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Thursday, December 22, 2016

"Old Bows and 5 Reasons to Love Them"

1965 ....52 years ago. The Federal Debt was $322 Billion. US troops were sent to Vietnam -- by the end of the year, there would by 190,000 troops in country. The first spacewalk by an American (Ed White) and the Rolling Stone's "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" reached #1. If you were alive back then, most of your possessions from that era are probably gone, lost, broken and tossed. The 1965 Mustang is in a scrap yard and Mom threw out the baseball cards. But archery bows from that time period are still around. 

While these bows were mass produced by companies like Bear Archery, Pearson and Wing Archery, they still have a lot of personality and are simply beautiful. The wood used was bubinga, rosewood, shedua and other hardwood types with remarkable figuring. At the time, they might have sold around $29.95 and up. Today, you would go to a custom bowyer and pay $600 and far more to find a bow with these types of woods. Over the next decade after '65, and well into the 70's, these old wooden bows became overshadowed by compound bows, metal risers and cables that were the start of a meteoric rise in compound bow popularity that continues in archery to this day.
But those old bows --- they are beauties! 
Pictured from Left to Right in my collection:
a. 1972 Bear Kodiak Hunter, b. 1968 Bear Kodiak Magnum with attached Quiver, c. 1965 Bear Kodiak Magnum, c. 1967 Bear Grizzly, d. 1968 Wing Red Wing Hunter, e. 1969 Bear Alaskan with Reynolds Sight, f. Pearson Apex No. 9

Here are 5 reasons to fall in love with these bows and treasure them.  

1- They work. And they work well. They are called vintage bows and they still shoot extremely well. Every year, hunters kill large and small game with these bows and some prefer them to modern recurve bows in terms of their liveliness and performance. Get to the big auction site and search "Vintage Archery" for a sampling of the times and products of yesteryear - from broadheads to bows.

2 - Family. Imagine heading to the woods with the same bow that your Father or Uncle used years ago when he went hunting. Look at the wood and the worn leather grip knowing that they were once held by a family member and you are continuing the tradition. Maybe the bow was saved from the trash bin when it went unsold at a garage sale --- but behold the treasure. Any vintage bow has history and stories left only to the imagination.

3 - Shooting Satisfaction. Pick up a Kodabow Crossbow and YOU WILL hit exactly what you aim for. The same is true for a modern compound bow. Some shooters look for something more. They want more challenge and begin to enjoy missing the target as strange as it sounds. With practice, you will be able to shoot these bows as accurately as any other archery tool. With the bows pictured, a good archer will hit a coffee cup at 20 yards with regularity. 

(Editor's Note: When you positively need to put some venison in the freezer and time or schedule is limited, a Kodabow is the #1 choice. But sometimes, a hunt has additional considerations. We hunt with both traditional bows and crossbows.)

4. Peace and Well Being.  Shoot these bows with a deliberate purpose and get connected with your inner spirit and self. There is nothing mechanical about these bows. An archer will feel the wood of the bow bend and slowly load with stored energy powered by one's own muscles. Zen, Japanese Archery, Become the Arrow ...whatever ....but the connection is strong. To propel an arrow well, the archer's mind must be "right" and the process can't be rushed. There is no room for other thoughts. There are no shortcuts. Every arrow sent downrange teaches the archer. To think less about the process while being very mindful of the process is the key from my viewpoint.  Fred Bear said that shooting an arrow "clears the mind." 
Walk and retrieve the arrows and begin the process again. In all of the shooting sports (rifles, handguns, crossbows, compound bows etc.) there is not a stronger, closer or immediate connection to the tool than with a traditional bow and your hand on a bowstring.  

5. Hunting Awareness. Fred Bear said, "You can learn more about hunting deer with a a bow and arrow in a week than a gun hunter will learn in his entire life."
In fact, Fred Bear had numerous insights about hunting and the outdoors that you might find valuable (Google - "Fred Bear Quotes") but the point is that archery hunting and in particular, hunting with traditional bows has the potential to be the most satisfying experience of any hunting activity simply because it is so difficult and so close and personal. With modern rifles and optics, shooting a deer at 500 yards is in the realm of possibilities for the average hunter like never before. It can be intense but it's a calculation. Shoot a deer at 7 yards with a traditional bow and it's deeply personal.
Most of the time, traditional hunts do not end
with a downed game animal. 

At Kodabow Crossbows, we learned a great deal from traditional bows. Our Kodabow Destringing Aid was born from the typical aid used with traditional bows. Our stringmaking was shaped by traditional bow experience in terms of strands and materials. The ability to change a bowstring in the field is a Kodabow feature we share with traditional bows as well as the deep experience that comes from designing a proper arrow and hunting head that will efficiently dispatch game. We kept everything simple with a hope that 50 years from now, hunters will look at our crossbow work and craftsmanship with an appreciation much like we have for these "old bows."

