By Kevin Reese
Bowshooter’s Station six month field test and product review.
United States -(AmmoLand.com)- Writing a recent article about bowhunting ethics, more specifically, year round preparedness, led me to consider the many products I have used over the years designed specifically to enrich our off-season or between-hunt training.
Consider the foundational ideology we as Marines lived by throughout our service and which still guides our principled, character–driven steps no matter what endeavors lie ahead, even… or should I say especially in hunting… the taking of lives, be those pursuits for sustenance, conservation or both.
Either way, we’re talking about preparation, more importantly ethical hunting.
Two years ago, through my younger brother’s Facebook group, Bowhunters of America, now populated by over 25,000 passionate heritage-minded archers, I met a gentleman, Gordon Smith, from West Monroe, Louisiana. I spent some time with Gordon at the 2015 ATA Show where he showed me his unique product, the Bowshooter’s Station, in Gordon’s words, an archery equipment caddy.
Fast forward a year later, I was dog-tired of looking for a soft spot of ground to lay my bow every time I walked down range to pull arrows. With every trek, whether 20 yards or 80, I grew increasingly annoyed; while I have never been opposed to hanging my bow on hooks or limbs, or laying it across my lap, I have never been a fan of laying it on the ground.
Fed up with substandard homemade products, I ordered Gordon’s Bowshooter’s Station.
I readily admit I was skeptical; I had used my fair share of problematic bow stands, from unstable and fragile to bulky, large and downright heavy. As I assembled the Bowshooter’s Station, my concerns began to melt away. Not only were parts packaged and protected well, when I fished them out and felt them, they were rock-solid!
The Bowshooter’s Station boasts a lightweight, skeletonized design with heavy-duty steel construction topped by premium, rugged powder coating; since receiving the station, I have carted it all over rural Texas in the back of a pickup truck and finally placed it semi-permanently on the makeshift practice range I have on my property. To date, while it has become a tad dirty, it does not have a scratch on it.
Since I believe archery is as much a social experience as it is personal, I ordered two Bowshooters Station Bow Holding Clevis mounts. Each clevis features a rubberized coating on the limb forks and robust adjustability to cradle and protect virtually every type of bow you can think of, from older compounds, new split limb designs and long bows to recurves. Clevis adjustments and the Bowshooter’s Station’s wide platform makes it virtually untippable.
Available in black or pink and fairly compact when assembled, the Bowshooter’s Station has a footprint of 21.5”W x 18”D, with a height of 19”.
While my Bowshooter’s Station has two clevises, only one is standard; the other was an option.
The stand did include three plastic cups. Two are installed beneath the steel arrow rings on the front of the stand to hold two sets of arrows while the third is mounted on top for your favorite beverage. Since the stand is designed from the ground up (two arrow holders) to caddy for two shooters, the second bow clevis makes sense – food for thought.
So, what isn’t so great about the Bowshooter’s Station?
I could say quite a bit… but I would be lying. The truth is, in nearly 20 years of archery, Gordon Smith’s simple bow-caddy design handily sweeps the tops spot, not that competition against one homemade failure after another has been stiff. As far as improvements, I readily offer three in case Gordon decides to offer a second generation at some point – I hope he does!
First, I would love to see a collapsible version, perhaps even with a tote or pack straps for easy carry to remote shooting locations. Second, although mild-steel construction is incredibly rugged and the current version is certainly not heavy at all, I feel sensible archers could make an aluminum-built stand last for years on end, and it would be even lighter, more mobile.
Finally, while the Bowshooter’s Station is obviously designed for two archers, there is only one beverage holder. The single cup is clearly located at spot capable of bearing some weight. I would offer an additional mounting plate capable of holding additional cups, a gear cup (keys, etc.) or a small scorecard stand.
All things considered, the Bowshooter’s Station is a homerun. After spending the past six months with it by my side holding my bow, arrows and countless Dr Peppers, I have tried to step back and consider why I might not use one.
Honestly, at $69 and free shipping, I cannot come up with a reason not to own it. Frankly, I am always looking for quality products designed to enrich our outdoor experiences. The Bowshooter’s Station does exactly that.
Gordon Smith began with a deep-rooted mission to improve our archery experiences, including its social benefit, and made something great. While I like the Bowshooter’s Station, I love the spirit in which it was crafted. Gordon Smith knew what he was doing.
When it comes to practice, ethics and outdoor enrichment, the Bowshooter’s Station caddies more than just your bow.
Learn more about the Bowshooter’s Station at www.lahuntinggear.com.
About Kevin Reese:
Kevin is an award-winning outdoor writer, photographer, videographer, speaker, host of Global Outfitters TV Show’s GO Tips and a Marine Corps veteran. He owns and administers www.mainbeammedia.com and Main Beam Blog at blog.mainbeammedia.com. The Main Beam Blog offers great articles, press releases, outdoor industry news and reviews.