2016’s best new bows

Whether you need a bow that’s fast, smooth, light or just sweet shooting, there’s something for you this year

Presenting Outdoor Canada’s exclusive annual roundup of the top new bows for Canadian hunters. And also check out the year’s top crossbows, plus arrows and accessories. 



Using the same carbon construction methods as the cycling industry, the 3.2-pound parallel split-limb Carbon Air is the lightest bow on the market, yet extremely strong, owing to the shape and design of the riser. With a 6⅛-inch brace height and 32 inches between axles, it’s easy to draw and noticeably dead-in-hand when shooting. The draw length is adjustable from 24½ to 30½ inches, and it shoots 340 fps with 80 per cent let-off. PSE, (520) 884-9065; www.pse-archery.com



Obsession’s split-limb Def-Con 6 is quiet and vibration-free. And with an IBO rating of 360 fps, it’s also one of the fastest speed bows on the market. You’ll be surprised by its smooth draw cycle, however, and the lack of felt shock or vibration in the hand. Weighing just 4.2 pounds, it measures 32½ inches between axles. And for a bow with a six-inch brace height, it has a gracious valley. Obsession Bows, (478) 945-3340; www.obsessionbows.com



With a long draw, and specialized cams producing a draw cycle that takes you to the back wall with surprising ease, this is one of 2016’s sweetest-shooting bows. It has a seven-inch brace height, and measures 34 inches between axles, with an ATA rating speed up to 325 fps. There’s also a smaller Defiant 30, weighing 3.6 pounds and shooting 331 fps, and a Defiant Turbo with a shorter six-inch brace height that shoots 350 fps. Hoyt, (801) 363-2990; www.hoyt.com

Diamond Deploy


Diamond Archery has been a market leader in beginner bows, but the Deploy SB, boasting a BowTech binary cam system, will grab the attention of seasoned bowhunters. It measures 31½ inches axle to axle, with a generous 6¾-inch brace height, and an adjustable draw length from 26 to 30½ inches. With a carbon riser, it weighs just 3.2 pounds and shoots an IBO-rated 330 fps. Priced at US$599, it offers real value for a carbon bow. Diamond Archery, 1-877-901-1934; www.diamondarchery.com



Mathews was back at ATA for the first time in many years, and its flagship Halon bow drew plenty of attention. New technology enables this bow to store lots of energy on a stable shooting platform, shooting at an impressive IBO-rated 353 fps. And harmonic dampeners and stabilizers make the Halon exceptionally smooth in the hand. It measures 30 inches axle to axle, with 75 or 85 per cent let-off, and comes in five-, six- or seven-inch brace heights. Mathews Archery Inc., (608) 269-2728; www.mathewsinc.com

Bowtech BT-X


Bowtech’s newest speed bow is quiet, well balanced and shoots at 350 fps, but the real story is its adjustability. PowerShift technology provides draw cycles from easy to moderate to aggressive, and a dial on the cams allows 10 micro-adjustments. The bow weighs 4.2 pounds and measures 31 inches between axles, with a draw length between 27 and 31 inches. There’s also a version with 28-inch cams, and a 25½- to 28-inch draw length. Bowtech Archery, 1-888-689-1289; www.bowtecharchery.com


ATA vs. IBO: Why do some bow manufacturers attribute their fps ratings to ATA and some to IBO? It all depends which guidelines they follow. The ATA rating comes from the Archery Trade Association, while the IBO number is determined by the International Bowhunting Organization guidelines.