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Monday, August 22, 2011

Kodabow Crossbows - Pt. 2 The Exotic Conclusion

Part 2 - The Exotic Conclusion
The picture is Brad, the Kodabow CFO, with his Kodabow Koda-Express 185 and a large Mountain Sheep. More about Brad in a minute.
As previously reported, my Corsican Ram was on the ground, I went to get some transport help for hauling the animal back to camp. It was mid-afternoon when I rejoined the hunters who had been successful earlier in the day. There were plenty of stories to catch up on. Most notable was the 12 year old young hunter, Stan, who made an exceptional offhand 40 yard shot with his crossbow on a extremely large "walking" boar. The boar dropped on the spot and later examination showed that the shot was straight in the heart. 40 yards is a long distance archery shot. Practice apparently makes perfect because the man and mentor behind the scenes was Grandad, Stan Rush, President of the Pennsylvania Crossbow Federation, who trained this young man very well in the proper handling of a crossbow. The guides are still talking about young Stan .... and while "Grandad Stan" took a nice 275 feral hog with his Kodabow, the impressive event of the day was young Stan's coolness and stellar performance under the pressure of the moment. Well done.
We all know that some older vertical compound bow shooters will eventually put down their bow in favor of transitioning to the crossbow. It is an emotional moment. Whether its getting in the field with a traditional longbow, compound or crossbow - it's all good and "Young Stan" is a great example. My bet is that he will likely pick up a vertical compound bow one day and put away his crossbow for a few years. Today however, a crossbow was the tool that provided this young man with a very memorable hunting experience. Some hunters never go all the way to 100% crossbow and find themselves in the limbo status of making a partial transition. They use both vertical bows and crossbows. (That is my category.) This whole area is very sensitive for some reason and discussed in hushed tones. It is extremely rare to actually witness a hunter making the "vertical to horizontal" (VTH) transition in person. While the VTH transition to a crosbow is not so unusual, it normally occurs only at closing time at the local archery shop. A ground blind and a camera with fast film is needed to capture a hunter making the VTH transition for recording purposes. Blink at the wrong time and you can miss the whole event. I will report that I did observe a "full scale" VTH transition during this hunt as a compound bow hunter quietly put down his compound and picked up a Kodabow as the day progressed and proceeded to take a nice Ram with the crossbow. WARNING: All Kodabow crossbows have a strong attractive force field. If you intend to remain a vertical bow shooter or even want to remain satisfied with your present crossbow, do not ever pick up and shoot a Kodabow. Naturally, no one in camp dared to bring much attention to the VTH transition that was occurring in our immediate presence. I made a note to not make a big deal about it.
I spent a few minutes catching up on the events of the day including Kodabow Mark's Russian Boar that simply proved that these big hogs can be real tough customers. After a short tracking episode, all was well that ends well and I am pleased to report that a large ham is in now in the oven at 350 degrees F. thanks to Mark. (We are all still trying to understand the secret behind young Stan's Boar hunting techniques that can drop these large beasts on the spot.)
By now, it was getting late in the day and Kodabow Brad was still out in the wilds. By the process of elimination with 12 hunters now in camp, Brad was going to be "the last man in" and I headed out to see what he was up to. When the guide says, "stay in your stand", Brad is the kind of first class guy to get totally on board with the concept. It should be mentioned that the Hunter's Code absolutely demands that you never leave your stand but it was now time to make a retrieve and bring Brad in. While he related that he was seeing a few animals at the edge of archery range, he did not have the opportunity to take a good shot. The truth is that Brad was prematurely entertaining visions of bacon, smoked ham and pork loins in his head. With a high hog focus, Brad might have even nodded off a few times dreaming af barbecued pork ribs. Now the big boars and huge hogs roaming the land were detecting all this bad pig karma and decided to stay clear of Brad's position. Consequently - no pigs around for miles. Late in the day, a different plan was needed. Brad led the way as we walked a few side hills together seeing absolutely nothing. The Kodabow El-2 sling is a huge benefit in this type of situation. With no lunch, we were both running on empty. We conferred and decided to double back along another route and then quickly made a very timely sighting of a large sheep bedded down on a rock outcropping. In a straightforward manner, Brad worked to get in crossbow range and made a great shot on the big curly horned critter using his Koda-Express 185 Kodabow equipped with 100 gr. Muzzy broadheads. At the shot, the animal disappeared over the ledge. We looked at each other hoping that the large animal did not drop into the large rock abyss below that would have resulted in a monumental amount of late day work. To our surprise, the animal was just over the edge and had not traveled more than 5 yards. Good job Brad.
So ended the hunt.
The conclusion was simply a gathering of good friends ----some who traveled a long way ---- an appreciation for making and taking only acceptable and proper shots ----plenty of Kodabow crossbow action ----- a bunch of stories packed into a tight little package ---- and of course, the rare VTH conversion right before our eyes----- plus the notable achievement by a young man with many hunts ahead ---- reflection by older men who recognize themselves in the starry eyes of the boy standing tall for doing it all too well ---- yes, this experience was just fine. And right now there is a big ham covered in brown sugar that needs checking.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kodabow Crossbows Chase the Exotics

