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Monday, March 17, 2014

Make the shot EVERY TIME!

On weekends, our Kodabow factory range is used for archery instruction. We watch hundreds of shooters process information, develop form and shoot at targets.
Whether shooting a traditional bow or a crossbow, here are 2 obstacles every shooter needs to overcome to make the critical shot - every time!

Scenario One:  At 15 yards, our friend Mary Jane (name changed for this article) couldn't miss when shooting her recurve traditional bow. Arrow after arrow found the center of the 17" square target. Mary Jane then stepped back to 20 yards and arrows began flying everywhere. She barely could get the arrows on the 48" square target butt. What happened? 
Analysis: At 15 yards, Mary Jane was seeing the target clearly and was focused on the center 3" yellow X ring. At 20 yards, everything changed. Instead of seeing the same yellow aim point, her mind processed the situation differently and the large 48" square target unconsciously became her aim point. Visually -- Mary Jane was fine but her mental state needed to be pushed to make this type of distance and visual adjustment.  It requires mental work to get in the moment and shoot "small" and reorient to the X ring. Don't be lazy and just see a large massive target. As her instructor, we changed things up and placed a 3" balloon at 20 yards and her very next arrow hit the mark. Full mental engagement again. This scenario could have easily been a hunting situation when a hunter makes the mistake of aiming at the "deer" instead of a small target point in the vitals area.  
Scenario Two: On the range, Fred was shooting well at paper targets but was not setting the world on fire by any means. We suggested Fred shift over and shoot his bow at a 3D deer target.  At this point, 20,000 years of genetics and hard wired DNA magically kicked in. Fred sized up the "foam" game animal. Arrows began finding their mark more consistently and with every shot, there was the equivalent of a fist pump going down on the range. High intensity was apparent. We were under florescent lights but in Fred's mind, he was in the wilds of Alaska or Africa.
Analysis: To hunt effectively, your mental state must include an intensity level that provides you with the fortitude to properly make a "killing shot." Hunting is an exercise where a lackadaisical or casual attitude delivers failure. I think Fred harnessed the hunting legacy of generations of his ancestors. Buried deep inside all of us is the primitive bow hunter of 10,000 years ago. There is no other explanation that explains the exceptional transformations that we see on the archery range every day. Something special "kicks in" for many shooters and a quiet, reserved young lady new to archery can begin launching arrows at a game target with a sense of purpose and ferocity as if her next meal depended on making the shot. She may never intend to hunt a day in her life but the act of shooting awakens that "bow hunter" in us and it feels good. There is always a smile. And for those who choose to make the progression and actually head to the field and hunt, you must WORK to mentally prepare to be fully in the moment. Be ready to make a "killing shot" ---- it is not (1) any shot, or a (2) casual shot or (3) a shot that may or may not be good or (4) a hurried or haphazard shot. It is a killing shot  - a perfect shot honed by practice and taken with focus, the fullest sense of purpose and 100% intensity.  See you out there!  
My best, Chuck @ Kodabow 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Making an Impression

Chuck (L) & Kyle (R) with the big smile!
Trade shows are a big part of the outdoor industry. Since the same vendors see each other frequently over many years, friendships are formed. A year or so ago, Kodabow attended a show in Maryland at a County Fairgrounds. Instead of staying in a hotel room and with Sam, our Labrador in mind, we thought it would be fun to "camp" at the site. It was 8 PM and while walking the dog, Chuck came upon a backpack in a field adjacent to the Show Hall. No one was around. Folks were at dinner or headed to their hotels and the Fairgrounds were now deserted. There was no identification on the bag so Chuck pulled the zipper open and saw hundreds and hundreds of dollar bills.  (There was actually $15,000 in the bag.) Well ...with nothing to be done for the moment, Chuck and Sam turned in for the night and stowed the bag safely in the truck. Around 11 PM, there were voices and activity in the field. Chuck and Sam headed over and found Kyle frantically walking around in the dark and asked him what was up. Kyle was a vendor at the Show selling trail cameras. He said that he and his brother had lost a bag of checks and receipts from the last few trade shows they had attended on the show circuit. They had been looking around all night since they realized at dinner they lost their money. They were both very, very devastated. Chuck reached in his truck and handed them the backpack as they stared in disbelief. Whenever these boys see Chuck, they always yell out --"Hey Kodabow - we love you!) $15,000 is a lot of money. An event like that makes a long lasting impression. 
Channing from Alabama shooting a Kodabow.

