When we talk about hunting gear, the language tends to be highly technical. Gear enthusiasts have a knack for diving headfirst into the specs of new products, often obsessing over dimensions, weight, efficiency and utility. Obviously, new models of any product are expected to be nicer than their older counterparts, and it’s the gear guys who feel the need to explain why that’s so.
What we don’t always talk about is where the products come from. If we did, we’d notice that some of today’s most iconic whitetail brands have their roots in the American West, where most hunting is for bigger game in bigger country.
Despite their origins, a number of Western companies make products that are viable options for hunting whitetails. The Bowtech Reign 6 and Weatherby Mark V 6.5-300 Wby. Mag. pictured here were made in America but not in whitetail areas; Bowtech Archery is headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, and Weatherby, Inc. calls Paso Robles, California, home. While these companies exist in the far western reach of the Red, White and Blue, their products have come to be known and respected by whitetail hunters across the land.
Bowtech and Weatherby, among a handful of other companies, were founded by Western big-game hunters — men familiar with the challenges of hunting big, tough animals in unforgiving, open terrain. As a result, the products they design set out to solve problems that limit success in those environs. At their heart, most hunting brands with Western roots grew out of a desire to help hunters harvest game in brutal weather, rough terrain and from a long way off.
There’s no doubt Roy Weatherby recognized these challenges when he began researching and developing more efficient and powerful magnum cartridges for his famous Mark V rifle, which was released in 1957. In similar fashion, the minds behind Bowtech Archery have long recognized the need for faster, more efficient bows to ethically harvest game at extended ranges.
The original fans of these companies weren’t necessarily whitetail hunters. In fact, some will always recognize Weatherby rifles as being better suited for safaris than deer hunting. But while the rugged 9-lug bolt design of the Mark V action has proved its worth against the most dangerous of the Dark Continent’s game, the company has never turned away a deer hunter in need of a precision whitetail rifle.
Now, more than ever, the brand is breaking into the whitetail market with the introduction of the 6.5-300 Wby. Mag. In parallel, while the BowTech Reign 6 might down an elk at 70 yards, it’s just as much at home hunting whitetails over a food plot in the Midwest or a thicket in the Deep South.
Yes, Western technology has spread its influence across the borders of whitetail country. And it makes sense that hunters have adopted these weapons with such fondness. Sure, there are no rock-crawling bighorn sheep or cactus-dodging mule deer in the East, but whitetails can present similar shot opportunities. To capitalize on those moments, you’d better select the right weapon for the job and practice accordingly. Otherwise, there’s no reason to even remove your gun or bow from the tree hanger.
To kill mature bucks, serious whitetail hunters will seek out every advantage they can find. If it’s a bow that will extend their maximum range an additional 10 yards, consider it done. A rifle that can cover the entire length of the cutover or bean field? Gotta have it.
Put simply, tools that allow you to shoot more accurately at longer ranges provide an advantage. Sometimes that’s the difference between a filled tag and a missed encounter. So no matter where you hunt whitetails, make sure you’re toting gear that offers you the best odds for success. Because at the end of the day, that’s the real field test for any piece of equipment.