So, You Got a New Bow Huh?
I have been intrigued by archery since I was a little kid. My first few setups were recurve bows and mismatched arrows. The birds, squirrels, and hay bale targets in my yard were generally pretty safe but I didn’t care. I just loved watching the arrows fly. As I got older my desire to hit what I was aiming at gradually caught up, so at age 10 or 11 I finally graduated to a compound bow with a set of matched, store-bought arrows! That first setup was a pretty simple flipper-style rest and single-pin sight, but it was the start of a journey with bows and arrows that has led me throughout life. Watching arrows fly is still a thrill for me.
Most years I find myself starting the process of setting up a new bow. I have found over the years that some gear comes and goes and other stuff seems to have found a semi-permanent place in my kit. Sometimes the vast array of options can lead to paralysis by analysis. There are a lot of great bow models on the market and even more, sights, rests, and stabilizers. Once you throw in arrows, broadheads, and quivers, your choices for your bow setup are almost endless. I want to walk you through my setup for this year and explain my thought process and why I have picked what I did. Hopefully reading about my choices can help you make your own selections.
A small disclaimer. As I stated before, the gear choices we have as archery hunters are almost endless and there are a lot of good options. I would urge you to do your own research, listen to different opinions, and find what works well for you. I promise you don’t have to shoot a particular sight or rest just because your buddy does.
PSE Levitate RH 72lbs 28.5” draw length
Through the years I have owned pretty much every major bow brand and all of them have had pros and cons. For the last two years, I have been shooting a Mathews and I loved the way it shot, but I always wished it was a little lighter and faster. Early this spring I tried to shoot every new bow model I could find and I finally settled on the PSE Levitate. I really liked the overall weight of the bow and the increased speed it offered. After getting it set up and tuned I have been impressed by how shootable it is.
Easton Axis 4mm, 330 spine, Match Grade
I shot the Injexion 4mm for the last two years with good results and am excited to switch to the Axis Long Range. I have the Easton Titanium outsert system and a 100 gr field tip on the front with the AAE MaxStealth vanes in a right twist helical on the back. This combination gives me a total arrow weight of 466 grains that is steering fixed blade or mechanical broadheads really well.
QAD Ultrarest HDX
I have been shooting QAD rests for over ten years and I have never had one fail. They are durable, reliable, and tune really well. I have used them with a wide variety of bows and arrow styles and always had good luck.
CBE Trek Pro 5 Pin
This year, I decided to make yet another change to my setup and run a CBE for the first time. I previously used Black Gold and loved everything they had to offer, but I got the itch to make a change and the CBE fit the bill. A few of the features that appealed to me with this sight were all the micro-adjust components, the easily interchangeable sight rings, the carbon fiber dovetail mount, and the dual indicators. Many sights are still using a single indicator, but with the simple addition of a second, you can easily pin gap and execute a quicker shot at longer distances. If you know your setup well, it may just save you from having to let down your bow in a crucial moment. So far, this sight has worked very well for my setup and style of shooting.
Conquest Archery Smacdown .625 bars. 12” front, 8” back
I am a big believer in shooting a front and back bar on my hunting bow. The balance you can achieve along with the accuracy gained from the steadier pin float is something that is hard to replicate with just a single stabilizer. From the first time I shot these bars I have been impressed with how quiet they are. With my current setup, I have 3 oz of weight on the front bar and 5 oz on the back. Being able to adjust the angle and weight of your stabilizer setup offers you the ability to dial in your pin float and bow balance which can have a significant impact on accuracy.
Tight Spot 5 Arrow
The Tight Spot 5 arrow is the benchmark for quivers. It is lightweight, holds arrows well, and mounts very close to the bow. This quiver has been on 4 different bows and has been on hunts in multiple states, terrain, and temperature and is still going strong.
Note to the Wise
Whatever bow, arrows, and accessories you choose, having it all set up and tuned by a knowledgeable archery tech is key. Finding the right person to work on your bow can be a challenge. Whether it's a guy you know, a friend of a friend, or someone at your local archery shop. Once you find a knowledgeable person you trust, do whatever you can to foster that relationship. Buy them lunch, bring them a drink and pay them well because they can play a large role in your success.