Merry Christmas,

Chuck at Kodabow
December 2016

Monday, December 5, 2016

Deer Hunting 100 Years Ago.

100 years ago --- there weren't too many deer running around the woods .... at least in Pennsylvania. Deer were scarce and the mere sighting of a deer would have made the local paper in some regions. Needless to say, if a hunter was fortunate enough to actually kill a deer, the proud hunter would head to Main Street and pose with the trophy receiving praise from all the town folk. After decades of deforestation as the Eastern US timber was harvested to build a growing nation, the lumber industry fell on slow times with the timber resource exploited. Towns built around the lumber industry shut down and regrowth promoted a slow reemergence of the whitetail population. Conservation ideology was developing. In 1913 archives, I observed references that limited a hunter to a 1 deer limit, male deer only and antlers that were at least 2" and visible.
Hawley, PA over 100 years ago. 
50 years ago, shooting a deer was still a very, very special event. As a youngster, I recall the opening day of rifle season in Virginia when my best friend and I were both successful killing 7 point buck deer. John shot a big one and we felt it was important to get the "huge" deer weighed for posterity. Being only 16 years old, shooting a deer was a monumental event that would even make the high school newspaper. To make a long story short, we headed to the local Safeway Supermarket, Meat Department and told the butcher we shot a very nice buck and asked if he would be willing to weigh the deer for us. He said "sure, just drag it right back here, front door is fine."  That butcher must have been a limited government gent because there appeared to be no rules. So we awkwardly pulled the big buck down the aisle of canned goods by a rope (much to the alarm of an elderly lady who was doing evening shopping) and put the deer on a scale --- the weight is now forgotten ..... and then dragged the buck back through the supermarket to the 1966 Mustang in the parking lot. That deer was prominently displayed on the rear trunk for the trip home. Those were the good ole days ...seriously. 

This buck traveled up and down the "canned goods" Safeway Supermarket aisle in Northern
Virginia to get weighed. Times were sure different in 1969. 

Today, deer seem to be everywhere. Here is a photo of nice buck walking through an apartment complex not far from Kodabow headquarters recently. We are fortunate to be living in remarkable hunting times and it is appreciated at Kodabow. 

Walking through the Apartment Complex, West Chester, PA 2016

Bob killed this nice buck this year
with his Kodabow - not far from Hawley, PA!
It is hard to kill a deer. There is always a two part problem. You need to find the deer which is part A. Then you need to kill the deer which is Part B. The second part is the hardest because far too many unexpected events can happen especially in the final few seconds when pulling the trigger is required. Bob, pictured with this fine 2016 deer,  will tell you that the buck appeared quickly during the rut and was about to disappear in the brush when he used his Kodabow with no time to spare.  A crossbow makes it easier to manage those final seconds --- and we are pleased to hear that some hunters use a Kodabow to take their first deer. It is a great choice. While times have changed, some things remain the same. Much like Hawley, PA in 1913, a hunter is still limited to one male deer a year in Pennsylvania. We enjoy the longer seasons and opportunities to hunt frequently using different tools. In 2016, the Kodabow boys have spent most of our time hunting deer with traditional recurves. I know --- some think we are crazy! But in the morning, I will pull out my trusty Kodabow (even though it's firearms season) and expect a good opportunity to fill a doe tag and put meat in the freezer. The mornings are cold and it will be a short trip to the butcher. It is still too early to shoot a buck ---- after all, Rifle Season is still open this weekend. Flintlock Season opens the 26th of December for two weeks  --- and Archery Equipment (both recurve, compounds and Kodabow crossbows) can be used in this area until January 28th.  Oh...my goodness! What a great time to be alive and be a hunter.
My best,
Chuck at Kodabow HQ 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Hunting Season 2016 Kickoff

(West Chester, PA 13 September) Here is our September newsletter. We are so excited! My goodness - as a hunter, I have a super mental outlook heading into this Fall season and my hope is that you feel the same way!  So far, it has been a tremendous year. One highlight was Big Jim Aken stopping a Cape Buffalo in June with a Kodabow in Africa. It is unheard of to shoot and drop a "Buff" within 30-35 yards of impact with a single arrow.  Just a wild and perfect hunt --- and no hunter prepares more for that singular moment when the trigger is pulled than Jim. 

So going into the Fall season,  I feel terrific, am not rushed, and just seem positive about everything. The highlight so far this year for me was spending a few days in Colorado chasing Elk in the Steamboat Springs area.

We often walked 8- 10 miles daily. That's me sitting in an ambush spot.

