January 13, 2022
Some of the sport’s major manufacturers weren’t in Louisville for a variety of pandemic- and business-related reasons, and some of the show’s most impressive products have already been covered in spaces like this (take the TenPoint Nitro 505 crossbow, for instance).
But while the show had a smaller footprint than in previous years and attendance was lighter due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, a horrendous snowstorm that pummeled southern and central Kentucky, and the archery and bowhunting industry figuring out life and business in this current climate, there were plenty of exhibitors and attendees, a noticeable positive energy vibe, and new goodies needing a closer look.
With the help of OSG colleagues like Brian Strickland, the equipment editor for our sister publication Bowhunter magazine, here are my highlights from the 25th ATA Show:
1. Prime Inline 1, 2, 3 Compound Bows
Reading all the hype about a new bow is one thing, but actually getting it in your hands and shooting it is something else. Prime came into the 2022 ATA Show with a lot of talk about the company’s all-new Inline Cam System, which is a noticeable departure from the Parallel Cam System that the company is known for.
But when you can enhance a bow’s accuracy to tack-driving efficiency and quieter shot noise and vibration, you’ve got a bow that looks, sounds good, and shoots IBO arrow speeds up to and beyond 340 fps depending on the model. Prime does this through such advancements as the bow’s cable tracking in line with the string track, a stable aluminum riser, and a NASA developed aerogel that doesn’t care how cold it gets during the November rut.
After putting it through some paces on the range, the three different axle-to-axle lengths of 31, 33, and 35 inches looks to be a bow that also delivers on the range and in the field.
$1,199 | g5prime.com
2. PSE Nock On Carbon Levitate Compound Bow
PSE worked with renowned bowhunter and outdoor writer John Dudley to come out with this sleek-looking compound bow featuring the new E2 cam system. At 32.5 inches axle-to-axle, and a new hand-made Dead Frequency Carbon Riser, this cool rig can deliver accuracy, a smooth draw cycle, and an IBO speed rating up to 348 fps. Other than a big taxidermy bill, what more could a bowhunter ask for in a high-end bow?
$1,899 | psearchery.com
3. Garmin Xero A1i Pro Bow Sight
An upgrade from the electronics maker’s first such sight a few years ago, the new Xero A1i Pro gives bowhunters the ability to know the exact distance to a target in a flash. In addition to lightning-fast, laser-obtained yardages, the new version also sets dual-pin colors; allows for quick micro-adjustments for elevation, windage, and laser reticle alignment; is able to create a pin stack based on arrow speed, draw length, and arrow diameter; and is quick to set up and fine-tune. Add in the feature where the sight is easily removed and reattached—perfect for moving through the nation’s air travel system—and one-year-long battery life, and this sight is one of the ATA Show’s winners.
$1,299 | garmin.com
4. Half Rack Snack Pack Storage Bag
At some ATA Shows, the simplest products end up being one of your favorites. That was the case with Half Rack’s Snack Pack, a 100-percent reusable snack storage bag that is silent, tough, and stores a variety of goodies in your deer-hunting pack from beef jerky to granola bags to protein bars to a turkey sandwich. Whatever fuel you plan on using during a day in a treestand or ground blind, put your goodies in this bag and you’ll never have to worry about food and snacks falling to the bottom of your pack. Better yet, buy two, one for snacks stored away on the inside of your pack and the other attached outside to hold your pop bottle, an energy drink, or even a YETI-style thermos.
$6 | half-rack.com
5. Easton Sonic 6.0 Hunting Arrow
In the arrow making giant’s 100th year, Easton has unveiled one of their most innovative arrow shafts yet. With a lighter overall mass weight, the Sonic 6.0 gives bow-benders the ability to shoot speedy, light-weight set-ups to high FOC/high momentum heavy-weight rigs, all with the ability to carry a boiler-room wrecking punch downrange at the terminal end of a bow shot. Add in another Easton first in factory-fletched helical vanes featuring Bohning’s 2-inch Bully vane made exclusively for Easton, and you get wicked broadhead accuracy. If you like making your own arrows, no worries since the new Sonic 6.0 shaft comes in six spine options (250, 300, 340, 400, 500, and 600) bare shaft configurations too.