We like tradeshows for one reason. Folks get to meet us and shoot our crossbow. We then get emails like this one from Jeff.

Dear Kodabow,
 I have been shooting all the top brand crossbows for a few months and thought I had found the perfect crossbow until I shot the Kodabow at the sportsman show in Harrisburg. I couldn’t believe a crossbow could be so accurate or be built with such quality. I got the bow home and showed it to my wife and then just sat and stared at it that night for a while until my wife said, “I’m going to bed. You need to make a decision, me or the bow”. I’m not stupid. I went to bed.  Jeff

Jeff made the right decision. Keep the spouse happy! At the recent Great American Outdoor Show in PA, we shot a single crossbow for 9 days straight. (Two weekends and 5 days in between.) We couldn't help but notice that there wasn't much crossbow shooting going on in other booths. More talk --- less shooting. Much less. Folks noticed and told us .... "Kodabow is shooting more than all the other companies combined."   Keep that in mind if you are thinking about a crossbow. 
Long after the trade show marketing chit chat is a distant memory, a crossbow needs to shoot and be reliable. An event like that makes a long lasting impression.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


100% Genuine and Authentic is a huge compliment when dealing with people or products.  
At Kodabow, it is our culture to be straightforward and we are rewarded with customers who feel very positive about our company and product. This was in an email this morning and is pretty normal around here.

"Just dropping a note to let you guys know I got my new Bravo Zulu and I love it! I opened the box Tuesday night and it just screamed quality when I started taking it out of the box. I am very impressed with the fit and finish of the bow. I started shooting it in my basement after assembly. The trigger is awesome, so much better than my other crossbow (--deleted---) I bought this bow sight unseen never handled one until I took it out of the box. I am glad I made the purchase! You guys make a beautiful crossbow. A few deer in 3C Susquehanna County are in trouble this coming fall season. Hope to see you guys at the Harrisburg Show next month. - Bob D."

We just returned from the SHOT Show 2014 and with the explosive growth in the firearms business, the Show is "over the top" more than ever with tremendous booths, glitz and Las Vegas glitter. Many attendees have T-Shirts that say things like "Special Operation Group" or come dressed with combat boots and sharp tactical pants appearing ready to rappel from the nearest helicopter. But the front lines are a long way from the Vegas strip. The realization is that many of these guys never had a day of military service or never worked for one of the 3 letter agencies. They are not authentic in the true sense of the word but it is all part of the Show and why not be part of it. (By the way, none of the real spec ops types I meet ever dress this way. The wear jeans, a plaid shirt and loafers - go figure.) But if you scratch the surface, you can still find authenticity like Kelly Glenn-Kimbro. We spent time with Kelly in the Ruger booth where she has reigned as the "Ruger Girl" for 25 years. She and her husband, father and daughter run a ranch in Arizona along the Mexican border. Their land goes right to the border fence. They have mules and dogs and are world famous for their mountain lion hunting adventures. Search the internet and the operation is described as the "real deal." The 10 day hunting experience is authentic and Kelly and her family know their stuff based on both their success and their client's reviews. She is a lady who can deliver the goods with a revolver - 4 inch barrel please -- or shoot a mountain lion on the run with her rifle. Give her a Scout rifle in .308 and she will show you a few things. Listen deeper and the changing life and realities of the Malpais become clear. Malpais is a Spanish word for badlands and this is where the big cats roam that go to 150 lbs. Things changed in 1978 when the first drug smuggler was caught crossing their ranch lands. Today, 36 years later, the Border Patrol catches drug runners nearly every day on the ranch as they make their way North to the US through the mountains and gulches. Every once in awhile, the running dogs, racing mountain lion and Kelly with her hunters riding mules accidently intersect with a drug smuggler and as the drug guys drop their load and run, they must be thinking about the spectacle and their bad luck. They must surely wonder what the heck they just ran into. It is pleasant to be around folks like Kelly who are genuine.