Without a disability, using a crossbow is not an option in Colorado so we used traditional equipment which I enjoy immensely. I will tell you that having a strong grounding in traditional equipment (recurve bows) HAS HELPED US UNDERSTAND CROSSBOW TECHNOLOGY MORE THAN ANY OTHER ELEMENT....from arrows, to broadheads, to energy, to penetration. I could go on! An either sex elk Colorado license can be purchased over the counter for most of the state and the elk population continues to do well because, in my view, there are high elk numbers combined with so many remote and nearly inaccessible places for elk to hide. In the first week of the season, the bulls do not respond aggressively to calling so we had two choices. Walk a lot and find elk or set up in the morning or evening in places where a hunter would expect to find elk.
I did not release an arrow. The 2nd hunting day, I had 4 cow elk (2 were young ones) come into my position where I was sequestered behind an evergreen. They would all move within 20 yards. Amazingly, the largest cow came right to my evergreen, turned around and looked down her back trail and then stopped leaving me with a 4 yard quartering away shot. It was early in the week and I felt good watching Mom and her young ones depart after milling around for a few minutes. I had bulls at 50-60 yards numerous times but needed to be closer with my trad gear. 

Elk moving past an ambush locations caught on my trail camera.

Deer Season Opens

 Opening Day --- nothing like it even if it is 90 degrees. Here Joe on our Pro Staff is on stand last Saturday up a tree in NJ with his 5 year old Kodabow Bravo Zulu. (Kwikee Quiver Bracket shown -- Quiver removed.)

Plenty of converging deer trails in this photo. 

Our friend Ted has his ground blind set up 1 week early in a recessed area just off a field.  He is sizing up the height of his stool and the length of his shooting stick and this Saturday, at sunrise, this is where Ted will be hanging out!  

Close the back door of that  blind when hunting and be
mindful of East and West so that sunrise and sunset do not interfere with your shooting dynamics. 

Lessons Learned

Big Country - my hunting partner is on the green
colored ridge in the distance. 
Getting ready to walk in. Most days, we stayed and had lunch in the mountains.

A hunter can reach a point where lessons are learned, forgotten, and re-learned again. The re-learning part can be painful. Here are a few gems:

1 - Never walk out on a different or new route in the dark.  The sun was down and it was about 2 miles to my rendezvous spot. I decided to cut a straight line to meet Mark and save a few minutes. Huge mistake. I knew I was in trouble after dropping unexpectedly into a deep and heavy growth dried out creek bottom sliding down 12 feet at once. I would still be there if I broke my leg because a walkie-talkie or cell phone would have been useless. In the daytime, the big green brush signifies water and uneven terrain where the water collects and the bushes grow high. Those areas are best avoided because travel is difficult. At night, everything looked the same. 

2- The Power of the Sun. Your clothing is going to get grimy and sweaty hunting several days in a row. There is not a backpack large enough to carry in fresh clothes for each day of a hunt so plan on cycling through the same trousers and shirts every other day. I was shocked at how well hunting attire cleaned up just by hanging out the clothing in the direct sunlight. Mom used to have a clothesline but then dryers came along and clotheslines disappeared across America. I said to Mark, "wow, this 3 day old shirt smells like it just came out of the wash." He replied, " what do expect? , smell and odor come from bacteria, UV light kills bacteria, mix in a rain shower here and there and I'm not surprised." It's tough hunting with such a smart guy. 

3- Strategy - Either Ambush or Stalk   I am good at determining areas where game moves. Being a big guy, I am also better at sitting still and motionless than stomping around. I see fewer animals because the places I choose to set up will be tight but when I do see them, they will be close. In these spots, I will not be glassing across canyons and counting deer or elk 1 1/2 miles away. Consequently, it was not a surprise for me to get within a few yards of elk on this last outing because that is how I hunt. 
A huge part of this strategy is wind. You may be wearing the latest "ScentStop 505 carbon-ozone -whatever" clothing but my experience is that deer and elk will smell you anyway if the wind is wrong. Walk 4 miles and break a sweat and you smell very much like a human no matter how much you spent on clothing. Getting the wind right in ambush spots is key.  Learn about thermals - how the wind warms and moves up the mountain in the morning and cools and moves down the hillsides in the afternoon. There is a predictive factor on how the thermals react with the prevailing winds of a particular day. All fun. 

My best --- call us if you need arrows, supplies or accessories and if you are bow shopping, don't wait till the last minute! 

Chuck at Kodabow

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Animal Behavior - A Perspective

When talking with a Kodabow friend recently, the subject of "Wildebeests" came up. Jim had just returned from Africa where he successfully killed a Cape Buffalo with a Kodabow Crossbow. (Truly an unbelievable hunt.) Jim and I were discussing the variety of animals encountered on a typical African hunting trip. Compared to North America, Africa has a very diverse animal population with so many different animals that a hunter can be overwhelmed sitting at waterhole watching the parade of critters coming and going. For a new hunter, it takes considerable time and study just to be able to identify these animals by name.

(source: Wikepedia Images)

Some might think that a Wildebeest is a strange looking creature. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are Black Wildebeests and Blue Wildebeests to further complicate matters and attract your interest. 

