By Tracy Breen
-- Every year as I head to the Archery Trade Association (ATA) Show to look over what is new, I am amazed at how many bow companies continue to push the engineering envelope. Just when I think a bow can't get faster, it does. Just when I think it can't get quieter, someone invents a device that makes a bow whisper-quiet. Just when I think broadheads can't get deadlier, someone makes a new scary-looking broadhead that creates a buzz nationwide.
However, many of the new products cost an arm and a leg. Although I see several products I want to buy, I know there are several of them that I would never loosen up my wallet strings to purchase. Assuming that many of you are like me and don't always have a lot of extra cash, I compiled a list of the top 10 things I saw at this year's ATA Show that can be purchased for less than $100.
It seems that parting with more than a Ben Franklin requires a major decision. The good news is I saw several items at the show that we bowhunters can pick up for under $100. The 10 items listed below were my favorites.
Every bowhunter I know constantly tries to figure out a way to reduce the noise and vibration caused when an arrow is unleashed. Bow companies have started incorporating devices onto bows that help eliminate vibration caused by the string. Mathews has String Dampners; Hoyt has the Stealth Shot and other bow companies have similar devices designed to destroy string vibration and noise.
However, not all bow companies offer these devices on their bows. If your bow falls into this category or you want to add an extra gadget to help eliminate noise and vibration, Norway Archery has a new item called the String-Tamer that does what the name implies: stops the forward motion of the bow string and eliminates twang and vibration which helps squash hand shock.
The unit was available in 2007, but the only model offered was attached by screwing it in the rear stabilizer hole. All bows do not have a rear stabilizer hole, so this year they designed a model that can be attached to the front of the bow by screwing it in the front stabilizer hole.
With the new String-Tamer, a stabilizer can be attached to the bow so you can have the benefits of a stabilizer and the String-Tamer. It attaches and detaches in seconds, thanks to a quick-detach bracket that is available in a variety of camo patterns and sizes and retails for $49.99. www.duravanes.com
If you are a diehard treestand hunter, you've probably had a treestand stolen at some point in your life. Treestands cost a lot of money to replace and having something stolen causes quite a bit of anger. There are a variety of treestand locks on the market, but they are not created equal.
New for 2008 is the "Stand Guardian." The Stand Guardian is a 1-inch thick spiral twisted cable that consists of 9 braids and 128 strands. The core is heat-treated, making the unit virtually indestructible and hacksaw proof. The unit is then coated in ElementGuard, a pliable yet durable polymer substance that accepts coloring.
The company chose a smoke color because it matches the bark of most trees. To top it off, the unit comes with an internal two-stage ballistic lock that resists severe blows from tools like hammers and crowbars. The Stand Guardian is available in a 5-foot or 7-foot model and retails for $39.99.
Doinker Chubby Stabilizer
Having a stabilizer on your bow is very important. Stabilizers help eliminate bow noise and vibration and give a bow balance, which is why pro archers don't leave home without them. Doinker, one of the innovators in stabilizer technology, introduced The Chubby Series of Stabilizers. The Chubby Stabilizers come with the A-Bomb found near the tip of the stabilizers.
The A-Bomb incorporates Interrupted Transfer Polymer Technology, which destroys vibration and noise. By putting the A-Bomb and much of the weight of the stabilizer near the front end of the unit, the bow ends up being more balanced in the hand. Chubby Series Stabilizers are available in Realtree AP, Realtree APG and Mossy Oak Breakup. The stabilizer retails for $49.95. www.doinker.com
Double Take Archery Arrow Antenna
Bowhunters everywhere like to show their love for the sport by putting stickers, camo patterns, and other things on their trucks. Now you can replace your boring radio antenna with a cool one. The arrow antenna attaches to your truck the same way any antenna does.
Once it is screwed on, it receives AM/FM signals like a regular antenna. The Arrow Antenna looks like a regular arrow but it was built to be far more flexible than a standard one. As it bumps into tree branches on the way to your favorite hunting spot, it will bend and flex instead of break. The antenna retails for $24.99. www.doubletakearchery.com
ScenTote Boot Bag
The inventors of the ScenTote have introduced the ScenTote Boot Bag. This new bag is made to hold your favorite pair of hunting boots. We all know how foul a pair of hunting boots can smell after a few days afield. Even if you take extra care of your boots and try to keep odors off them, it's nearly impossible!
