Living out West, I have had the opportunity to bowhunt in many Western destinations, and although most ended without a hitch — and even a few released arrows — some would have been a complete disaster if I had not had the right equipment. Some elements of a bowhunt we can’t control, and oftentimes we have to rely on experience, skills and just plain luck to succeed. On the other hand, equipment choices are something we can control, and choosing gear with the “right stuff” can make or break a hunt. Here are some quality choices that might make a big difference for your customers this season.
Rage Hypodermic Trypan
I thought it was impossible to top the Hypodermic Rage, but Rage (800-282-4868) has raised the bar even higher with the new Hypodermic Trypan ($55/3-pack). Featuring a needle-like titanium ferrule and an impressive 2-inch cutting diameter similar to its predecessor, the Trypan creates an initial slap-cut entry hole that exceeds 2 ½ inches. Then the .039-thick stainless-steel blades settle into a sweptback position that powers through flesh and bone.
Sitka’s (877-748-5247) Ascent Shirt ($169) and Pants ($189) is ideal for those early-season elk pursuits. The shirt is lightweight, breathable and quick drying, and it offers form-fitting sleeves that provide ample string clearance and two mesh-backed, zippered chest pockets and mesh underarm panels for ventilation. The Ascent Pants feature mesh-backed pockets for ventilation and an internal mesh knee-pad pocket for added protection. Both offer quick-dry technology, as well as Polygiene odor-control technology.
HHA Three-Pin Optimizer
A leader in single-pin sight technology, HHA (800-548-7812) drops the hammer with the Three-Pin Optimizer Lite ($220), which still encompasses all the qualities of its single-pin predecessor — qualities like rugged construction, tool-less adjustments and HHA’s legendary R.D.S. tape system that provides 10-ring accuracy out to 80 yards. But with the Three-Pin you have the ability to have fixed 20-, 30- and 40-yard pins for those close-range encounters, with the ability to drop the sight housing to use the third pin for extended ranges.
Plano Field Locker
The Plano (800-226-9868) Field Locker Compound Bow Case ($249) features dry-lock gaskets that keep unwanted dust and water out. The case can hold virtually any compound bow, a dozen arrows and much-needed accessories with its roomy 46 ½ x 18 x 7 ¼ measurements. Its reinforced shell ensures your bow is safe and secure regardless of how you travel, and it has extra-wide heavy-duty latches, wheels for easy transport and a pressure-relief valve for traveling.
ALPS Commander X
Doubling as both a pack and meat hauler is the ALPS (800-344-2577) Commander X ($349) pack. Not only is the 4,000-cubic-inch pack large enough to haul several days’ worth of gear to that secret spot, but the pack is made from a tough 1680D nylon ballistic and robic fabric that can withstand what the West can dish out. The top lid also doubles as a roomy fanny pack for day trips away from base camp, and the exterior pack can be removed, exposing the hauling shelf and compressed wing system that is incorporated into the lightweight channeled high-density polyethylene frame.
QAD UltraRest MXT
Having a finely tuned bow is critical when making those long Western shots, and the QAD (434-846-5839) UltraRest MXT drop-away ($245) delivers. It features the smallest adjustment increment available at just .00195 per click, and the hash marks on the adjustment knobs and housing help you zero in. The MXT’s laser-cut felt, rubber over-mold, cam-brake and dampeners minimize unwanted noise, and with the timing cord lock and thumbwheel that cock the launcher in the full-capture position, you are assured the launcher drops every time.
Carbon Express RED SD
The new RED SD ($100/half-dozen) from Carbon Express (800-241-4833) features a .203 inside-diameter carbon shaft designed with stiffer ends to isolate the arrow’s flex in the middle for consistent performance. With its slimmer diameter, the RED SD delivers solid penetration, reduced wind drift and better down-range accuracy. All shafts are equipped with BullDog aluminum nock collars, Launch-Pad precision nocks and Blazer performance vanes, and they’re laser checked for straightness to .001.