I needed to tell Jim my Wildebeest story. It was early morning and I was in South Africa not far from where Jim recently hunted Cape Buffalo. I grabbed my vertical bow and walked out along the bush road along the Limpopo River. The river was now dry in the African winter. It was a chance to slowly observe Africa awakening for 45 minutes or so before heading up to the main house for breakfast. I looked across the dried riverbed to Botswana which serves as the border between Botswana and South Africa. Animals cross back and forth .... there are no fences. Every turn in the dirt road could deliver a new surprise. I walked slowly. I was being careful. The bush was filled with noises from birds to monkeys as the sun arced upwards. In the distance, there was a sound - "a dull jet plane roar." While the sound was slowly increasing, it was just another African curiosity at the moment. I dismissed it and moved along. Every day in Africa brings the unexpected. But darn....this sound was really increasing in intensity. REAL LOUD now. I looked in the direction but could see nothing. Then it all became clear. Headed my way and arriving in a matter of seconds was a large herd of Wildebeests in a full stampede. FULL STAMPEDE. 

No idea what caused the alarm but these boys were moving fast and headed my way.
Maybe the high speed exodus related to the Wildebeest being a favorite food of lions, cheetahs and hyenas. They were coming and coming fast.
Some animals exhibit stampede behavior and stampedes can be very dangerous. Not all animals will exhibit stampede behavior but cattle, wild horses, elephants and wildebeests are among the critters that gather in large numbers and will run in a large herd together at any signs of danger. Sometimes, it doesn't even take a predator in the vicinity to get Wildebeests moving. They just seem a little crazy. After all, the Afrikaner word "wild beast" is a pretty accurate description. They are just wild. Jim told me that he has seen a herd bolt for no reason. One minute - everything is fine. The next minute, pandemonium can break out. One twitches an ear and floors the accelerator and everyone follows. Running at 50 mph and weighing 500 lbs each, the Wildebeest herd was passing by just feet away from me. I was in the middle of a bad situation as I watched animal after animal veer left and right. I tried to make myself small hiding behind a 2" tree. Stampedes are dangerous and a fatal situation can quickly develop for any animal or human in the path. I guess 50 to 75 Wildebeests passed by my position in less than 10 seconds. They moved so fast that attempting a shot with a vertical bow was fruitless. I think I was pretty lucky looking back at the situation. The morning with the Wildebeests is right up there with so many other African experiences ..... ( such as - Did you see that Black Mamba?)  

Another Kodabow friend opted to rifle hunt this year with his Weatherby .340 Magnum. He just returned in June from a great hunt in Namibia. This appears to be a nice specimen of the elusive Black Wildebeest.

It takes money and intent to travel to Africa.
Not as much money as you might think but far more personal initiative than you might ever expect. It is a long difficult flight or series of flights. Then comes a long ride to camp. But every day --- every day --- is the best hunting day imaginable. Along the way, expect to confront the unusual and at times, the dangerous. Africa is a wild place and the Wildebeest is just as wild as the continent. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

6 Reasons to choose a Recurve Kodabow Crossbow!

I asked a dealer why his customers liked their Kodabows so much. He replied, "Every game animal they point a Kodabow at ends up on the ground dead. "

Kodabow Hunter Don K. with his first bear. 
At the end of the day or more accurately, at the end of the hunt and specifically when a hunter has decided that conditions were right to take a shot, the best, most desirable and only acceptable outcome is for a quick and clean kill. Don, pictured above, purchased a Kodabow nearly 4 years ago. During that time, he has taken 6 shots at game animals - most recently, he let a Kodabow Magnum .338 arrow fly and killed the Black Bear shown in the picture this June in Canada.
Let's recap Don's hunting results during the past 4 years.
* 6 Game Animals (4 deer, 1 Boar and 1 Bear)
* 6 Shots
* 6 Kills
* All 6 animals traveled 30 yards or less  
* Zero events of bow repair or failure 
He has achieved a 100% crossbow success rate and that is not unusual among Kodabow hunters.
Don follows our recommendations and uses Killzone 100 grain mechanical broadheads on Kodabow Magnum .338 arrows with his Kodabow Bravo Zulu - he obviously takes his time and executes perfect shot placement. In the bow hunting world of arrows and game, going 6 for 6 with very short recovery distances (< 30 yards) is CRAZY AMAZING! 
We say that as we learned this same month that another hunter took a Cape Buffalo in Africa with a Kodabow and the 2,070 lb Buffalo traveled only 35 yards before piling up after a modified Kodabow Magnum .338 arrow hit the mark. Not surprising for Team Kodabow. 
Ask Don if he is confident with his Kodabow? He will bend your ear with a very positive assessment.....he sold his well advertised BIG BRAND NAME compound crossbow when he bought his Kodabow 4 years ago and never looked back! 
Well done Don! 
Be safe in the field. My best,
Chuck at Kodabow Crossbows

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Spring Bear Hunting - It;'s Time!

