We spoke with retailers from across the country to find out what archery products had them excited this year. Here’s what they said.
Stevens Point, Wisconsin
Bucks and Bulls Archery was an established archery pro shop when owner Gary Hintz acquired it 5 years ago. Hintz since moved the store to a new location on a street where a projected 60,000 vehicles drive through daily.
At the 2018 ATA Show, among his usual Show duties, Hintz was hunting for some new treestands. And while he found some worthwhile treestands, he encountered several other new products that caught his eye, too.
“The new Garmin Xero A1i and IQ Define rangefinding sights really stood out in my mind. Our shop doesn’t sell very many rangefinders. Bringing these two sights into our store will allow us to sell customers high-end sights that have a built-in rangefinder. So, in a sense, we’ll start selling more rangefinders. I’ve ordered some of each, and I’m optimistic they’ll sell quite well, mostly because there aren’t really any other sights like them on the market.
“The IQ Define doesn’t have glass, so I’m sure guys who hunt in sunny or rainy conditions will choose that sight. It’s a normal fixed-pin sight with 5-pins, but it has an integrated rangefinder, which allows you to range at full draw, then select the correct pin. The $350 MSRP is also attractive, given the technology. IQ sights sell well in my shop, and I suspect this one will, too. Even guys who haven’t used IQ sights before will probably try it because it’s the ‘latest and greatest.’ In fact, I had multiple Define sights sold before my first order even shipped.
“I’m very pleased with the new RE651 Lockdown 21-FT 1-Man ladder stand from River’s Edge. It has a nice big seat similar to the ones on Millennium ladder stands, but they’re more reasonably priced. I ordered a bunch of them. In fact, the semi delivering them just pulled into the parking the other day. I also ordered some X-Stand treestands. They’re very comfortable, and they’re safer to set up because you can clamp them to the tree before you climb up.
“In our shop, we have a lot of target archers, so the Tru-Fire Synapse release really stood out. I ordered a bunch of those, and though they haven’t arrived yet, I already have several of them sold.
“As for crossbows, the Mission SUB-1 and Ravin R20 caught my eye. I sold a bunch of Ravin crossbows last year, but they improved them this year, so that’s exciting. Both the Mission and the Ravin are priced similarly. They both have different features, though, so my customers will ultimately decide which one best suits their individual needs.”
Marty Stubstad founded Archery Headquarters in 1977. Stubstad is also currently president of ARRO Buying Group, and his retail store specializes in archery.
The expansive store caters to archers and bowhunters of every level. As president of ARRO, Stubstad sees various new products before the ATA Show.
“The product that really struck a cord with me is the new SurroundView blind by Double Bull (see video below). No question about it. I think it’s going to change the way the industry looks at ground blinds. I really believe this is the start of something. I think it’s fabulous. I can’t wait to get one in, set it outside, test it under different lighting conditions and tell customers all about it. We might not receive them before spring turkey season, unfortunately, but we have our fingers crossed.
“On the technical side, of course, the Garmin sights got all the buzz. The Garmin booth was even fairly hidden, so most dealers had to look at the floor number just to find it. But, that didn’t stop their new sights from being one of the number-one-talked-about products on the floor. I didn’t order any this year. I’m always skeptical on technology until it’s been on the market for a year and proven to work. If it’s still around next year, then I’ll take a good hard look at bringing some in. Regardless, those sights are very cool.
“As president of ARRO, I’m noticing that a lot of manufacturers are trying to get their products back into the doors of dealers. Many are implementing great MAP policies and aren’t selling through Amazon. I’m very pleased by those efforts. ARRO lets its dealer members know which manufacturers are ‘naughty or nice’ as far as enforcing a MAP policy and not selling through Amazon. We encourage dealers to participate with manufacturers that support dealers.
“There’s no doubt that the Mathews TRIAX got a lot of buzz going, even amongst non-Mathews dealers. That bow seems to be very well-received.
“Crossbow technology went to the next level this year. TenPoint is coming after Ravin with a few new ultra-compact limb designs. Minnesota doesn’t offer full crossbow inclusion during hunting seasons, but we do sell some crossbows here and always have.
“I’m fairly traditional as far as broadheads go. I like a good, solid, cut-on-contact head, and the new Swhacker RAZORSeries has three new fixed-blade models that sort of harmonize with my preferences. I ordered some to test out. I want to see how they fly before I get full-bore into selling them.
“Finally, Victory Archery’s new XTORSION is a heavier arrow shaft, which is what I prefer. For years, arrow shafts seemed to keep getting lighter. Heavier arrows have been my forte since day one, so it’s refreshing to see companies placing importance on FOC and kinetic energy as they did in the past.”