Q: I've been bowhunting for more than 30 years, and I started with Microflight and Duroflight fiberglass arrows. When they were no longer available I graduated to Easton XX75 aluminum shafts, which I've used since. I've been thinking about moving to carbon fiber arrows, but I'm very concerned about the shafts breaking and the potential for the carbon fibers to get into the meat. How safe are they?
-Frank Spizziri/via e-mail
A: It sounds like we have the same background with arrows, as I also started with wood shafts, then Microflights and then XX75s before graduating to carbon. I've killed many animals with carbon shafts and on most of my shots I've experienced complete pass-throughs using carbon arrows tipped with Phantom or Steel Force broadheads.
However, I've also killed a number of animals where the shaft remained in the animal. That said, I've never had the slightest problem with carbon fibers in the meat and have never worried about it. I've used several different brands of carbon shafts and they all perform better than I can shoot. I've shot and had excellent results with Gold Tip, Carbon Extreme, Cabela's Stalker Extreme and Carbon Impact. Choose a carbon shaft that matches your draw length and draw weight, and go for it. I guarantee you'll be glad you did.
Too Old To Hunt?
Q: I read Mark Kayser's answer regarding the use of old bows in the "Bowhunting Q&A" column of the April/May 2007, issue of North American Hunter and it made me wonder if the bows I'm shooting are inadequate. I have a Jennings T-Star and a Hoyt Pro Advantage, and I currently use the Hoyt bow 90 percent of the time for elk and deer hunting. Both bows are set in the 60- to 65-pound draw weight range, and I shoot both with my fingers. Are these bows too old and past their prime for hunting?
-Gary Phillips/Denver, Colorado
A: I owned a Jennings T-Star Hunter after being inspired by Chuck Adams' use of Jennings bows back in the mid- to late-1980s. A limb eventually cracked on my old Jennings, which forced me to retire it, but with youthful exuberance I was ready to try the new compound bow models springing onto the market. Like your body, if you take care of the bow you should be able to look forward to years of enjoyment from it. How many years, exactly, depends on your care and how much use the bow receives.
You'll want to bring your bow in to an archery shop for a checkup as it ages- I'd suggest bringing any bow 10 years or older in to an archery shop each year for an annual checkup. Your Hoyt Pro Advantage was either manufactured in 1992 or 1993 according to Hoyt reps, which means you're potentially shooting a 15-year-old bow. Even if the pro shop gives your bow a clean bill of health, keep a watchful eye on the limbs, strings, cables and any fractures that could indicate the beginning of a potentially harmful mishap.
In the end, if you're happy with the bow's performance who am I to say whether it's too old? For fun, visit a pro shop of your choosing, shoot a new model- Hoyt or others- and compare it to your Pro Advantage. I'll bet you a dozen arrows you'll ask yourself why you didn't retire your old bow sooner.
Q: I'm in the market for new full-sized binoculars. Most of my bowhunting takes place in the Midwest, primarily for whitetails and wild turkeys. What do you recommend?
-Chris Gulden/St. Michael, MN
A: Recently my dad, brother and I field-tested 12 full-sized binoculars ranging in price from $290-$1,650. Our test took place on the farm fields of Wisconsin, and we rated each bino for daylight clarity, low-light performance, center focus adjustment and overall comfort. We glassed whitetails from long range, both before and well after sunset.
The model receiving the most first-place votes was the Zeiss 8X42mm Victory. At $1,500 the Victory certainly isn't an inexpensive purchase, but I can guarantee you'll be blown away by its performance. Surprisingly, the model that took second place was the least expensive model in our test, the Nikon 8X42mm ATB. At $290, the ATB performed on par- or even better- than binos costing twice to three times as much.