TruGlo Titanium X
TruGlo (888-887-8456) jumped into the broadhead market this year with an impressive broadhead line containing both a fixed and mechanical head. The Titanium X ($41/3-pack) fixed-blades are spin- and sharpness-tested to ensure exceptional performance. Made with a strong CNC-machined titanium ferrule equipped with a Tru-Cut chisel tip and .031-thick stainless-steel blades, they’re available in 100 grains in both three- and four-blade configurations that deliver a cutting diameter of 1 3⁄16 inches. The Titanium X Mechanical ($45/3-pack.) has the same foundational features as its fixed-blade cousin and offers dual blades with a cutting diameter of 2 3⁄16 inches.
Trophy Ridge React H5
If you’re looking to keep gear light but still capable of performing at top levels, consider the React H5 from Trophy Ridge (800-649-9494). Available in black ($149) or Realtree Xtra Green ($159), this tool-less five-pin sight features a sleeker design that is built with Ballistix CoPolymer construction to cut down on weight while still incorporating Trophy Ridge’s React Technology, which ensures your pins are dead-on. Simply sight-in the 20- and 30-yard pins, and all the others can easily be dialed into place. The React H5 also features a rheostat light, micro-click adjustments for both windage and elevation, and the ability to adjust the second axis.
Morrell Targets Back to Back Combo
Keep it real while in the field with Morrell’s (479-632-5929) Back To Back Combo Target ($170). One side features a full-size midsection of a deer with raised, anatomically correct vitals, while the other boasts a life-like turkey, also with raised, anatomically correct vitals. Each end features bull’s-eyes. All of this adds up to a massive size 18 x 20 x 12-inch four-sided target that, thanks to the E-Z Tote Handle, is still extremely portable. Designed for stopping field points and both mechanical and fixed-blade broadheads, the Back to Back features Flexback self-healing foam and is 100 percent weatherproof.
Spot-hogg Hogg Father
The single-pin Hogg Father from Spot-Hogg (888-302-7768) is an ideal Western bowhunting sight. This freestyle sight offers the kind of rugged dependability your backcountry hunters require. Features include a quick-release knob, micro-adjustable second and third axis, tool-less micro-adjustable windage and elevation, precision laser-engraved sight scale and knobs, a detachable dovetail bar and an included traveling case. With its solid aluminum construction. the Hogg Father delivers the adjustability and accuracy Spot-Hogg is known for, all without slop or buzz. Multiple-pin models are also available.
Covert Red Maverick
Trail cameras are not the first tool you think about when hunting out West, but they can be a vital asset in your scouting efforts. The Red Maverick ($190) from Covert (877-462-1799) features 12 megapixels/1080p HD video, 42 low-glow LEDs for lowlight conditions, 10-image burst mode, a .4-second trigger speed and, best of all, a 2-inch color view screen.
Sig Sauer ZULU7
Sporting a classy look and an ergonomic feel, Sig Sauer’s (603-610-3000) lightweight ZULU7 8×42 MM HDX ($816) binos are ideal for any backwoods sojourn. The open-hinged short-to-long range roof prism ZULU7 utilizes Sig’s HDX optical design that combines extra-low dispersion glass with high-transmittance glass to provide eye-popping color, incredible image brightness and clarity you have to see to believe.
Nikon Monarch FieldScope
Nikon’s (800-645-6687) Monarch FieldScope 82ED-A W/MEP-20-60 ($1,600) sports an applied-to-all-lenses multi-layer coating, allowing for powerful light transmission. This transmission of light means natural colors, even in low-light conditions, will pop. The Field Flattener Lens System delivers sharp images throughout the entire field of view, and Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass ensures a contrast-rich and colorful field of view.
Tenzing TX Series
Adding a more affordable line of packs to its already impressive lineup is Tenzing’s (800-226-9868) TX Series. With sizes ranging from 500 to 2,500 cubic inches ($80 to $150), the new TX packs are fully adjustable and incorporate load-leveling compression straps for maximum comfort on any haul. Ergonomic, padded shoulder straps and waist belts adjust to proportion weight between the shoulders and hips, while channeled, air-cooled back pads help hunters keep cool on those long hikes. All full-sized pack designs in the new TX Series are also fully H2O-compatible.
