There’s no doubt the cyclical world of bowhunting has seen a whole lot of change over the years. Fred Bear probably wouldn’t have had much need for all the gadgets on the shelves nowadays, and his feathered fedora would’ve seemed weird alongside the studded jeans, black bows and tribal-style tattoos at the 2013 ATA show.
In the burgeoning years of our sport—the first bowhunting season was held in Wisconsin in 1934—carbon and plastic were used for space shuttles and Tupperware, and the long bow was the only game in town. Then came the recurve, only to be steamrolled years later by Holless Wilber Allen’s compound bow, which was approved for patent in 1969.
Most of the early innovations in bowhunting—aluminum arrows, plastic fletchings, stabilizers and the like—were met with excitement, but in an industry that prides itself on a traditionally minimalist approach, there’s been a fair share of new introductions that have gotten the shaft…literally.
The rules of fair chase and ethics in bowhunting are frequently up for debate, but there’s no doubt that these bowhunting innovations have caused the biggest stir.
- This is probably the most recent example of a controversial “innovation” in the bowhunting world. I’d say calling this an innovation might be a stretch, but the Bow Mag by Rac-Em-Bac certainly started a fierce conversation when it was introduced this past January. The manufacturer says this product—which essentially allows you to secure your .38 or .357 Magnum round on the end of your arrow —is “perfect for big game and varmits” and that it’s a “revolutionary new product.” I’d argue with both. Not only is this pseudo-broadhead illegal for hunting purposes in a lot of states, its Frankenstien-like combination of ammunition and archery creates a slippery slope for hunters everywhere. The Bowhunter editors scoffed at the Bow Mag when it first hit the scene, and we have a feeling readers will have the same reaction.