The civilian market follows the trends in military weapons and clothing and the SHOT Show is packed with products that had their origins in military use. We have adapted some of these products for use on the Kodabow with great success but the Kodabow is not a military weapon.  That would not be authentic. It is simply a great hunting tool and as one dealer told us recently, "everything my customers aim at with a Kodabow ends up on the ground dead."  We believe we make a genuine product and in the end, being authentic is important.  See you at the NRA Show!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Kodabow Hunter of the Year 2013 - Jim Aken

Each year at Kodabow, we name and recognize our Kodabow Hunter of the Year.
Jim's Kodabow next to William's Kodabow in Africa.
William is Jim's PH. (Professional Hunter.) 
The award is based on significant accomplishment in the field with a Kodabow Crossbow.  In 2012, Nick Stumpo was our Kodabow Hunter of the Year for his exceptional whitetail taken in Northern New Jersey with his Kodabow Bravo Zulu. For 2013, we are proud to award this honor to Jim Aken following his 2nd trip to Africa with his Kodabow Big Rhino.  For the balance of 2013 and for 2014, we will be searching for next year’s 2014 recipient among the Kodabow Hunting Community.

Editor’s Note:   We sat down with Jim and talked about his recent trip after his return from Africa in September 2013.  Just a few generations ago, Africa was unknown in many ways and those who visited perceived the Continent to be wild, harsh and a dangerous place. Only brave explorers dared to travel there in search of adventure.  Today, the trip is far more manageable but there remains the opportunity for the unexpected. Jim is technically oriented, methodical, experienced and thoughtful. Here is Jim’s story

K:   Jim – thank you for visiting with us and congratulations are in order after another successful adventure. How many trips have you made to Africa?
Jim:   This year was my 7th trip to Africa. 

K. What did you bring home on this trip?
Jim:  I was successful on a Sable, Lichtenstein Hartebeest, Chobe Bushbuck, Reedbuck, Puku, and a Bushpig in Mkushi, Zambia, this year.  Zambia and the Mumembe Ranch was a terrific experience. Zambia is not as well developed as some of the other areas I have hunted.  In South Africa, for instance, it is common to archery hunt at waterholes and in some cases there would be a pit blind dug into the ground expressly designed for bowhunting. On this trip, it was all spot and stalk except for the Bushpig hunt which we did from a blind at night because Bushpigs are nocturnal.

Jim and a trophy Zambian Sable. 
A large Sable can reach 600 lbs. 

K. What was the most exciting part of the trip?

Although it is not a game species, it had to be the Black Mamba, one of the deadliest snakes in the world. We were in the truck travelling slowly along a road when the 2 trackers in the back of the truck began yelling loudly “Snake, Snake!”   I was riding up front and saw a 10’ Black Mamba coming out of the grass apparently planning to attack the truck.  Now, they tell me this aggressive snake can go through the bush at 14 mph, with 1/3 of its body length upright and can strike upwards at half its body length. So imagine a snakehead about 3 feet above the ground headed your way.  William, my PH, threw his hat at the snake’s head to distract it, and shouted to me to “roll up the windows.”  They hate that snake over there. Unless you get to a hospital in 15 minutes, it is 100% mortality rate. The neurotoxin is powerful and the snake injects a level about 1000 times more than is required to kill a person.  So basically, you end up paralyzed and die pretty quick from suffocation. The PH and trackers grabbed big sticks and chased after the snake knocking it down and slowing it. Since I had the only weapon which was my Kodabow, I followed and when I caught up with them, they had beaten the Mamba into submission and I severed its head with a broadhead. This was my first Black Mamba experience in 7 trips.

Jim and his first Black Mamba

K.  What do you like about the Kodabow. This was your second trip to Africa with a Kodabow and you now have a lot of experience under your belt with our product?

I like everything about the bow. I mean EVERYTHING. When you first receive your Kodabow, you will notice the workmanship, how well the parts fit together, how tight the joints are, how nice the finish is, etc.  When you take it to the range, you will see that it is extremely accurate and just has the raw horsepower needed for big game.  Then, when you go hunting with it, you will see how ‘traveler-friendly’ it is.  Airlines are continually restricting baggage allowances (both weight and size), so the ability to take down the Kodabow to fit in a small space is a tremendous advantage when travelling, both here in the U.S. and on international flights.  I take the bow down all the way, put it in a small box (just like in Kodabow's YouTube  video) and stick it in my luggage. The limbs come off and the rail ends up as the largest piece.  When I put all the pieces together in Africa, it is impressive that the bow shoots to the same place as when it was sighted-in back in the US. I shoot in camp and might make a minor adjustment but it is very minor.  It is just simpler than dealing with a big case and the airline hassles. 
I shoot the 225 Big Rhino because of its tremendous power that I find useful on some the larger animals in Africa.  The Sable hunt emerged as an opportunity while I was there.  I would have preferred  600-650 grain arrows for the Sable, and the Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest.  The Kodabow Big Rhino handles all these weights well .  It shoots the 475 grain arrows fast and flat, and it has the horsepower to shoot much heavier arrows, as well.

The Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest
I personally wouldn’t take a compound crossbow to Africa. This trip, I almost clipped a bowstring as I was handling an arrow. It would have not been an issue with my Kodabow.  A hunter might be spending $1,500 or more, per day during his time in Africa. The last thing you want to be doing is fooling around with your bow. I have seen guys lose 3 days on a trip because of bow issues. Another thing I like about the Kodabow is the maintenance. There is none!
K. You seem to work hard at hunt preparation and know your arrows. How did you work up these arrow setups?

I design my arrows for the animals I am hunting on any given trip.  This year my main objective was a Chobe Bushbuck and Puku.  In other words, animals about 8-12 inches thick through the chest area.   I decided on an arrow/broadhead combination of about  475 grains and an FOC of slightly over 21%.  Shot from my Kodabow Big Rhino, this arrow yields a Momentum of 0.66 slug/ft/sec. and 103+ ft/lbs of kinetic energy .  I had pass-through penetration on the Bushbuck and Puku sized animals. But, I would have preferred a heavier arrow for the Sable and Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest, animals considerably thicker through the chest area; something with a Momentum of 0.7 or 0.8; which would be an arrow of about 600-650 grains.

The nocturnal Bushpig - hunted in darkness from a blind
K. What broadhead do you use?

I have been using German Kinetics Silver Flame broadheads.  They are a two-blade broadhead made of hardened stainless steel and an aircraft grade aluminum ferrule.  When I first met William Drummond, my PH (Professional Hunter), he was here in the USA (before my first trip to Africa), I showed him a 3 bladed broadhead I intended to use. He looked at it and told me it was not so good for Africa. He said the steel is not hardened, so the tip might curl at impact and related that they had bad experience tracking African animals that were shot with a weak non-hardened broadhead.  He recommended the German Kinetics, which is what I shoot now. They are 2-3 times the price of regular broadheads, but I travel a long way to hunt and this is one thing I can do to prevent problems on the hunt.
Some of the animals like a Warthog roll around in the mud. They can have stones and rocks buried in the hair and hide, somewhat like a stucco coating. This layer of stucco on the animal can rip the thin razor blade broadhead blades off before the broadhead gets into the animal. As you can see, you need both the power to get through that layer of stucco, and the durability to get through it.  With these broadheads and my Big Rhino, it is usually like tracking a train after a shot and my typical recovery distance is 30-40 yards that is if I do my part and place my arrow correctly.

K. Hunting can sometimes be uncertain.  I will ask the difficult question. Did you have 100% recovery on every shot taken this trip?
The Bushpig hunt was a challenge.  First of all, pigs are durable.  Everyone who has hunted feral hogs in the U.S., or Eurasian wild boar, or any other porcine species is amazed at how they keep going when they should be dead.  Secondly, the hunt was at night, since they are nocturnal. I made a shot on a Bushpig and didn’t recover the animal. We had a trail out to about 100 yards and then nothing. We returned in the morning during daylight and found nothing. Given the circumstances, I might have made a shot that was not as good as I thought at the time in the darkness. Other than that, the outcomes were all spectacular which I attribute to a great PH, a terrific Kodabow crossbow and solid performing arrows.

K. Tell me about your PH. Good guy? Have you hunted with him several times?

William Drummond is his name.  I met William at Chorongo Safaris, in South Africa.  I hunt with him every year.  He is dependable, good natured, and knows his stuff. That is what I look for.  When you archery hunt in Africa, it is important that the PH really knows archery hunting.  As a bowhunter, you should feel welcome and not be treated as a 2nd class citizen or feel merely tolerated.  William has been a bowhunter since he was a kid, and really knows archery hunting.  
You spend a lot of time with your PH and in the end, it should be fun.  Africa is always full of surprises. For the first time hunter going to Africa, do your research and go with a solid PH.  Meet  him in the USA in advance if possible. They attend trade shows, so  use that opportunity to personally communicate your expectations.  Africa can be done economically to get your feet wet.  Hunt plains game and establish a proper budget.

