Archery Gear That Wins Buck and Takes Bucks
Professional 3-D shooters are always at the cutting edge of archery equipment evolution. They are the ones that have the most to gain (or lose) when choosing gear. When just a fraction of an inch on a single target can spell the difference between thousands of dollars in prize money, the competitors justifiably focus on milking everything they possibly can from their bows and accessories. Mostly, they don't want anything to change from the time the tournament starts until it ends — just like you don't want changes during the hunting season. They select gear with both accuracy and reliability in mind. Here is what the world's best shooters use to make perfect shots.
Nathan Brooks was one of the five Hoyt shooters who shot a perfect round of 900 at this year's Vegas shoot. Chance Beaubouef ultimately won the shootoff. Nathan has also won the ASA event held in Tennessee this year and ranked fourth in points at the end of the year. He was also near the top in nearly all events entered in both ASA and IBO. Nathan hunts whitetails in his home state of Arkansas, as well as several states to the north.
Competition bow: Hoyt ProTec with XT3000 limbs and the Spiral Cam & 1/2. I like a longer axle-to-axle bow for the accuracy and stability it produces, said Brooks. The hard back wall on the Spiral Cam is also a benefit because it produces a consistent anchor point. The Spiral Cam is also fast. Even though the bow is 40 inches long and has a 9 inch brace height, it still produces an IBO speed rating of 300 fps.
Hunting bow: Hoyt UltraTec XT2000 Cam & 1/2. Brooks also uses custom strings and cables that he makes himself out of Brownell Ultra Cam fiber.
Competition arrows: Easton X7 Cobalt 2412, 125 grain NIB point. The arrow weighs right at 400 grains and is right at the ASA speed limit of 282 fps, said Brooks. For IBO I use an Easton ACC 3-49 which weighs 355 grains and is a bit faster.
Hunting arrows: Easton ACC 3-49 with Rocky Mountain Ti-100 broadheads. Arrow weighs 400 to 420 grains and produces a speed of 275 fps. I use three-inch vanes with lots of helical offset, Brooks said.
Competition sight: Custom Bow Equipment 3-D Micro Lite using a CR scope with a two-power lens. I like an extremely small etched aiming dot on the lens that is in range of .012 to .015 inches in diameter, said Brooks.
Hunting sight: Custom Bow Equipment or Vital Bow Gear spooled fiber sight.
Competition rest: Trophy Taker Spring Steel. (It should be noted that this is not a drop-away rest. This rest is very simple, said Brooks. Nothing moves and I don't have any fletching contact.
Hunting rest: Trophy Taker drop-away. I like the drop-away rests because they permit a very aggressive helical offset without any clearance problems, said Brooks.
Competition stabilizer: Doinker stabilizer bar, 27 inches long. I like to balance my bow so it points up a little bit, said Brooks. Most misses are low so this balance method compensates for that.
Competition sling: None. The new Hoyt bows don't move in my hand so I don't use a wrist sling, said Brooks.
Competition release: Scott Longhorn 3 Finger back tension release. I set the release so it has a long pull before it goes off, Brooks said. This way I can't tell when it is going to fire and I can't force it to go off. I don't use a clicker on the release. I get on the target quickly and usually aim for about 6 to 6 1/2 seconds before the shot — maximum of 8 1/2 seconds.
Hunting release: Scott Longhorn back tension. Nathan hunts with the same back tension release that he uses while competing. This is not typical gear for most bowhunters because you can't make the release fire on command. Therefore, the animal must cooperate by remaining mostly still as you aim.. I was fighting buck fever so I switched to the back tension release to force me to aim better at deer, said Brooks. So far, the release has not cost me a deer though it did cost me a shot at a turkey.
Bow quiver: Kwikee Compound. Brooks removes the quiver while sitting on stand.
Chance Beaubouef is best known for his unique last name and for the fact that he burst on the scene this year with a dramatic and stunning win at the Vegas Indoor tournament. Chance was tied with 10 other archers with a perfect 900 after the end of normal competition. One or two shooters dropped out after each sudden death elimination round until only Chance remained. Chance also won the Indoor Nationals in Kansas City, MO and the third leg of the IBO Triple Crown in Nelsonville, OH.
Competition bow: Hoyt ProTec XT2000 Cam & 1/2. The bow is 39 1/8 inches long and is set for 64 pounds and 29 1/2 inches of draw. Chance builds his own 18 strand strings using Brownell Ultra Cam fiber.
Hunting bow: Hoyt UltraTec XT2000 Cam & 1/2, 64 pounds.
Competition arrows: Easton 2312, weight: 382 grains, speed: 282 fps, 1.8 inch Dura-Vane fletching with a helical.
Hunting arrows: Easton ACC 3-39, weighs 360 grains and produces 295 fps. The arrows are fletched with 2.3 inch Dura-Vane fletching. Chance prefers Rocket Wolverine 75 mechanical broadheads.
