January 11, 2018
By Tony Peterson
When you've got a pair of six-year-olds in your house and your fingers crossed that they'll love bowhunting as much as you do, you pay attention to youth-related products. It wasn't that long ago that this category was highly limited, largely due to very little demand.
These days, although hunter numbers in general are stagnant, there are more and more of us rolling youngsters into the fold. This is a good thing, and is only made better by providing the right equipment that should, hopefully, start an archery-loving fire in them that will burn through their entire lives.
Following are several great youth products.
Bear Archery Cruzer G2 RTH
You'd have to look long and hard to find a bow that offers the performance and value of Bear's latest. The Cruzer G2 RTH is adjustable from five to 70 pounds of draw weight and 12 to 30 inches of draw length, meaning it will fit nearly anyone old enough to pull a string back to their face. This bow comes as a package that contains everything from a Whisker Biscuit rest, to a quiver, to a sight, stabilizer and even a nock loop. Anyone with a youngster that might take to the field eventually when they grow up enough to buy a deer license should consider the Cruzer G2.
Carbon Express Mayhem Jr.
The problem with a lot of the archery ammo that is marketed toward the young crowd is that it's junk. And junky arrows don't fly well, which isn't any fun to shoot. This is not the case with the new Mayhem Jr. arrows from Carbon Express. These arrows are designed for little archers pulling up to 40 pounds of draw weight and are sorted and weight-matched to ensure a higher level of consistency from arrow to arrow. These 27-inch arrows are pre-cut, fletched with NRG-2 performance vanes, and weigh seven grains per inch.
BLOCK GenZ XL
So your little deer hunter has a bow and some arrows, but nothing to shoot at? BLOCK has you covered with the GenZ XL, which measures 22 x 20 x 8 inches. This target is designed for bows pulling fewer than 40 pounds, and is covered in high-contrast, white-on-black aiming points for ease in visibility. The process in which BLOCK targets are created is a unique one, that results in arrow stoppage through friction and not force, meaning arrow removal could not be easier (literally). The GenZ XL can handle field tips and broadheads of all makes and models.
Morrell Targets GX Field Point Archery Target
Morrell offers several great options for young archers, but the best might just be the GX Field Point Archery Target. This good-sized target is intended for use by anyone pulling under 40 pounds, offers super easy arrow removal, and features a full 80cm target face. It's also 100-percent weatherproof and built to handle years and years of abuse from field-point-flinging archery addicts.
Tru-Fire Spark Max Buckle Foldback Release
The Tru-Fire Spark Max is the perfect release for anyone with smaller wrists. It features a padded Max leather strap, adjustable trigger travel, and a dime-sized head meaning it will work perfectly with the smallest of string loops. It's also designed to fit both right- and left-handed shooters, which is always appreciated by those of us who have one of each in their house. To ensure the release can be fitted perfectly (and stay that way), the Spark Max offers locking length adjustment and lockable, 360-degree rotation.
Sikta Gear Elevated II Youth Celsius Hoody
If you've ever taken a kid hunting you know that discomfort can slip into a sit quickly and once it does, say goodbye to your chances. It's not their fault, but can be frustrating. The best way to avoid cutting hunts short is to outfit them in killer clothing like Sitka's youth system. This stuff isn't cheap, but it's so good. And you don't need the whole system at one time to understand the value behind the garments. Pick up the Celsius Hoody first, and give it as a birthday or Christmas present. The lucky child who receives it may not understand how the Primaloft Silver Hi-Loft Insulation works, but that doesn't matter because it does. They'll be warm, comfortable, and ready to wreak havoc on passing forkies — and that's all that really matters.
LaCrosse Footwear Lil' Alpha Lite
I'm addicted to LaCrosse boots. I can't help it. They are awesome. So awesome, in fact, that my little girls each have a pair for our frog-catching and general pond-exploring missions. They don't hunt yet, but just started sitting with me for deer this past season in our first test runs. When they do go all-in this coming fall for more sits, they'll be wearing LIL ALPHA LITEs for many reasons. The first is that they are designed to keep kids' feet dry and comfortable, which is a must. The second is that they only weigh 2.5 pounds per pair. The third is that they feature a lug pattern, which has more surface area to provide better traction so they won't fall (as much). It also doesn't hurt that these boots look an awful lot like dad's, and they like that as well.
Carbomask Three Pack
Another product that I'm an unapologetic junkie over is Carbomask. I love facepaint, but hate the mess that traditional offerings create due to their greasiness. This doesn't happen with Carbomask and if I could get away with it, I'd jump into a tub of it before every hunt and wallow around like a lunatic pig. The other people in my life that love it are my daughters, specifically the Huntress pack, which contains Shadow Black, Wolf Gray and a fan-favorite, Huntress Pink. We take our pre-hunt facepaint duties very serious in the Peterson household, and don't think for one second my girls are going to step foot in the woods without looking like a much pinker version of Rambo.
Kids love binoculars, and if they have their own pair they'll use them nearly nonstop in the woods. Instead of buying a cheapo pair that doesn't offer much in the way of viewing pleasure, consider Maven's C.2s. These 7x28, or 10x28 binos are good enough for dad, but sized just right for a young deer or turkey hunter. They are also, definitely not toys. When you dig into the specs you see that they are built for serious use, and if you've ever put Maven's up to your eyes you'll understand how true this is. I used their optics almost exclusively this past year and have grown to love Maven's glass.