The 2022 ATA Show featured the latest and greatest in bowhunting gear. I searched the show floor and talked to manufacturers to bring you my picks for the best new bowhunting gear. The gear items I picked are heavy on innovation and solve problems for bowhunters.
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Timber Ninja Black Belt Saddle and Carbon Fiber Treestand
The ATA Show’s Innovation Zone is my favorite place to visit because you’ll find new companies with innovative products in that area. The Innovation Zone standout was Timber Ninja with their tree saddle and carbon fiber hang-on stand.
The company’s founder, Jason Redd, has a background in rock climbing and as a fall restraint specialist, and he’s bringing that experience and those manufacturing standards to bowhunting gear. Timber Ninja’s new Black Belt tree saddle is padded, double paneled, and is rated to OSHA’s fall restraint standard of 3,000 pounds. If you’ve found other saddles to be uncomfortable, this padded and double panel option is worth a look.
The showstopper is Timber Ninja’s 6.5-pound carbon fiber hang-on stand. With Timber Ninja’s carbon fiber climbing sticks and hang-on stand, you can have a complete hang-and-hunt setup that weighs around 10 pounds. The stand isn’t a tiny platform either. It’s a roomy full-sized hang-on with a seat. They don’t have a price on the stand yet, but it won’t be cheap. The stand and the saddle will be available in spring 2022.
Beyond making mobile hunting gear that’s lighter, Timber Ninja is also passionate about making durable and safe hunting gear. They send out products for third-party testing to ensure safety and quality. Their products are also made in the USA.
Tethrd Carbon Fiber Platform and Skeletor Sticks
Tethrd is one of the main players in saddle hunting gear. They make everything you need to hunt from a saddle—platforms, saddles, sticks, tethers, and lineman’s belts. Saddle hunting is all about being light and mobile, so the natural progression from aluminum platforms is to even lighter carbon fiber. For 2022 Tethrd is releasing a carbon fiber platform that’s the same size as the Predator XL but 30 percent lighter. It also won’t suck heat from your feet like aluminum and it’s quieter. You can expect them to be available late this summer and cost about $250.
The new Skeletor Sticks come ready to hunt with Dynalite ropes, so no DIY is necessary. They’re a two-pound, 20-inch stick that’s $225 for a four-pack. They’re $100 less than the One Stick, but also a pound heavier.
Swhacker Long Range Precision Arrow System
Micro-diameter arrows offer a lot of benefits to bowhunters, but they can’t use standard inserts. Most companies go to a half-out with a collar or an outsert to allow the use of standard points and broadheads in micro-diameter arrows. But Swhacker came up with a unique solution by making a broadhead that screws onto the insert instead of into the insert. They are sold as pre-built Gold Tip Peirce Platinum that come pre-fletched with TAC vanes in a three or four fletch. The arrows will also be spined aligned with spine alignment indicators on the wraps. They’re available in 250, 300, and 350 spines.
The insert is stainless steel and weighs about 60 grains. An aluminum collar is part of the system, and it weighs around 16 grains. There will also be indexing marks so you can set how you want your broadheads aligned to your fletching.
The LRP arrow system will be available in late June or July. Field points, fixed blades, and separate components are in the works as well.
JAKT Gear JAKT TAG
There’s a lot of tech making its way into bowhunting, and some purists don’t embrace it. But, the tech being created by JAKT Gear is something I think all bowhunters will find useful. They’re using NFC tags and QR in smart ways for hunting applications.
My favorite is the wild game meat QR codes. The labels go onto your game meat, and you can catalog the date the animal was killed, location, cut of meat, and even a photo of the animal. It’s a handy feature for organizing your freezer, but it’s also cool if you give wild game meat to friends. They can scan the code to learn more about where that meat came from and the story behind their dinner. There’s also an NFC tag for the outside of your freezer. Tap your phone to the NFC tag, and you can see a complete inventory of what’s inside.
They’re using the same concept and tech for tags you can add to your mounts. Tap the tag with your phone, and you can view a journal entry for the kill that includes location, photos, gear used, and other info you want to remember about the hunt. They also offer duck toe tags, business cards, and a social media platform for hunters.
T.R.U. Ball Executive and Abyss X-Tension
Hinge releases fire when rotated, but smoothly rotation takes practice and a well-designed release. The typical hinge connects to the D-loop at a point between your index and middle finger. But, the Executive moves the pivot point over your index finger. The result is a smoother and easier-to-shoot hinge. It won Best New Product Introduced After October at ATA 2022, and this innovative design is made in the USA.
For archers that like tension-activated releases, T.R.U. Ball has a new offering, the Abyss X-Tension. But, unlike other tension releases that use the thumb peg as the safety, the Abyss X-Tension keeps thumb trigger muscle memory. You’ll draw back the release like a normal thumb button, put your thumb on the peg, and build tension until the shot breaks. That way, transitioning to a thumb trigger will be seamless with no change in shot routine.
Trophy Ridge React Digital
We’ve seen electronic sights that auto-range the target, like the Garmin Xero A1i Pro. But, the React Digital isn’t a ranging sight. It’s a bow sight with built-in ballistic software that makes sighting in and building a sight tape a very simple process. Sight in at 20 and 40 yards, and you’ll have marks out to the farthest distance your bow can shoot and all the distances in between. You can also program the sight by inputting your arrow speed. Using the sight is just like dialing any single pin, except that instead of looking at a sight tape with tiny font, the distance setting is displayed on the screen with large, easy-to-read numbers.
Cuddeback Tracks and Ambient Light Solar Panel
Solar panels on cellular trail cams save you money on batteries and the time it takes to change them. But, solar panels need sun, and the best places for a trail cameras usually aren’t in full sunlight. Cuddeback is solving this problem with their new ambient light solar panel. You can now set solar panels in areas that get a little filtered sunlight and keep your camera charged.
It’s great to see companies listen to consumer feedback and implement it in new products. Spypoint’s new Flex cell cam is an excellent example of that. You wanted easier formatting, over-the-air firmware updates, a better antenna, and great photos. You get all that in the Flex, and it comes at an attractive price, $169. It’ll be available this summer.
The problem with removing ticks is that when you squeeze them with tweezers, they vomit in the wound, transferring diseases in their stomach. The ArcTick has an interesting solution to that problem: it instantly kills ticks by freezing them with a spray. Then they fall off your skin or are removed with a gentle tug.
Inventive Outdoors ScentRelief Attractant
I cannot use natural deer attractants in my home state due to the risks of transmitting CWD. An interesting solution to that modern problem is a ScentRelief from Inventive Outdoors, which gives you a urine-based attractant with zero risk of transmitting CWD. They’ve come up with a way to convert urine from other animals and even humans into deer attractant. They sell a kit where you can take your pee and make it into an attractant, and they sell pre-made attractant made from non-cervid animal urine. Inventive Outdoors claims their attractant is just as effective as natural deer urine, and it lasts longer.
At the 2022 ATA Show, I saw lighter mobile hunting gear, cell cams with better features and lower prices, as well as more tech integrated with bowhunting gear.