From Antique To Upgrade
Q: I've been hunting with my original Allen compound bow that is set at 55 pounds and has 15 percent let off. I'm planning to upgrade and have been searching for a finger shooters' bow. I've looked for the Reflex Caribou and Hoyt Oasis bows, but found that they're no longer in production.
I want to purchase a 60-pound or greater bow that is affordable. Can you make another recommendation or tell me where I can purchase one of the models listed?
-Paul Murat, Bath, New York
A: Wow, I've not heard any mention of the Allen compound in years. That model began the trend that has placed compounds in hunters' hands everywhere. It could be worth money if you wanted to part with it and if the right hunting museum is seeking one for a display.
You might find a bow such as the ones that you mentioned if you visit your local archery pro shops. Hunters are always trading bows and most shops carry used bows that are in great condition. The most important thing is to make sure that the bow is a good fit for your body. Have the shop measure your draw length and try a wide variety of models.
I found that Cabela's offers the Reflex Bighorn-a model with a 40-inch axle-to-axle length. This was the longest length that I could find in the Reflex line, and the bow offers poundage options and draw length adjustments to fit many hunters, plus it's affordable. Visit www.cabelas.com for more details or to order one. Hoyt bows, however, are only available through dealers. I also found the Hoyt Pro Tech with a 43-inch axle-to-axle length. You can discover more details about the bow at www.hoytusa.com.
If you are buying a used bow, you'd be ahead in the game to buy the most recent model that you can afford. There have been numerous changes to bows-from design to materials used-in recent years. It's a buyer's market to your price advantage since some bowhunters use a bow a few years and then trade up for the latest model. Just be sure to look any used bow over carefully, and shoot it, before you open your wallet.
A Hunt For The History
Q: I have an aluminum recurve bow manufactured by Grimes Bow Company of Pontiac, Michigan, in 1953. Can you tell me anything about the bow's quality or value?
-Bruce Lutkins, Prescott, Arizona
A: I checked with Joe St. Charles, noted archery historian and the curator of the Pope and Young/ St. Charles Museum about your bow. According to Joe, the Grimes bows shot well and were popular with a number of archers. Unfortunately, the aluminum limbs became brittle with use and some bows broke and caused injuries. Grimes ceased production of the all-aluminum bows in the late 1950s. "It's not a good idea to shoot these bows with aluminum limbs," Joe cautions. "But these old bows make a good wall hanging and interesting conversation piece. A Grimes bow in good condition would sell today for $50 to $100." I hope this helps you.
-M. R. James
Big Enough For Bears?
Q: I'm new to bowhunting and need some advice. I'm shooting a PSE with a 29-inch draw length and 70 pounds draw weight. I'm using Easton 2413 arrows tipped with 125-grain Muzzy broadheads. Is this setup good enough for black bear hunting?
-Erich Schmidt, Chase, British Columbia
A: Erich, welcome to the adventure of bowhunting. One thing that might immediately help you is trying a different arrow shaft. You don't mention that you're having any problems, but Easton 2514 (340 grains) or 2317 (398 grains) shafts might be a better choice. Both of these are heavier than your 2413 and match your setup better given all the specifications that you mention. Therefore, they might also tune better and help to improve your accuracy. Also, they'll increase your kinetic energy, something that's always important in bowhunting because more energy enhances arrow penetration.
As far as black bear hunting goes, you're fortunate to be in British Columbia-some of the best black bear hunting on the continent. There, because baiting is illegal, you'll have to spot-and-stalk in areas where there are good bear densities. Check with the game department for regions that have good bear numbers, and concentrate your efforts on natural food sources. Bears possess a great sense of smell, but poor eyesight. So, find a good-sized bear, play the wind, approach carefully, and you can get within bow range of a feeding bear. Taking a buddy along with a rifle as back-up is a good idea when you're hunting for a large predator with a bow.