Competition sight: Custom Bow Equipment, Shrewd pin with a .019 inch diameter
Hunting sight: Vital Bow Gear KJ's Intimidator, fiber wrap sight. This is a moveable pin sight that Chance prefers because it is infinitely adjustable for shot distance.
Competition rest: Trophy Taker Spring Steel. I like this rest because you can really lock it down, Chance said. There's nothing to move.
Hunting rest: Trophy Taker original fall-away. It produces the very best fletching clearance, said Chance.
Competition stabilizer: Vibracheck 18 with a small offset to the left
Hunting stabilizer: 9 inch Vibracheck
Wrist sling: rope sling. This bow doesn't move much, Chance said.
Competition release: Scott Longhorn 4 Finger back tension release. I set up the release very slow so it takes a lot of rotation to make it fire, said Chance. I usually aim for about six to eight seconds before the shot.
Hunting release: Scott Rhino with a string loop. I get the trigger really deep into my trigger finger, said Chance. The trigger actually contacts the inside of my second knuckle. From here, I can simply hook my finger over the trigger and fire it my squeezing with my back muscles. I use a low loop on both my hunting and competition bows. Both knots of the string loop are below the arrow to put some down pressure in the arrow to keep it solidly on the rest.
JACK WALLACE II
Jack Wallace is just 28 years old but has been shooting a bow for 21 years. He turned professional in 1995 and was ASA Shooter of the Year in 1996. He won both the IBO National and World titles in back to back years in 2001 and 2002 — the only person to ever accomplish this feat. He holds the record for ASA scoring with a 448 out of 400 (smaller 12 ring inside 10 ring counts extra). Jack won the IBO shooter of the year honors in 2003 after nearly dying in a traffic accident in November of 2002. Jack has also killed Pope & Young class bucks in each of the past four seasons while hunting in his home state of Ohio.
Competition bow: Mathews Conquest 3, 67 pounds, 29 inches. Wallace likes the stability of a longer bow.
Hunting bow: Mathews Conquest 3, 65 pounds. I like to drop my bow weight a couple of pounds for hunting because I don't the time to practice as much during the season and often find myself hunting with heavy clothing on, said Wallace.
Competition arrows: Easton 2312, weight: 375 grains, speed 280 fps. Jack uses the same arrows for both ASA and IBO tournaments.
Hunting arrows: Easton ACC 3-49, 28 1/2 inches long with four-inch plastic vanes. Rocky Mountain Ti-100 broadheads. Finished arrow weight is 405 grains and arrow speed is 265 fps.
Competition sight: Custom Bow Equipment. Jack uses a single pin in the aperture but no scope. I have good eyes and I can see the scoring lines and detail well enough with my naked eyes, he said. That way I never have to deal with dirt or rain affecting my visibility through the lens.
Competition rest: Trophy Taker Spring Steel. Jack likes the simplicity of this rest.
Hunting rest: Trophy Taker drop-away.
Competition stabilizer: Vibracheck 26 inch tube, eight inch offset on left side.
Hunting stabilizer: Vibracheck 6 to 8 inch Isolator
Competition release: Scott Longhorn back tension release. I've also won tournaments using the Scott Little Goose release, said Wallace.
Hunting release: Scott Caliper with the steel trigger removed and replaced with a spring. You can really pull on the spring trigger and the spring just keeps on bending, said Wallace. I set the trigger fairly heavy so I have to pull the spring a long ways before the bow fires.
I use a split string nocking loop on both my competition and hunting bow. I put a nock set under the nock of the arrow but above the bottom knot so that the string is always pulling slightly below the center line of the arrow to the arrow has some down pressure on the rest.
Linda Owenss was the 2003 IBO Shooter of the Year and the ASA 2003 World Champion. She held the top score in her class in every shoot she entered this past year except one. She entered 16 shoots. Linda is an engineering supervisor at a major shipyard in Mississippi.
Competition bow: Mathews Conquest 3, 54 pounds, 27 1/2 inch draw. I like the Conquest 3 because it is reasonably fast but still has the forgiveness of long bow, said Owenss.
I use a Shrewd grip on both my competition and hunting bows. These grips are precision made and very adjustable. I can adjust the grip instead of the cam for slight changes in draw length. Also, the grip can be adjusted to fit the natural position of my hand.
Hunting bow: Mathews LX, 56 pounds, 27 1/2 inch draw
Competition arrows: Easton Hyperspeed ACC 2-28, weight 270 grains, speed 282 fps
Hunting arrows: Easton ACC 3-28 arrows that produce a speed of 260 fps. Owens uses Muzzy 3-Blade broadheads.
Competition sight: Sure-Loc with Sure-Loc six power scope with a separate fiber optic pin.
Hunting sight: Sure-Loc Lethal Weapon Max with three pin sight head. Pins set for 20, 30 and 40 yards. This is sufficient for whitetails, but he entire sight body is also moveable for longer shots when hunting elk or antelope.