Spring Bear. Next week, Spring Bear opens up in Quebec. There was still some snow a week ago and getting bait sites established at Lac Suzie presented some challenges but everything is on course for a great season according to Serge Dapra who owns this camp in Northern Quebec.
We know Serge from the NRA Oudoor Show over the last several years and have logged a few meals with Serge at the Capitol Diner in Harrisburg. He is a good friend and we know several Kodabows have made the trip North and have had very successful outcomes at his camp. 

Canada bear hunting in this province is generally a baited hunt because the terrain is thick and a spot and stalk hunt would yield little harvest. Far different than a bear hunt on Vancouver Island I had a few years ago which was 100% spot and stalk. Each method has pros and cons.
This bear was taken at lac Suzie with a Kodabow.

Hunting bears over bait is fairly simple in principle but that is not accurate. The biggest bears know the game well and can always be counted on to make a cautious approach with their nose taking it all in. There is often the opportunity to study a bear closely prior to making a shooting decision which is a real benefit of bait sites.  Then again, if you are ground hunting, being that close can get the juices flowing pretty quick. A tree stand is a nice option but don't think you are out of harms way up in the air. A black bear can be up 20 feet in 2 seconds - they are fast climbers. Shots can be expected to be close at between 15 to 20 yards in most situations. Bear anatomy is different than a whitetail and whether shooting a firearm or bow, a deer type shot will often be in the wrong anatomical area of a bear.  Shooting for the "middle of the middle" as some folks have called it is the way to go to achieve the desirable double lung shot.  Bisect the bear using the midpoint between both legs (left and right) and then bisect the up and down in the middle again. Where the lines cross is the textbook aiming point. Maybe cheat a little and move a bit forward for a better margin of error. A good bow hunter is always looking for the double lung shot. Elk and bear can travel significant distances if only one lung has arrow penetration. Your Kodabow with a Killzone mechanical broadhead is a terrific choice for black bear --- expect a pass through shot and a very short blood trail if you hit your mark.

Another hunter with a nice Canada Black Bear and his Kodabow. This was a different camp than Lac Suzie. The best approach is to do your research prior to booking a bear hunt! 

Avoid messing up your bait site by walking around the bait before getting into position. 
Go in quietly and proceed directly to your stand. Carry a Thermacell for the mosquitoes and bugs so your hands can stay still instead of constantly swatting flies while on stand. The bugs may be the most memorable event of a Quebec bear hunt if the weather is right. The mosquitoes can bite through a single layer of pants and duct tape will be critical to seal up any openings (like your boot to pants interface.)  Needless to say, a head net is mandatory even if you head out on the lake to fish. A bug suit and a rain suit are useful items. Your outfitter and the effectiveness of the bait sites established prior to your arrival in camp are the keys to having a terrific hunt. A few years ago I was sadly disappointed on a bear hunt when the outfitter failed to do the proper and timely baiting. Sites and tree stands had been ignored or had been hunted the week before by another hunter without success. Options were limited. This camp was more of an activity designed to keep hunters entertained and misdirected than a serious bear camp. A good rule of thumb is that a hunter should be allotted at least two fresh active baits that have not been hunted previously. Serge said that 17 of 18 hunters took bears last year at his camp which is a solid success rate --- 100% had shot opportunities. There were some very nice bears taken in 2015 and the pictures are posted on the Lac Suzie website. Serge invited me up to his camp this year. Who knows --- I just might join the other Kodabow hunters and get some time in up at Lac Suzie. 
My best --- (study your bear anatomy and tell us how you do!)
Chuck @ Kodabow


Thursday, April 28, 2016

EVERYBODY has problems! (Really?)

Let's say his name is Harvey. We had a chance to talk crossbows. I make the darn things. As an Outdoor Writer, he hunts and shoots them.
Like most Outdoor Writers, there is a passion for the fishing and hunting game so the conversation flowed freely.
I asked him how he did last year. (Today, we all assume that means whitetail hunting, 50 years ago, the response could have been a report on last year's squirrel and rabbit season.) The tale begins and the excitement and emotion in his voice made me feel as if I was there and this was no ordinary story.

Outdoor writers have embraced "blogging". Here I am with a young lady from Maryland who is all about hunting, fishing and blogging about those experiences. 

The writer replied that he had the opportunity of a lifetime but missed a tremendous buck last year. By the way, these types of bucks do not appear every year - you are lucky if you see a monster in a decade of hunting and even more fortunate to be in a shooting position. Hours and hours and hours are spent just to be in the position for that lifetime whitetail. The opening meant this story would not end well but Harvey had my attention especially since he was hunting with a crossbow. He didn't have a Kodabow - it was another brand....but OK, not everyone buys a Kodabow.

