I have noticed a few emerging and continuing trends for 2015 bow hunting gear, especially after seeing some of the new products at the 2015 ATA Show. As always, some of these trends are no more than marketing hype of slightly tweaked past models, or “innovations” cleverly designed to save manufacturing costs or appeal to a wider market segment. However, if you’re a gear hound like me, you like to see what new products are hitting the shops anyways.
Again this year, the bow hunting industry continues to invest more in the development and utilization of strong and light materials. Materials often drive design, dependent on the improvement it provides. If a material is lighter, it’s often incorporated into an existing design for that model. If it’s stronger, it will often drive an entirely new design change off it’s inherent benefits.
Hoyt – Off-Set Aluminum Risers
One example of using new materials to fuel new designs is Hoyt. They are launching a newly designed off-set riser structure for 2015 with their new Nitrum series. Utilizing a new aluminum alloy, their new risers have a slight twist to them, which is a definite break from the traditionally straight riser, which may only be possible with a more flexible alloy. The benefits of this change (as told by Hoyt) is increased vibration dampening and decreased torque/twist on the bow’s risers. My guess is that the twist pattern is directly opposite of the imposed twist forces that are created during draw and release. The result? The risers are actually straightening slightly due to the inherent, rather than the opposite. Clever.
To see it in action, check out this promo video.
Tru-Glo – Carbon Hybrid Composite Bow Sight
For 2015, Tru-Glo is offering up a new composite bow sight made from a lightweight carbon composite and aluminum called TRU-FUSION.
I’m not sure how much lighter it is than their current Carbon XS, which already uses a carbon composite construction, weighing 3.5 oz. (Update: I emailed TruGlo about the weight and they said the Carbon Hybrid weighs 4.5 oz, and Micro adjust Carbon Hybrid models weigh 4.95 oz). However, in contrast to the 100% plastic composite Carbon XS, the Carbon Hybrid integrates aluminum to maintain a higher strength-to-weight ratio.
Chisel Tip Style Broad Heads
Rage and Muzzy were among one of the first companies to adopt a chisel tip-type design into their broad head designs back in 2012. While every hunter has their favorite flavor of broad head, this tip design is popping up more and more among their different broad head offerings and in similar designs from other manufacturers. Rage seems to corner the mechanical chisel-tip broad heads, while Muzzy’s trocar is the go to for fixed blade chisel tips. However, sometimes they jump the chasm. For example, in the new turkey broad heads from Muzzy (see below), they’ve incorporated a chisel tip style into the tip. Whether this is a cost savings (since Muzzy primarily uses trocar tips) or a move to support that chisel tips are a superior design, they are continuing to gain steam.
For more information on trocar and chisel tip broad heads, check out these reviews and discussions I found interesting:
Muzzy M.O.R.E. – Improved Guillotine Broad Heads
Muzzy is offering a new line of guillotine style broad heads in time for the 2015 spring gobbler season. What sets these head choppers apart is their fold-back design feature to solve the big profile and clearance issues associated with carrying large guillotine broad heads. I’ve personally felt this pain (literally) when I’ve gotten sliced by the exposed blade tip in my quiver. Even when you try to orient them in the least dangerous place possible, they are still dangerous. The Muzzy M.O.R.E’s allow you to fold back the blades by twisting the Trocar tip, letting them ride more safely in your quiver. And, as I just mentioned, these now have a trocar/chisel tip to them, which I guess is an added bonus. It may still offer you the chance for penetration and a kill, should you accidentally hit the body. However, I’d like to see how the guillotine blades hold up to that.
Adaptable Design and Bow-Specific Accessories
Bowtech – Power Shift Technology
Bowtech’s new-for-2015 Prodigy and Boss bows offer the new Power Shift technology feature. An adjustment of the cam-mounted PowerDisks let the shooter to swap between three different shooting setups in a single bow. The three different settings are called Performance, Classic, and Comfort. I haven’t been able to find what changes are made in each “mode”, which would be helpful for the shooter to know.
While I think this is an interesting feature, I feel like it’s not necessarily revolutionary. Much like the different drive modes on an expensive car, I don’t really trust any of them since I’m never really sure what’s changing and what effect that will have. When shooting a bow or driving a car, you have to spend a lot of time practicing in the manner in which you need to drive or shoot when it counts. If I’m planning to hunt, I’m not going to drop my settings to practice in “Comfort” mode, only to crank them back up to “Performance” when I’m in the stand. Everything’s going to change. That’s like a sniper training with a .22 LR, only to be given a .338 Lapua on the battlefield. Okay, maybe not as dramatic as that, but you get my point. At the very least, wouldn’t you have to re-sight your pins?
However, I see the marketing and sales value of a bow like this, as it lets Bowtech offer one or two bows for many different types of shooters. This lowers production and tooling costs and helps consolidate their product lines. In that sense, it’s quite innovative for the bow manufacturers, which is why I see this as something that might trend among other brands. However, for the consumer it doesn’t offer so much value unless the production savings are passed on to the buyer.
QAD Ultra Rest Custom – Bow Specific Rest Designs
QAD is looking to try and bring one of their Ultra Rest Custom drop-away arrow rests to every bow in America. They have partnered with quite a few of the big bow manufacturers to offer bow-specific custom Ultrarest options (built from HDX components) in 2015. So I guess you don’t have to worry so much about finding a rest that will fit your bow… if you like drop-away rests, that is. I personally prefer Whisker-biscuits myself.
Trophy Ridge React TRIO – Self Adjusting Bow Sight
The React series has been really popular for the last couple years. This year, Trophy Ridge is putting out a 3-pin adjustable sight with the React Trio. Allowing you to set a 20, 30, and 40 yard vertical pin, you now have the adjustability to quickly adjust for yardage and windage all in one-step, giving you a max range of 120 yards. No tools, no worries. I could see this being awesome for 3-D shooters and bowhunters who hunt a wider range of game. From taking a 20 yard shot on a white tail to praying for a 70 yard hit on a dall sheep. I know a lot of people considering trading in their current React’s for the Trio once it hits shelves, however, it’s supposedly pretty heavy at over 14 oz.