5 Best Hunting Bows from ATA 2017

Video best bows for 2017

The ATA (Archery Trade Association) show gets a lot of attention for its new hunting gear releases, but nothing turns more heads than the new bows. For 2017, the “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!” theme was common among many of the leading bow manufactures. Rather than rebuilding bows from the ground up, they took the best parts and features of their recent models and perfected them with the help from customer feedback and new technology.

In 2016, the Halon was my favorite bow at the ATA show, and in 2017, Mathews won my heart again. The Halon is back in a bigger and better way with their new 32” axle-to-axle design, which will definitely have a string angle and draw cycle that feels better for those hunters with longer draw lengths. The Halon 32 also features Mathews Crosscentric Cam Technology, which generates maximum power with the highest efficiency possible, hitting speeds up to 350 fps. Still, it was dead in my hands while flinging arrows at a blistering speed.

  • IBO RATING – 350 FPS
  • AXLE-TO-AXLE – 32″
  • DRAW WEIGHTS – 40, 50, 60 & 70 LBS
  • DRAW LENGTHS – 24.5 – 30.5″
  • BOW WEIGHT – 4.83 LBS*
  • LET-OFF – 75 & 85%
  • MSRP – $1,099

Hoyt surprised by rolling out an aluminum bow for their 2017 flagship with the Pro Defiant (of course they have a Carbon Defiant, as well). It’s got one of the longest brace heights on the market at 7”, and has a weight of just 4.2 lbs. It’s obvious Hoyt focused on smoothness with this bow, and it was noticeable at the range. It uses Offset Riser Technology to kill vibration and Dual Cable Stops to provide a solid back wall. It is one of the slower flagships at 331 fps, but it’s hardly noticeable and still plenty fast.

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  • IBO RATING – 331 FPS
  • AXLE-TO-AXLE – 30.5″ (also available in a 33” & 34”)
  • DRAW WEIGHTS – 30-80 LBS (10 LB. Increments)
  • DRAW LENGTHS – 24 – 30″
  • BOW WEIGHT – 4.2 LBS
  • MSRP – $1,099

The company that is only a few years old continues to impress with their new Xplorer SS. Similar to their 2015 Xcentric, the Xplorer is all about compact power. It’s only 3.9 lbs and 30” axle-to-axle, while having an IBO of 355 fps. The Xplorer SS has a smooth draw cycle and wide range of adjustability thanks to their patent pending PX and XS Plus dual limb stop hybrids. It has a brace height of just over 6”, which is a surprising stat when you consider its speed.

  • IBO RATING – 355 FPS
  • AXLE-TO-AXLE – 30″
  • DRAW WEIGHTS – 45, 55, 60, 65, & 70 LBS
  • DRAW LENGTHS – 25-30″
  • BOW WEIGHT – 3.9 LBS
  • LET-OFF – 80%
  • MSRP – $1,049

Most don’t think of bows as being intelligent, but that’s changed with Bowtech’s new SmartBow technology. It’s featured in their new Reign 6, which has an IBO of 350 fps and brace height of 6”. Making it a SmartBow, though, is its Overdrive Binary cam system and Powershift Technology. The Overdrive Binary cam system is the only one like it, which 100% tunes to the shooter. Meanwhile, the Powershift Technology gives the archer the ability to choose max speed, power, or comfort with just the flip of a disc.

Bowtech Reign 6

  • IBO RATING – 350 FPS
  • AXLE-TO-AXLE – 32 5/8”
  • DRAW WEIGHTS – 50, 60, & 70 LBS
  • DRAW LENGTHS – 24-30″
  • BOW WEIGHT – 4.3 LBS
  • MSRP – $1,099
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The exception to the rule of companies building off of old flagships is Prime, who introduced the Centergy for 2017. The Centergy looks and feels different with their Center Balanced Targeting System. The newly center-balanced 82X aluminum riser, combined with TRK parallel Cam technology and Flexis-AR roller guard make it feel more balanced before and after you draw. The Centergy has a very forgiving brace height of 6.5” and an IBO of 333 fps. It is just over 33” axle-to-axle.

  • BRACE HEIGHT – 6.5″
  • IBO RATING – 333 FPS
  • AXLE-TO-AXLE – 33 ¼”
  • DRAW WEIGHTS – 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, 80 LBS
  • DRAW LENGTHS – 24.5 – 31″
  • BOW WEIGHT – 4.3 LBS
  • MSRP – $1,099

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>