Part I - The Setup

Late Dinner. The meal is pan butter fried Corsican Ram harvested just yesterday. Yes....it is the middle of August. Nightime temperatures are dropping to the 60's in Central Pennsylvania and the regular fall hunting season is still several weeks out. Listen to me ..... I avoided those crazy "high fence" hunts for years but finally broke down and said "can't be too critical about something I don't know that much about." I made the decision and then watched the weekend party slowly expand to 13 archery hunters carrying both crossbows and vertical bows. In the group, there were folks from the Pennsylvania Crossbow Federation including a 11 year old young man named Stan who harvested his first huge boar. To be honest, I ended up having a great time. From Texas to Pennsylvania, these exotic hunting opportunities exist and can be very reasonable. We hunted at North Mountain Outfitters with a gent named Rocky. Granted, the discussion begins by knowing that this type of hunt is something different. But every hunt is that way. I calculated that if I was heading on this local safari --- the more folks involved the better so I asked our friend Rob (pictured with his Black Hawaiian Ram) if he was interested. Rob holds the honor of being the first Kodabow owner in New Jersey. He was a believer in Kodabow in the early days. Rob said he was in and for the record, it should be noted that long before this picture was taken,Rob said he would really like to make a good shot on a Black Hawaiian Ram. I said OK .... but it sure sounded like Rob was ordering a cocktail. So I said, "I will have a White Russian and a Black Hawaiian for my friend." All hunts have stories and enjoyable moments when we can sit around and pass time in conversation with friends. As the day progressed, there was always action as successful hunters in our group returned to the lodge and told their stories. Rob was back early. He uses a 225 Kodabow Big Rhino and confidently took a shot on the Ram in the photo at 37 yards. After the shot, the animal dropped 5 yards away. With his mobile rail setup, Rob has a steady platform and used the midpoint balance and solid trigger of his Kodabow to his full advantage. To be candid, I was struggling. Thoughts began to surface that I would not make it back to camp with an animal. I was close to some hogs all morning but never saw them in the thick cover. As the sun arced overhead and morning turned into afternoon, there was some very serious hunting going on from my viewpoint. Everyone said this was supposed to be easy. Brad (who also works at Kodabow) was having the same thoughts. We were both scoreless and not partaking in any of the good times back at base camp. Finally, I saw a group of Corsican Rams after I abandoned my stand and began a mile hike across the property. I proceeded to make a successful stalk and took the larger of the two animals. From a prone position, it was a 40 yard shot with my Koda-Express 185, Gold Tip Arrows equipped with 125 gr. large unpopular cut-on-contact broadheads ----- but they sure do fly straight for me. I had a Ram on the ground. Coming soon ....... Part II The Conclusion

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Crossbow Secrets Revealed !

