With the 2018 ATA Show in the books, here are a dozen new items from Indy that caught the attention of OSG writer Lynn Burkhead.
After three days of my own on-the-floor observations — and consulting with colleagues including Bowhunter editor Curt Wells and Petersen's Bowhunting editor Christian Berg — there is plenty to reflect on in the aftermath of the 2018 ATA Show in snow-covered Indianapolis.
As we put Indy's zero-degree temperature readings behind, here's an archer's dozen of the best of the best that we saw at this year's show:
1. Garmin Xero Bow Sights: Over the years, few new products have caused more ATA Show discussion than the introduction of the new Garmin A1 and A1i Xero bow sights. Auto-ranging digital sights, the two Xero models automatically measure the distance to the archer's target and provide a virtual lighted pin for the shot. Some praised the Xero as revolutionary, others noted the high sticker price ($799.99 for the A1, $999.99 for the A1i), and some wondered about the use of such high-end technology in the bowhunting pastime. (Editor's Note: It has been noted that there are potential usage issues under some state game laws, not to mention record-book entry issues under current rules in place by the Boone and Crockett Club and the Pope and Young Club).
Whatever your opinion of the Gamin Xero bow sight, there's little doubt that it's innovative with a silent single-button mounted on the bow's grip that allows the archer to easily range targets at distances of up to 300 yards (depending on the setting) and choose between either a multiple sight pin or a single sight pin display. All in all, there's little doubt that the Garmin Xero was a genuine show stopper in Indy. Information: Garmin
2. Primos Double Bull SurroundView Ground Blind: The Primos Double Bull SurroundView Ground Blind received plenty of ATA Show buzz too. Why? Because it's a revolutionary development in the ground blind market, that's why. With the company's exclusive one-way, see-through walls that look totally solid on the outside and crystal clear on the inside, it's like a two-way mirror effect in a hunting blind.
Available in 360, 270, and 180 models, the blind features Double Bull's patented hub system, heavy duty materials and construction, four one-way see through walls, and blackout wall panels that can be moved as needed. With a limited lifetime warranty and MSRP's ranging from $299.99 to $499.99, this blind was another show stopper in Indy. Information: Primos; 601-879-9323
3. Mathews TRIAX: Mathews has long been one of the leading companies in the bowhunting world. So for the Sparta, Wis. company to tout its 2018 TRIAX compound as the quietest, most-vibration free bow to ever come out of Matt McPherson's bow making factory, that's a strong statement. But after a half-dozen shots on the shooting range, count me among the convinced.
With a compact design measuring 28-inches axle-to-axle and a 6-inch brace height, the company's Crosscentric Cam system delivers an IBO speed of 343 fps. Smooth drawing, the 3D Damping Technology and a new Enhanced Harmonic Stabilizer make the bow amazingly quiet and vibration-free at arrow release. With draw lengths ranging from 24 ½ to 30 ½ inches, the bow comes in peak draw weights of 50, 60, and 70-pounds. In short, the Triax could become Mathews' most popular bow of all-time. Information: Mathews; 608-269-2728
4. Millennium M360 Revolution: As the father of two bowhunting boys, I've long thought the Millennium L220 18-foot double ladder stand is among the best platforms I'd ever seen for introducing a youngster to bowhunting whitetails. With those two sons in college, I'm a solo bowhunter again, looking for another edge over big whitetails. After seeing the new Millennium M360 hang-on stand last week, consider me highly impressed once again.
With the ability to silently rotate the seat 360-degrees, the 40-inch round platform gives plenty of room to stand or sit. Able to adjust to leaning trees (Millennium says up to 15-degrees), the M360's four secure attachment points and unique add-on blind attachment make this another treestand winner from the Pearl, Miss. based company. Information: Millennium Treestands; 601-932-5832
5. IQ Define Bow Sight: The IQ Define Bow Sight caught the attention of many including our own OSG contributor Brian Strickland. Click the trigger on this five-pin sight for a live yardage scan, then click it again and the range to the target is locked in and displayed on the easy-to-read indicator.
Accurate up to 99-yards, the sight features built-in angle compensation, a pin light, and tool free windage and elevation adjustments. With second and third-axis adjustability, the Define bow sight has a MSRP of $379.99. (Editor's Note: As noted above, there are potential state game law usage issues at play here, not to mention record book entry issues with the Boone and Crockett Club and the Pope and Young Club.) Information: IQ Bowsight; 800-282-4868
6. Barnett CarbonliteTM Series Predator Crossbow: In a crowded field of great crossbow options, the Barnett CarbonliteTM Series Predator stood out thanks to its full carbon step-through riser, a ventilated composite stock, and a machined aluminum flight track. Combining a 187-pound draw weight with a 16.25-inch power stroke, the Predator delivers 430 fps bolt speeds along with 165-pounds of kinetic energy.
Count me even more impressed when Barnett representative Josh Lantz told viewers of our daily ATA Show live stream coverage that the company doesn't like to tout the Predator's superb ability to shoot tight groups far downrange. Why? Because things like kinetic energy (it declines as a bolt travels downrange) and bolt speed (while blistering, it's still less than the speed of sound) demand more thoughtful and ethical shots at big game animals. Information: Barnett Crossbows; 800- 237-4507
7. Nikon Monarch 3000 Stabilized Range Finder: With an effective range of nearly two miles, the Nikon Monarch 3000 Stabilized model is waterproof and fog proof, has 8-second sustained measurements, and uses a red OLED display that shows distances out to 3,000-yards.