He related that he was in his tree stand and spent the morning glassing game going past and then the monster appeared. The big buck moved in closer as he centered the target in his scope. The moment came .... that millisecond right before the shot when everything lines up and the hunter's confidence level is so high, that thoughts of being at the butcher by 10:00 AM begin to cloud the thought process. He slowly squeezed the trigger. It was an easy shot. He was so lucky! At that point, ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!
An Outdoor Writer takes in the benefits of the Kodabow EL-2 Sling  Imagine the need to take a quick shot and you get the picture.  Other benefits like the unique Kodabow Anti-Dry Fire (ADF) System are always impressive. Always ask for a demonstration that actually shows the ADF system functioning on a crossbow and see what type of response if offered. 
As the trigger was pulled, the arrow shattered sending carbon fibers in every direction. The string on his crossbow broke and loose string ends were flying in the wind. He said it scared the heck out of him as he watched the buck run in response to the commotion. There would be no trip to the meat processor today. No pictures. Just a walk back to the truck with a defeated crossbow. Harvey reached into his pocket and the cell phone came out. He showed me a picture of the buck. Another hunter killed the buck during rifle season and the photo was right there .....the big buck next to photos of family and past vacations. Obviously the memory still loomed large.

What happened? Harvey said the crossbow was a compound type and eventually was repaired with a new string and cables at a dealer. I  said a few different reasons could have caused the issue. The string or arrow could have been defective. He agreed. I said the most likely reason however, was that his arrow was not seated properly. This bow used a "half moon nock" and the string is moving up and away from the rail as the trigger releases the bowstring. The system depends on the arrow nock "catching the string" in the recess or slot of the nock -  named for its crescent shape. He said he might have not put the arrow in correctly. These type of arrows require that the nock be oriented to the string. Place it on the rail 120 degrees out of phase and there is nothing to stop the string from jumping up and over the arrow. He related that the dealer thought that the arrow position might have been just a bit forward but not so forward that the Anti Dry Fire system was not activated so the bow fired. Harvey said his arrow might have been in no - man's land. It was in far enough to fire but not inserted completely to function. I thought to myself --- "thank goodness Harvey was staring down a Whitetail and not a Cape Buffalo."

That's me ....  shooting a Bravo Zulu! 
Life is short. We can be blunt. I told Harvey that if he was shooting a Kodabow that morning, he would have killed that buck. The truth is the truth. I explained that our bowstring is moving down towards the rail as the trigger is pulled and not trying to hop over the arrow. We use a "Flat Nock" and arrow orientation is not critical. I showed him the external indicator on a Kodabow that monitors the position of the arrow on the rail and shows if the arrow slips forward, a hunter is alerted.

Harvey totally understood as he popped a few arrows downrange with a Kodabow. He gets it now. (Note: The Kodabow operating system is a preferred choice for hunting Dangerous Game because the visual confirmation and arrow control is absolute.)
The writer said he never expected last year's outcome when he purchased that crossbow because it was supposed to be good. I leaned back and thought about how effective and powerful the marketing in the Outdoor Industry has become to the degree that even a seasoned Outdoor Writer can get all confused. If you purchased every recommended item to go turkey hunting from the mail order catalog sitting in your mailbox, you could spend $4,000 and still not significantly improve your success for bagging a turkey. Most gear is nice to have but unnecessary. My guess is that Harvey's new Whizbang 350 with a history of epic failure will be retired by the time next season rolls around.
He will become a Kodabow man. We have heard this type of unfortunate story many times. After all, a monster buck doesn't appear every year.  Around here, we think a Kodabow is nice and necessary but actually provides a huge edge to improve your success. As Harvey headed over for a cup of coffee, I thought I heard him say to himself, "I should have had a Kodabow."  He is still hurting.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

March is Gear Prep Time -- Nothing else to do!

March is an ideal time to take a realistic assessment of your gear -- or take the dog for a walk because there is nothing better to do for a few weeks before Spring Turkey season kicks in.
Sam as a young pup! He has worked the 9 day NRA Show for several years now. See article below.

If you are positioned to have hunting opportunities right now (like Texas hogs), you are fortunate and good luck! If not, maybe pick up a new skill until the time is right.

Here are a few ideas: 

Deep thoughts on Fletching and Vanes:  Maybe it is time to learn to fletch your own arrows if you don't know how. Can you use feathers in a crossbow? Certainly. Can you pick other colors and styles than the 4" parabolic plastic vane that we supply on our standard Kodabow Magnum .338 arrow. You bet!
But keep in mind that the Kodabow Magnum .338 arrow is one of the best kept secrets in the crossbow industry as one customer recently told us! 

