A Bowhunter's Guide to Choosing Between Fall-Away and Capture Model Arrow Rests

Which type of arrow rest is best suited for a hunting bow? There's no simple answer to such a seemingly simple question, largely because most of the latest models fall into two fundamentally different categories, leaving hunters divided between them.

For some people, a fall-away rest--which employs a mechanical device that drops the rest out of the way just as the arrow is released--makes perfect sense. No fletching contact translates into extreme accuracy and total silence, qualities very few archers would argue against.

On the other side of the debate are capture rests. These surround the arrow and hold it in place under any conditions, using materials such as nylon bristles, foam, or polished metal. With no mechanical devices to fail and minimal tuning needed to achieve sufficient accuracy, the simplicity and reliability of a capture rest is preferred by just as many serious bowhunters.

Which rest is better for you? That depends entirely on your hunting style and philosophy. If you're obsessed with tournament-level accuracy and pursue game in conditions that aren't apt to knock your arrow off the rest, such as from an enclosed box stand or ground blind, fall-aways like the Trophy Ridge Drop Zone ($125- $139; 406-388-7781; trophyridge.com) will shoot better. On the other hand, if you're likely to hunt in high winds, to stalk or still-hunt game in rugged country, or to sit where branches could snag on your arrow, a capture rest like Carolina Archery Products' Whisker Biscuit ($36- $66; 919-245-1400; carolinaarcheryprod.com) will keep your arrow ready at all times and provide the confidence that comes from using no-fail equipment, with sufficient accuracy and silence for almost any game.

Of course, a rest that incorporates the best qualities of each style would be ideal, and the QAD Ultra-Rest ($110; 800-932-4868; qadinc.com) attempts to do just that. The Ultra features a deeply forked launcher and a horizontal bar that sits above the arrow, ensuring that your shaft will stay put under all but extreme conditions. When you release, the launcher drops down, eliminating fletching contact. Though it's not as foolproof as a capture rest, the concept is sound and provides an innovative compromise. At these prices, however, it could start another debate: How much is too much to spend on an arrow rest?

TROPHY RIDGE DROP ZONE: This rest's launcher falls away for perfectly unimpeded arrow flight. WHISKER BISCUIT: A capture rest completely surrounds your arrow, so it can't fall off at a critical moment.