Each year the Archery Trade Association holds its annual trade show, this year’s occurring last week at the Indianapolis Convention Center. The three-day event gives manufacturers of archery- and bowhunting-related products an opportunity to show off their latest, greatest products to media luminaries and hopefully sell them to archery retailers.

While some folks seek out bigger, faster, stronger gear, I tend to key in on items that solve a problem, elicit a “Why hasn’t anyone else thought of that?” response or are just plain novel. Below are just a few examples of some of the more outstanding new items for 2015.

Once a pariah and then merely a fringe element, crossbows are now a major part of the bowhunting world. Every year sees new companies – I found four new to the industry – and plenty of new models from extant companies. The 2015 ATA show also marked the rebirth of one of the industry’s long-time standard bearers, Horton. Now officially Horton Crossbow Innovations (www.hortoncrossbows.com), its new reverse-limb Storm RDX incorporates the latest technology into a top-end bow capable of blistering 370 foot-per-second speeds with minimal noise or vibration.

Perhaps more interesting was a pair of companies that have bridged the gap between horizontal and vertical bows, simultaneously providing more irrefutable evidence that a crossbow is indeed a bow. The first is Bad Ass Slingshots (www.baslingshots.com). These slingshots use a Whisker Biscuit-type rest and bowstring to launch a conventional arrow-broadhead combo. Some models are powerful enough for hogs, deer, sharks and gators.

Even more eye-opening was the WishBow’n (www.chiricoarchery.com). Its engineers took a very compact but otherwise conventional compound limb and riser configuration, turned it on its side (like a crossbow) and added a slingshot type grip and arm rest. The result is a super-small and highly maneuverable and transportable horizontal bow that meets any state’s legal definition of a compound bow. And with draw weights from 25-70 pounds, there are models for virtually any game.

The increased popularity of bowhunting for turkeys spawned an array of “guillotine” broadheads with extra large cutting diameters designed for beheading birds. They’re effective but don’t fit into any conventional quiver. Muzzy (www.muzzy.com) solved that issue with its new M.O.R.E. Its blades open to a 3-inch cutting diameter but also fold back and lock to a 3/4-inch diameter for safe transport.

Game cameras are all the rage nowadays and companies continue to push the envelope to produce faster trigger speeds, longer battery life and better infrared illumination. Wildgame Innovations (www.wildgameinnovations.com) took it a step further with its new 360 Cam. It shoots single images and video clips from a full 360-degree field of view so you no longer miss those deer that may pass by behind or off to the side.

In addition to a smaller (0.204) diameter for reduced wind drift and forward-of-center weight distribution for better long-range accuracy, the RIP arrow from Victory Archery (www.victoryarchery.com) also features an exclusive spine alignment process. Each shaft is factory-tested, then marked with a graphic indicating where the “high” or stiff side is, making it easier for the shooter to fine-tune van alignment for consistency and accuracy.

Every industry has its headliners, like Coke and Pepsi, Budweiser and Miller. In the world of camo it’s Mossy Oak (www.mossyoak.com) and Realtree (www.realtree.com), both of whom introduced new camo patterns at ATA. Realtree’s Max-1 XT incorporates prairie grasses, brush, rock and sage with a balance of neutral earth tones and a hint of shadow detail for added depth and realism to produce a pattern ideal for the open-country western hunter. Mossy Oak went a different route with its Break-Up COUNTRY, using life-sized natural elements combined with digitally enhanced color tones and shadowing elements to produce a general purpose pattern applicable to any environment.

These are just a few highlights of the great new bowhunting gear. Hundreds more debuted in mainstream categories like bows and arrows, rests, sights and releases, quivers and cases, not to mention new scent control solutions and apparel. Get on the internet or visit your local retailers to supplement your bowhunting arsenal.

Bob Humphrey is a freelance writer and registered guide who lives in Pownal. He can be reached at:

[email protected]