Elk NetworkGear: Bows, Arrows and Accessories

Gear 101 | March 8, 2023

By Brad Fenson

If you’re looking for that smoother, quieter bow or the most effective accessories to up your bowhunting game this fall, check out this selection of products.


Mathews is a leader in engineering smooth-drawing bows that shoot quieter than a mouse’s whisper. Their newest flagship bow, the Phase4, is no exception. The Phase4 takes resistance dampening to a new level, and it’s built to be compatible with new Bridge-Lock Stabilizers in both the 29-or 33-inch axle-to-axle lengths. The 29 has a 6-inch brace height and accommodates draw lengths from 25.5 to 30 inches. The 33 has a forgiving 6.5-inch brace height and accommodates draw lengths from 27 to 31.5 inches. New Resistance Phase Damping Technology deadens and silences vibration by reducing excess energy within the limbs. The technology makes the bow steady in hand immediately after the shot, resulting in a smoother release and increased accuracy. Pair with Mathews’ Bridge-Lock Stabilizer for improved balance, rigidity, and even less vibration. The unique stabilizer integrates into the riser and uses stackable weights that can be added or removed with one set screw. Available in 8-, 10-, and 12-inch lengths and eight finish options to complete your harmonic tuning system. The Phase4 bow is also available in eight finishes, including Mathews Granite. See more at Mathewsinc.com.


Hunters will appreciate the fit and feel of the Ventum Pro 30 from the first time they pick it up. Modifications to the grip, balance and weight of this bow add comfort, a better sight picture and consistent hand pressure for maximum steadiness. The Ventum Pro 30 delivers consistent and accurate arrow placement. A Picatinny rail allows for mounting sights “inline” including those with built-in rangefinders and angle-compensation. This bow has built-in “Shock Pod” vibration absorbers and noise-reducing cams for quiet shots. It measures 30-inches axle-to-axle with an IBO speed rating of 342 fps, a 6-inch brace height, a 4.45-pound mass weight and accommodates draw lengths from 25-30 inches. I packed this bow on a black bear hunt and can testify to the smooth, quiet draw cycle and laser-precision speed. I even tested the new Picatinny rail with a Garmin Xero A1i sight. Visit hoyt.com for more.


The R5X is a fusion of Ravin’s R10X stock and its R26 front end, creating a lightweight crossbow with incredible energy and a speed rating of 400 fps. The design is extremely compact at 31 inches long and measures only 5¾ inches axle-to-axle when cocked. The R5X has an adjustable cheek pad and buttstock to accommodate most shooters, and comes ready to hunt with a quiver, arrows, illuminated scope and a built-in cocking system. HeliCoil technology at the heart of the crossbow keeps the cams synchronized and balanced, while coil cables allow them to flex an incredible 340 degrees. All while staying perfectly level when drawing and shooting for consistent accuracy. If you are looking for a compact, lightweight crossbow to carry into the elk woods, check out the complete line of Ravin bows. To learn more, visit ravincrossbows.com.


Backcountry elk hunters will embrace the new TenPoint Flatline 460, which weighs just 7.5 pounds for easy packing into the deep wilds, and measures just 7.5 inches wide when cocked. This bow feels compact and stable and has a sweet trigger, shooting incredible arrow groups at longer ranges. For length, this crossbow measures 26.5 inches with new Scope Struts to ensure solid and secure mounting of scopes. The reverse-draw limbs help generate an arrow speed of 460 fps while a 14-inch power stroke provides a lower draw weight, a smooth and quiet shot cycle, and improved accuracy thanks to string-to-nock engagement for the length of the stroke. This superb speed and energy offer elk hunters a lethal combo of projectile weight and downrange kinetic energy. The center-mounted riser provides in-hand balance making it easier to hold steady for better accuracy, and the RX8-Cam system allows for maximum rotation to enhance arrow speeds. Special cables eliminate cam lean and generate straight-nock travel leading to tack-driving down-range accuracy. Other features include adjustable two-piece stock, adjustable speed scope, ACUslide Cocking and De-Cocking System with Auto-Brake Gear, two-stage zero-creep trigger with 3.5-pound pull and bow hanger. See more at tenpointcrossbows.com.