MSRP not available | eastonarchery.com
6. Ground Hog Max ATV/UTV Disc Plow
With one season fading into the rearview mirror and the next that will be here before you know it, food-plot season is a virtual year-round thing for deer hunters. And while plows and implements for use behind an ATV or UTV aren’t new, many have to be adjusted if the plow disc is going to get deep into the ground.
The new Ground Hog Max Plow addresses that issue by centering the plow disc under the ATV or UTV’s own weight to get seeds where they need to be in the dirt. It’s easy to transport—meaning you won’t need a trailer—along with saving space in the garage or shop. Add in the unit’s easy access (it can go wherever your rig can go), can be used at speeds of 4-7 mph, works on all sorts of terrain, and allows for the use of lower CC "air-cooled only" units, and this rig can go and make food plots where other units can’t!
MSRP not available | groundhogmax.com
7. Nomad Durawool Weather Gear
Due to some health matters, staying warm is a challenge for yours truly in the late-season deer woods. So, I’m always on the lookout for new products like Nomad’s Durawool line-up that can help me stay up in a treestand longer when the mercury drops, and the bucks are moving!
Led off by both mud-colored and Mossy Oak Hybrid Migrate camo pattern hoodies, these garments feature 170 gsm Merino wool fabric that is thermo-regulating, moisture-wicking, quick drying, very breathable, featuring four-way stretchability, having flatlock stitching, sporting gusseted underarms, and having a zippered ninja-style hood. Add in a non-hoodie style crewneck, bottoms, and even boxer shorts, and maybe even I can stay warm in these Merino wool base layer garments next fall!
MSRP varies | nomadoutdoor.com
8. ScentLok BE:1 Reactor Jacket
As ScentLok celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, the company continues to expand its clothing toolbox with the BE:1 series. New for 2022 is the redesigned Reactor Jacket, which can be worn as a stand-alone garment earlier in the season or as a layering garment when the cold descends, and the snow is threatening to fly. Featuring 60 grams of Primaloft Silver low-bulk insulation and a new micro-fleece lining, this jacket aims at not being too bulky, maintaining warmth, and helping keep human odor at bay.
A scuba-hood design, several zippered pockets, an extended tail, a generous collar height, five different sizes, and multiple camo options—including Mossy Oak’s Terra Outland—makes this a great new addition to the bowhunter’s closet.
$189-$199 | scentlok.com
9. VaporTrail Pro-VX Sight
Built off this limb-driven sight company’s already successful Pro-V lineup, the new VaporTrail Pro-VX features all of its predecessor’s bulletproof design features, as well as all-new micro-adjustability for windage, elevation, and a built-in bubble level to get the shot started off right. Add in a new carbon fiber overmolded rubber cage for the sight, a wide array of colors, and the ability to fit new bows from the sport’s major manufacturers, and this is an easy to use and set up sight that will help tighten up your arrow groups in 2022.
$209.99 | vaportrailarchery.com
10. Morrell Yellow Jacket Kinetic 1.0 Bag Targets
I’ve always been partial to this company’s Yellow Jacket brand of bag targets, partly because my hometown football team is the Yellow Jackets and partly because these black-and-gold Morrell targets are bomb proof, they last (even when a Labrador retriever thinks it needs a new chew toy), and the color scheme fits a lot of my wardrobe. But even with years of making these great targets, Morrell has pushed the YJ line forward, giving consumers what might be the toughest bag target ever built.
With vertical bow speeds pushing up and crossbow speeds approaching hypersonic velocities, the new Yellow Jacket Kinetic 1.0 is weather-resistant, has a built-in easy carry handle, and checks in with a beefy weight of 65 pounds. The Kinetic 1.0 is able to take one punishing shot after another from the world’s fastest bows and crossbows, and keep coming back for more!
$149.99 | morrelltargets.com
11. Bear Archery Kodiak Hunter Recurve Bow
Ok, so technically, this isn’t totally brand new since Fred Bear’s legendary archery company first introduced this recurve bow back in 1967. But as the bow comes back as a part of Bear’s 2022 line-up, it’s got a lot of improvements of which we’re pretty sure the godfather of bowhunting would approve.
This all-new Kodiak Hunter brings a shedua riser, a cool-looking black stripe down the center of the riser, some great maple laminate and arctic grey fiberglass limbs, a Dynaflight 97 Flemish Twist bowstring, handcrafted and fiberglass layered tips, and a crowned, cut-on center arrow shelf, and there’s much to like if you dig trad bows like old Fred Bear did. Add in a 60-inch AMO, right and left-handed options, and draw weights from 35 all the way up to 60 pounds, and this new Fred Bear recurve is one that is sure to be popular in 2022!
