Unless you live under a rock, don’t watch TV or surf the web, you know that the American economy is in rough shape. Diehard hunters are pinching pennies by cancelling hunting trips, purchasing fewer gadgets and making the gear they have last longer. Since most bowhunters want the fastest and quietest bow they can get their hands on, they are always trading up to get the best. This year, many bowhunters are hanging on to ol’ faithful because they lost their job or are uneasy spending $1,000 on a new bow. If you fall into either category, breathe easy. If you budget a few dollars this summer, you may be able to afford a great bow this fall without breaking the bank.
Many of the top bow manufacturers realize that not everyone can spend two weeks’ wages on a bow, so they are offering kick-butt bows for less than $500. Many bows in this price range have the same great features that their higher-end counterparts have, but cost much less. Below are five great examples of bows that won’t cost you an arm and leg and will keep you smiling this fall.
Mathews is one of the top bow companies in the world and just because you don’t have much cash in your pocket doesn’t mean you can’t afford a bow with many of the features that made Mathews famous. Mission Archery is a bow line produced by Mathews. The Mission Eliminator is a great choice for bowhunters on a budget. The single perimeter weighted cam on the Eliminator sends an arrow a whopping 319 fps.
The parallel limb design, combined with the string cushions found at the tips of the limbs, quickly cancel out and destroy the small amount of vibration the Eliminator produces. The cables on the Eliminator come with X silencers that also help destroy noise and vibration.
The Eliminator has a generous brace height of 7.125 inches, so whether you are bowhunting out West where 40-yard shots and beyond are the norm or shooting in a 3-D tournament, your bow will be forgiving and deadly accurate.
In addition to being quiet and forgiving, the Eliminator is lightweight and compact. Weighing in at a feathery 4.2 pounds, the Eliminator is a great bow for tree stand hunters or backcountry hunters. The bow is only 30.25 inches long, which makes it easy to maneuver whether on the ground or in a tree stand.
The Eliminator comes with a rubberized grip that reduces hand shock and a long-lasting zebra string. The Eliminator has 80% let-off and can be purchased in draw weights between 40-70 pounds in 10-pound increments and draw lengths between 24-30 inches. The Eliminator is available in Advantage MAX-4 HD. The Eliminator retails for $479.
Quest QS 33
G5 Outdoors recently introduced a new line of bows called Quest. The Quest line comes with a variety of innovative features bowhunters have come to expect from G5 Outdoors. The QS 33 is one of the new Quest bows that bowhunters on a budget will want to check out. The QS 33 comes with a single cam that is as smooth as butter to draw and shoot, thanks to sealed ball bearings in the cam and an idler wheel. The single cam results in fewer timing issues without sacrificing speed. The QS 33 shoots an arrow up to 314 fps, reducing the chance of deer jumping the string and increasing the number of backstraps in your freezer.
The parallel-limbed QS 33 is super quiet and comes with several bells and whistles that reduce vibration and noise. It comes with a string suppressor that quickly stops the bowstring dead in its tracks after each shot. The cable guard and limbs come with anti-vibration devices installed at the factory. The cable guard comes with an Alpine Archery Mach-5 cable slide that draws smooth, reducing friction that can rob a bow of some of its stored energy.
The QS 33 has a 7-inch brace height and is 33 inches long, which is just the right size whether you are deer hunting or sitting in a ground blind waiting on a longbeard. At 4.1 pounds, the QS 33 is perfect for the bowhunter looking for a way to shave a few ounces from his bow setup and will make hiking into a remote stand location a little easier.
Other bowhunter-friendly features include an extended broadhead guard on the rise of the bow, machined aluminum pivoting limb pockets and a G5 Metrao bowstring. The QS 33 comes with a modular draw length adjustment system and can be adjusted to fit bowhunters with draw lengths between 26-30 inches. It is available in draw weights between 40-80 pounds in 10-pound increments. The QS 33 is available in Realtree AP HD Camouflage.
Bear Archery’s Game Over
Fred Bear is one of the pioneers of bowhunting and the company he founded continues to innovate. Bear Archery specializes in producing great bows for a reasonable price. The Game Over bow is a fine example. It is powered by a perimeter-weighted single cam that is smooth shooting and shoots about 305 fps. The limbs on the Game Over are state-of-the-art compression-molded flared quad limbs that will stand the test of time. The reliable limbs are found on the Bear Truth 2—their top end bow. The brace height on the bow is a long 7.875 inches, which means even if you are shaking a little while aiming, you will still hit your mark.
