ATA Show truck
Only at ATA: A blood-soaked pickup truck in the parking lot of the Kentucky Expo Center

If you are heavily into archery, you’ll be jealous of where the staff got to hang out yesterday: the 19th annual Archery Trade Association trade show (ATA Show) in Louisville.

The ATA show is a trade-only show where dealers meet with archery manufacturers to preview the latest offerings, check out the old favorites and write up sales orders for the coming year.  Chances are good that wherever you purchase your archery equipment, the order was written during the ATA show.

Oh yes, they also allow that scurrilous class of vermin known as “outdoor media” to stalk the show aisles.

If the thought of reading the latest bow hunting magazine or catalog makes your palms sweaty with anticipation, you’d likely pass out cold after walking through the doors of the Kentucky Expo Center.  To say it is a wonderland of archery would be a minor understatement.

During our visit, aside from running into several old friends and making new acquaintances, we stumbled across several things that might interest WildIndiana readers.

Need a life-sized Bigfoot target?
Need a life-sized Bigfoot target?

First, in general terms, the general industry arms race toward lighter, more complex bows continues, though it seems fewer new models were introduced this year.  It does appear, however, that the non-shooting accessory market was more robust than ever so if you need an electronic game-tracking arrow, scent-dispensing broadheads, a bow stabilizer that includes integral MIL-STD-1913 (Picatenny) rail or tree steps that appear to be some type of shelf mushroom, they’ll be available in the shops in 2016.

Of course, the increasing “militarization” of hunting continues, leaving a curmudgeonly website publisher to wonder aloud several times “are we supposed to be enjoying a contemplative outdoor pursuit or are the deer shooting back now?”  Said publisher got many strange looks.

Regardless, we’ll share a few of our field notes that readers might find interesting.   The current plan is to conduct further testing and reviews of several products but until such a time, we’ll wet your whistle with this preview-

xpioneer-airbow-profile.png.pagespeed.ic.Ofp38k8UqTCrosman Pioneer Airbow– One of the most talked-about new products at the show was the Airbow; this is a revolutionary, rather than evolutionary, weapon.

Unveiled by Crosman at Louisville, this is the first practical air rifle that shoots full size arrows.

Powered by 3000 psi of compressed air from a small pony tank or hand pump, the gun will shoot full-sized Airbow arrows at 450 feet per second with exceptional accuracy.  It is light, quick to load, operates very much like a regular firearm, is very consistent from shot-to-shot and is considered much faster, simpler and safer to fire than a crossbow.  Crosman spokesman Jim Shockey has been filmed taking an American Bison with the weapon.

The downsides?  It isn’t legal for big-game hunting in Indiana (yet), it’s not especially quiet (it sounds like a .22 short) and the price point is $999 (though you can pre-order now for $849; the price will also likely be cheaper “on the street” when finally available through retailers.)

For more information:

hunter-trauma-kit-smallTMS Outdoors Hunter’s Trauma Kits- These products are a great idea whose time has come.  As a bit of background: the U.S. Military learned during the War on Terror that soldiers were often dying on the battlefield from massive bleeding that could have been controlled by the quick application of a tourniquet.  Now, every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine is issued a tourniquet along with other trauma gear.  This has significantly reduced the death rate from these “serious but survivable” injuries.

Law enforcement officers have realized they face similar circumstances and now tourniquets and “blow out kits” are making their way into squad cars across America.  As many military members and cops are also hunters, the next step was obvious: blow-out kits for hunters.

When you consider the number of hunters who fall on arrows, seriously injure themselves with knives or suffer accidental gunshot wounds far from their vehicle, it makes sense to carry the equipment necessary to save a life (including your own) before help can arrive.

TMS Outdoors, based in Louisville, is a leading vendor of tactical medical equipment for the U.S. Military and law enforcement agencies across the country and has now applied their expertise with a new line of emergency kits for the hunter.  Each kit includes a military-issue tourniquet, trauma bandage and a few “snivel” items for the smaller boo-boo’s, all contained in a compact belt or pocket pouch.

We believe the prepared and prudent hunter should consider carrying such a kit.

For more information:

952350_tz_3000_realtreeTenzing TZ3000 Pack– We talked to our buds Josh and Pat over at the Tenzing booth and they showed us the newest hunting pack, the TZ3000.

If you look at the “premium” hunting pack niche, the Tenzing line is making inroads on that lofty plateau where Eblestock, Mystery Ranch, Kifaru and others have thrived for many years.  I also learned that production was recently moved to Vietnam and the already-superb quality has improved.  Our favorite Tenzing camera bag (sadly now out of production) has survived too many adventures to name but still literally looks and functions like new.  This is good kit!

The TZ3000 is a 3100 cubic-inch pack designed to fill a size gap in the Tenzing lineup.  Customers had asked for something that was bigger than a standard hunting day pack, able to carry enough gear for a serious wilderness hunt or spike camp, without the bulk or “floppiness” of a large pack.  The TZ3000 was the result.

It is available in Realtree camo, includes two internal fluted aluminum stays, a channeled back pad, fold-out gun and bow carrier, integral rain cover and is 3-liter hydration bladder compatible.

Suggested retail price is $309 but when you compare the engineering, features and build quality to other high-end hunting packs, the TZ3000 looks to be a great value.  We can’t wait to take it on a trophy grizzly hunt deep into Alaska’s Talkeetna wilderness…and as soon as someone drops off the required $10,000 cash on our doorstep, we’ll book that trip!

For more information:

CM_CBR_00147Hi-Mountain Camp Meals– While stalking The Next Great Thing, we ran into Hans Hummel, the owner of Hi-Mountain seasonings.  We are avid users of their well-known spice kits for venison jerky and sausage but we also think their four varieties of dehydrated Camp Meals are the bomb!  (See our review here)

Unfortunately, unlike the spice mixes, the meals are hard to find.

To our chagrin, Hans pointed out that Camp Meals can be purchased directly through the web site,    We responded, “DOH!”

So, if our review got you salivating at the thought of carmel-apple goodness for your next camping or outdoor trip, you can buy them directly from the source.

RPT-Kinetics-ColorsRPT Knife Sharpener- This new knife sharpener somehow utilizes Voodoo or possibly plutonium to put a razor-edge on your blades, even the author’s dull-as-a-licorice-stick pocket knife.

Made by Wolff Indiana, the same company that makes the renown Atlas and Apex fly tying vises in Columbus, Indiana, the RPT sharpener actually uses Patent-Pending Reverse Polarity Technology that incorporates rare-earth magnets to properly hone the blade edge during the final of three stages in the device.

The sharpener will be released in July and will likely be available at many retail locations.  For a suggested retail price of $29.99, you can support an Indiana outdoors-related manufacturing business and keep your blades razor-sharp!

For More information:

A well-known and award-winning writer/photographer/radio & television talent/speaker/web-designer/media spokesperson/shooting instructor/elected official/retired police officer/bourbon connoisseur/cigar aficionado/backpacker/hunter/fisherman/gardener/preparedness guru/musician/and jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none, Brent Wheat is the editor and publisher of


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