-By Randy Cooper
The ATA (Archery Trade Association) Show just concluded a couple of weekends ago. I’m envious of those who were able to attend the show in Indianapolis. I would have been like a kid on Christmas morning running around looking at all the great new gadgets and innovative inventions in archery built to make you a better bow hunter and tournament competitor. When I started shooting a bow some 40 years ago things were so simple. My first bow was a recurve made by the Colt firearms company of all things. It was a 58-lb. pull and was a bear to pull back and hold on target. I loved it and got pretty good with it. I’ll never forget the first deer I had a chance at with that bow.
A string of ten does started down a trail that ran parallel to the logging road I was creeping down. I was trying to make it to my stand quietly. One of the does peeled off and headed right for the road bed I was standing in. I ducked behind a tree and waited till she got right up to the road and was about to cross. I drew back and popped out from behind the tree. She didn’t see me as I aimed. I released the arrow at a mere 15 yards. The deer veered off to one side like she had hit a brick wall. When all was quiet, I went to see if I could find blood but didn’t see any. I looked at the tracks where she had changed direction, where I had been standing at the shot and where my arrow impacted the mud bank. I realized the deer had heard the arrow in flight and had managed to side step it. Some bow hunters call it jumping the string. I stood there in disbelief that an animal could react that fast.
In hind sight I realized that the bow I was using was way too slow. That was 1976. I had heard of compound bows and vowed that day that as soon as I could afford one I was going to buy it and a deer would never beat my arrow ever again. Since then I’ve bought and sold so many bows it’s a crying shame. Back then if you wanted a bow that would shoot well with accuracy, it had to be a mile long and you couldn’t even use it in a tree stand. Seriously, bows were commonly 40 inches.
My, how times have changed. I’ve noticed that the trend since ’96 has been for bows to become shorter and shorter. The technology of today’s bows is incredible. Bows now store so much energy by using the most advanced cams and limb combinations that it is common for high end bows to shoot over 330 feet per second and still be controllable. Now bows are short and compact. Easy to maneuver in a stand or on the ground in a turkey blind. These same bows are showing up at tournaments and are winning them.
A friend of mine showed up the other day and said he had something he wanted my opinion on. We walked to his truck and he opened his bow case and pulled out what I would have sworn was a TOY BOW!! I took one look and said, “You can’t be serious.” He is unique and, like me, doesn’t like to travel the path less chosen. I respect that and, after all, someone has to take a leap of faith every so often. He’s always liked the shorter bows but this one blew me away. It was a whopping 26 inches long axle to axle. The bow has the best of everything, and even at that short length still shoots 320 feet per second. We shot the bow at my range and I was impressed at how well it shot and grouped arrows. It was super quiet and didn’t have any felt vibration in my hand. It’s made by PSE and is called the X-Force SS for Super Short. It has extremely paralleled limbs to the point that it takes a special bow press just to collapse it so you can work on it.
I’m impressed by this innovative bow and so many more like it. This is where the technology and trends seems to be going. Check out the comparison picture which shows the X-Force on the far left at 26 inches and the long bow at the far right that is a staggering 37 inches long. You can get a real good idea of its true size looking at the pictures of it being shot compared to the shooter. Check out today’s bows. They ain’t your daddy’s bow anymore.