K:  What is a typical day of hunting in Africa?

We are up at 5:30 AM and have breakfast. The day will depend on the particular animal we are after. It might change based on what animals were seen on previous days in the field.  After breakfast, we have a plan put together.  We typically hunt until dark or near dark, then it is back to the lapa for supper and discussion of the day’s hunt, and plans for the next day.

The elusive Puku

K:   What are you and William talking about next year?
William wants me to consider a hippo and a crocodile with my Kodabow. That has me thinking.  He has a Kodabow ‘Big Rhino,’ and knows what it will handle.  A hippo is going to be about 3 ft. thick through the chest area, and have a very thick hide, so we are looking at the absolute maximum performance we can get from the bow, and an arrow probably in excess of 1000 grains.

A crocodile will require a fishing arrow attached to a float.  So, there will be the added drag of the line attached to a heavy arrow.  I will spend a lot of time this year working on that issue and coming to grips with what that might entail.
Hunting with William has been a real blessing.  I am now  looking at 17 animals in the SCI (Safari Club International) Record Book in the Crossbow Segment. We have had tremendous success together.

K:  Any downsides to the trip?
The flight from the US is absolute murder;  16+ hours from the East coast of the U.S. to Johannesburg.  It is long but there is no other way to get there. The flight just lasts forever.  What was good about this trip is that I took a small plane back from camp to Lusaka which saved about 4 ½ hours of driving, and a bunch of potholes.

K.  Are you ever concerned about your safety in Africa?  I am not talking about the Black Mamba – well. I guess that needs to be considered too. But I think many US hunters shy away from Africa because of perceived danger. Is that fair?
Of course, you want to stay away from countries with unstable governments and civil wars in progress, but the southern African countries have stable governments.  South Africa is a country with lots of hunting opportunities and a stable democratic government.  Similarly, Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia have stable political situations.  Zimbabwe’s government and economy is in shambles, but a major portion of their money comes from hunting, so hunters are well received there.

Some Americans might have a view of Africa that is based on what they have seen in Tarzan movies. That is a typical American viewpoint.  Around Johannesburg, South Africa, for instance, 97% of the people speak English (the Queen’s English). The city is the size of LA and just like any major city, there are places to stay away from.  There are suburbs that look just like Albuquerque and there are symphonies and operas, and there are also high crime rate areas, just like any major city. However, there are no giraffes or elephants on the runway when you land. It could be Los Angeles from an airplane window. 
And as far as snakes, my bet is that if a hunter travels to Texas 7 times in a row, they will come across a rattlesnake before it’s all over.  On your hunt, your Professional Hunter will advise you about any dangers in the immediate area, such as snakes, big cats, hippos, crocs, etc.  Your PH will tell you of any dangers, so just pay attention and do what he says.  All in all, probably the most dangerous part of your hunt is the drive on public roads from your house to the airport.

K. Thank you for sharing your insights. Hunting in Africa is an adventure. Best of success in 2014!  - Chuck Matasic / Kodabow