Bow Spider

As soon as you experience the Bow Spider, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it. I started using one this year, and there’s no better way to carry your bow or secure it for transport or storage. This carry system frees your hands up but keeps your bow ready for use as you set up decoys or organize gear. It’s designed to attach to your belt, backpack waist strap, bino harness or even a tree. The device uses an innovative arm-and-receiver system. Attach the aluminum arm to the bow’s riser and slide the arm into the receiver, which can be secured via the included strap or long bolts. A gravity-locking system holds the bow securely in place. The bow can be retrieved in seconds with one hand without fumbling or fighting with straps, buckles or Velcro. For those of us who have frantically tried to deploy a bow strapped to a backpack, it’s hard to imagine a more efficient or useful bowhunting aid. The Bow Spider comes in green, tan or black with RMEF branding options. Visit bowspider.com.

Grim Reaper

The Pro Series 3-Blade mechanical broadhead offers a 1 3/8-inch cut diameter. The sturdy broadhead design and components are ideal for big animals like elk, with 40-degree swept blades for greater penetration and a cut-on-contact tip. Installing the broadhead and preventing early deployment is easy with a “Snap Cup” design that holds all components in place without O-rings, bands or clips. The Pro Series 3-Blade head comes in 100 or 125 grains. grimreaperbroadheads.com


The first time I used a Swagger bipod, I could not believe its flexibility and stability in any terrain. Crossbow hunters will love this quickly detachable bipod that extends up to 72 inches for use on the ground or in a tree stand, whether you’re seated or standing. Featuring adjustable, telescoping legs for maneuverability, the 25-ounce QD72 attaches to the crossbow via a sling swivel adapter. This bipod will support your crossbow while maintaining flexibility, so you stay on target. The rubber feet can be removed to reveal pointed ends for additional ground-gripping stability. Learn more at, swaggerbipods.com.


Carbon Express

My first hunting arrows were Carbon Express, and they were a big part of many successful trips over the years. Carbon Express has been building hunting arrows for years and with that experience, has combined the best features for impeccable performance with the Maxima Triad, a Tri-Spine Extreme Small Diameter carbon arrow. The .166-diameter hunting arrow offers enhanced strength, wind resistance and penetration. The Tri-Spine shaft creates less than ⅓ the oscillation of single-spine arrows, which translates to easier tuning and better downrange accuracy. Constructed of 30-ton modulous carbon, the Triad recovers fast from the launch. Arrows are organized and matched by spine and weight for best-in-class consistency with a spine sorting tolerance of +/-.0025 and weight sorting tolerance of +/-1.0 grains. For more information see feradyne.com.



The Magview offers a quick and consistent way to take high-quality images through your favorite binoculars or spotting scope. The system uses a magnet to align cell phone camera lenses with the eyepiece of a binocular or spotting scope and hold it in place. An easy-to-remove metal adapter ring tightens onto the eyepiece without impacting normal use of your optic. A strong adhesive holds a paper-thin magnetic plate on the back of your phone or phone case. The magnetic strip attaches to the eyepiece adapter, and you can move your phone until a clear image appears on the phone screen. Use the free app to capture and manage images. Magview systems provide a size compatibility chart for specific diameter eyepieces with options for adjustment. Set up is quick and easy, and you’ll soon master attaching the phone for fast image capture. On the first day in the field with a Magview equipped binocular, I got great photos of a nice mule deer. Alas, I didn’t have a tag for him. Visit magviewgear.com.


The Burris Oracle X crossbow scope provides clear advantages for finding your target and taking the guesswork out of aiming. This optic is almost smart enough to do your taxes. It provides range, angle compensation and an aiming point at the push of a button. The advanced electronics sort out the math and provide a dead-on hold in the optic using a built-in laser rangefinder. When activated via a wireless remote or the range button on the scope, the 2-7x Oracle X immediately displays the distance to your target and provides an exact aiming point factoring the angle of your shot. The rangefinder optic is clear and easy to operate, exceptionally accurate and reduces movement to improve the odds for any bowhunter. Learn more at burrisoptics.com.

