By Joni Kiser
The 2015 Archery Trade Show (ATA) took place this year in Indianapolis, IN. Although the show is a huge event, it is actually closed to the public and is primarily an order-writing event for dealers. The show is attended by folks from various areas of the archery industry, including manufacturers, archery retailers, distributors and media. This year was my fifth time attending the show, as I attend the show each year wearing various hats. I mainly attend as a buyer; I am co-owner of the largest archery store in Alaska and we write the majority of our season orders at the show. Asa buyer I am looking for the latest innovations to bring to my customers. I want to be sure to make it to every booth of my current vendor lines and I also want to see who is new to the market with fresh ideas and brands. I also am attending as a pro staffer for several companies, as media (being part of a hunting TV show) and as an avid archer and hunter myself. Packing everything into three short days and still also trying to catch up with friends in the industry, maintain vendor relationships and make large season-buying decisions can seem early impossible. This year the show was so large, I actually left having not seen it all and wishing I had one more day. However, here are some of the new products or changes to old favorites that I saw at the show that caught my eye and that I will be stocking up on for my business.
For 11 years straight, HHA has retained the Bowhunting World Reader’s Choice Award in the single-pin category with their Optimizer. What more could they do to raise the bar? At the ATA Show this year they released the new King
This new sight has a wheel-forward design, making it compatible with all quivers and extending it farther in front of the riser than the Optimizer Lite and Lite Ultra. The King Pin can be dialed from 20- to 100 yards in one-yard increments, making it a perfect choice for both hunting and outdoor 3D shooting. One of my favorite features is the interchangeable yardage wheels, which can be swapped out quickly and easily for shooters that change their setups or draw-weights frequently, eliminating the need to re-tape the sight each time. This is great especially if you are like many shooters who turn down their weight for target season and then turn up for hunting. Lastly, a “Blind 20” eature allows the shooter to easily return the sight to the 20-yard mark without taking your eyes off the target. This new HHA King Pin will definitely be a big hit with single-pin sight fans!
Rip Cord has always made a good drop-away, but I have not hunted with them because they did not offer a slow letdown brake like the QAD HDX offered. This means that if you are at full draw on an animal, and then they move into a position where you cannot shoot and you need to let down, a Rip Cord Code Red would have dropped as you let down and a QAD would not. I have had this happen on my archery brown bear hunt so this feature is very mportant to me. I want to be read to immediately re-draw if needed without any noise or chance of my arrow slipping off the rest and the QAD always offered me that security. This year, Rip Cord has released a great new rest the Ace Micro Adjust that does offer this feature. The Ace will stay up on a slow letdown, has a new narrower auncher for better clearance and offers two additional great features. It has an external cord (you don’t have to take it apart to redo the launcher cord on it) and it offers micro-adjust, which will be a great feature for tuning your bow. I loved the new innovations on this rest and think it will be a top seller in 2015.
The QAD HDX has always been a favorite rest for me. I have hunted with a QAD HDX on my bow for several seasons now and love the features of this high-quality drop-away rest. In my opinion there wasn’t much that could be done to make this rest any better, but what did catch my eye was the new color option that is now available in a grey and black carbon pattern. This new color option will match the limbs on the black versions of the 2015 Hoyt and Xpedition bows as well as the Tactical Finish options on the Mathews line and is a great addition to all of the other color options that QAD currently offers.
This year the most adjustable quiver on the market, Tightspot, released a new 3-arrow version. This new lightweight option weighs just 6.86 ounces and is slightly shorter at 14 inches hood-to-gripper, versus the 18-inch-long, 5-arrow version. I love this new lighter and shorter option. The Tightspot Quiver has a virtually unbreakable hood, fits xpandable or fixed broadheads and has a quick disconnect option for easy one-handed removal. For those who are shooting narrow diameter arrows like the Victory VAPs, the grippers are adjustable at the bottom to easily keep any diameter of arrow tight.
There are several great high-end women’s bows on the market currently. One of my favorites for 2015 is the Mathews Chill SDX, which I have been hunting with for the past 5 months. I have taken 5 animals with it in the few short months that I have had the bow, all with great results, good speed and 85% let-off that makes it incredibly easy to hold back. I cant say enough about how happy I have been hunting with the SDX this season. This is a top-end ladies’ machined aluminum riser bow so it does come with a little higher price tag. If you are looking for omething to fit a tighter budget a little better there are also some great starter bows for ladies like the Hoyt Ignite or the Mission Craze that you can get for under $350, and each has wide adjustable ranges of 15- to 70-pound draw-weight with comfortable draw cycles.
Up until the ATA, I had felt like there were some great starter bows, some great top-end bows, but that the mid-range price-level options have been somewhat limited for ladies. But this year at the show Bowtech answered that call with the Eva Shockey Signature Series bow and may have hit a home run. This bow falls in the mid-range price-point between the starter bows and the top-end ladies options and gives the woman who wants to be a serious huntress a great and affordable option. The Eva bow is rated at 332 feet per second, has a very smooth, comfortable draw and only weighs 3.3 pounds. I demoed the bow at the show and was really surprised how easy it was to draw and how lightweight it was! It comes with teal accents and cams and Bowtech’s Powershift Technology.
Lakewood Cases have always made a great airline-approved travel case. They are sturdy and easy to access, since you can actually leave your quiver on and put your bow straight down into the case! The cases have separate ompartments for arrows and a broadhead and accessory box that keeps everything separate and organized. I organized a group of ladies to go hunt in Africa in 2014 and this case travelled very well over and back all the way to South Africa, protecting the equipment perfectly. This year they are offering the case in some new colors for ladies, which I loved! They have a solid purple and my new favorite, which is the Muddy Girl. I love the new color options, never really having been much of a pink girl myself, but this case is just too cool to pass up. And they are made in the USA; I really love that!
Adding to an already great lineup of field-point and broadhead targets, Morrell Targets launched the new Half Back Target. This self-healing foam, weatherproof target is exactly the area you need in a 3D target without having to have a big, bulky target. Easy to move around with a rope handle on top and at only 12 pounds, the target has anatomically-correct vitals and can stop both field-points and broadheads.
Womens Hunting Gear
As a Field Staffer for Prois I am always excited to see what new items they have in their clothing lineup. As a retailer I am excited to see what I can bring home to female hunters for my store. This year Prois launched several new items that should be a big hit with their customer base. The New Sojourn line of clothing was created specifically for safari hunting. Their new items include a breathable moisture-wicking base layer short-sleeve shirt and long-sleeve hoodie, each that have UV protectant woven into the fabric, and a technical jacket called the Sojourn Jacket. With a classic safari look, deep-set pockets and angled zippers, this jacket is designed to carry what you need with easy accessibility. The jackets undergo odor-elimination treatments to help minimize human scent and are built to be as rugged and tough as the hunting areas that you will be wearing them in. I wish I could go back in time to my South Africa bowhunt in July and have had these awesome new items with me!
Joni Marie Kiser is owner of Full Curl Archery in Anchorage, Alaska, and Pro Staff for Trophy Time TV.