Recently I received my grandfathers old shotgun from my father as sort of a family heirloom. After doing some quick research on the gun, I found it to be right at the 100 year old mark. The amazing thing is, other than the blueing being worn off in some area’s, most people would never even know that the gun was 100 years old. Which got me thinking about today’s crossbows and the archery industry as a whole. Why is it that we feel crossbow manufacturers need to come out with new models every year, but gun manufactures have been making the same models for centuries and we as hunters find that perfectly acceptable? It is well documented that crossbows have been around longer than firearms. So shouldn’t crossbow manufacturers have gotten things right by now? Or did the founding fathers of the firearms industry just so happen to get it right the first time?
It’s no secret it’s in our DNA as humans to want to go bigger, faster, and further. We are always trying to invent a better mousetrap, right? Is this the reason that the crossbow manufactures come out with new models every year? Or has the industry just not gotten it right yet? Why is it OK to have 10 or 20 year old shotgun but not a 5 year old crossbow? Crossbows from 20 years ago are still killing deer just as dead as the crossbows of today. So why must we feel the need, or almost demand, that manufacturers offer new models each and every year? Are these new crossbows really new and “improved” or just new? Sure crossbow technology continues to change, slightly. Other than different configurations of cam orientation and limb direction, crossbow technology has pretty much stayed the same since there inception 1,000s of years ago. They all have some sort of bow, some sort of stock, and some sort of trigger system to release an arrow. Sure today’s manufacturers are using new and advanced materials, but as stated before the, the overall concept has not changed. So why keep building new models? I think we as consumers are partly to blame. Americans are consumed with outdoing each other in the day to day world. In the world of crossbows this also holds true too. We want to have a crossbow that is faster than the other guys. Or a crossbow that is quieter or lighter, or looks cooler. But in the end, it come down to ones personal hunting skills that gets the job done, not what crossbow he or she uses.
The reason for this article isn’t to discourage crossbow manufacturers from designing and building new bows. Or to put a limit to crossbow technology. But it was to make you think about your old 870 shotgun and wonder why you don’t feel the need to replace it every year or every other year, but the second a new crossbow comes to market, we put our old ones up for sale.
Maybe because the demand for crossbows wasn’t very high until recent years; crossbow manufacturers were stuck in a rut when it came to thinking “outside the box” when it came to designing new models. One thing is for sure. Every year there seems to be two to three states that are adjusting their hunting regulations, allowing crossbow participation of some sort. Either included in the entire archery season like it should be, or maybe just a separate crossbow season or permit. With this new influx of crossbow hunters, we are already starting to see some crossbow manufactures break from the norm and offer innovative designs. We are also seeing seeing or hearing rumors about new crossbow manufacturers entering the market. I believe all of this new design and competition is good for us, the consumer. We now have more choices than any other time in history. I myself will admit that I can’t wait to see what the future may hold in the way of new crossbow manufacturers and designs. But I always wonder if their will ever be one manufacturer that offers one particular crossbow model, that just get’s everything right like your favorite old shotgun or rifle.
I know this scenario sounds far fetched, like some sort of dream world. But receiving my grandpa’s 100 year old shotgun that is still shootable and more than capable of hunting afield, got me thinking about how many bows and crossbows I have owned over the years. i wonder if I will ever find the one crossbow that will stand the test of time, or will we always want more? Only the future knows the answer to that question. In the mean time, I guess we will have fun trying to figure it out. The scary thing is with most items in general, we don’t realize that the one we always wanted is the one we just got rid of.