If you’ve wanted to upgrade your bow for a while, now is a great time to do it! The new bows are out and last years bows are being sold for up to half their original price.
The bow companies’ business year is basically November to November. Each year from October through the trade shows in January, the new bow lines are being released. If you are looking for the latest, greatest, new car smelling bow, they are there for your fondling. If the price new bows have soared to lately, give you sticker shock, last years models are out there as well.
You know how everyone you see in our sport has PRO-STAFF after their name? That means one of two things. The first and probably the one that represents only 10% of all PRO-STAFFer’s is PROFESSIONAL staff. They are being paid with money, equipment or both by a company to represent them.
The next group, one I was a part of for years, is PROMOTIONAL staff. These are the men and women you might see running the archery aisles or sitting behind tables at the big box store’s fall hunting events. This group might get a bow for free or they might be able to buy a bow at a significantly reduced price in exchange for helping represent a company though out the year. One of my “fluff” stories in the fall will be about getting on a PRO-staff.
If you are in the market for an almost new bow, either group can be a blessing to you. Right now, they either want to shoot the latest and greatest or the bow companies tell them they HAVE to shoot the new stuff. So, they sell their “old” equipment. Since they probably didn’t pay for it or they did pay something for it and simply want to recoup their money to get the new stuff, you can buy a LIKE NEW bow for significant savings. If you think about it, how much can technology improve in a bow in only a year’s time?
Buying a used bow is like buying anything else used. You’re taking the chance the person before you took care of the bow the way you would want it to be taken care of. Hmmmm…. Screw it! Let’s go buy new. Here are some tips on how to do that.
Unless you are very good at working on your own equipment, I would highly recommend buying for a reputable bow shop. Make sure you are comfortable with the owners/employees and feel they take of you the way you deserve to be taken care of. By this I mean they treat you professionally and try their best to set you up correctly. For your part, you need to be reasonable. Don’t go in and start demanding free arrows with a new bow or asking them to take $100 of a bow. Go into a big box store and demand the same thing and see where that gets you. Bow shops make a decent profit margin on accessories, but they really don’t make that much on bows themselves. I’m good friends with a former owner and have seen the invoices myself because I worked in the shop on my spare time in exchange for discounted equipment.
You might have to travel a ways to find a shop you really like, but it will be worth it. Most pro shop owners are either competitive archers or many on their staff are. The knowledge you will have at your disposal by being a loyal customer will be worth far more than any savings you will get buying something twenty bucks cheaper at another place.
You will see a constant theme in my blogs posts…LEARN TO WORK ON YOUR OWN EQUIPMENT! One of the best ways to do this is to become friends and loyal customers of pro shop owners. They would rather you come in and buy accessories and work on your own stuff anyway because they are usually busy working on other peoples equipment and they don’t make that much doing minor work on bows. Most will be glad, during slow times, to help you learn to tie on a D loop or a nocking point or whatever you need to work on your own equipment.
This is another reason why you want to get started now. Pro Shop owners are coming back from the trade shows with all the new goodies and it’s a slow time of the year. If you walk into a pro shop right now on a weekday, you will probably have their full attention for a long period of time and will be surprised at what you can learn. DON’T go into a pro shop in late July and August and expect them to spend hours with you. They are swamped at that time working on bows that just came out of cases from last season. If you are reading this post, you are more than likely serious about the sport. Your equipment should be set up and ready to hunt long before August gets here.
BUY WHAT YOU WANT!
We are all protective or our “BRAND”. We want to think we shoot the best bow and are part of the cool kid’s crowd! I shot a certain brand of bow for probably 20 years until this last year when I finally changed for reasons too complicated to get into now. I loved those bows and still do. However, one year they came out with a bow that was an absolute boat anchor, in my opinion. In order for me to get it to paper tune, my arrow was sticking out to the left. It was heavy and not fun for me to shoot. It was, however, one of the first bows in my area to have safari brown with camo limbs. If you know me for very long, you’ll know my motto is, “IT’S BETTER TO LOOK GOOD THAN TO SHOOT GOOD. NO ONE REMEMBERS THE SCORES ANYWAY.” Actually, that motto hasn’t served me very well over the years, so you’d better leave that one to me. We want you to shoot well!
The funny thing about that bow is, I have a friend to this day that swears it is still one of his favorite all time bows. He shot it great, he LOVED the way it felt; it was an awesome bow to him. That is why you should shoot what you like and forget what everyone else says or get caught up in flashy commercials. Just because a company advertises that it has the best technology and is the best bow out there, doesn’t always mean it’s true. Some of the best target archers in the world have to do a lot of work to get their “highly engineered” bows to shoot correctly for them.