So you want to buy a crossbow?
Pictured is a Kodabow Crossbow hanging amidst the hundreds of items available at a typical archery shop.
Based on research, here is what we found to be important in making your purchase:
1 - Shoot the crossbow: sounds simple but its not and most crossbows are sold without being shot at all or only discharged at 5 or 10 yards. Shoot at a distance of 30 yards or greater because that is a real world hunting distance. Feel the trigger function, cock the crossbow and shoot the bow more than just once or twice. You will own your crossbow for years and making a judgement based only on appearance, the fancy label on a box, or after 1 shot is unwise. At Kodabow, we like to shoot at 40-50 yards with crossbow consumers and go "head to head" with other brands. We like to compete on the range and not on the shelf. That tells the story. As a good friend said, the "outdoor industry is filled with biased viewpoints." There is a bias towards compound crossbows for example. There are always tradeoffs and we see many consumers buy Kodabow after travelling that path and then choosing Kodabow after recognizing the design merits. Yes --- Kodabow has biased views as well ---we believe we make the best "hunting" crossbow when multiple performance factors are weighed together - not just a few elements. Accuracy, durability and reliability are key factors when you are far from town. Kodabow excels in these categories. For a Kodabow, you will likely be spending around $899. Yes --- plenty of money. Only one trip to replace worn cables and strings on a compound and avoidance of all the related hassle will make the Kodabow choice even look smarter. After $150 hunting boots and a $300 treestand, spending $899 for a crossbow tool that will be still standing tall years down the road makes sense so that is why we build to that level of quality.
2 - Inspect the Crossbow: Most items on a crossbow should not move. Wiggle the arrow hold down back and forth and side to side. If it moves, that is sloppy workmanship. Same holds true if the scope is not mounted correctly perpendicular to the flat plane of the string path. The bow will never shoot well at distance. At Kodabow, we are very focused on locking everything down tight for optimal accuracy. We even prefer scopes that are 3 power "fixed" and that cannot move or adjust where vibration can change impact points.
If your crossbow appears complicated, it may require more attention to various components especially when these items are permanently attached to the crossbow.
At Kodabow, we like to keep extraneous items off the bow to keep the lines clean.
The bow will hunt better that way.
3 - Look at the Details: The bowstring should be square and at a right angle to the rail and at a nominal position on the rail. The same model crossbow can't be made "right" if one has the string floating 1/8" above the rail and the next has the string resting on the rail with hard pressure -- both settings can't be correct.
4 - Listen to Actual Experience: But even then, there may be an agenda. Here are the scenarios that mean something to us. A young man purchases a Kodabow the other day. He simply said his Dad was a crossbow enthusiast and owned 5 different crossbows and Dad said that the Kodabow was the best crossbow he owned. The same week, a gent reveals that he works at a big chain that sells crossbows but doesn't carry Kodabow. While he said he has easy access to many different brands, he said he bought a Kodabow for himself. Neither of these folks had any incentive to promote our product -- they just purchased what they evaluated as the best crossbow for themselves based on significant shooting experience. Find a Kodabow shooter and ask them what they think. look for shooters that do not have any commercial reason to choose a Kodabow other than the simple merits of the crossbow. Keep in mind that "satisfaction" is a relative term.
See # 5 below.
5 - Satisfaction Depends on Viewpoint: One customer will be perfectly satisfied with a crossbow that has a problem and it only takes 3 weeks for the parts to arrive to get the bow fixed. In fact, the customer may proudly brag about ther terrific customer service received. The next customer will be extremely upset when anything goes wrong and waiting 3 weeks to get back into the field would be viewed as total failure. We build crossbows for this type of consumer. We don't anticipate downtime for our customers.
A dealer asked us two questions one day as we were introducing Kodabow. Neither question was about bow performance or features that distinguish Kodabow from other crossbows. The first was "how fast can I get parts?" The second was "if you are going to shoot that bow in here, will the limbs break and fail?"
It seems the dealer has lots of experience with parts replacement issues and bows failing --- from the Kodabow perspective, we thought we were on another planet....Jupiter, Mars.....maybe Venus.
6- Crossbows are New: Crossbows are still new. While people generally mean well, if the folks selling you a crossbow don't have the time to answer your questions or only seem oriented to selling what is "in stock" and exhibit no willingness to deliver other options, that is not desirable. Often, it is not the dealership - just your bad luck getting paired up with an inexperienced sales person that might know the fishing department better than archery. Crossbows are still new to many dealer organizations. We were at a recent show and another factory representative confided to me that he "learned about the crossbow he was selling last night."
Ask the tough questions and see if the answers make logical sense. We like tough questions.
7 - Be Smart: Organizations should stand behind their product but don't expect the same pricing structure from Dealer A to get your crossbow back together and help you out of a jam when you shopped at Dealer B several states away to get your crossbow at Cut Rate Freddy's Discount Emporium. Sure you saved $50 but it costs money to maintain a service level. Dealer A would likely get you straightened out at no charge if you had purchased the crossbow there but expect to pay to get back on track when the bow was purchased elsewhere. Elsewhere and low cost often means service levels are "zero."
8 - Don't Rush into a Decision: Some items (like string supressors standard on a Kodabow) are sold as aftermarket kits on other crossbows. The kit could easily be $60. The numbers begin to add up on the discount $599 "crossbow special" when accessories are added or the "package scope" was not really what you were after to begin with and another $90 is out the door. Mix in a few cheaper arrows and you can find yourself in the position of buying twice instead of quality once. Quality scopes are standard on every Kodabow along with AR-15 quality components.
Kodabow also sells a SuperPak for $100 that includes 6 premium carbon fiber arrows ($40), a well made quiver ($35), a spare bowstring ($30), Silicone Bowstring Wax ($6), an EL-2 Sling ($15), Bowjax Limb Dampeners ($22) .... bought individually, nearly $150 in value of quality high performance items that are solid or we wouldn't sell them.
The internet can be helpful but there is also plenty of bad information as well. Look for trends of reporting similar information from multiple sources to get the best picture. At Kodabow, we are not following the pack.
We have considerable hunting experience. If it was as simple as buying the cheapest bow or the fastest bow or the lightest/heaviest bow or the bow with the best looking box or the most colorful bow, or the bow with the most gizmos, or the bow that looks best in a magazine ad, we would never sell a single crossbow. That is not what we are about.
We make hunting crossbows that work ---- crossbows that can be depended upon to shoot straight ---- ones that hold up to hard hunting and bring home game.
Be safe out there ..... and check out Kodabow.
Our best,
The Kodabow Team