Is That, Like, a Full-Sized Bow?
I shot as a fill-in for a local archery league last night. About 20 arrows in, one of the guys in my squad turned to me and asked, “Is that, like, a full-sized bow?”
I turned and looked at him, not sure if he was serious, and then turned and looked back at my bow hanging on the hook. It sure looked full-sized to me…
Maybe it’s the fact that I stand 5 ft tall. Maybe it’s the pig-tails. Maybe it’s the fact that my carbon arrows aren’t much longer than crossbow bolts. Maybe it’s my 24-inch draw.
Whatever the reason, my Hoyt Carbon Defiant didn’t quite hit him as being a “big kid” bow, in his words. I have to admit, he’s not the only person who has asked that question.
When I started shopping for a replacement for my PSE Stiletto Verge, I visited countless bow shops in search of a “big kid” bow that was in stock in my draw length that I could try and shoot.
All the well-meaning advice of “just shoot anything you can to see what you like” was proving to be easier said than done. Most women’s bows at that time were available in a draw length of 25 inches and up. That didn’t help me much.
Most of the pro shops I walked into tried to talk me into a youth bow. Their main selling point? “It will grow with you!” I hate to say it, but at 33 years old, I ain’t growin’. This is as good as it’s going to get. My draw length isn’t going to magically hit 26.5 inches in 2 years.
After 5 months of frustrating and unproductive pro shop visits, I discovered (on the Hoyt website, not at a dealer) that nearly every Hoyt compound bow was available with a #1, #2 or #3 size cam system. That meant that my draw length of 24 inches was available in the “big kid” bow I had wanted from the get go! The Hoyt Carbon Defiant.
I’m going to repeat that: the Hoyt.Carbon.Defiant. In my mind, the holy grail of bows and the bow that felt best in my hand could be ordered to fit me!!!!
Next hurdle: Finding a dealer who would order a $1500 bare bow with a 24-inch draw in my preferred colors so I could shoot it and confirm. I had only had an opportunity to shoot a few arrows out of one, but it was at 26 inches of draw. Once my brain got past the arm slap from a hyper extended elbow, it was hard to develop any warm fuzzies about the bow.
Enter Jay’s Sporting Goods in Gaylord. Huuggge shout out to their archery department! I called and told them what I wanted from draw length to string colors. Their response? “Yes, Ma’am. We’ll have it in 2 weeks and will call you when it comes in.”
Fantastic! Progress! So, the day arrived and over to Gaylord we went. Armed with snacks and books, we settled the kids in to a pop up blind and I eagerly picked up the Hoyt Carbon Defiant.
She was all set up just for me. 24 inches of smooth as butter draw cycle made the 50 lbs feel like 30. Wow! The perfectly contoured grip fit my small hand as though it had been made for it. Even without a single component on it (including a stabilizer), it was absolutely dead still in my hand. She was quiet, still, steadfast and seemed to say, “yes, I’m yours, darling, and I belong here.”
I shot 20 arrows bare bow and said, “yep! Let’s do it!” I had a list of every component I wanted on her. My first item was the Axcel Accuhunter Single Pin Adjustable sight. I have been a multi-pin archer since I started shooting archery about 5 years ago. I am easily distracted and wanted to keep my user interface simple and clean.
Next, was the Hoyt QAD drop away rest. I loved the ergonomics of the drop-away mechanism. As a right-handed shooter, I can hold the grip in my left hand, nock the arrow with the right hand and effortlessly flip the forks up using the handle to the right of the riser. It is a simple, efficient and highly effective mechanism. The best part? It’s ultra quiet for those awkward treestand moments when stealth is paramount.
Next, is the stabilizer. I went against a few opinions and selected the Axion 4 inch stabilizer. I had Axion components on my last bow and really like the function and aesthetic.
I looked at some larger stabilizers but wanted a universal rig for both hunting and target uses. I didn’t want to have 2 stabilizers with upwards of a foot in stabilization protuberances. I wanted a streamlined set up that was lethal and functional in the woods and effective on the range. Additionally, the Hoyt Carbon Defiant was such a still and gentle bow in the hand, there really wasn’t anything I needed to compensate for with a massive stabilizer.
Quiver – for a quiver I went with the standard Hoyt quiver. It can hold 4 arrows and it clips seamlessly onto my sight/riser assembly. The broadheads snuggle in nice and tight, but it also holds my field points well. I love how flawless this quiver integrates into my Carbon Defiant.
For shafts, I have two sets. First, I have the Easton FMJ limited edition Autumn Orange shafts. I love the oomph of aluminums with the advantages of carbon. They are a great hunting arrow because they can deliver the energy I want. The downside? They’re HEAVY…. They drop quite a bit past 30 yards.
So, for longer range, non-hunting applications, I like my Easton Carbon Da’Torch shafts. They are super light, weighing in at a whopping 6.3 GPI. To make sure I adjust accordingly, I have two different sight tapes for my Axcel Accuhunter sight.
The finishing touch? My Sling-A-Ling. Check.it.out! It’s a splendid fusion of wrist sling and carrying utility all in a fabulous paracord interface. It is such an effective set-up, I leave it on year-round! Check out www.BONEWHACKER.com for more info, options and colors! Amazing company! They have a huge focus on paying it forward to veterans.
The point of the last 1000 words? I have a Defiant because #IAmDefiant. I was able to find the bow that fit me only because I gave “no” for an answer. No, I don’t want a kid’s bow. No, I’m not going to shoot a bow that doesn’t fit me just because it has pink or teal on it. No, I don’t want to shoot those arrows just because they have pink on them. The spine’s all wrong for my draw length…
Be your own advocate. When the trigger is squeezed and the arrow flies, it’s on you. Did you select the gear that fits? Did you compile the components that work for you? And, more importantly, did you hone your skills with the gear you selected so that your shots were swift, effective and true?
I found my inner #Defiant. What’s yours?