DRAW LENGTH IS CRITICAL!
If you’re draw length is too long, you are will do nothing but fight the bow as long as you own it. You will be all over the place trying to aim, you will struggle to find a comfortable anchor point, and you will constantly be searching for your peep. Unless you are six feet tall or have arms that hang down to your knees, you are probably not a 30″ draw length! Let’s quit kidding ourselves! If you have a 27″ draw length (yes, I’m talking to guys here because we are always worried about length) be happy with a 27″ draw length. So what if your buddy makes fun of you while he’s attempting to shoot a 30″ bow with his 28.5″ draw length! While you’re rock solid, drilling the 12 ring, he’s going to be doing drive by’s because he can’t hold his bow steady. The next time he makes fun of your draw length, simply hold up your score card and walk away.
You don’t see archers in too short of draw length bows as often unless it’s someone trying to squeeze into a used bow. If you shoot too short of draw length, your mistakes will be made worse, quickly.
Let’s quit worrying about “impressing” others with our draw lengths and worry more about impressing them with our shooting. Find a reliable pro shop that you like and have them work with you to find your correct draw length. After years of searching for the secret formula, the best method for getting you CLOSE is still the fist against the wall method. (I’ll demonstrate this in my next blog post) This isn’t perfect, but will get you in the ball park which is important when deciding on the draw length range on your new bow.
If you’re buying a bow with an adjustable module on the cam, IF POSSIBLE, try to buy one with your draw length in the middle of the draw length range. This is probably even more critical for a short draw length archer. The module on a cam basically just stops the rotation of the cam at different draw lengths. Depending on the cam, setting this at its shortest setting could cause you to constantly fight the cam wanting to pull off the string because the cam is basically under rotated. This might not always be the case and it might be your only option. You may fall into a draw length range where you HAVE to buy a bow where you are on the shortest setting. Again, it all comes down to feel. If you like the bow and it feels good to you, buy it!
If you are looking to buy a draw length specific bow, again, be very sure of your draw length. The bows I used to shoot almost always came in a 1/4″ too long. Since my draw length on longer target bows was approximately in the middle of the options of 29.5″ and 30″, I would always order the 29.5″ cam on my bow. Even if it came in perfectly at 29.5″, I would twist the cables up, which would lengthen out the draw length to my specs. This would also over rotate the cam, which would create a better and more manageable feel on the HOT cams I shot at the time. You have to do your homework. Given the choice, go a little shorter and twist up the cables to get to your draw length.
STOP THE MACHO CRAP!
Shoot a weight that is comfortable to you! Who care’s, besides you, what you can pull? If you’re shopping for a hunting bow, go to your local fast food restaurant with your bow and ask to sit in their cooler on a box of frozen hamburgers with your bow. Set an alarm to go off in 5 hours. Now, when your alarm goes off in 5 hours, hold your bow straight out in front of you and draw it straight back smoothly to anchor. Can you do it at your bows draw weight? Of course I don’t want you to actually do this and am being a smart elbow (you’d probably get arrested for attempting it), but you get my point. That is basically the situation you could find yourself in hunting. If you can’t pull a bow, comfortably, straight back to anchor, while seated, it’s too much! I’m not saying you can’t build up to more weight, because you can, but in order to learn to shoot correctly you don’t need to be struggling to draw or hold back a bow that is killing you on every shot! The only one’s who cares what poundage you pull are you, after hours in a frozen stand, and that animal of a lifetime who didn’t see you move because you didn’t have to struggle to sky draw your bow. Suddenly, it is having trouble breathing because you took out both lungs with a perfectly placed shot. Actually, now that I think about it, he probably doesn’t care if your bow is set at 55 pounds or 70 pounds either, so it’s all about you!
I will try to follow up with an article and photo’s on finding your correct draw length quickly after this article if Carrie allows it. Again, I want you ready by June so you can concentrate on your shooting for the upcoming hunting season. It’s only about 30 weeks away! After that, just click on my articles so Carrie will think you read them and make me look good.
So, buy the bow YOU like, spend a lot of time perfecting your draw length, shoot your bow at a comfortable weight and enjoy this sport we all love without feeling you have to prove something to anyone but yourself.
Have fun! This is supposed to be enjoyable, remember? (This is aimed at me as well!)
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