Bowhunters take the pursuit of game very seriously. We scout, we plan, we prepare and we analyze every aspect of the hunt. Part of this process, of course, involves our bows and the related gear we use in the field. Some find products they like and use them for years, while others buy the “new stuff” every season. Simply buying new gear doesn’t guarantee success, but it can make a huge difference.
Hunting equipment manufacturers are constantly striving to improve their products with innovations to make us better archers and bowhunters. However, not every new product is a home run. In truth, some new products are truly groundbreaking, while others are actually less effective than previous models. Although I am fortunate enough to be involved with a few companies that allow me to participate in the design and testing process of new products, I get my hands on most of the new bowhunting gear the same time everyone else does. With that said, I would like to discuss three very important considerations to make when evaluating new products and deciding whether to add them to your arsenal.
First, only use bowhunting gear that fits your style. Second, remember that new doesn’t always mean better. And third, you must take the time to become very familiar with all of your gear before you hunt with it. As long as you follow those guidelines, I know you can continue to improve and be more confident with every new season.
Every bowhunter has his or her own style. From shooting to hiking to camping to strategizing, we are all different. To maximize our effectiveness, we need to use gear that not only allows us to hunt and shoot the way we like but makes us more efficient doing it. You need to take a look at how you hunt, really analyze yourself and stop buying new things just because they are new. Add things to your arsenal that will improve your personal way of doing things.
One thing I’ve learned about myself is that in intense situations, I go into auto-pilot mode and do what I’ve done for years without even realizing it. My point is, you are you — and old habits are hard to break. So, instead of trying to always change yourself to fit the new gear, be selective. Do your research and add gear that highlights your game.
While having some new gear is always cool and exciting, it doesn’t always make you better. In most cases, I believe new gear is an improvement, and I use new gear every year. Sometimes, however, I have so much confidence in a certain product that I simply can’t justify making a change. You have to look at every product and ask yourself, “Do I truly believe this will make me better?” If the answer is yes, by all means, make the change. If not, you’re better off sticking with what you know works for you.
Now, once you’ve taken the leap and purchased that bow, release aid, pack, pair of boots or whatever it may be, don’t just assume those new items will perform like your old ones. You have to become “over” familiar with your gear. You should know it inside and out. You need to become so comfortable with your new gear that it almost becomes a part of you. If you have to stop in the field to figure out how or why it works the way it does, then that product has made you worse, not better! That’s not because the product isn’t better, but because you didn’t take the time to learn it. For example, if you bought a new pair of boots and wore them for the first time on a sheep hunt, you are going to get blisters on your feet. Is that because the boots are no good? Of course not! It’s because you didn’t take the time to break them in.
Most of the time, new gear will make you better — IF you take the time to prepare and become intimately familiar with its proper use.