In many ways, choosing accessories for your bow is more important than choosing the bow itself. So choose wisely!
The Rage broadhead takes advantage of Rocky Mountain Broadheads' patent on heads that open from the rear forward (the Snyper was an example). This design has the potential to penetrate straighter -- without deflecting -- than broadheads that open from the front backward. Rage Broadheads are guaranteed to be fully deployed before the blades reach the hide for full cutting diameter and increased kinetic energy. The two-blade Rage has a 2-inch cutting diameter, and the three-blade model has a 1 1/2-inch cutting diameter. Both sizes weigh 100 grains. Call (715) 395-0020, or visit www.ragebroadheads.com.
Muzzy has two new heads for 2006. The MX-4 is a short-profile head that reduces blade surface so it will shoot like a bullet even from high-speed bows. The new red-colored four-blade head has a cutting diameter of 1 1/8 inch and weighs 100 grains. This is the first new replaceable blade head from Muzzy in a long time, and the sales have been booming. The company also beefed up the popular cut-to-tip Phantom by making the entire ferrule from stainless steel. The new Phantom SS has a finished weight of 200 grains, 220 grains with bleeder blades. Call (770) 387-9300, or visit www.muzzy.com.
Grim Reaper Hades
The new Hades fixed-blade broadhead has thick blades and a very rugged notched cutting tip that produces three edges. The three blades are .035 of an inch thick but neck down to .020 of an inch thick to make it easier to achieve a razor-sharp edge. To keep the blades from ever coming out, they are locked in place four ways. The Hades comes in three sizes: 85 grains, 100 grains and 125 grains. All three have cutting diameters of 1 3/16 inch. Call (801) 377-6199, or visit www.grimreaperbroadheads.com.
Innerloc's newest head is not a broadhead at all but a fishing head. The Grapple line of bowfishing heads comprises three models, a two-blade version and two three-blade versions. However, as whitetail hunters, we are most interested in their line of big-game products, and I am a big fan of their Stainless Extreme because I like super-rugged ferrules that won't yield at all on a shoulder blade hit. The Stainless Extreme has a stainless steel ferrule and three replaceable blades in 100 grains (1 1/16 cutting diameter) and 125 grains (1 1/8 cutting diameter). The EXP series mechanical heads have a retention clip that keeps the blades closed until impact, eliminating the need for O-rings or rubber bands. Call (706) 782-5863, or visit www.innerloc.com.
Rocky Mountain Titanium 100
Rocky Mountain Broadheads is under new management, and the new owners have kept the six most popular heads in the line. They consist of four fixed-blade broadheads and two mechanical broadheads. The mechanical models are the 2-Blade Snyper and the 3-Blade Snyper, which both have blades that open from the rear forward to eliminate the possibility of deflection on impact. The four fixed-blade heads are the Titanium 100, Turbo, Ironhead and Premier. The Titanium 100 has been a hugely popular three-blade head over the past decade, and the Turbo typifies today's modern generation of compact heads with short, stubby blades and low potential for wind planing. It is ideal for fast arrows and weighs 100 grains with a 1 1/8-inch cutting diameter. The Ironhead and Premier are also historically very popular heads. Call (715) 395-0533, or visit www.rockymtbroadheads.com.
Vision Quest sells the popular Steel Force line of cut-on-impact broadheads, best known for the Sabertooth line of steel and titanium heads. The new Steel Venom is the company's first three-blade cut-on-impact broadhead. These heads are nice because the blades are replaceable, making it easy for those who don't have the time or expertise to give their heads a razor edge. The heads have an aluminum ferrule with a rugged steel tip. The heads come in three sizes -- 85 grains, 100 grains and 125 grains -- with cutting diameters of 1 inch for the 85- and 100-grain sizes and 1 1/16 inches for the 125-grain size. These are conservative heads that are geared toward offering maximum penetration from a downward tree-stand-shooting angle. Call (570) 448-2845, or visit www.steelforce.com.
New Archery Products
NAP Thunderhead-XP 100
Cutting-tip broadheads continue to be very popular because they slice instead of punch, improving penetration. For 2006, NAP has redesigned their ever-popular Thunderhead by attaching a cutting blade to the tip. The result is a fixed-blade broadhead with cut-on-impact performance with the same great tradition for rugged design and super-sharp blades. The new Thunderhead XP 100 has the same specifications as the original. It weighs 100 grains and has three blades with a cutting diameter of 1 1/8 inches. It has a blade thickness of .027 of an inch. The Crossfire and Nitron heads, introduced in 2005, continue to be hot sellers. These fixed-blade heads feature short, stubby blades for reduced wind planing (better accuracy) at high arrow speeds. Call (800) 323-1279, or visit www.newarchery.com.
G5 Outdoors is an innovative company that uses advanced metal molding techniques to make irregular shapes very precisely. This permits the company to produce extremely straight and accurate broadheads. Their new Striker is an example of this kind of craftsmanship.
However, the biggest news out of G5 this year is their new sight line. The company put a lot of thought into these products, and a lot of manufacturing experience. The Optix ME features three fixed .029-inch-diameter fiber pins and one movable pin (the bottom one) that you can adjust for longer shots. The sight also has a third-axis-leveling feature that makes it more accurate when you're shooting down from a tree stand. The Optix LE has the same features but also includes five fixed pins and no moveable pins. The Optix SE is the most affordable version, with three pins, no third-axis leveling, and no moveable pin. All three sights are made of magnesium and weigh less than 6 ounces apiece. Call (866) 456-8836, or visit www.g5outdoors.com.
