoint Embroidered Soft Case: A damaged bow costs you money and time in the tree, so you need to protect your investment. The easiest way is to purchase a lightweight soft case like this one, which is constructed of high-grade, double-stitched Cordura. It comes with a removable shoulder strap and an extra zippered pocket for your arrows, quivers or other items. Plus it fits all TenPoint crossbows so there’s no need to worry about dimensions or to coordinate model numbers. Chances are you throw your bow in a pickup, on an ATV, and hang it up when the season ends. If you want to keep that bow in working order then it needs a durable case like this one. ($89)
Browning Billy 1000 Lumbar Pack: Sometimes having a full-sized backpack is a hassle, but smaller lumbar packs are less bulky and offer lots of storage space for knives, lights, cocking devices and other items. Browning’s new line of Billy 1000 Lumbar packs weigh just 1.25 pounds but offer 1,000 cubic inches of storage space. That weight/space ratio is thanks to the Billy’s use of Baumshell fabric, which is twice as strong as traditional pack materials yet weighs half as much. The Hyposonoc toothless zipper is silent, so you can access items even when deer are close by. These packs are available in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country and Realtree X-tra camo patterns. ($99.99)
TenPoint RangeMaster Pro crossbow scope: Bullet drop compensating scopes are all the rage for rifle hunters nowadays, but TenPoint has developed a reticle that does the same thing for crossbow arrows. The RangeMaster has dots in the reticle calibrated for 20,20,40,50 and 60 yards and comes with arrow-drop compensating settings for bows that shoot from 275 to 425 feet per second. That means you’ll be dialed in quickly and won’t have to worry about holdover estimates for longer shots, resulting in more clean kills. Reticle options include black dots or rheostat controlled illuminated dots (red or green). It’s good to see that drop-compensated optics have reached the crossbow universe. ($299)
Cabela’s Elite Stop Crossbow Target: Having a crossbow target that is lightweight, durable, and portable is important, and Cabela’s Elite Stop is one of the best. It has 48 visible shooting spots, measures 15” by 15” and weighs 15 pounds. But don’t let that lightweight design fool you, this block target is rated for broadheads and field points and will stop arrows traveling over 400 fps. The self-healing foam lasts through lots of shots, and the convenient rope handle on top makes this target easy to carry from garage to yard to hunting camp. ($129.99)
TenPoint CUB (Crossbow Unloading Bolt): If ever there was a product that was overdue it’s the CUB. For years crossbow enthusiasts had but a few choices when uncocking a crossbow and none of them were as convenient as these biodegradable arrows. The two-piece CUB fits in your pack easily (each section is the size of a ballpoint pen) and you can carry several in a small daypack. When you need to unload simply attach the pieces and fire the arrow into the ground. These environmentally-friendly bolts then break down over time and won’t harm wildlife. It’s far safer and more convenient than other decocking methods. ($9 per pack of six)
Be sure to keep your crossbow maintained well throughout the year for optimal performance, too. Check out these great tips on how to keep it in top condition.
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