Like most top-end bows, the Game Over comes with a Single Arc string suppressor that quickly stops the string after the shot, reducing string noise and vibration. The one-piece synthetic grip fits well in an archer’s hand and the synthetic rubber helps reduce hand shock and keeps the cold at bay when hunting in the late season. Aluminum pivoting limb cups firmly hold the riser and limbs together and help bear the load as they draw. The riser is a lightweight machined aluminum that helps keep the overall weight of the bow at a manageable 3.9 pounds.
The Game Over comes with 80% let-off, is available in draw weights ranging from 50-70 pounds and is 33 inches from axle to axle. The bow comes with an adjustable draw length of 25-31 inches and would be a perfect hunting bow for a teenager who will grow for a few years. The Game Over is available in Realtree APG HD and sells for $479.
Hoyt Turbo Hawk
The Turbo Hawk is an extraordinary bow for the price and will quickly become popular with budget-minded bowhunters.
At the heart of the Turbo Hawk is Hoyt’s exclusive XTR Cam & ½ system, which produces sizzling speeds. The Turbo Hawk shoots an arrow lightning-fast at 320 fps. The unique cam & ½ system delivers speed and has an extremely smooth draw and sealed ball bearings so there is little maintenance, plus it has an adjustable draw length module that doesn’t require a bow press to adjust the draw length.
The Turbo Hawk comes with Hoyt’s new ZT lock pocket system, which is also on the more expensive Alpha Max bow. It helps eliminate bow vibration and locks the limbs to the riser. The ZT lock pocket system cradles the limb, providing extra support which gives the bow the strength it needs to handle everything hardcore bowhunters can dish out.
Hoyt is known for making extra strong limbs and the limbs on the Turbo Hawk are no exception. The split limbs are made of five laminated layers that are strong and lightweight. The Turbo Hawk comes with Alpha Shox located in the split limbs to destroy noise and vibration.
Like most popular bows, the Turbo Hawk is only 32 inches long so it works great regardless of where you find yourself hunting. At 3.75 pounds, the Turbo Hawk is one of the lightest bows on the market and had a 7¼-inch brace height. The Turbo Hawk is available in draw lengths from 26-30 inches and is available in a wide range of draw weights from 30-70 pounds in 10-pound increments. The Turbo Hawk is available in Realtree APG HD and retails for $549. Hoyt is offering a $50 mail-in rebate between July 1 and October 1, bringing the cost to $499 for the next 3 months. The mail-in rebate also applies to the Power Hawk and Super Hawk—two other great bargain bows Hoyt is offering.
Darton Pro 1000
Darton Archery has been around for decades and holds many archery patents used by some of the biggest bow companies in the industry. Darton designs great cams and builds a great bow. The Darton Pro 1000 offers bowhunters everything they are looking for in a good hunting bow—speed, smooth-shooting operation and easy tuning. The Pro 1000 features Darton’s CPS-G2 cam system, which has great benefits. It offers lots of speed that two cams are known for combined with the smooth-shooting and easy-tuning benefits of a single-cam bow. The CPS-G2 cam system pushes an arrow down range between 323-328 fps.
The Pro 1000 tips the scales at 4 pounds so you won’t notice it strapped onto your backpack. It is 33 3/8-inches axle to axle so it’s easy to carry around in the woods, and with a brace height of 7 inches, the Pro 1000 will help archers shoot tight groups.
The Pro 1000 comes with Limbsaver accessories and a thin rubber grip to reduce hand shock. It has an adjustable draw length of 25- 30 inches and draw weights between 50-70 pounds in 10-pound increments. The Pro 1000 is available in Realtree Hardwoods Green HD and retails for $499.
As you can see, even bowhunters on a budget can have a great bow that is lightning-fast and shoots like a dream without emptying their bank account. I guess you can have champagne on a beer budget!
You will notice some budget bows don’t come with all of the vibration dampening gadgets that the high-end models do. Many companies offer after-market items that can make your budget bow shoot smooth like the high-end bows. Norway Industries makes an item called the String Tamer that screws onto your bow and dampens string vibration. It’s amazing how well these help destroy vibration.
A quality stabilizer can help reduce bow recoil and noise and help archers shoot more accurately. Many people think a stabilizer is just for reducing noise and vibration but they do a great job of keeping bows balanced and steady. Tournament shooters have stabilizers on their bows as long as a broom handle for this reason. Although long stabilizers aren’t practical in the field, having a 6-10 inch model can really make a difference. The Chubby Hunter from Doinker is a great option. The Chubby Hunter has a weight in the front of the stabilizer which reduces vibration and keeps the bow balanced while in the hunter’s hand. The Doinker and String Tamer are available in Realtree patterns.
When you purchase a budget bow, you will actually have a few extra dollars left in your wallet to buy a few gadgets that can help you shrink your groups.