Saturday, October 12, 2013

18 Yards on a Saturday Morning

Saturday Morning, 12 October, 2013
Editor's Note: Listening to a hunter describe his deer hunt is never as good as writing your own story. At Kodabow, our goal is to support you in your hunting endeavors so you fully achieve your hunting ambitions with great equipment and positive outcomes.
I first scouted the property 2 years ago but had never hunted it. It was a small woodlot of 9 acres and it was easy to visualize how the deer would move.
After quietly pulling into the driveway and  turning off the headlights on the F-150, I eased into the woods in the dark. There was no rush. I could smell the oak tree and acorns. Oak trees stay in the same place -- they never move --- and in a deer woods, they are an anchor point for deer activity. The property owner, Anthony, a good friend, said he had been watching a big deer for the last few years. I asked him what he meant by "big" and he said "about 200 lbs."  Anthony would be proven to be both accurate and correct by 8:45 AM.
He mentioned that the buck he was speaking about had antlers that were larger the year before. The big fella might have already turned the corner in life like we all do sooner or later. 
My friend said this deer had an attitude. He ruled the woodlot. He ran off the other bucks. There was no larger buck ever seen on the property. He recalled walking to his garden one morning and there the buck stood. It surprised him. Instead of running off, the buck's eyes met his and the buck stood his ground. It glared at him. It took 2 steps towards my friend and stopped. Anthony grabbed a steel fence post and slowly backed away -- a little unnerved.  
I saw him at 90 yards. His path was predictable. He closed the distance steadily. He was at 40 yards then 30. At 18 yards, I pulled the trigger on my Kodabow Bravo Zulu. It was not the best angle but it was the only angle and I was totally "Kodabow confident" or I would not have fired. The deer was facing me and the arrow was released as the buck momentarily quartered exposing the right front shoulder. I visualized the arrow making its way through the shoulder and into the vital heart/lung area. That is exactly what happened. The big fella traveled 25 yards and passed away quickly.  
Part of the success is due to the mechanical broadhead used. It is called the Killzone by NAP and it has been rapidly gaining favor among several Kodabow ProStaff Shooters.  Get the details at www.kodabow.com in the Accessories Section.
Killzone Broadhead after shoulder/heart/lung shot. 
Large deer are tough critters and this broadhead performed well especially in a challenging shot angle situation. Here is a process to determine if your broadhead is any good: 
Find a guy named Bill who owns a deer processing business and sees thousands of deer each year. Watch Bill look at your buck as its unloaded. Watch his gloved hands skin and skillfully remove the hide as he closely inspects the shoulder. See him look at the Kodabow and the actual broadhead which is shown above. See Bill assess the path that the arrow had traveled. You know you have a very good broadhead when a guy with Bill's experience says, "Can you bring me two packages of those Crossbow Killzones!"
At the deer processing station, the buck weighed in 168 lbs field dressed. Using the 1.26 x formula to calculate live weight, the deer would have come in at 212 lbs. He had a 6 point rack that measured 20" at its widest spread. Once a 6 point, always a 6 point. This was a deer with a small head and a big body. I liked him. He had history. There is always a sense of loss at these moments and I struggled with making sense of it all.
I sensed that the buck would never grow larger and was taken at his prime. That was OK.
The buck was impossible to load on the tailgate by myself. Anthony and I both were challenged but finally got him up and in the truck. This was a good deer.
We stood at the stone wall looking over the woodlot. The coffee was warm. It was a good morning. There was no hurry.
Chuck -- Kodabow Crossbows

Sunday, September 29, 2013

5 Unique Perspectives Learned while Making Crossbows

Kodabow with a Cheekrest and HHA Optimizer 

1. Prison Time. Folks can make mistakes in life. A real bad mistake which results in a crime and a prison sentence can mean the loss of the right to own a firearm. But what happens when a the individual returns to the straight path, pays a debt to society and wants to hunt? The answer is archery equipment and we have met a few folks who have changed their ways, regret their errors and are very serious about the outdoors and hunting. They might do volunteer work to help young folks learn from their experience and avoid their poor judgement. They enjoy hunting for the same reasons we enjoy being in the field. We say  "go for it!" 
2. Amazing Things Happen when Shipping a Crossbow. 
A memorable experience was shipping a new Kodabow to a customer a long distance away. The phone rang later in the week and the agitated customer wondered how we would ship a crossbow that left the factory so severely scratched and damaged. OK. That was Bow #1. So we diligently attempted to make things right and Bow #2 was on its way to the customer. Same thing ..... the customer said you folks just don't get it. He explained that the 2nd crossbow was as damaged as the first one received. We scratched our heads at the factory, looked at the digital pictures and agreed. This was some serious damage. After some sleuthing which determined that the Fedex folks were not part of the problem, it became evident that the customer's package was arriving in perfect condition. While he was at work, another member of the household was opening the package and doing some very serious dirty work. It all worked out in the end and everyone was on good terms -- we helped the customer sort out the problem and address the family matter  ----   but it was not what it appeared -- "out of the box" so to speak.

#3 He hunted for his daughter. 
The gentleman said he was not really a hunter. He selected a Koda-Express. He mentioned his daughter had autism. The conversation was choppy but OK -- just go with the flow. We talked about deer and the increasing numbers of deer in the state and he mentioned that he was really getting involved in hunting for his daughter. He mentioned that he had hunted a little when growing up but having a daughter with autism changed his life. He was hunting for his daughter.
This conversation was "kinda" making sense but not everything was clear. 
At Kodabow, we are straightforward especially when we are a little confused. We said, "Sir, when you say you are hunting for your daughter, what exactly does that mean? Does she care about hunting and why exactly does she want you to hunt?
At that point the gentleman paused and said --- "Oh, I guess I really haven't explained."
He continued. He said that his daughter's medical doctor suggested that wild game was a tremendous food choice for her based on her medical situation. The organic meat was free from additives, preservatives and antibiotics and it was his opinion that wild game would actually help her. He described how he began to research hunting to learn what he could. He described how he attended hunter safety education (HSE) and eventually found out about Kodabow. This man, an exceptional father, loved his daughter dearly. He left with a Koda-Express and he is now hunting for his daughter. Folks hunt for many different reasons. 