With Nikon's ID incline/decline technology, the Monarch 3000 Stabilized also offers Tru-Target capabilities that allow a hunter to choose between close and distant targets. Information: Nikon; 800-645-6687
8. Victory Archery Carbon Trad Arrow: As someone increasingly drawn to traditional archery, the Victory Archery Carbon Trad arrow caught my eye. Combining a 100% carbon core and a unique flax linen outer layer, the Carbon Trad is a modern shaft with a traditional look — it even smells like wood when the shaft is cut by an arrow saw! Aiming to increase penetration, the .204 small-diameter arrow shaft also decreases wind drift potential.
Nano-coated with Victory ICE technology, each shaft comes with 80-grain SHOK stainless steel inserts, Bohning A-Nocks and hand-fletched genuine barred turkey feathers shield-cut to 4-inches. Information: Victory Archery; 866-934-6565
9. GloryNock: Developed by industry veteran Stu Minica, the GloryNock's ultra-bright LED is easily activated and de-activated as archers simply use the bowstring and thumb pressure.
No tools are necessary and once turned on, GloryNocks' lighted nocks can stay lit for more than 20 hours. With a wide variety of sizes and bright colors (red, green, blue, and pink), this tiny item was one of the show's biggest hits. Information: GloryNock; 830-444-0202
10. QuietKat FatKat Motorized Bike: Electric bikes were a big trend at the 2018 ATA Show, including the FatKat model from QuietKat. With fat tire mountain bike ruggedness, this fully electric and/or pedal assist model has a powerful mid-drive motor (either 750 or 1000-watts).
With the rechargeable lithium battery, the Fat Cat can negotiate tough terrain out West or silently in the whitetail woods for up to 20 hours per charge. With high performance brakes (either hydraulic or mechanical disc), this is a stealthy, quiet hunting machine. Information: Quiet Kat; 970-328-2399
11. Iron Will Broadheads: I only got to see these broadheads on a frantic final afternoon dash around the show floor. But my friends Orvie Cantrell, Jr., owner of Big O's Archery Shop in Sherman, Texas, and OSG contributor Brian Strickland both got a good, intriguing look at the Iron Will Outfitters vSeries broadheads.
Born out of real-life elk hunting expeditions, the team of Bill Vanderheyden and Eric Whiting have created a high-end steel broadhead that aims for maximum penetration and accuracy downrange. With a lifetime warranty, this looks like an interesting entry into the crowded broadhead market. Information: Iron Will Outfitters; 970-776-5022
12. Wildgame Innovations Treehugger Portable Feeder: Want to camera inventory your deer herd using rice bran or corn in a faraway spot of hunting ground? Then use the new Wildgame Innovations Treehugger Portable feeder, a 10-pound narrow bag made of tough and long-lasting PVC construction.
Able to hold up to 80-pounds of rice bran, corn, protein, etc., the WGI Treehugger can be set up on a tree in under two minutes thanks to the strap and heavy-duty buckle. Simply find the tree you want, attach the portable feeder, pour your feed and/or attractant in, secure the weather-tight roll-top lid, and let gravity do the rest. Information: Wildgame Innovations; 800-847-8269
There were many other worthwhile products out there that could have made this "archer's dozen" list.
Those include bows like the Bowtech Realm, the Hoyt Redwrx Carbon RX-1, the PSE Carbon Air Stealth EC, and the Bear Kuma among others. In the crossbow market, the TenPoint Stealth NXT, the Mission Sub-1, and the Ravin R10 were certainly top contenders.
In the arrow market, the Easton 5mm Full Metal Jacket in Retro Woodland Camo gained attention, as did the Carbon Express Maxima RED Series arrows in Badlands Approach camo. The new Bloodsport Archery Prosecutor won fans, as did the PSE Carbon Force HD Hunter shaft.
We could go on and on, talking about the revamped Tenzing TZ 2220 pack, the Rhinehart Sasquatch target, the Spartan GoCam 4G/LTE in Realtree camo, the Canyon Coolers Quest Backpack, the Hawk Game Camera Shag cover, the Rocky Mountain Steel Warhead SS Broadhead, the Rage Hypodermic Trypan Crossbow Broadhead, the Scott Archery Quick-Shot release, the SureFire EDCL2-T LED flashlight, the Trophy Ridge React H4 bow sight, the TruGlo Carbon Hybrid stabilizer, the Alps Outdoorz Trophy X backpack, the Sitka Gear ESW Warm-Weather Whitetail System, the Mystery Ranch Treehouse backpack, the Nomad Bibs and Berber Jacket Cottonwood Series of clothes, and the Browning Trail Cameras Strike Force Pro XD Dual Lens model among so many other new products.
In short, the 2018 ATA Show was a huge maze of new bowhunting and archery goodies, proof positive that the future is bright for hunters who love the thrill of chasing whitetails and big game with a modern-day stick-and-string in their hands.