From Left to Right: 3 traditional arrows with 4" to 5" long feathers and a high amount of helical. This degree of helical won't work well down a crossbow rail. The red arrow was redone with 2" Blazer vanes with helical. The helical works because of the shorter vane. The two arrows to on the right are standard Kodabow Magnum .338 Arrows with 2 degree offset.
The best practice for crossbow arrows is to avoid putting so much helical on a vane or feather that the poor arrow can't get down the crossbow rail without making heavy contact. What works is a standard 2 degree offset on a long vane or feather. The vane is applied in a straight line exactly like on our Kodabow Magnum .338 arrow. If you are using shorter vanes and feathers, you can try helical (which twists the vane around the arrow and is more aggressive than offset) and still be safe because of the shorter fletching length like on the red arrow above .....but it won't work on a 4" vane. 
Here are some other considerations:
Weight: Feathers weigh about 1/3 the weight of plastic vanes. Feathers are lighter. Feather companies will also tell you that the surface of a feather engages the air mass better than the slick surface of plastic which is favorable.... and since the 3 feathers are lighter, they will help boost the FOC (Forward of Center % - high %  is a good thing) vs. the 3 plastic vanes by eliminating weight at the rear of the arrow. Feathers are slightly less durable but I have never found that aspect to be a real issue. (except in real heavy rain and snow.)  To make arrows, you will need feathers or vanes, and cement. An early decision will be to choose a jig that will help you affix the feather/vane precisely at 120 degree intervals. We use a brand called the "Jo Jan Fletcher" for repairs and building custom arrows and it can do one vane on 6 arrows at a time. Other options are single arrow fletching jigs like the Bohning, Aizona EZ Fletch or Bitzenberger -- do your homework and choose what you like or find appealing. Another tip - we find that standard Gorilla Instant Glue --- makes a great fletching cement and is much less expensive (comes in a big bottle) than typical "archery specific" fletching cements. This is the white stuff --- not the brown colored Gorilla Glue and you can find it at your local arts and crafts store. But then again... those Kodabow Magnum .338 arrows sure are sweet. (Hint: How much longer before our current fabulous prices increase?) More important - why do any of this? Maybe it is just to repair arrows or because you simply want to try your hand at it. One customer went through the whole process and found that accuracy with his "custom" arrows could equal the Kodabow Magnum Arrows - but he could never make an arrow shoot any better.

Camo Face Paint  If you haven't tried it, we think you should. Forget the constant facemask hassle. Buy some for the Spring Turkey hunting season. We sell this three tube kit on our website for $13.99. And if we sell it, you know it is good and it works! 

Link to Kodabow Accessories

The Presidential Election: About a month ago, Petersen's Hunting Journal made a real strong case to Sportsmen to consider voting for Donald Trump. Politics are your own business but we always attempt to stay fully informed around here --- and while Donald's behavior on the campaign trail has certainly been controversial, it appears a lot of folks really like him.  The media and political elites can't stand the guy and are doing the best to derail his campaign but with a lot of voters behind him, he might be unstoppable. Here is the article by Michael Schoby.


Trump's son, Don Jr. is the real deal when it comes to hunting and bow hunting in particular. I am impressed with Don Jr. He appears authentic and genuine. I think it is reasonable to believe that should Trump win the 2016 election, his son Don Jr. would be a tremendous asset for the American Sportsman. Long before the election campaign, Don Jr. was frequently on hunting forums. One seller of a traditional bow was surprised when Don Jr. made payment with a check and the seller realized the identity of the buyer. Don Jr. appears to be a regular guy - had to work at it a little harder but he looks like he really knows his archery stuff.  

Wierd Crossbow Excusions:  Crossbows (and archery equipment in general) have plenty of energy. In certain circumstances, the force behind the arrow can cause a carbon arrow to flex and spring back in unusual ways. Hunters have discharged crossbow arrows into the ground and unknowingly struck a buried root causing the arrow to flex and rebound directly back towards the hunter. A high speed arrow passing right by your face will get your attention. That can be dangerous. Always consider your backstop. A few years ago, I shot a deer at 15 yards with my Kodabow. As the arrow entered the deer's engine room, the arrow direction was altered by bone and muscle in a very peculiar manner and the arrow flexed and turned 90 degrees going straight up in the air --- high --- at least 30 feet --- then floated down to the ground at my feet. The deer was dead 20 yards away but the path of the arrow was impressive. Another time, a Kodabow customer related that he shot over his target one day and struck an oak tree in the backyard just right. The arrow's direction was altered 90 degrees and ended up in the fender of his F-150. The picture below was taken at the NRA Show in Harrisburg PA. Look closely at the center of the door. A vertical bow arrow was launched apparently a little high on the target range and traveled into a large metal overhead door nearly finding freedom in the parking lot. Yikes! We observed an improved backstop in place shortly thereafter. Always be sure of your backstop! 

9 Days in Harrisburg, PA  The NRA Show in Harrisburg (Great American Outdoor Show) was a great success especially considering the Super Bowl was on one weekend and Valentine's Day the following weekend. We sold plenty of Kodabow crossbows and many Kodabow owners stopped by to say hello, show pictures or pick up some arrows, a backpack or other accessory items.  At one point, there were 2 gents visiting our booth looking at the Kodabow products. There were 6 other folks who just happened to own Kodabow Crossbows standing right behind these 2 prospective Kodabow buyers. The first fella asks, "Just how good are these Kodabows?" 
Before we could say anything, the Kodabow crowd erupted with statements like, "You are nuts if you buy any other crossbow than a Kodabow."  We just stayed out of the way for the next 10 minutes.  
All crossbows look the same from a distance. Digging deeper, Kodabow is in a class by itself.