#4  Mr. Customer, we have seen everything.
We have very few problems with our crossbows. We hunt with them - we make them - and we know them cold. Let us repeat that - we really, really know how a Kodabow works and have seen EVERYTHING.  We can be very helpful over the phone. We told Mike that he was using the 50 yard aim point in his scope instead of the 20 yard aim point. His complaint was that his bow was shooting fine last fall but when he took it out for spring turkey, it was suddenly shooting high. (Over the winter, Mike had forgotten how his scope works.) In some cases, a customer will send in a component to have us test and inspect a suspect part. For example, a customer recently forwarded a trigger group to us indicating that the trigger pull was hard and was causing him to shoot erratically.
We received the trigger and immediately had two different factory personnel shoot the trigger. We said, "Mmmm ..feels great."  We measured the trigger and found a crisp break at 3 lbs. (With minimum trigger travel in a Kodabow, the actual trigger pull feels much lower.) We said, "Mmmm.. tests great." We inspected the customer mounted optic which was shipped with the scope. In this case, the customer purchased a bare Kodabow and installed his personal scope. We found the retaining screws holding the scope rings to the rail were free moving. They had not been securely tightened. That was the source of the shooting variance. The moral of the story is that if something is a little haywire, we will always get to the bottom of it. It is usually something very simple. 

#5 Our Factory Range is cool.

We opened it to the public and activities include everything from a youngster shooting a recurve to a young man pulling a compound in preparation for a hunt. (When it comes to pulling back a vertical bow, our advice is to shoot a fewer number of arrows more often.)

If you need to ask why, look at the internal anatomy schematic of the shoulder muscle and tendon region of the body. There are plenty of opportunities for stress and strain. On the other side of the coin, pulling back 80 lbs and shooting 100 arrows from a vertical compound bow can be very good for the crossbow business. 
Frequently, someone will stop by and ask to shoot their competitive brand crossbow on
the Kodabow range. We do three things. (1) We NEVER say anything about the features on their bow vs. Kodabow unless asked. That is just being polite and then we try our darn best to find some positives about the other bow. The individual didn't stop in to hear a bunch of Kodabow PR. (2) We ask them to follow their manufacturer's recommendations and to shoot safely. (3) We ask them to sign a liability waiver.
Now here is where it gets interesting. A man shooting a brand new mail order compound crossbow gets 15 shots off before he needs to stop due to a cable issue. His out of pocket expenditure was about $750. If you go to the dictionary and look up the word "dissapointment", there is a picture of that man.  Another shooter fails to achieve 20 yard accuracy (6" group not real good) with his alternative brand crossbow. It could be attributed to the optics, arrows and bow all not working well together. What we find is that many other products don't shoot as reliably or as well as a Kodabow. It is just a fact.
We see it. And in some cases, dealers know it. We recently set up an archery dealer in Oklahoma that was pretty much planning to get out of the crossbow business. There were just too many boomerang sales where crossbows were being returned by customers. He found out about Kodabow and we kept him in the crossbow game. There is hope!
Hunt and shoot safely.
My best,
Chuck @ Kodabow

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Blackhawks, Veterans and 1/2 MOA

