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Product Spotlight

ATA 2016 TOP Crossbows

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ATA 2016 delivered innovated new crossbows.

ATA 2016 Delivers Innovation

Here’s our Top Product Launches so far

Excalibur Crossbow

Micro 355

The Micro receives that little bit of extra power that crossbow hunters had been craving without losing the portability of the original. At 355 FPS and only 5.2 pounds this little bow will take down any big game on the menu.Micro_355-(900)

Bulldog Matrix 400

Excalibur brings the advanced features and technology used to engineer their Micro line and deliver a new 400 FPS work horse. The Bulldog Matrix delivers big time power in a new compact frame. It’s not only small than it’s 405 sibling but it also eliminates limb strain and cuts down on the draw weight.

Bulldog Matrix 400

Matrix Sapphire

Excalibur most popular crossbows has long been it’s Vixen model which had been specifically designed for smaller framed shooters. It’s been a awhile but they have finally come out with a upgraded and reenvisioned crossbow to take them to the next level. The Matrix Sapphire utilizes compact recurve technology to  deliver 305 FPS with a mild 200 lb draw weight. It’s light weight at only 5.5 pounds and features a compact frame that makes it extremely easy for anyone to maneuver.

Browning Crossbow

That right, the historic Browning brand is delivering a new line of crossbows to the market for 2016. Let’s hope they deliver the same level of quality to their archery division.

Browning Archery Crossbow

Bear Archery

The Bear is back in the crossbow market is a new high end compound crossbow. This new reverse draw crossbow will surely borrow the technologies Bear has fined tuned within their vertical bow market and we can’t wait to give it a try.

Bear Crossbow

TenPoint Crossbow Technologies

Always delivering innovation, TenPoint brought some serious new contenders to the field this year. Our favorite is the Carbon Nitro RDX. This high powered reverse draw crossbow delivers a perfectly balanced frame that pumps out a whopping 385 FPS. On top of that with bow is only 10 inches wide when cocked, making it ideal for any tight hunting situation.

TenPoint Crossbow Nitro RDX

Product SpotlightTips & Tricks

Winter Blind Hunting

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Winter blind hunting is a great way to deal with the dropping temperatures, limited cover and changing animal behaviour.

During the fall hunt temperatures are dropping but for the most part your tactics aren’t going to change that much. However when winter begins it is going to mean shorter days, plummeting temperatures and significant changes in deer movement.

So what does this mean for your crossbow hunt. Well, for starters your hunts will be shortened due to exposure to the cold environment. Even the most well suited hunter won’t be able to handle a full day sit in freezing temps. There is however an excellent solution, the winter blind. These units have a lot of upside late in the season and here are a couple of the key reasons to consider them:

Comfort

If it was just the cold it would be one thing, but one of winters biggest threats is the wind chill. Blinds block the wind and offer space to move around, store extra clothing, and even a small portable heater.

Ease

Setting up a blind is far easier, quitter, and quicker than hanging a stand.

Proximity

Sometimes the only way to get a shot at a deer is to set up in a feed field itself, which you can do with a snow blind.

Blending in

A white blind has no visible outline against a white background. So as long as you don’t setup on top of a fields hill, there is little chance anything will be able to detect your presence.

Mobility

Winter deer congregate around prime late-season food sources, which they typically enter from multiple directions. A snow blind gives you the mobility to keep up with the hottest trails or instantly react to other sign or sightings. And that’s how you can best zero in on late season bucks.

Fun StuffProduct Spotlight

Skull Hooker

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After a successful crossbow hunt you’re often faced with a tough decision, especially if you have harvested an animal that you may want to mount. Do you go through the long and costly process of having the animal mounted by a taxidermist or do it yourself.

A once in a lifetime trophy might be worth the investment but what about those other trophies. European mounts are a great do it yourself alternative that can result in a high quality trophy. But you still have to mount it on something. That is where Skull Hooker comes into play.