$529.99 | beararchery.com
12. Buck Bourbon 110 Proof Deer Attractant
Kentucky is the land of the Kentucky Derby, mint julips, big bucks and bourbon. With all of that as a backdrop, the Bluegrass State features a woodsy lifestyle that the folks at Buck Bourbon are trying to capture. From the morning coffee to the evening sip of brown liquid around the skinning pole, the company’s 110 Proof Deer Attractant—as well as the other lifestyle products that the company offers—celebrates that culture and then some. Front and center, of course, is getting a big Kentucky buck on the ground, and to help do that, the company has turned to the agricultural by-products produced in the making of bourbon to create a deer attractant and feed supplement that is heavy on sweet antler-rich protein, lures in even the biggest whitetails, and has a pleasant aroma that deer and hunters both like. Especially around the camp skinning pole, with another big Kentucky bruiser buck gently swaying in the evening wind.
$12.99-$24.99 | buckbourbon.com
13. VIP Archery Combat Veteran Broadhead
Made in America and using high-grade components and scalpel-sharp blades, Matt Futture’s Texas-made hog- and whitetail-killing broadhead checks a lot of boxes for bowhunters. Futture’s design—he is a U.S. Navy veteran and served in Afghanistan—flies deadly accurate, it strikes an animal’s boiler room hard and heavy no matter the impact angle, and it drives through the vitals to leave an easy-to-follow blood trail no matter how tough the hide, ribs, bone, and sinew that it encounters along the way. Using momentum management and a tremendous cutting width of up to 2 by 1 ¼ inches, and these broadheads fly the same as the enclosed practice point does. Coming in 100 and 125 grain sizes for bows and crossbows, this easy to use broadhead is bombproof at the range and in the field. But then again, what would you expect from a Combat Veteran?
$40 | viparchery.com
14. Thorogood Infinity FD Boots
As someone who takes blood thinners (I could get cold on the Fourth of July), I have a love-hate relationship with rubber boots. They help keep my feet dry, they help with leaving scent behind, but they often leave me looking for the treestand exit button after a couple of hours of losing feeling in my toes.
To say I’m intrigued by Thorogood’s Infinity FD rubber boots would be an understatement, not only because of the outside exterior’s good looks and Realtree Timber camo pattern. But it’s what’s inside—namely the NASA-inspired SOLARCORE aerogel lining that promises to retain 50 percent more heat than other boot insulations, along with the shock-absorbing Flex-Drive.
$180 | thorogoodusa.com
15. Browning Strike Force FHS Trail Camera
Tom Rainey and his Browning Trail Cameras crew had to drive from Tennessee to Kentucky in the middle of a raging snowstorm that Rainey described as the most horrible driving conditions he had ever experienced despite plenty of northern driving experience. But he just had to find his way to Louisville for ATA to show off Browning’s new Strike Force FHD sub-micro camera, one that delivers superb daylight photos, enhanced nighttime imagery, and some of the best video capabilities ever put in a trail camera. With a variety of setting speeds and blazing fast trigger speeds between .135 and .7 seconds, this new camera captures 22mb images as 1080p full HD video with audio. Perfect to show off a great buck, or even your driving skills in a Bluegrass Blizzard.
$149.99 | browningtrailcameras.com
16. Scent Thief Field Spray
One reason why in-person trade shows trumps those done virtually? Because there’s little that can replace the in-person experience when it comes to seeing, using, hearing, and even smelling how good a product happens to be. One such example was the Scent Thief Field Spray, a product I saw during a winding down walk-through the Kentucky Exposition Center. Suffice it to say that the putrefied coon hunting/catfish angling concoction they had in the booth was among the most foul-smelling products I had ever encountered, so bad in fact that I wanted to dry heave for a second. But after a couple of squirts from the refill bottle into the offending substances in a plastic baggie, and the result was a light, pleasant aroma that one could stand to be around for hours on end. Since the product works at the epithelium level in a deer’s nose, odds are, it’s a great product for you to use next fall in the field in the spray bottle, a refill kit, or a Hunter’s Pack lineup.
