The field of archery gear keeps expanding, and the options available to today’s hunters can at times be overwhelming. Enhancements to bows are a regular event, so one might be forgiven if it seemed overwhelming to select the perfect bow. There’s one tried-and-true way, however, to ensure that the bow you choose is right for you, and that’s to do what the editors of North American Whitetail did: Take practice shots with each bow.


Rather than subject our bows to scientific conditions, measuring arrow speeds and decibel levels, we simply picked up these eight bows, examined them and shot them, just like we would have done if we’d walked into a bow shop looking for next season’s killing machine.

To level the playing field, we took each of the bows to my local bow shop—The Huntin’ Shack in Cartersville, Ga.—and asked owner P.J. Johnson to set up each of the bows to the same specifications.

Each of the bows was set with a 26.5-inch draw length and a 57-pound draw weight, and each was fitted with a nock loop and an Apache Carbon arrow rest from New Archery Products. We did not outfit the bows with sights, stabilizers or wrist slings, and we used a Scott Archery release to draw and shoot each bow.

Whittington and I shot each of the eight bows in random order in a series of “evaluations.” First, we focused on the overall “comfort” level of the bow, paying particular attention to the grip, the balance and the weight of the bow. Second, we focused on the draw cycle of the bow. And third, we scrutinized each bow’s performance upon and after the shot, looking for perceptible levels of hand-shock, vibration, noise and general stability.

In all, the editors tried out eight of the newest models to hit the market. Follow the link to read the full reviews.