MTN OPS Supplements
MTN OPS (888-760-3393) is fast becoming the go-to supplements for many Western bowhunters. Ignite ($50) is designed to increase energy and support hydration while im-proving cognitive brain function without the jitters. Users will experience increased focus and mental clarity while in the field without that dreaded “crash” that can come at the end of a long day. The Enduro ($40) supplement is purely a cardio enhancer without any stimulants. It contains L-citrulline and L-arginine, which are both vasodilators, enzymes that work together to create a sustained and elevated flow of nitric oxide to the muscles.
Yeti Rambler Stainless
Keep your beverage of choice ice cold or steaming hot with the Rambler Stainless Steel Bottle col-lection ($40 to $90) from Yeti (512-394-9384). Available in 18-, 36- and 64-ounce bottles, the Rambler features a double-wall vacuum insulation made from 18/8 stainless steel to keep beverages cold or hot as needed, and the No Sweat technology prevents condensation. The wide-mouth opening makes for easy filling, and the TripleHaul cap secures easily and is easy to grab.
Your customers really shouldn’t overlook what DirtNap (855-859-3478) brings to the table with the DRT ($40/3-pack) series. The DRT’s .051-thick stainless blades and 7075 aircraft-grade aluminum ferrule are Teflon coated to deliver maximum penetration, and the patented Modular Weight System allows this fixed-blade head to be either 100 or 125 grains. The main blade produces a cutting diameter of 1 3⁄16 inches, while the bleeder blade adds an additional 5⁄8 inch. The newest addition to DirtNap’s popular color schemes is the DRT Blue.
Seek Outside Silvertip
Having a quality shelter and reducing weight are two important elements when packing into a remote wilderness, and the Silvertip ($275) from Seek Outside (970-208-8108) delivers just that. With a pack weight of just 27 ounces, the Silvertip is a tipi-style tent that is ideal for a solo hunter. The tent boasts an improved seam orientation and upper guy-out points that improve storm performance and increase usable interior space. It also features a covered, zip-down apex vent, 12 ground level stake points, dual doors and #8 YKK zippers.
Victory VAP TKO Elite
After introducing Low Torque Technology in the VAP TKO last year, Victory Archery (866-934-6565) debuts the new VAP TKO Elite ($110/half-dozen). Using 100 percent carbon, the new 3K 45-degree carbon weave — what Victory calls MaxxKe Technology — provides tighter tolerances. That reduces the twisting force on the arrow, resulting in less trauma to the arrow and improved accuracy. The internal diameter of .166 coupled with Nano Ceramic ICE coating and Shok inserts in either 35 grains or 95 grains provide front-of-center kinetic energy that results in deeper penetration and less wind drift.
Spot Gen3 GPS Messenger
With the Gen3 GPS Messenger Personal Tracker ($170) from Spot (866-651-7768) you’ll never have to worry about losing contact with the outside world. Using satellite technology, the Gen3 has an SOS button that alerts GEOS International Response Coordination Center of emergency situations, a help-assist button that is only sent to friends, and a track and check-in button that allows your contacts to track your progress.
First Lite Halstead Tech Fleece
First Lite’s (208-806-0066) Halstead Tech Fleece ($125) is a versatile mid-weight top layer that is perfect for those crisp mornings out West. Using a grid fleece pattern to reduce weight and built-in stretch component to increase range of motion, the Halstead also features First Lite’s proprietary Xeolite-based odor-management application and a sleeve slash pocket.
Vortex Razor HD
Optics are key ingredients to Western bowhunting, and the Vortex (800-426-0048) Razor HD ($1480 to $1800) series is an excellent option for the Western bowhunter. They feature fully multicoated lenses that increase light transmission by using multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces, and the phase-correction coating enhances resolution and contrast. Models include 8×42, 10×42 and 12×50, and each features a light magnesium chassis with rubber armor coating that is water- and fog-proof and comfortable to hold.