All photo credits: Josh Kirchner
Another hunting season is laid out before us like the red carpet. More than a few of us are anxious to get that walk started. Until then, time is spent going over gear items from the previous year. What worked? What didn’t work? And what upgrades are on the horizon for us this year? I call it prep season and it can be almost as involved as hunting season. One of the gear items that often gets upgraded this time of year is our bows. By now, all of the bow companies have released their new lineups and there are a laundry list of ads out there pushing them. It’s such a tease, isn’t it? If you’re anything like me, you’re right in the pro shop soon after all of these are released, wondering if you'll find “the one.” While shooting all of these new bows is definitely fun, is it a necessity that we buy that latest and greatest bow for the upcoming season?
All photo credits: Josh Kirchner
Let’s jump into the fun part first: reasons why we might want to upgrade to the latest and greatest. You know, the things we come up with in order to convince our spouses we need that new bow. And let’s be honest. Once they give us the go ahead, all bets are off and that new rig is coming home with us. If I had a dollar for every time that has happened, it might buy me a burrito or something!
First and foremost, there is obviously a progression in technology. These are the latest and greatest, remember? Every bow company out there is constantly trying to push the envelope and develop the next best thing. By snagging one of these new rigs, you’ll be toting around the best of the best — for the moment at least. For some folks, that doesn’t matter, but others truly believe that it gives them an edge, even if it’s only mentally. There are hunters that will actually do this out of habit. To each their own.
Another reason you might want to bite the bullet on a new bow is the peace of mind. Things wear out on bows and can even break after a while. Strings, cables and limbs are all examples of areas on a bow that can take a nosedive, especially if not cared for properly. When you get a new rig, everything is back to zero. A new bow equals a new beginning. That clock of longevity just reset. Going into the field with this sort of peace of mind can definitely be beneficial. Wondering if your setup is going to perform properly in the field is not a good space to be in mentally.
Yeah, all of those new shiny bows hanging on the wall look very appealing. Then there are all of the claims that the companies make in the marketing. Stuff like “this is our fastest bow ever” or “never have we made a bow this dead in the hand.” Immediately, without shooting, we have that stuff in our heads. Don’t fall for this right off the bat. Let’s take a look at some reasons why it might not be worth investing in a new bow.
Ask yourself these questions. How old is your bow? Did you just get it last year? Was it new or used when you bought it? How old is that particular model? Now, if you’ve been shooting the same bow for 10 years, I get it. Go get that new bow you’ve been eyeing for the upcoming hunting season. However, if the bow that is currently at your house one that came out last year, I doubt that the newer models are a massive enough of an improvement to really make a difference. There are definitely upgrades each year, but each year they are very minute. On occasion, there is a bow that comes out and blows the socks off of all of the others, but that is usually rare. So, be honest with yourself. Your bow might be yesterday’s news, but I guarantee you it’s going to bring that deer down just as good as the latest models.
Aside from looking at new bows, why not just look at maintaining the one that you’ve got? This will save a ton of money (which can let you invest more on tags) and keeps your rig in tip-top shape, ready for another season. Doing things like investing in tuneups or new strings and cables is going to go a long way. All the while, you get to keep the current bow you know and love. Bows are kind of like vehicles. We don’t buy a new car every time something is about to go wrong or does go wrong, right? No, we get things fixed and do what we can to maintain them. Treat your bow good and it’ll treat you good.
This whole piece might be about whether or not to buy a new bow or not for the current season, but what about a used bow? Or last year’s model? I think these often get overlooked, but are a great opportunity to get into a new bow all while saving some coin. When all of those new bow models are coming out for the year, pro shops need to make room for inventory. When this happens, last year’s models will usually go on sale for a discounted rate. Score for you! That is if you don’t mind shooting a brand new version of last year’s model of course.
Another route to look at is finding a used bow. There are many hunters out there who are indeed replacing their bows each and every year. Some of them probably only have one or two hunts on them. These bows are usually in excellent condition and are another great way to get into something new for you. Whether it’s forums, pro shops or social media, there are deals floating around that you could take advantage of. Obviously, whether new or used, make sure that you’ve actually shot the model of bow you’re looking at. In the digital age we live in, with a lot of shopping happening over the internet, I can’t stress this enough. Try before you buy. This isn’t like your average Amazon purchase.
I think the verdict here is going to vary greatly from person to person. You’re the only one who can answer the new bow question. Whether you’re the bowhunter who works tirelessly all year in preparation for season or the hunter who just enjoys getting out a few times a year. Each is going to have their own wants and needs and their actions are a reflection of that. The thing that they both have in common though is this: a love for bowhunting and that’s what matters — whether we’re talking new bows or old bows. The animals or country that we hunt surely doesn’t care if we have a new bow or not. And a new bow doesn’t provide us with the potent experiences we get in the field. We do. So, I say just get out there and send some arrows downrange. The rest will fall into place.