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Outdoors

It's not too early to get ready for fall hunts

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    A scope sits atop a modern crossbow. Scopes provide light gathering in addition to magnification.

    BRAD ZAHAR / CHRONICLE

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    A crossbow with quiver and arrows rests against an archery target.

    BRAD ZAHAR / CHRONICLE

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There are better places to be than the Midwest in August. The summer heat doesn’t do much to jump start our thoughts of deer season, which is only one month away.

August is, however, an opportune time to start preparing and getting your gear in order. Even better for hunters, now is a great time to buy new gear.

The most important piece of equipment for archery season is your bow.

Whether the bow is new or old, dialing it in and getting it tuned up is the easiest way to ensure a successful fall. Archery season in Ohio is a popular event for hunters because it is so inclusive for those of all skill levels and abilities.

Ohio is one of 27 states with no restrictions on crossbow use during archery season. Some states only allow crossbows during their gun season. Other states reserve use of them for hunters who are over a certain age or are physically limited. Some other states simply have their own “crossbow” season.

Locally, one of the largest and most popular crossbow manufacturers is located in Mogadore, just outside of Akron.

TenPoint Crossbow Technologies puts forth some of the best and most popular crossbows for hunters.

“We’ve always tried to make bows that make you a better hunter,” TenPoint Director of Customer Experience Randy Wood said.

In Wood’s 17 years with TenPoint, he has seen bows get lighter, faster, narrower and less noisy. All of these developments make for a quality product, giving hunters a better chance at a successful harvest.

“Ohio is a strong whitetail state and a strong crossbow state,” Wood said. “Ohio was one of the first states that allowed the blanketed use of crossbows for archery hunters.”

As for the use of crossbows, many opponents have faded over the last decade as an increasing number of states are allowing their usage. This creates a positive correlation in getting a wider age range of hunters out and into the woods.

“It absolutely does expand the market of people who archery hunt,” Wood said. “When you look at deer archery harvest in Ohio for youth up to age 16, the vast majority of the harvest is crossbow.”

After the age of 16, the numbers show that a majority of archery kills come from compound bows. This increases until hunters reaches their mid-40s.

“You see a very serious decline in compound bow kills at that age (mid-40s) and a much longer, slower decline with crossbow kills,” Wood said.

Convenience is the biggest factor in crossbow numbers being higher in youths and middle-aged adults.

“Life gets busier in that age bracket. Then they can sight their crossbow in July and August and shoot it a few times and it’s dialed in,” Wood said. “Then, when they have a weekend that’s free in October, they can grab it and go. It provides you with that freedom and quickness to go hunt.”

Certainly expanding the hunting market is huge, especially with outdoor retailers’ marketing campaigns to get different demographics of people outdoors.

Ohio is always ranked near the top of best states to whitetail hunt. Doing the prep work and planning your archery season and gear now will ensure a successful fall season. Whether or not that involves new toys and gear, new technologies and materials make it hard to resist a new purchase.

Contact Brad Zahar at bzaharoutdoors@gmail.com.
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