MAK­ING THE CASE FOR PRO­TEC­TION

PUT­TING YOUR BOW AT RISK COULD BE A COSTLY MIS­TAKE

Outdoor Life - - BOW HUNTING INSIDER - BY TONY HANSEN

WE PAY ALL KINDS OF AT­TEN­TION to the bows we carry afield—their cams, ac­ces­sories, strings. We spend hours tun­ing and fuss­ing and re­fin­ing. We af­fix high-dol­lar sights and sta­bi­liz­ers and quiv­ers to them. We revere the fin­ished prod­uct as a tool of per­for­mance and pre­ci­sion. Then we toss it in the back seat of a truck and go bounc­ing along to the woods. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

A util­i­tar­ian tool and the first line of de­fense (in many in­stances, the only line) against snapped sight pins, crushed quiv­ers, and other haz­ards, a case is also one of the most over­looked pieces of gear in a bowhunter’s arse­nal. Don’t make that mis­take. Here’s a primer on case op­tions and the fea­tures to look for in each.

SOFT CASES

When most bowhunters think of a bow case, it’s this type that comes to mind.

The most ba­sic of all cases, these of­fer a lower level of pro­tec­tion than more rigid mod­els, but they’re gen­er­ally less ex­pen­sive. LOOK FOR: • An outer shell of cor­dura or a sim­i­lar durable, tear­resis­tant ma­te­rial.

• Pad­ding thick enough to pro­tect your bow from dings and bumps.

• Sep­a­rate com­part­ments for quiv­ers and gear. Some mod­els place pres­sure on the ar­row shafts and long-term stor­age can re­sult in mis­shapen vanes and feath­ers. BEST USE: Short-term trans­port on close-to-home hunts. CON­SIDER: Ca­bela’s Supreme soft case ($90; ca­belas.com)

HARD CASES

Step­ping up in level of pro­tec­tion, hard-sided mod­els come in many sizes and con­fig­u­ra­tions. They cost a bit more than soft cases but give you more util­ity. LOOK FOR: • Thick ma­te­rial. Thin-walled cases might seem to pro­vide am­ple pro­tec­tion but they are more eas­ily dam­aged than those con­structed with thicker plas­tics. • Cus­tomiz­able pad­ding. Pul­land-pluck foam al­lows you to con­fig­ure your case to your bow and ac­ces­sory setup.

• A sep­a­rate space for a quiver to pro­tect vanes and feath­ers. BEST USE: Se­ri­ous pro­tec­tion for long hauls—think air­line travel and road trips. CON­SIDER: Plano Field Locker ($260; plano.com)

HY­BRID CASES

Blend­ing fea­tures of molded and soft-sided cases, a hy­brid sys­tem pro­vides rugged pro­tec­tion like a hard case with the in­creased mod­u­lar­ity and stor­age op­tions of a soft case. LOOK FOR: • Dura­bil­ity at key stress points. Cor­ners should be re­in­forced and the outer shell, as with soft cases, should be abra­sionr es­is­tant. BEST USE: Ver­sa­til­ity is the key sell­ing point here. Top-end hy­brid cases are pricey but should be the only case you need, whether it’s for a sim­ple evening hunt on the neigh­bor’s farm or a cross-coun­try trip by plane. CON­SIDER: Lake­wood Prod­ucts Bow File ($200; lake­wood prod­ucts.com)

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