Photo credit: Josh Kirchner
Photo credit: Josh Kirchner
I don’t think I am alone when I say that buying a bow is an exciting time. You’ve saved up your money and are ready for a new look and feel. Buying a new bow is kind of like buying a pair of boots in a way. There are so many options out there and the only way to find out what is the right fit for you is to try them all out. Draw cycles are going to vary as well as a multitude of other things. That is one of my favorite parts of the whole process. I’ll line the wall with bows and just start going down the line one by one. On top of the overall feel of the bow, another thing to consider when in the market is new versus used? A ton of emphasis gets put on new bows every year and for good reason I suppose. It is the latest and greatest technology and folks want that—myself included most of the time. However, I feel as if the used bows get shunned in a way—even if it’s only a year old. As if by being a year-old bow, it becomes obsolete, which puts us at a crossroads. Where are you going to drop that hard-earned money you finally saved up? Do you really need a new bow? Or will a used one—or even your current bow—be just fine?
One of the best comparisons I can think of for buying a new bow is buying a new car. When you buy a new car, the slate is clean. There isn’t any crazy history behind the vehicle. No serious accidents in its past that you might not be aware of. No neglect to maintenance. If anyone is going to neglect it at this point, it will be you as the sole owner. Well, that’s kind of what buying a new bow is like. Straight from the factory and no unfortunate events from previous owners. Everything on the bow is brand new as well. The strings, cables, limbs and riser are all in pristine condition. There are no dry fires unbeknownst to you. Again, a clean slate. Then, there is also the benefit of the newest technology on the market at your fingertips. With that new technology comes a warranty, too. Yes, buying new has its benefits. It also has disadvantages, too.
Just like with new vehicles having possible recalls or issues they aren’t aware of yet, the same thing happens with bows. I bought a brand new bow that cost about $1,500 when all was said and done a few years ago. For some reason, the shop just could not get the bow to tune. It turned out that they were having this issue with this particular model on a regular basis at this point. There was a recall on the cam that came to light. I was out a bow for three weeks after the company denied the issue for about 45 minutes or so before deciding to send out the new cam. Sorry for the rant. My point is this: just because something is brand new doesn’t mean it is going to be free and clear of issues. The used bow has been there and done that—unlike the new one. So have the new models from the previous year.
Another thing to consider if you are definitely looking for a brand new bow is new versus old. What I mean by that is whether it is better to buy last year’s model, but still brand new. You still get all of the perks of a brand new bow, but usually at a more affordable price bracket. No, it might not be the latest and greatest technology, but it’s still new (and not that old). That year-old bow is in no way obsolete and it is going to get the job done just as well as the newest of the new models. Don’t be afraid to look at new bows from a few years back. After all, they are still new. They just aren’t getting the press that they used to in their glory days.
Each and every year that goes by, when November hits, tons of bowhunters across the nation start thinking about what bow they are going to shoot the following year. That’s because November is when most of the bow companies release their latest test model bows for the following year. Because of this, there is usually no shortage of used bows on the market for the taking. These hunters are simply selling off their current bows to make room for the new one they will be getting. It’s a fantastic opportunity to grab hold of a great bow for a great price. Sure, it might have some scratches on it here and there—especially if you buy one from me!—but that lets you know it has been places. It builds character!
Buying used comes with its perks just like buying new does. However, there are some things that I think you should keep in mind when doing so. First, if you buy the bow from a private owner, I’d bring it straight down to your local pro shop to have them give it a good once over. Let them make sure everything is in good condition. Are the limbs sound? Any funny noises on the draw? A pro shop is going to help you work all of this stuff out so you know that your bow is ready for action. The next thing to consider is how old the bow is in relation to the strings and cables. Most pro shops and manufacturers recommend changing these out every two years. These are under a ton of pressure constantly without you even shooting the bow. If it has been two years or the shop notices some serious wear and tear, change them out. It isn’t worth going into the field with something that you aren’t 100% confident in.
Here is another idea. What’s wrong with your current bow? Ask yourself that honestly. If there is something wrong with it or it’s holding you back, then, by all means, it’s time to upgrade. However, if there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, then what’s the rush? Especially, if you are shooting the bow well and everything is tuned and dialed in. Why ruin that if one doesn’t have to? This is something I decided to do just this past year. All that I did was change out the strings and cables. From there, I kept on trucking and was able to fill another tag with that bow.
It constantly amazes me how bow companies crank out new bows each and every year. Just when I think that things can’t get any better, they do. Whether that is in the form of some new and improved riser or even new cam technology, that doesn’t mean that what those companies created in the past is bad in any way. In fact, it might be better if you think about it. If anything was wrong with them, people definitely know at this point and your decision can reflect that knowledge. Those bows have been tested in the real world—not just in a factory or pro shop. So, do you need a “new” bow? Is a used bow just fine? What about your current bow? All of these questions come with a load of other questions that reflect you and your current needs and wants. If you’ve got some money burning a hole in your pocket, maybe consider some new accessories for your current bow instead? Or possibly some coaching to elevate your archery game? Even better: take that money and go on that out-of-state hunt you’ve been dreaming about. These things are investments, much like a bow. I say invest in the future whether that means a new bow, used bow or another awesome adventure.