MSRP prices vary | scentthief.com
17. Rinehart Bighorn Sheep Target
So big, so imposing, so awesome-looking is the latest creation from Rinehart Targets. I literally stopped in the middle of the aisle, turned my head quickly, and did a double take upon looking at a real-looking and imposing bighorn sheep target perched on top of a stand in the company’s ATA booth. When I was told that the target—which is pricey at several hundred dollars, but also long lasting and durable, thanks to Rhinehart’s legendary solid high-density, self-healing foam—was only the second one out of the mold, I knew immediately what I was asking Santa Claus for next Christmas.
MSRP not available | rinehart3d.com
18. Redline RL-1 Stabilizer
Maybe it’s because I’ve got a couple of gift cards burning a hole in my pocket and I’m searching for a new bow stabilizer, but count me among those impressed by the new Redline RL-1 Stabilizer—and other products like the RL-3 bow sight and the RL-1 Carbon 3-Arrow Quiver—from this new company out of the Midwest. In fact, aside from the high-grade woven carbon tube, a front end RL Rubber Dampening system, three one-ounce weights to customize the stabilizer’s balance on your bow, and an affordable price point in the $70 range, and there is much to like about these products. Including the fact that folks in the Redline Bowhunting booth were apologetic for appearing to be a little tired. The reason? They had just come from the Midwest where they were still trying to punch a big buck tag or two. No wonder the company’s motto is "Design, Develop, Test, Repeat."
$69.99 | redlinebowhunting.com
19. T.R.U. Ball Archery Centerline Release
The release products from T.R.U. Ball need no introduction, but the company is not resting on its laurels moving ahead into 2022. That’s evident with the company’s new Centerline Wrist-Strap Release, which hooks the D-Loop and string in a straight line fashion so as not to produce torque that can affect down-range accuracy. With a new Tri-Hook that resets after every shot, the Globo-Swivel strap that allows for different length settings, and travel and sensitivity set screws to help bowhunters adjust the trigger pressure to their desired light or heavy settings, this crisp-feeling release is sure to be a hit on the 3-D range and in treestands this year.
$129.99 | truball.com
20. Wasp Sharpshooter 200 Broadhead
Building on the previous success of Wasp Archery’s Sharpshooter broadhead lineup, the new Sharpshooter 200 is aimed at bowhunters who need a big set of blades that can dish out the punishment on a big bull elk, a grizzly, a moose, or maybe even a Cape buffalo in Africa. With four razor-sharp stainless steel blades, including a single bevel main cutting blade, and a 1 1/8-inch cutting diameter, these blades are tough, durable, replaceable, and wickedly sharp. But then again, as a broadhead company with a reputation for putting stinging hits on whitetails and other big-game critters for many years now, that’s what you’d expect from Wasp.
$53.99 per 3 | wasparchery.com
21. Cobra Radius Bow Sight
With its patent pending Radius Technology—which uses one screw to simultaneously adjust all sight pins into proper arrow trajectory, using this new Radius Sight from Cobra is as simple as sighting in your 20-yard pin. With precision machining and 6061-T6 aluminum, a second axis for long-range accuracy, less parts than other competitors have on their products, a 2-inch sight housing, and a smaller, cleaner, design, this sight is a winner. Sight light compatible, coming in right- and left-handed options, and featuring .019 green and red pins, this was the last product we saw on the way out the door from ATA 2022. But perhaps, the show saved the best for last, right?
$184.99 | cobraarchery.com
So, there you have it, a list of 21 items that caught my attention in Louisville at the 2022 ATA Show. And there were countless other new products too—blinds from Primos, Muddy, Ameristep, and Rino; treestands from Hawk, Millennium, and Lone Wolf Custom; tree saddles from Tethrd and Aero Hunter; clothing from Scent Blocker and Mossy Oak; targets from Block and McKenzie/Delta; trail cameras from Cuddeback and Stealth Cam; new optics from Zeiss and Covert; new decoys from Montana Decoy and Flambeau; new bow cases from Flambeau and SKB; and more scent-control products, accessories, and what-cha-ma-call it’s from dozens of manufacturers ranging from Wildlife Research Center, Scent Crusher, Dead Down Wind, Gold Tip Arrows, Rage Broadheads, Danner/LaCrosse Boots, and Wicked Tree Gear to name a few.
There was still almost too much to see, sample, and cover. Oh well, I guess that proves that the archery and bowhunting industries are alive and well and there’s plenty to look forward to at the 2023 ATA Show in Indianapolis.