What did the ATA show tell us about the industry as a whole?
The outdoor industry isn’t a static thing: it’s constantly changing, evolving to meet consumer demands. There is perhaps no greater way to judge where the worlds of bowhunting and archery are headed than by the Archery Trade Association show, the nation’s largest outdoor trade show.
We’ve been keeping tabs, and here are a few things we’ve learned.
1. Traditional Archery is alive and well
Despite all the technological advances, doing things the old fashioned way is still alive and well. There are a plethora of exhibitors at the show, both small shops and modern corporations, selling all sorts of traditional archery equipment.
2. Products from newer and smaller companies have what it takes to challenge the established market leaders
Big companies tend to rule the roost, even in archery. Now, however, many smaller and newer companies are offering products with the performance to rival the big boys.
That being said, keep one eye on Elite Archery and the other on Obsession Archery; you’ll see what I mean.
3. Innovation is alive and well
Every time an idea or a product seems to have been developed to death, someone steps in and takes it one step further. Using ingenuity to overcome obstacles is one thing that makes this industry great.
4. Gimmicks are a part of life
With every new product that makes sense or could be useful, there are several that don’t make any sense; 2015 is no exception.
5. The industry is marketing itself to a more tech-savvy crowd
Just look at the surge in the number of trail cameras that will send pictures to your phone, or the sheer number of GoPro-specific accessories. Our world is becoming more hi-tech everyday, and bowhunting (and archery in general) is no exception.
6. Broadheads are getting bigger
Whether it’s the new Muzzy M.O.R.E. (designed for turkeys) or the NAP Slingblade, among others, the trend in mechanical broadheads seems to be towards having as large a cutting diameter as possible.
7. Celebrity worship is alive and well
Worshipping the people we see on T.V. seems to be our national pastime, and the hunting world is no exception. People lined up by the hundreds to shake the hand of many outdoor personalities
8. Eva Shockey is the queen of the outdoors
Eva Shockey, daughter of Jim Shockey, was thrust into the limelight when anti-hunters attacked her on social media. She continues to ride the wave, and BowTech even went as far as to introduce an Eva Shockey signature model bow.
9. Since the purchase of BigGame treestands, Muddy is branching out
For the last several years, Muddy has ruled the roost in the hang-on stand market. With their recent acquisition of Big Game Treestands, they’re finally jumping in to the ladder and climbing stand market.
10. More & more manufacturers are marketing to women
For years, outdoor companies have painted existing products pink and said they were designed for women. At this year’s ATA show, however, female-specific products were everywhere. From outdoor clothing designed for women, to archery and hunting products designed specifically for them, women in the outdoors have never had it better.
11. Not everything is getting more expensive
While there are plenty of ways for the well-heeled outdoorsman to spend some dough, many manufacturers are building products for the budget-conscious crowd. Take NAP’s new Redneck broadhead, for example: similar to the popular Thunderhead Razor broadhead, but with a redesigned aluminum ferrel and an amazing $19.99 per 3-pack.
12. X-Stand just changed the ladder stand game
More and more hunters are taking treestand safety seriously, and the folks over at X-Stand just introduced what is possibly the safest ladder stand ever. Featuring their “Loc Jaw” technology, this new stand has two steel jaws that lock onto the tree… from the ground. We can’t wait to see one in action.
13. We’ve yet to reach the pinnacle of compound bow design
As is the case every year, new compound bows were the stars of the show. From the debut of Matthew’s “No-Cam” technology to the 3-models-in-one BowTech Prodigy, it was evident that we’ve yet to reach the full potential of the vertical bow.
14. Crossbows are here to stay
More and more states are legalizing crossbows for hunting (some states even offer crossbow-specific seasons), and even major bow manufacturers are offering horizontal bows in their lineup. Just check out this video on the new PSE RDX365
15. So is bowfishing
Although many once viewed it as a fad, bowfishing is cementing its place in the world of archery. While many major manufacturers have offered a smattering of accessories, any are now offering a full line of bowfishing-specific products, up to and including bows designed for use on the water.
If the 2015 ATA Show is any indication, then we are super excited about where the world of bowhunting, and the archery industry as a whole, are headed. Stay tuned to Wide Open Spaces for info on more new products for 2015.