Dialed Archery

The ARXOS series of bowhunting sights help maintain accuracy downrange. A 20-degree Angled Elevation System (AES) provides more clearance for arrow vanes, while an oversized VIOD dial makes for easy micro-adjustments to elevation. SwitchTape technology lets you swap out yardage rings for different arrow setups, while MAGSWAP technology allows you to switch out the entire sight housing, easily converted and calibrated for any hunt. The brightness of the pins is controlled by a sliding cover that controls light entering the fiber optics. I found the sight intuitive, easy to use, and deadly accurate. You can even order the sight in colors to match your bow. As they build you a sight customized to your specifications, Dialed Archery also does a terrific job of keeping you updated on their progress until your order arrives at your door. Attention to detail and customer service sets this company apart, as does quality and functionality to give hunters greater control over their bow setups. Visit dialedarchery.com.


Ever dreamed of owning your own portable archery shop? Now you can with the Easton Bowtruk Gen 2, a rolling travel case that protects your favorite archery gear and much more. I used an early-generation model of this case and packed everything for a trip in the case, from clothes and boots to bow and arrows. The case accommodates 33- and 36-inch arrow boxes, while the new fabric ensures durability and function for all modes of travel. With a ballistic nylon shell coated in TPU as the exterior fabric, all surfaces are abrasion and water resistant. Bowtruk’s sewn case and YKK woven-in main zipper add durability and security. Twin oversized sealed-bearing skate wheels allow you to pull the bow case smoothly. Three pockets allow easy access the inside of your case from the outside. Six storage compartments accommodate two full-size compound bows plus all your gear and shooting accessories. A tow-strap allows you to hitch it up to other roller bags for ease of transport, while a fleece-lined main compartment, exterior padding and double seatbelt-style bow retainment straps protect your gear. See Eastonarchery.com.

Scott Archery

Field-proven and a long-time best seller among arrow-release wrist straps, the Little Goose II continues to be popular choice with bowhunters many years after its launch. When used with consistency and good form, this release provides reliable accuracy with every arrow sent downrange. The popular design maximizes draw length with the forward, one-piece trigger and an angled-jaw that locks onto the string with an inline single-caliper. The wrist strap buckles snugly to place the trigger right on your fingertip. Built to work in temperatures from -30 to +90 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s renowned for both dependability and durability. Get ready for years of use without issue or need for replacement. I’ve had a Scott release for over two decades and still use it and reminisce about the elk and the bighorn ram it helped me bring home. Visit scottarchery.com


Muzzy has been making broadheads since 1984, the same year RMEF was founded, and like RMEF, Muzzy broadheads have earned a loyal following. The new MERC 3-Blade Broadhead features a solid one-piece, stainless-steel ferrule to ensure toughness, shaped and vented for quiet flight with a cut-on-contact tip for maximum penetration. The sharp edges of the ferrule transition smoothly into .030-inch-thick, replaceable blades for a continuous and lethal 1 1/8-inch-diameter cut, all locked in place by an aluminum blade-retention collar. Muzzy says the Merc’s unique geometry and venting deliver stable flight and extreme bloodletting. I have no doubt, as a moose I shot only went 10 yards after meeting my Muzzy. See more at feradyne.com.

Morrell Targets

You might like to roll the dice in Las Vegas, but before you head into the elk woods, there is no substitute for good shooting practice. Morrell has the perfect archery target to prepare. With incredible stopping power and self-healing foam for extended life, choosing the Big High Roller target is no gamble. Despite looking like a giant die with six faces and multiple aiming points, this target is as reliable as they come, made from solid poured foam that can stop arrows or bolts from compound or crossbows traveling at speeds up to 500 fps. The self-healing solid foam makes it seem like new long after arrows have struck, yet allows for one-handed, easy removal. The red target with fade-resistant white dots is easy to see in any lighting or season, and can be used with field points, mechanical- or fixed-blade broadheads. The Big High Roller is 16 x 16 x 16 inches, weatherproof and has an E-Z Tote carrying handle to make it the ideal target for home or camp. I have used these targets for years, and they never wear out. You can use them all year; they are proven to stop arrows in conditions from 100 degrees to minus 42 degrees. Visit morrelltargets.com.


Never miss seeing where your arrow hits again with Nockturnal Shift FIT lighted nocks. These nocks are easy to install and provide reliable light at arrow launch. An external switch simplifies turning off the bright, string-activated Nockturnal lighted nock. A non-replaceable lithium battery provides 20+ hours of life, and a durable design makes them ideal for target practice and hunting. A strong polycarbonate case protects the super-bright LED lights. Universal fit allows you to use the nocks with different arrow inserts. Lights are available in red, green, and red/green strobing. See more at feradyne.com.