LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Mel Riggs, manager of Hewitt’s Archery and Pro Shop, shows customer John Randall, left, one of the new hunting bows the store carries, the Bowtech Insanity, Saturday afternoon at the shop.

New gear ready for deer

Published 12:01am Sunday, August 19, 2012

NATCHEZ — Quivers packed with arrows are slowly coming out of their summer hiding places, and bows ready to fire those arrows are starting to be fine tuned with bow hunting season right around the corner.

Archery season begins Oct. 1 in the Miss-Lou and local experts say now is the time to start getting prepared for this year’s hunt.

Along with a fresh start to a new season, new products are starting to emerge for bowhunters who always want to take to the woods with the latest and greatest equipment.

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — A crossbow is one of the new items Hewitt’s Archery and Pro Shop has stocked for the upcoming opening of hunting season on Oct. 1.

Several local hunting outfitters are stocked with the newest bows, arrows and accessories, and each offer different options for top-of-the-line bows.

Hewitt’s Archery and Pro Shop in Ferriday is offering the Bowtech Insanity CPX bow this year, which shoots at 355 feet per second.

“It’s fast and accurate,” owner of Hewitt’s Archery Homer Hewitt said. “When the Invasion came out last year, I said, ‘They would never improve on this bow.’ I harvested a lot of bucks with that bow, but now they have one that’s going to be even better.

“I’m going to have to say the same thing again about this bow, but I’m sure they will make a liar out of me.”

Sports Center is touting the Mathews Heli-m bow this year, and bow technician Jason Wisner said a lot of people have been asking about the new product.

“It’s the lightest bow there is. It weighs just 3.5 pounds,” Wisner said. “These are the best bows in the world. Compact and light are in right now, and this accommodates both factors very well.”

Wisner said Sports Center also carries Mathews’ Mission Line of products, which are high-quality, value-based bows.

Chris Perea, firearms salesman at Bowie Outfitters, said the Prime bow by G5 may be the most high-tech bow the store sells, but if hunters are looking for speed then the Omen by PSE is right up their alley.

The Omen shoots up to 366 feet per second.

There are also new products out this season to help make archery more convenient. Hewitt said his store is offering a stand-by arrow clip that allows the hunter to reload a second arrow quickly and quietly after shooting off the first shot.

“It makes it a double-barrel bow,” Hewitt said.

Hewitt said another new product is an attachment that allows the hunter to clip their smart phone onto the bow. This allows hunters to film their hunts on their phones.

Sports Center and Bowie Outfitters also offer a variety of accessories to make the archery season go more smoothly.

“We have it all,” Wisner said.

All three businesses said Rage is a very popular brand of mechanical broadhead, and Wisner said their latest product provides the hunter with a little bit more firepower.

Rage has increased the spread of its broadhead from 2 inches to 2.3 inches.

“We were seeing tremendous wounds with the 2, but every little bit helps,” Wisner said.

Perea said the Maxima Blue Streak arrow is popular, and it is supposed to stabilize quicker to provide more accuracy.

Crossbows are also a popular product when primitive weapons season rolls around, and Hewitt said they provide a way for hunters to get instant gratification.

“We’ve had people come in, show them how to use the sight (on a crossbow) and go out and harvest a deer that evening,” he said. “With a compound or traditional bow, you have to work on that skill months to get your level up.”

Perea said crossbows are also good for hunters with disabilities.

“They are good for people with injuries that can’t hold a bow at ready,” he said.

Traditional bows are also starting to see an increase in popularity, Hewitt said.

“A small percentage of archers use traditional bows, but I see a lot of young people getting into it,” Hewitt said. “There are no sights, and you have to develop the skill.”

But with all the new technology to help hunters bring home trophy bucks, Hewitt said the most important product has nothing to do with shooting an arrow.

“The safety harness comes first,” Hewitt said. “If you can only take one thing, take your safety harness and leave your bow at home.

“Archery is as safe as badminton, ping pong or volleyball until you go up off the ground, and most injuries happen when you are getting into or out of the tree stand.”

Each store also offers full-time bow technicians to help hunters get their equipment ready for the season, and Wisner said it is always better to start too early than too late.

“It can save everyone a lot of frustration, the retailer and the customer, if you get in early, and we’re more likely to get you fixed up in time,” he said.