"Kodabow was our first stop. I never believed I could shoot a deer but here are the photos."

Erin (C) speaking with a Kodabow buyer who had been looking at Kodabow Crossbows since last year. (The whole family ended up purchasing 3 bows at the Show). Matt (R) carrying a bow back from the shooting range. Mark (Background) shooting with a future Kodabow owner. Kodabow shoots more than any other crossbow maker at the NRA GAOS Show.
Leatherwork: Another Skill to Learn  Many Kodabow owners appreciate craftsmanship and craftsmanship has always been part of archery. 
We teach traditional archery on our Kodabow range on weekends. We enjoy crossbows but we also enjoy traditional bows and gear and know it pretty well. One aspect of traditional archery is a propensity for archers to make their own accessory equipment. You will see custom leather quivers, armguards  and carry sacks. Archers by nature, are patient folks and there is an element of pleasure of customizing and using equipment that you had a hand in making.  (At Kodabow, we have consistently added modifications to our own Kodabow crossbows and some of those additions make it as mainstream accessory products. For example, the Stock Tube Adapter was developed by a Kodabow customer. Our Decocking Aid was developed in the field because of necessity.) Leave the Kodabow development work to us but consider picking up  a new skill and work with leather to make yourself hunting items that just can't be bought.
Here are two examples that were completed in the last 2 months:
The first was an old hunting knife made in Germany in the 1960's that was badly in need of a sheath and some metal polish. The knife is not a collector's item. It was in the bottom of a tackle box inherited years ago.  Many knives of this style were imported after WWII and can be bought relatively inexpensively on Ebay and they are nice. So with a few evening's work, a nice sheath was made and the knife was suitable as a gift.  Not an expert leather worker here --- but a nice way to relax.

A knife was resurrected with a new sheath -- hand  sewn and there is no other one like it in the world. 

The second item was driven by the recent NRA trade show experience. The nylon badge holder (L) was very convenient to hold a cell phone, business cards and writing tools during the show. It was so useful that following the show and a few hours work, I made a similar leather holder (R) customized for my cell phone. This pouch will be a great tool for hunting season and has been in daily use since the show.

Just a few ideas .....be safe and thank goodness --- my turkey permit just arrived in the mail!   

Chuck at Kodabow Headquarters

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Looking Forward to 2016 - No Regrets

When hunting seasons ends and the calendar turns over, I always think about the past Kodabow year and all the events and friends that crossed our path.  Here are a few pictures from the scrapbook of living, hunting, and reflecting on life.

We introduce a lot of folks to archery on our Kodabow range facility. Hundreds of people in a year. I bet you didn't know that. The emphasis is teaching using traditional equipment with the goal of educating a prospective archer around the ethics, technical aspects and joy of launching an arrow downrange. I think there is no better insight into how an individual processes information and handles challenges than observing their mental and physical performance as they draw back a bow. Fred Bear once said, "Nothing cures a troubled mind like shooting a bow."

We discuss the future of our country around here every day. We are closely connected to many people in the armed services and worry about them. They are scattered around the world doing their duty and we hope they return safely. Sometimes, they are injured or make the ultimate sacrifice. We remember standing at a memorial service a few years ago for Sgt. Bury. Never forgotten. Freedom has a price and we pray that this country always has leaders worthy of our servicemen and women who are on the front lines.  

Making crossbows is great fun and we have the privilege to meet many accomplished hunters who shoot and appreciate our Kodabow crossbows. They send in photos and we feel the excitement of their success. THANK YOU! A Kodabow hunter is typically very successful --- maybe it is the way they go about their business. We believe you can't buy a finer crossbow and we want everyone who chooses our product to be confident. These photos from the past year reflect that type of success. We strive to always earn and be worthy of the trust you place in our company.

Hunting is the biggest part of our business. We enjoy the hunt. The majority of the time afield ends with great memories (if you are fortunate) and far less often with the killing of an animal. Success is better defined by the experience and not the kill as most of you know. As the New Year starts, I think about all the great 2015 moments -- being surprised in heavy cover by a nice whitetail at 4 yards - being fortunate to have a friend that would stand with me at 9,800 feet in Colorado with a recurve bow in search of Elk --drawing back on a nice buck in Pennsylvania at 12 yards but deciding to give him another year as I slowly let the arrow down. No regrets. (But I do think about it.)  The killing of an animal reinforces the cycle of life and death and can highlight our own mortality.  My mom told me one day that "it all goes by so fast." When you are making the trip, friends are the best. So if you can get down this road with a great friend, be thankful. If you have a great friend you can hunt with --- be more thankful because that is pretty rare. Whether you are miles in the Colorado back country with Mark, in Texas learning how to chase whitetails with Monte, or in suburban Pennsylvania exploring the art of backyard hunting with Ted, it is always far more fun with a friend. Good luck hunting in 2016! 
My best, Chuck