There are no definite answers to many of these questions.  The answers rely on experience and personal morals and ethics that have been learned over many years of schooling, reading, shooting & hunting experience.  Because of the numerous products available in the archery industry, many of the answers are generalized and refer to overall categories rather than specific products.  Your personal experiences and beliefs may differ from these answers. We offer these questions and answers in order to bring up a discussion of some of the most popular issues facing archers.

Which bow company is the best?

We could argue this one all day, but the fact is there are a lot of excellent bows in the marketplace.  We are very fortunate to have such a wide selection of bows for youth, women, competition and hunting.  Although there are many different designs, basic bow materials are very similar throughout the manufacturers.  The most important characteristics that we look for are service, warranty, performance and value.  Considering these factors, we feel strongly that Parker/Fred Bear, PSE and Hoyt are among the top bow manufacturers in the industry.

What is the best bow?

The sport of archery is dynamic in the applications and use of equipment.  There are so many different styles of recreational, tournament, and hunting needs that each archer must make personalized choices.  There are features that apply to each application and choices must be made according to the uses of the particular archer.  The archery manufacturers have done a wonderful job in designing bows to accomodate all ages & abilities of archers as well as increasing performance for specific applications such as 3D tournaments, hunting and indoor competition.  An archer must first decide how he/she will be using the bow, then pick out certain features and characteristics of the bows, and finally shoot them to decide which bow will be best for them.

Are single cam bows better than two cam bows?

After comparing single cam and two cam bows, there are many added benefits to single cam bows that two cam bows simply do not have.  The most obvious of these is eliminating the problem of cam timing.  Single cams are also quieter, a huge benefit for bowhunters.  Single cams hold and aim better, meaning at full draw the cam rests steady versus a two cam bow where the two cams can fight against one another.  The knock on single cam bows used to be that they where slower than two cams, but the new single cam bows are just as quick, and in some cases quicker than two cam bows.  With all of these added benefits, the majority of our sales are single cam bows.

Why do my broadheads fly different than my field points?

An arrow with a field point has only the fletching to steer the arrow.  When a fixed blade broadhead is added to the front of the arrow,  you are adding wings to the arrow.  In many cases, the broadhead begins to steer the arrow instead of the fletching.  If you find that your arrows do not group with broadheads, but they are grouping with field points, than you can most of the time correct the problem by going to helical fletching, longer fletching, feathers vs. vanes, or maybe a combination of all three.  These corrections will add more steering to the back of the arrow and will help to make your broadheads group better.  Broadheads will also exaggerate any tuning problems.  There is a possibility that your bow is slightly out of tune and field points don’t show it, but the broadheads do.

Are mechanical blade broadheads better than fixed blade?

Mechanical or deployable blade broadheads have gained alot of popularity over the past few years.  Where there are definite advantages to these broadheads, they do have some limitations.  The benefits of a mechanical broadhead are that they will fly like a field point, so you won't have to re-sight your bow, and they also have a larger cutting diameter once the blades are exposed.  Some of the disadvantages are that the entry hole is not very big as the blades have not fully opened; on angled shots, the blades do not open simultaneously sometimes causing the arrow to kick; and because of the hinged blade, mechanical broadheads are not as rugged as a fixed blade broadhead.  Finally, and most important, mechanical broadheads require more kinetic energy to open than a fixed blade broadhead.  We like to test the speed and weight of the arrow, and determine the kinetic energy to be sure that the bowhunter is going to receive maximum performance from the broadheads. Especially the light poundage bows, be sure to check the energy of your arrow before making your decision

 Are carbon arrows better than aluminum?

Arrows are much like bows in the respect that it really depends upon the activity that the archer will be shooting.  Without a doubt, carbon/graphite arrows are the most popular for 3D competitors where speed is an obvious advantage.  The majority of our arrow sales for bowhunters are aluminum but carbons are steadily increasing each year especially since the internal components have been designed.   In a bowhunting situation, the shooter needs to consider the game he/she is hunting, the energy, speed, and durability of the arrows. 

Many bowhunters use aluminum because of the extra weight of the arrow gives more energy and hitting power.  Where this becomes a concern for larger animals, more and more hunters are using the carbon arrows because of the flatter trajectory as well as the dependability and durability of the shafts.  The internal components on the carbon arrows have aided in broadhead flight and consistency.  Because of these new benefits, a hunter can experience the flatter trajectory and still have good arrow flight.  Also, the carbon/graphite arrows are more durable than an aluminum, which becomes a big plus in the woods.  Again, each archer must compare the advantages & disadvantages and make a decision based on these features as well as the purpose of the shafts.

Which is better for my arrows: feathers or vanes?

While this has been a debate for a long time, there are certain facts that are indisputable.  Vanes are less expensive, more durable, and easier to work with. Feathers are lighter, steer better, and eliminate clearance problems.  Generally, indoor competitors will use feathers because there is no concern for adverse weather conditions.  Many bowhunters use vanes for the durability, but if there are any problems with grouping or arrow flight, feathers will usually straighten things out.

 How far will a crossbow shoot?

Many people have the perception that crossbows are more like guns than bows.  The truth of the matter is that crossbows are very similar to bows both in design and performance.  Crossbows have a very short power stroke as compared to compound bows which limit the speed and performance of the crossbow. Most crossbows shoot a 20" bolt at about 240-280 feet/second, which is quick, but not much better than the average hunting bow.  Therefore, we encourage hunters to shoot a maximum distance of 40 yards.  Now, of course a crossbow can shoot accurately much further than this as can a compound bow.  But keeping in mind that crossbows are much noisier, and you are shooting at a moveable target, not a piece of foam, the 40 yard maximum range will prove to be the most effective.

Is the Bowhunter Education Class mandatory?

The state of Vermont requires all new hunters to pass the Bowhunter Education Course.  State and Provincial laws vary, so you should be sure to check the laws in your area.  This course is a tremendous benefit to any bowhunter, beginner or experienced.  The course covers subjects like equipment, safety, tracking & trailing, practice habits, strategies, and compass work.  We encourage everyone to take this course with a friend or relative, especially kids. 

At what age should I start my child shooting a bow?

We like to encourage children to shoot as soon as they begin to show an interest.  Our Junior Olympic Archery Development program allows children to begin at the age of five.  Generally, this is when a child will have the attention span needed in a classroom environment.  If a child shows interest before the age of five, we like to see them have the opportunity to shoot some arrows at the most basic level.  No fancy equipment needed, simply allow the child to experience the fun of shooting an arrow.  Usually after about ten minutes of shooting they have had enough, which is fine, as long as they can learn that archery is enjoyable.  Most often, children simply want to imitate Mom or Dad or some other influential grown-up.  Shooting a bow & arrow is a natural instinct that children take to quickly and enthusiastically.  Capture their interest soon and often, and we can keep them involved in healthy activities.

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