Skull Hooker is the first professionally designed and fully adjustable European skull mounting bracket. It has the built in flexibility to showcase your trophy in multiple positions and will fit anywhere in your trophy room. Skull Hooker is has been engineered to be both sturdy and extremely stable when mounted in any of the multiple positions.

Whether you choose the table top setup or decided to mount it on a wall the Skull Hooker will keep your trophy safe. As an added benefit the unit’s wall-mounting bracket eliminates the need to drill holes into your trophy’s skull. This is because the mounting hook has been specially crafted to fit the crevices in the back of all animal skulls. This is an awesome feature if you choose to move your trophies around, or if you get others in the future. Instead of moving the entire mount you can simply swap them between various Skull hooker mounts in your room.

To further accommodate the wild game you’re hunting Skull Hooker brackets come in two different sizes, The Big Hooker or The Little Hooker.

  • The Little Hooker – smaller bracket designed specifically for small to mid-sized skulls including, all deer species, hogs, coyotes, alligator, black bear, cats and more.
  • The Big Hooker – larger bracket designed specifically for large to extra-large sized skulls including, elk, bison, moose, caribou, grizzly/brown/polar bear, domestic steer and other exotic larger game such as kudu, giraffe, cape buffalo and many more.

Both of these Skull Hooker mounting systems are quick to setup and come complete with all necessary hardware to secure your trophy. This company stands behind the product and offers a 100% return policy. Traditional mounts and taxidermy can look great but cannot match the flexibility, cost and functionality of the Skull Hooker.

 

Product Spotlight

Crossbow Hunting the Lull

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If you have trouble during the so-called October lull, it’s a problem that only you can solve. Here are some different strategies and techniques that you help get you out of the funk.

Find the Food:

The number 1 reason why hunters see fewer deer in early October is because of changing food sources. While you’re watching the edge of a bean field the deer are eating the apples that just started falling in the woods or the waste grain from a freshly combined field. So when you stop seeing deer, take a day to scout out a new food source that you think has potential.

Move a little:

Another reason could be that the deer simplay have your stand pegged. In this case, deer often avoid you by making even a subtle shift in their movement. Beat them at their own game by scouting out some fresh nearby tracks and move your setup to that new location.

Wait for Weather:

Yet another reason could be that warm weather in early October has winter coat clad bucks moving only at the very edge of daylight or only at night. A slight dip in temperature or misty rain can get these bucks moving during shooting hours. Watch the weather and act fast.

Try a morning hunt:

Many hunters avoid the morning because bucks tend to head back to their beds too early to catch them during shooting hours. But dawn is cooler than dusk and a warm weather buck might linger at a morning food source, making him a little late for bed.

Hit the water:

If your choices are to hunt hot weather or don’t hunt, then hunt the water. When temps are on the rise bucks are more likely to frequent a water source before feeding. A pond, creek, or rivers edge near a staging area is a good choice during these early fall heat waves.

Get closer:

Another option for late rising bucks is to simply get closer to the bedding area. Find a faint trail of rub line, slip along it toward the suspected lair, and set up as close as you dare. The risk is worth the reward.

Hunt like it’s the rut

When standard tactics aren’t working, you have little to lose and a lot to gain by getting aggressive instead. A handful of does come into estrus about a month early, and the biggest bucks know it. Rattling, calling, decoying and using doe urine scent can pull in a monster during this time.

Product Spotlight

Broadhead Buyers Guide

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Choosing the right broadhead for your crossbow hunt is almost as important as the crossbow itself.

Broadhead Buyers Guide

Our broadhead buyers guide was but together to help you find the perfect broadhead for your crossbow hunt
Here are the most important factors you should consider before choosing a crossbow broadhead.

Style

Crossbow broadheads come in three distinct styles, fixed blade, mechanical blade, and hybrid broadheads. Each has their own strength and weakness which can also vary greatly depending on variation. Here is a breakdown of each of the main styles:

Fixed Blade Broadhead

Fixed Crossbow Broadhead

Fixed blade broadheads are designed either as a  solid one-piece blade or as a ferrule which utilizes separate, replaceable blades. One piece broadheads are machined from a single piece of material and are extremely durable. They do however require blade sharpening after heavy usage. Replaceable fixed blade designs can also be sharpened but offer you the convenient option of simply using new blades instead. These can also be extremely robust and come in two-blade, three-blade and four-blade configurations.