Jeff was a stand up guy. 8 years in the military with a current assignment as the Crew Chief on a DAP (Direct Action Penetrator) Blackhawk helicopter. Think about 30mm guns that shoot bullets the size of beer bottles and a mini-gun that shoots .308's at 6,000 rounds per minute. Today, he was volunteering to help out at a Family Day Shooting event near Ft. Campbell, KY for veterans and their families. He was assigned to the Kodabow Crossbow Shooting Station. Jeff reported for duty --- he was there to get the job done. Later that day, he would relate that when he first showed up, he was thinking that crossbows were kind of "dorky." I could tell Jeff might have preferred a different station like handguns or the AR-15 range. He was a trooper nevertheless and agreed to blow up ballons and help me help veterans and their families launch arrows downrange. After the first 150 or so ballons, Jeff had a whole different view of crossbows and I had a re-energized respect for our active duty and retired veterans who serve our country.
What follows is the absolute unvarnished truth.
The balloons were out at 35 yards. Shooter after shooter never missed. Wives of soldiers never missed. 12 year old daughters never missed. Whole families that shot together never missed. Active duty and retired types never missed. As each shooter selected a different color ballon and called the shot, there was often applause from the crowds with each shot. Jeff was coming around. By 1400 (2 PM military time), Jeff had a big change of heart about crossbows and said "that Kodabow is a fine piece of equipment."   He was so pleased to be part of what was happening.
This was the group that organized the event!
We kept shooting and he kept blowing up balloons and arrows kept bursting them at a frantic pace. Attendance was about 150 veterans and with family members, the total group was several hundred. Along the way, Jeff and I shared stories. He had a few deployments under his belt. I could tell he did his job well. A Blackhawk pilot, Charlie, showed up along with other members of his group. These guys did special ops missions and I sensed that the troops on the ground appreciated the skills and professionalism of these men and their attitudes. Their Blackhawk provides cover support for our troops for as long as 3 hours on station. As the balloons kept bursting all afternoon, Jeff simply said, "you are hammering that crossbow hard --- and it just keeps on going ---- and nobody misses --- it is simply amazing." Mutual respect -- I respected his helicopter and his work and he had a growing respect for Kodabow.
Volunteers like Jeff and companies like Ruger and Smith & Wesson plus many others make events like this happen. Trevor Baucom in his wheelchair (helicopter pilot) was the local inspiration behind this HAVA event. This was the morning volunteer briefing.
That's me with my red HAVA hat helping a veteran get his sight picture.
Naturally, he made the shot.
The day progressed. There was lunch and dinner. We shot all afternoon long. Prior to the event, a Kodabow customer called Kodabow and learned that we would be in TN and asked if he could assist and perhaps bring his new Kodabow up to get fully checked out. I said "please come, bring your Kodabow and help out!"  Tom joined Jeff, the helo crew Chief and was tasked with balloon work and arrow retrieval as well.
Tom had received his Kodabow a few days earlier but had never fired it. He assembled it out of the box and set it on the shooting table after the last veteran headed to the steak dinner under the tent. 
The next sequence of events was extraordinary.
Tom's first shot at 35 yards was dead on the money. Perfect.
After shooting hundreds of arrows all day long, I was ready for a change and moved the target to 50 yards. Tom settled in behind his Kodabow and squeezed off the 2nd shot from the crossbow. X ring.
Bullseye at 50 yards!
Shot #3 was next. 50 yards. Bullseye. 1/8 of an inch from the first shot.
This was 1/2 MOA (Minute of Angle) performance from a crossbow that had just been assembled without the new owner ever making a scope adjustment.
Tom was amazed. Jeff was now shaking his head. I told the men that actually, at Kodabow, we are not surpised by this type of thing --- but we are always impressed with their accuracy and often have a sense of wonder about how these bows shoot.
It was a tremendous day.
Shooting with out troops is a terrific experience. These events give our service folks the opportunity to share with their families the types of things they do routinely. A spouse may have never fired a firearm before but now has an appreciation for the difficult work our warriors do. (Times have changed - the typical military command wouldn't allow this type of event to occur on the military base so support groups like HAVA help out in many ways. They arrange hunts especially for those with serious injuries and organize different types of outings.) It is a remarkably positive experience. The daughters and sons of these military families are polite and respectful. They say "Thank you Sir." The veterans are respectful and very appreciative. They shoulder a Kodabow like they have been shooting one for years and place their finger alongside the trigger, gain a sight picture, and squeeze off a shot. They are professional and always say "Thank you" too.
I spoke with Jeff and a few of his buddies Saturday evening and shared a beer. Their backgrounds are rich and their attitudes are exceptional. They have done many things and are well trained. One had taught at the Sniper School at Ft. Benning. Another enlisted and progressed from enlisted to officer. They were like the many veterans that we spoke with during the event. The very, very best that this country has to offer.
Thank you for your service!
CDR Chuck Matasic - USN (Ret)

P.S. (The names of the active duty personnel were changed --- Jeff - you know who you are my friend!)