Well, it’s a new year, and for most of us, the recent calendar flip means new plans, hopes, dreams, and commitments. Perhaps “buy a new bow” is penciled in somewhere on your 2022 to-do list. I say “penciled” just in case your mind isn’t made up. If you’re still deciding, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s begin here: My social media newsfeeds are regularly filled with photos of huge bucks taken by bowhunters shooting older bows. I’m not talking about 30-year-old relics, but models that are definitely between five and 15 years old. I also see plenty of world-class bucks being killed with the latest models from top brands. That raises a valid question: If both new and old bows can do the job, should you get a bow this year, or next year for that matter?
The truth is, if you’re happy with your existing bow, buying a new one is a “want,” not a “need.” But every coin has two sides — consider other things that you readily pay for that you don’t necessarily need. Have a stack of lotto scratch-offs that regularly yield nothing? How about those three-times-a-week fast-food meals? If we’re honest, most of us pay for “wants” without thinking twice because it’s easier to justify smaller amounts here and there rather than one large sum. Small as they are, however, they add up.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you should forget everything else in life and put your money solely into purchasing a bow. I’m just saying that if you’ve been wanting a bow that you don’t necessarily need, look at reworking some of those small, expendable purchases and you might discover getting the bow you want is more possible than you thought.
At the same time, some bowhunters out there really do need an upgrade — and deep down, they really want to be a cool kid with the hot new bow for once.
Here are some reasons you can use to talk yourself into buying a bow because we all know that’s what you really want to do.
Do It for the Gains
I can’t, in good conscience, suggest that if you buy a new bow this year it will offer any huge benefits if you just bought the bow you have within the last two or three years. But, if you’re shooting a bow that’s at least five years old, I believe there are undeniable merits of moving ahead into a 2022 model. Is your current bow fully capable of putting venison in the freezer? Absolutely. Even an old “tank” from the 1980s can still do that, as this video from The Hunting Public proves. But current models deliver notable advancements over those released several years ago, and especially over bows at the 10-year-old mark, or older.
Bow manufacturers are continually making compound bow cam systems more efficient and easier to tune with smoother draw cycles. What’s more, bow risers — even on short axle-to-axle bows — are incredibly long today. This delivers the stability of a target bow in the highly maneuverable platform of a hunting bow, and it improves the aiming process.
This can make a bow more accurate with somewhat less effort from the archer, meaning it will let you shoot better than you did with an old bow. That’s how I would describe my Mathews V3X 29. It aims almost effortlessly, despite its diminutive 29-inch axle-to-axle length. When I compare it to bows from even a few years ago, the difference in comfort and stability is truly astounding.
Speed isn’t as important to me as shot placement, which I believe, is everything. Still, today’s top bows boast max speeds of around 340-to-350 fps — some are even faster. That hasn’t changed much in the last few years, but if you’re shooting an older or lower-end bow, today’s flagship models can offer you an incredible speed boost, resulting in better accuracy, and more powerful, reliable hits on animals.
A New Bow Will Make You Shoot More
Who drives a new car off the lot, then parks it in the garage and forgets about it? No one. There’s an excitement associated with purchasing a new car, and most people look for any excuse to fire it up and put rubber to pavement. Buying a bow is like that. I bet you’ll shoot it more often than you do your current bow, and that’s always a good thing.
Plus, there’s the fun of getting a bow tuned just right.
I’ve been an archery and bowhunting fanatic all my life. I love tinkering with, tuning, and becoming deadly with a new bow. That means I typically spend more time with that bow than one that’s been dialed and tuned.
When you shoot a bunch of arrows, you develop familiarity with your equipment, plus you create muscle memory, which is crucial to shooting consistently well. If you don’t shoot your current bow much, perhaps buying a new one will give you a reason to shoot more arrows and become a better overall archer.
You’ll Have a Backup Bow
If you can afford to purchase a bow without selling or trading in your current one, you can easily keep your current bow as an insurance policy. If something unexpected should go wrong during hunting season — the bowstring becomes frayed or a limb splinters — you’ll have a well-tested and familiar backup to hunt with while your newer bow is out of commission. And that means you won’t miss precious time in the woods.
A backup bow is probably more important than you think. I mean, 90% of the time, nothing is likely to happen that would prevent you from hitting the woods during your rut vacation or 10-day elk hunt you’ve waited all year for. But if some malfunction or breakdown with your bow occurs, you’ll be SOL without your trusty backup bow.
When You Shouldn’t Buy a New Bow
Yes, moving into a 2022 bow model will give you technological advancements, especially if you’re unhappy with your current bow. Yes, it often means a speed boost. Yes, it will most likely be more comfortable and perhaps a little more accurate due to increased stability and efficiency. But buying a new bow isn’t the right move for everyone.
This should go without saying; if you’re strapped financially, keep your current bow. A bow isn’t worth maxing out your credit card(s) or missing mortgage or rent payments. It isn’t worth putting undue stress on your family. You can always work toward buying a new bow in the future, but reversing debt or recultivating peace in a currently stressed-out home is so much harder to do.
Also, if you have enough money to buy a new bow but just bought one last year, consider putting the money toward an out-of-state hunting adventure. Everyone has unique situations, both financially and personally. Be honest with yourself and your family, and let your conscience guide you, hopefully, in the right direction.
To that end, bow manufacturers have unveiled some truly awesome bow models for us to choose from this year, so if you’ve decided to move forward after reading this article, you’re in for a great shopping experience. But there’s no shame in seeing those prices and noping out, and there’s nothing wrong with being happy with the bow you have and focusing on shooting and becoming more proficient with it.