Pros:
  • Durable design can often be reused for a long period
  • Low maintenance as there are no moving parts
  • Broadheads can be shot and tested in compatible targets without risk damage
  • Smaller blades will result in better penetration
Cons:
  • Limited Cutting diameter, fixed blades will plane in flight therefore fixed blade broadheads don’t normally exceed a 1.5” cut diameter
  • Open blades affect flight, luckily you can test them to determine how they fly in comparison to field points
  • Some designs are formed from a solid piece of metal, if a blade is damaged here the entire broadhead must be discarded
 Bottom Line:

Fixed blade broadheads are tried and true style that’s been around since the beginning. They will never match the cutting diameter and accuracy of a mechanical but the design lends itself to repeatable flight characteristics that can be tested on broadhead compatible targets. In addition they have excellent penetration, are durable and can be reused over a long period of time with minimal maintenance.

Mechanical (Expandable) Broadhead

Mechanical Crossbow Broadhead

Mechanical broadheads are designed to fly like a field point by using a system where their blades are folded up during flight and only open on impact, when a mechanical system triggers them to do so. For the most part, modern mechanical broadheads are available in two styles: over-the-top (front deploying) and rear deploying.

Over-the-top broadheads have blades that are hinged at the rear of the ferrule, and pivot out from the front upon contact. The blades typically open up after they are inside the animal, which ensures the blades are razor-sharp when cutting through vitals. The entrance holes from over-the-top broadheads are smaller than rear-deploying broadheads.

Rear-deploying broadheads have front-pivoting blades that deploy outward from the rear of the broadhead, resulting in full-size entrance and exit holes. This style maximizes blood trails and guarantees the blades are deployed before reaching an animal’s vitals.

The mechanisms used to hold and then deploy the blades vary but generally use either a rubber o-rings, or a steel clip system. Both can be effective but it’s important to keep a close eye on both deployments mechanisms. If the o-ring or clips become damaged in any way it could cause premature deployment of your broadheads blades.

It is also important to purchase the crossbow version of a mechanical broadhead. While companies often sell what appears to be an identical broadhead for vertical bows, the deployment mechanism maybe different. Mechanical broadheads designed for crossbow have been adjusted to account for the additional torque of a crossbow to ensure they don’t deploy early.

Pros:
  • Larger cutting diameter makes for quicker/easier game recovery
  • Customization is possible, as some mechanical allows you to adjust them to your preference
  • Consistent flight performance, embed blades reduce variations while in flight
  • Fly similar to field points allowing you to practice with fields points
Cons:
  • Risk of premature deployment is always a factor with mechanical broadheads
  • Large cutting diameter can reduce penetration
  • Mechanical failure may occur on impact and reduce effectiveness
  • Maintenance required before the shot to ensure performance and after if you choose to reuse the broadhead
Bottom Line:

Mechanical broadheads are popular because of their accuracy and devastating cutting diameters. However, they aren’t nearly as durable as a fixed blade and will require extra care to ensure they perform as intended. Also, don’t forget to make sure they designed for or compatible with crossbows that match the speed rating of yours. This will reduce the risk of a deployment failure.

Hybrid Broadhead

Hybrid Crossbow Broadhead

Hybird broadheads are the newest design on the market and have come about in order to appeal to shooters that are undecided between mechanical or fixed blade broadheads. They are basically two broadheads in one. With that they benefits from both sets of advantages but also suffer for some additional disadvantages.