With this product, you place your hunting boots in the ScenTote Boot Bag when you aren't hunting and zip it up. The bag is air-tight, which keeps odors out. The activated carbon web that it contains will absorb the odors found inside the boots. Your wife and hunting buddies will thank you if you pick up a new ScenTote boot bag. It will also help you go undetected in the woods when you are chasing the big buck. The bag retails for $34.99. www.scentote.com
Moultrie Camera Security Case
Game cameras are more popular than ever. So is stealing them. Thieves everywhere see game cameras as easy targets. Game cameras are often placed in remote locations and visited infrequently enough that thieves can easily remove them from a tree without being caught.
The new Moultrie Camera Security Case will deter most thieves who don't want to spend hours trying to remove the camera from a tree. The heavy duty case will accommodate most brands of game cameras. The case is made of extra tough 18-gauge power-coated steel that will protect the camera from thieves and the weather.
Once the camera is secure in the case and the case locked to a tree, the thief will have to do more than unscrew a bracket from the tree to get the camera. Since removing the camera from the case is so difficult, most potential thieves will move on, leaving the camera unharmed. The case retails for $59. www.moultriefeeders.com
Treelimb Quivers New Premium Series
Treelimbs became popular because they were one of the only quivers on the market. Once they were removed from your bow, your bow could easily be hung on a hook or branch thanks to a permanent hanger that is built onto the back of the quiver. Now, they are offering the Premium Series Quiver for 2008. With the Premium Series, clips, noisy screws and other contraptions used to hold a quiver onto your bow are no longer needed.
The creative thinkers at Treelimb Quivers designed a Tension-Locking System which attaches the quiver to the mounting post that is secured to your bow. Simply push the quiver up and out and the quiver comes loose quickly and quietly from the bow. To put the quiver back on the bow, slide the quiver back onto the mounting post. The quiver retails for $89.95. www.treelimbproducts.com
Double D Arrow Puller
Removing an arrow from a target can be a daunting task, especially when trying to remove an arrow from a new target. If you are a 3-D tournament shooter, after a few dozen targets your shoulder can get fatigued and ache for days. With the new Double D Arrow Puller, pulling arrows from a target is very easy.
I watched at the ATA Show as men and woman of all ages removed arrows with the puller from a new foam target. The arrows were pulled out of the target so easily it looked as if the arrows were covered in grease. The puller is made of durable aluminum and stainless steel. This simple yet useful device is one of those things you look at and wonder, "Why didn't I think of that?" The arrow puller retails for $32.50. www.ddarchery.com
Wilderness Athlete Products
If you are a diehard bowhunter, you probably stay on your stand for long periods of time. To keep your hunger at bay and your energy level up, you probably bring a few candy bars and a can of soda with you. Wilderness Athlete Products are nutritional products designed with hunters in mind. Mark Paulsen, an avid hunter and a strength and conditioning coach at a university, is the mind behind the products.
The goal of Wilderness Athlete was to bring nutritional products which are offered to professional athletes and make them available to hunters and outdoorsmen everywhere. Their products include energy bars packed full of protein and anti-inflammatories to keep joints pain-free while sitting for hours.
Wilderness Athlete also makes energy gels that give you a blast of energy and energy drinks that keep you awake and help you stay focused. The Alert Energy Drink reportedly works so well that the U.S. Olympic Archery Team uses it. These are just a few examples of their extensive line of nutritional products. A 15-count box of the energy bars retails for $26.99. www.wildernessathlete.org
Blacks Creek Guide Gear Rigg-Itt Pack
Blacks Creek Guide Gear introduced a new pack called the Rigg-Itt which was designed for hunters who wanted a versatile pack that can do anything. The pack securely holds a climber or hang-on stand and distributes the weight. The proper distribution of weight cuts down on the aching shoulders syndrome after walking to your preferred hunting spot.
Comfortable, padded shoulder straps can be snuggly secured and the pack can be adjusted to fit tightly around your waist so the stand doesn't sag on your back. The pack also has compartments for storing your gear so you can bring your stand, tree steps, extra clothes and much more.
With the Rigg-Itt, you can even purchase an attachment that cradles your favorite rifle, keeping your hands free. The pack retails for $99.95. www.blacks-creek.com