Change afoot in the archery industry
Having just spent three days walking the floor of the Archery Trade Association Show in Louisville, Ky., I’ve come away with the distinct impression that things are changing for us. Sure, the typical booths were there representing the heavy hitters who churn out new bows, arrows, and other bowhunting necessities. There were also plenty of small startups looking to catch the eye of pro shop owners cruising the aisles.
A symbol of how we are changing caught my eye as I spent some time listening to a clothing manufacturer explain his latest hunting duds. Mixed in with the camo was a whole rack of lifestyle clothing, which is branded just like our hunting clothes but meant for everyday use and not just restricted to treestands and ground blinds.
This is not such a big deal – I understand that. But after that first booth, I started looking around and realized bowhunting is going mainstream. Maybe it’s a sign that the fever over the Hunger Games was more than a passing phase, or, I’d like to think, it’s more about hunters being fed up with having to be politically correct about our identities.
We are sick of feeling like we should apologize for hunting, and as the case in so many aspects of life we are passionate about, we are waving our flags loud and proud. And I, for one, couldn’t be happier that we are standing up for ourselves.
Do you know what’s even better than that? What’s better is that there are a pile of companies making great youth gear. Some of it is designed specifically for hunting, but an awful lot of it is meant to subtly bring our kids into the fold. It’s outlier gear, but it’s awesome. And I truly hope that when my little girls wear a pink shirt with a bowhunter on the front, or pull on their new knee-highs to catch frogs, they are representing a future generation of hunters that live for it in every way.
And that they apologize for it never.