Pros:
  • Maximum cutting damage caused by multiple sets of blades
  • Fixed blades offsets risk associated with mechanical blade failure
  • Best of both worlds, fixed blade for initial penetration and mechanical for tissue cutting
  • May allow for multiple configurations and blade customization
Cons:
  • Combination of Fixed and Mechanical blades can cause inconsistent flight patterns
  • Premature mechanical deployment is still a risk
  • Larger total cut can reduce ability to attain a pass through
  • Hybrids require most maintenance
  • Difficult to test how they fly without using actual broadheads on targets.
Bottom Line:

Hybrid broadheads can yield some truly devastating results when they impact. Their combination of fixed blade penetration and mechanical blade cutting will result in a quick harvest of your game. However, their combination of both fixed and mechanical blade make them difficult to practice with and can cause erratic flight patterns. They also require the most maintenance to ensure both sets of blades perform. That being said if you want to put the effort into dialing them in they are a great option for someone looking for the best of both worlds.

Cut

Broadheads cutting is measured in two distinct ways.

  1. Cutting Diameter: The width of the cut the broadhead deliver.
  2. Total Cut: The combined length of the surface area of the blades on the broadhead.

For Example: If you have fixed blade broadhead with four .5 inch blades it’s total cut would be 2 inches because that would be the result of all four blades added up. However, the cutting diameter would only be 1 inch because the total width of the cut it deliver would only account for 2 blades.

While mechanical broadheads almost always have a much larger cutting diameter than fixed blade broadheads their total cut is often comparable.

# of Blades

The number of blades on a broadhead does two things, it:

  1. Increases your total cut (not diameter) and therefore your odds of slicing through a vital go up.
  2. It creates friction both while flying through the air which creates problems with flight and while passing through the animal which make it hard for your bolt to attain a pass through.

If a mechanical broadhead used a system where each blade deployed independently it would also increase the risk on a mechanical failure.

Leading Edge

The tip of your broadhead is often the last thing people look at but it should be a consideration, especially if you’re planning on hunt small game. If the objective is to attain maximum penetration and score a pass through a chisel or razor tip is what you want. If however your hunt small game and don’t want a complete pass through a blunt tip broadhead maybe a better option as it will attain the same result without wasting meat.

Weight

The ideal weight of your crossbow broadhead will depend on a few key factors:

  • Bolt – The length and weight distribution of your crossbow bolt will affect how heavy you want your broadhead to be. Lighter broadheads fly faster but their minimal weight  may not result in an optimal arrow Front of Center which will  hurt your accuracy.
  • Use – if you’re hunting very big game then maximum penetration is key. Therefore a heavier broadhead is recommended as it will deliver the most kinetic energy to your target. However if game isn’t excessively larger (bigger than a whitetail) then a pass through can be attained with lighter broadheads .
  • Your Crossbow – You need to make sure the broadhead and bolt combination meet or exceed with minimum requirements for your model. If they don’t your crossbow may not be able to handle the additional stresses and could result in similar results as a dry fire.

Cost

Most Fixed blade broadheads are reasonably priced and while quality can vary, a good set can get you through a lot of seasons with minimal added cost. On the other hand any crossbow broadheads with mechanical blades will usually be more expensive up front and by nature require tuning, parts and blade replacements.

Final Thought

Most crossbow broadheads will get the job done so this decision is going to come down to compatibility with your crossbow, the game your hunting and personal preference. Just make sure you put the time into dialing in whatever you choose and keep those grouping tights because at the end of the day it’s all going to come down to accuracy..

Product Spotlight

Best Crossbows for Women

Best Crossbow Girls
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TenPoint-LadyShadow-Crossbow
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CarbonExpress-HotPursuit-Crossbow

Crossbows designed for women aren't new, but they are becoming more refined.

Best Crossbows for Women

The best crossbows for women that made this list did so because their weight, size, draw weight and fit are better suited for the smaller framed huntress. This doesn’t mean women cannot use the fastest crossbows on the market but those crossbows are usually bulkier by design and heavier as well. Comfortably handling and shooting a crossbow is of the utmost importance and that’s why it’s always better to sacrifice speed for a crossbow you find easier to shoot, as this will translate to improved accuracy.