Competition rest: Mathews short overdraw with two prong launcher
Hunting rest: Muzzy Zero Effect drop away rest.
Competition stabilizer: 33 inch Doinker
Hunting stabilizer: 7 inch Doinker
Competition release: T.R.U. Ball Ultra 3 Tru Tension. This is a three-finger straight back tension release.
Hunting release: T.R.U. Ball Tornado caliper. I use string nocking loop for both hunting and competition, said Owens. I set up the loop a little differently depending on what I'm going to use it for. For competition, I set it up so both knots of the loop are under the arrow nock. For hunting, I center the arrow between the two knots."
Shooting in the senior women's class for the first time this year, Peggy Watkins dominated the competition winning every IBO event she entered this year and being named the IBO Shooter of the Year in her class.
Competition bow: Martin Cougar, 51 pounds, 25 3/4 inch draw, straight limb, Fury X two-cam system with split harness tracks. This cam is great for competitive shooting, said Watkins. It is easy to work on without a bow press and it doesn't produce any torque in my hand when I shoot it. That's the main advantage.
Hunting bow: Martin Cougar 2000, Fury Cam, 51 pounds
Competition arrow: Carbon Express CXL 150, weight 257 grains, speed, 284 fps.
Hunting arrow: Carbon Express 3-D Select with Innerloc 100 three-blade broadhead.
Competition sight: Viper scope on a Toxonics or Sure-Loc drive.
Hunting sight: Viper three-pin sight, pins set for 22, 27 and 32 yards, fiber optic pins.
Competition rest: Trophy Taker drop-away
Hunting rest: Trophy Taker drop-away
Competition stabilizer: Straight Shot
Wrist sling: Martin Butterfly
Competition release: Carter Fits Me thumb trigger. I anchor at the jawbone with two fingers — one above and one below the jawbone, said Watkins. I use back tension to make the release fire. The release is shaped to fit right into your hand. If I'm having trouble getting the bow to shoot I'll just take a deep breath and it goes off every time.
Hunting release: Carter Fits Me. Watkins uses the same release and the same back tension technique for both competition and hunting.
Jeff Hopkins is arguably the best competitive shooter in the world. This past year his career earnings topped 1 million dollars, the first to achieve this milestone and he did it in only ten years on the pro tour. He was the ASA Shooter of the Year for a record sixth straight time. For more information about Jeff Hopkins and his amazing career go to www.jeffhopkins.com.
Competition bow: Mathews Conquest 3, 67 pounds, 30 1/4 inches draw length. I've been shooting both my competition and hunting bows without a grip, but I think I will try the Shrewd adjustable grip this hunting season, said Hopkins.
Hunting bow: Mathews LX, 70 pounds, 30 1/4 inches draw length
Competition arrows: Easton 2312, weight 385 grains, speed 282 fps. Jeff uses the same arrows for both ASA and IBO competition.
Hunting arrows: Vital Bow Gear Warrior shafts. I choose these arrows for the penetration and kinetic energy, said Hopkins. They are heavier and stiffer than most carbon arrows. I love carbon arrows. I never have to worry about whether or not they are bent from the general wear and tear of the hunting season. After killing hundreds of deer in his native Delaware, Hopkins is sold on the Wasp Jak-Hammer mechanical broadheads.
Competition sight: Custom Bow Equipment sight with a Classic scope from Classic Archery Products, four power with a .019 fiber optic pin.
Hunting sight: Vital Bow Gear Tombstone. This is a moveable pin sight with a fiber optic pin. I use a 3 pin sight head on the moveable sight for elk hunting and a one pin head for deer hunting, said Hopkins. I set the single pin for 25 yards when deer hunting.
Competition rest: Homemade spring steel launcher that attaches to the Mathews short overdraw.
Competition stabilizer: Shrewd Precision 36 inch
Hunting stabilizer: Sims Dampener and a Vital Bow Gear Triumph It looks like something from another planet, said Hopkins, but it really cuts the vibration in the bow. I am really impressed with everything the guys at Sims make. Their products (Limb Savers and String Leeches) are the only things I've ever tried that you can put on your bow and really feel the difference on the first shot.
Competition release: Carter A-Tension and Hole Thing 3. These are back tension releases. I asked nearly every pro how long they aim. I was only curious. It proved to be rather interesting that they all knew exactly how long — right down to the half second. Jeff Hopkins aims longer than anyone else does on the survey. He is at full draw with his pin on the spot for 12 1/2 to 13 seconds. That would seem like an eternity to a bowhunter who is prone to target panic induced snap shooting.
Hunting release: Scott Mongoose wrist strap single caliper. I don't really try to trigger my hunting release one particular way, said Hopkins. I let the situation dictate how quickly I work the trigger. If the shot is short and the deer is moving, I will punch the trigger. If the shot is longer I'll use the same push, pull, squeeze method that I use when competing.