New Archery Products' Smart Rest
NAP Smart Rest
One thing we learned with drop-away arrow rests is that arrows need some guidance to produce the maximum consistency from shot to shot. Slight differences in arrow straightness and nock straightness can really throw an arrow offline if there is not at least some guidance from the rest launcher. New Archery Products considered this when they designed the new Smart Rest. This is a drop-away rest with a difference. The launcher offers some flexibility to soak up movement and stabilize the arrow before it drops out of the way. The spring tension for the drop-away feature is also adjustable so you can set the speed of the drop to permit maximum guidance of the shaft before the launcher clears the fletching. The new QuikTune 2100 is a less sophisticated, more affordable version of this same rest. Call (800) 323-1279, or visit www.newarchery.com.
Easton XX78 Super Slam
Of course, every bowhunter knows that Easton makes arrows. How exciting can that be? Very exciting, actually. For the past three years, Easton has been moving in a new direction that is very progressive. Their HIT system arrows have small diameters and mid-range weights to produce the ultimate combination of speed, quiet shooting and penetration. The arrows don't use conventional inserts. Instead, they use small HIT system inserts that fit completely inside the arrows. This permits them to make the arrows smaller in diameter for greater penetration.
This technology is found in the Axis and Super Slam lines. The original Axis is an all-carbon shaft, while the Axis Full Metal Jacket is carbon enclosed in an outer layer of aluminum. The Super Slam features an aluminum core tube surrounded by carbon. The aluminum and carbon composite shafts have the tightest tolerances and are the most expensive. However, that is not to say that there is anything wrong with the original Axis. I have tested them on whitetails for two seasons with very good results. Call (801) 539-1400, or visit www.eastonarchery.com.
Carbon Force Radial X-Weave arrows
PSE Carbon Force Predator
PSE makes the Carbon Force Predator shaft with the same proprietary woven carbon mesh construction it uses on all its arrows. Called Radial X Weave, the multiple layers of woven carbon fibers overlay an inner core of longitudinal fibers. The result is greater strength -- 27 percent more strength than shafts made with only longitudinal fibers. Radial X Weave arrows also exhibit tremendous resistance to both bending and twisting.
Because the woven fibers wrap around the shaft at an angle, there is no seam, so the spine stiffness of the shaft remains consistent within each dozen arrows. You don't have to worry that one arrow will flex differently from another one. The Predator is ideal for whitetail hunters because it has a mid-range weight and is very straight (within +/- .003 of an inch). Call (520) 884-9065, or visit www.pse-archery.com.
Beman Black Max Elite MFX
The newest Beman shafts feature the same HIT system small-diameter technology used in Easton shafts. The insert fits entirely down inside the shaft, and the points then use the inside diameter of the shaft itself for centering. This produces a smaller diameter for improved penetration and decreased wind drift when you're shooting in a crosswind. Beman makes four HIT (Hidden Insert Technology) System shafts. The Max-4 and Black Max are nearly identical except the Max-4 has a camouflage finish and the Black Max is all black.
The newest shaft from Beman is the Black Max Elite. It is straighter than the Black Max, with a tolerance of +/- .001 of an inch vs. +/- .003 of an inch for the Black Max. Both are excellent for bowhunters who shoot at animals at 40 yards or less. However, if you are looking for extremely precise shafts, the Black Max Elite is hard to beat. Call (801) 539-1400, or visit www.beman.com.
Doskosport DLXX2 Series Hybrid
Doskosport makes three cases for bowhunters. Their DLX series is a very rugged model featuring both plastic and metal parts -- ideal for those who occasionally fly to hunt. The SE 44 Series is all-plastic and comes in a number of different styles. The most economical is the Single Bow Case, which will hold one bow, a dozen arrows and a fully loaded quiver. Finally, the new Hybrid X2 series has both a hard shell and soft sides for more style. It is perfect for those who also take their bow to 3-D tournaments and want something a bit fancier. Call 1-888-707-7678, or visit www.doskosport.com.
Most bowhunters make a common mistake when they stop practicing once the season arrives. The time you spend keeping your muscles toned and your concentration sharp is just as important on November 1 as it was on September 1. One of the reasons bowhunters abandon their regimen is available time. The days are getting shorter, and hunters are spending as much time on stand as possible. One cure is to carry a portable target in the back of your truck and pull it out for a few practice shots anytime you take a break or have a few minutes during the week. The Block Target is ideal for this kind of in-season practice. Block targets will last for thousands of shots if you use them sparingly with broadheads. Call (800) 282-4868, or visit www.blocktarget.com.
GlenDel Full Rut Target
The GlenDel Buck is a great backyard practice target that simulates the size and vital placement of a mature buck. We've been shooting at 3-D targets for years, so that is nothing new, but the GlenDel Buck has a layered-foam vital core that is replaceable. When you eventually shoot the vitals out, you can simply replace the core and you are right back in action. Call (800) 282-4868, or visit www.fieldlogic.com.
Tru-Fire Bull Dog
Tru-Fire offers two completely new release models and a new wrist strap that you can now get on many of the existing models. The new Bulldog comes in three configurations, all of which are wrist strap models that use the new Buckle Strap. The Bulldog is a single-jaw caliper release, the first from Tru-Fire. It works well with a string loop, or you can attach it directly to the string. Because of its design, the new Buckle Strap makes it easy to put the release on. The other new release is the 3D Hunter in either black or anodized camouflage. This is a thumb-trigger release with a difference. The entire head containing the caliper-release jaws is free to turn 360 degrees so you won't put unwanted torque on your string. You can also lock the position of the head if you choose. It is a good release for both hunting and 3-D shooting. Call (920) 923-6866, or visit www.trufire.com.