Excalibur: Matrix Cub

With the Matrix Cub Excalibur has finally engineered a crossbow specifically designed for crossbow hunters with a smaller frame. By utilizing a shorter stock and lighter weight of only 5.5 pounds, this economical crossbow is an excellent choice both younger or female crossbow hunters. The crossbow features Excaliburs CRT limb system and pumps out 285 FPS. plenty power for North Americas largest game. The Matrix Cub is offered in textured black finish, making it ideal for blind hunters as well. It’s biggest advantage is it’s price point which is unheard of for a crossbow of this quality.

SPEED   –    285 FPS
WEIGHT   –    5.3 lbs.
LENGTH   –    32.2″
WIDTH (Uncocked)   –    30.62″
DRAW WEIGHT   –    190 lbs
POWER STROKE   –    11.5″

TenPoint: Lady Shadow

With women entering the sport in record numbers TenPoint has come up with the perfect crossbow. While the Lady Shadow has a MossyOak counterpart we’ll focus on this version as it’s quickly established itself as the most lethal female crossbow on the market. By utilizing a carbon-injected polymer barrel and their FSB stock, the Lady Shadow weighs in at a mere 6.4-pound, making it the lightest crossbow TenPoint has ever designed. The unit is also well balanced and extremely compact measuring only 34.4 inches long by 13.5 inches wide (while cocked). These features make the Lady Shadow much easier to wield and more comfortable to hold steady in a shooting position. Unlike lighter crossbows marketed to women this one has some serious punch. The Lady Shadow is powered by TenPoints compact XLT bow assembly which powers unit to 350 FPS. With a draw weight around 180 LBS, that is an incredible amount of speed generated from the crossbow.

SPEED   –    350 FPS
WEIGHT   –    6.4 lbs
LENGTH   –    34.4″
WIDTH (Uncocked)   –    17.5″
DRAW WEIGHT   –    180 lbs
POWER STROKE   –    12.6″

Barnett: Lady Raptor

Featuring a suitable amount of power along for it’s size, the Lady Raptor FX is an effective hunting crossbow. The lightweight composite stock and limbs make it easy to handle, while the high-energy cam and CROSSWIRE string and cable systems give your shots deadly force. An adjustable butt pad and finger reminders ensure proper and precise aim every time. The Barnett Lady Raptor FX Crossbow includes a sight, cocking device and quiver with arrows.

SPEED   –    330 FPS
WEIGHT   –    6.5 lbs
LENGTH   –    34.25″
WIDTH (Uncocked)   –    18″
DRAW WEIGHT   –    150 lbs
POWER STROKE   –    12.5″

PSE: Vector 310

PSE has re-engineered its 2015 crossbow line to deliver the new PSE Vector 310. With its efficient design and two-turn weight adjustment, the Vector 310 is the perfect solution for youth and female shooters, or anyone looking for a high-performance, compact crossbow. Despite it’s small size the Vector delivers a bolt at 310 fps and is built with a fully-machined, 3 lb. precision trigger system, an upgraded cam system, and built-in string stops.

SPEED   –    310 FPS
WEIGHT   –    6.3 lbs
LENGTH   –    32″
WIDTH (Uncocked)   –    18.25″
DRAW WEIGHT   –    150 lbs
POWER STROKE   –    11.25″

Carbon Express: Covert 3.4 Hot Pursuit Crossbow

The Covert 3.4 Hot Pursuit Crossbow features a compact design that provides superior handling and performance. A tactical, lightweight stock, narrow limb profile, and short length make for excellent balance and feel.  The Covert 3.4 Hot Pursuit is also one of the most responsive, powerful, and accurate crossbows in its class weighting just under 7 pounds. The crossbow is available in the Muddy Girl camouflage pattern.

SPEED   –    345 FPS
WEIGHT   –    6.85 lbs
LENGTH   –    30.75”
WIDTH (Uncocked)   –    16.25”
DRAW WEIGHT   –    175 lbs
POWER STROKE   –    13.5″