The cost of archery gear has been on a steep climb in recent years and many hunters are asking if “the juice is worth the squeeze.” If you are an archery consumer, you know that we live in a world of $150 bow sights, $20 broadheads and arrows at $150 per dozen. Once you total the cost of a hunting arrows, you can easily launch $20-30 on every shot. Top of the line compound bows (and crossbows) have followed suit such that most company feature bows are well beyond the thousand dollar mark and some crossbows sell for more than 2K. Have these escalating costs reached a limit beyond which hunters will (or can) pay? A negative answer can have many repercussions from closing local pro-shops, to reduced interest in hunting and a subsequent reduction in hunting license sales, all of which eventually impacts the hunting industry and conservation.

Changing Trends

bob-foulkrod-bow-school-025I can remember attending an ATA Show at which a manufacturer introduced a tree stand that cost $200. That was nearly three times the average cost at the time and many people predicted the company would go out of business. Ironically it did because the owners vastly underestimated demand and received far more orders than they could fill. One industry professional remarking, “At least they proved that consumers are willing to pay $200 for a tree stand.” One might look at other products on the market today like premium coolers. Who would think that sporting men and women would pay $500 or more for a cooler, yet they are and other manufacturers are rushing to fill this premium product niche. Broadheads used to be sold in packs of six or more. Hunters need just as many hunting heads as ever, yet today they are sold in packs of three due to the high cost. The folks at Field & Stream have received abundant feedback that bow prices are too high and Will Brantley believes it may jeopardize the industry. Here’s his take on the subject:

Obscene. Out of touch. Insane. That’s what F&S readers think about today’s compound bow prices, at least as expressed in the many letters and comments we get reacting to our annual flagship bow test. The least expensive of our top 12 bows last year listed at $949. The priciest was $1,500. Add in arrows and accessories, and you’re looking at $1,200 to $2K.
If you can’t stomach that, you’re hardly alone—and it represents a major shift in the bowhunting culture