If heading up the annual F&S Best of the Best bow test has taught me anything it’s this: Brand loyalty is silly. I’m not here to ridicule fanboys. Being over the moon for one brand to the exclusion of all others is understandable, I suppose, if a particular company has exceeded your expectations, and it might even make sense when one company clearly and consistently makes the best product.
But that is simply not the case with bows. There are so many good compounds being made today that giving your loyalty to any one particular company is worse than unreasonable; it doesn’t serve you well.
Take, for example, the bow I’ll be hunting with this fall, the Elite Energy 35. Only a few years ago, I’d never heard of Elite (because they were brand new). But we tested their Hunter model for the 2013 Best of the Best Awards, and the entire team was impressed. The Hunter was such a pleasant bow to shoot that it won runner-up honors, and in this year’s test Elite notched the same finish with the Energy.
Back to me. I was not shooting particularly well this past summer and couldn’t figure out why. Then, for some reason, I remembered the Elite’s rock-solid back wall. I like to feel in complete control of the bow, from the start of the draw to touching off the shot, to shoot my best. So, a concrete-like back wall is important to me.
So I got my hands on and Energy 35, and my shooting improved almost overnight. The bow has other features that I’m sure helped—an easy draw cycle; lack of vibration; and a slim, pleasant grip; and the bow just fits me well. Sure, the Energy is slower than a bunch of others on the market, but I’ll trade a few feet per second for better accuracy any day.
Some of you will think I’m now an Elite fanboy. You’re wrong. The company could build a clunker of a bow next year, and I wouldn’t hesitate for one second to say so. The point here is that searching for the right bow for you—not the newest model from the same brand you or your buddy or your favorite celebrity hunter has always touted—is critically important.
Go to a good pro shop that has a range and a service tech that will let you shoot as many brands as they have. Then go to a different shop and shoot theirs. Shoot your buddy’s bows. Shoot as many bows as you can, any way you can. Then pick the one you shoot the best and enjoy.
And if you’ve haven’t shot an Elite yet, we’re going to give you the chance. I liked their 2014 flagship bow so much, I called them up and asked if they would give you guys a chance to win their brand-new 2015 top model, which will be the prize in this Friday’s buck-scoring contest. So stay tuned.