Bowhunting & Archery News & Articles

Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

Hunting with Instinct
By Joella Bates
Nov 29, 2006, 09:05

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Perched in a ladder stand against a huge sugar maple located ten yards inside the forested grove, adjacent to a food plot, I wait for the deer to funnel in for an evening meal. The sun is hitting me directly on my left side causing streams of sweat to roll down my neck. In another 20 minutes, the sun should shade the stand of oaks to my west. In the mean time, the combination of the sun's heat and the carbohydrates from lunch cause me to drift into dreamland.

You know the feeling. I'm sure you have been there before. Sleeping in a treestand is not my idea of rest, so I struggle to stay awake.

At 4:30 pm, a doe and her two button buck fawns enter the plot from the southwestern corner of the plot. The spotless button-heads appear near ready to explore life on their own. It's early still, so I decline the 30 yard broadside option on the doe. I'm like most of you; for the time being, I will wait for a trophy buck.

After all, I am hunting at Tim Stull's Deer Creek Lodge in Sebree, Kentucky. With this place's history for producing monster whitetails-- the kind that you expect in Canada not western Kentucky-I will wait patiently. Their literature and the camp conversations record numerous trophy bucks that have been harvested from these properties including a 166 5/8 taken opening week of the 2006 season by Trevor Morford of Virginia.

My Bear Instinct compound bow, dipped in Realtree Hardwoods HD green, hangs camouflaged within easy reach, just waiting for me to slide my left hand into the grip when the timing is right. At a short 31 inches axle-to-axle, the Instinct is compact and light enough (4.1 pounds) enough to make maneuvering in the woods and in treestands easy and with a 7.5 inch brace height, aiming the bow is pleasant. I get none of the wobbling and jittering that comes with a bow with a short brace height even though the bow's riser sports reflex geometry that increases the power stoke and the speed.

Just two weeks ago, I set up and tuned the Instinct. It is offered in draw lengths from 26 to 31 inches and draw weights of 50 to 60 and 60 to 70 pounds. My Instinct was shipped at 26 inches and 70 pounds. Having a shorter than average draw length, I choose to shoot a 70 pound bow that will give me substantially more kinetic energy; therefore, it  extends my effective shooting range for big game animals. Although the Instinct does not possess the blazing speed of some of its' higher priced rivals, independent testing revealed a bow speed of 309 fps with a 360 grain arrow at AMO 30 inch draw length. Bear Archery listed an IBO rating of 305 feet-per-second.

I remember the old days when I shot a Bear First Strike and a Jennings Carbon Extreme XLR. Neither of these bows came close to the Instinct in speed, but I effectively harvested deer and took my first ASA National and IBO World Championship with the Carbon Extreme.

Whether she is shooting lifesavers in a demo or bucks in the woods, Joella has confidence in the repeatability of the Bear Instinct. It's a lot of bow for the bucks.

Don't get me wrong, I like a fast bow, but even more important to me is that the bow possess features that make it comfortable to hold at full draw and easy to aim. With 75% let-off, the Instinct holds and aims like a dream and if you prefer, your Instinct can be constructed with eccentrics that yield 65% let-off. Bear ships the Instinct as a 28 inch 60 pound bow with 27 and 29 inch RS modules or as a 29 inch 70 pound bow with 28 and 30 inch RS modules. One of the incredible features of the Instinct is that a dealer can stock modules from 26 to 31 inches and fit any archer in the 26 to 31 inch draw range by just changing the module.

Bows that offer the simplicity of providing multiple draw length offers at the same poundage with the change of a module are economical for both the dealer and the consumer. The dealer can carry fewer bows in stock and still fit the majority of the archers. The consumer has the advantage of being able to buy a bow that can grow with the archer. Another appealing feature is the draw length can be customized within the one inch draw modules with a moveable spool located in the interior of the cam that allows the archer to adjust to their exact draw length… and exact is important.

Having been a nationally ranked 3-D competitor for over 10 years and the holder of five 3-D archery World Championship titles, I appreciate a bow that I can shoot consistently well. I put the Instinct in that category. I equipped it with a Trophy Ridge Drop Zone arrow rest and Xchanger stabilizer, a Tru-Peep by Jim Fletcher Archery, a Sword Acu-Site with a 7-inch bar, and a string loop for the nocking point. My first shots were with Carbon Express CX 300 arrows cut to 27 inches. I stepped up to 10 yards to fire my first shots so I could adjust the sight to hit on target. My first arrow went slightly high and right of the center of the bull's-eye. The second arrow went into the rear or the first arrow shattering the back three inches of the shaft. For the first time in my 17 years of shooting archery I had Robinhooded the first arrow shot from a new bow with the second arrow.  

I had a bad experience with split limb bows in the mid 90's, so I shied away from even trying them again until last year. After a positive experience, I have become much more open-minded toward split limbs. I inspected the Instinct's compression molded quad limbs and the way they are secured in the plastic boot-lined CNC machined 6061-T6 aluminum limb pockets. The limbs fit snugly in the pockets and the entire limb pocket rotates for poundage adjustments. In a recent conversation with Scott Alread of Bear he commented that, "Bear owns the patent on compressed limb technology and this cutting edge technology is why you never hear of limbs blowing up on Bear bows".

The toughness of the compression molded quad limbs is just one of the features that allow a limited lifetime warranty to be included for the Instinct.

The parallel limb configuration produces a quiet and virtually vibration and shock free shot. In addition to the dampening materials in the limb pockets, the Instinct comes with Bear factory installed Sims Vibration Laboratory's LimbSavers and String Leeches to make the bow quieter.

I was very pleasantly surprised with the shootability of the Instinct. The Perimeter Weighted Single Cam System rides fluidly on stainless steel axles and bushings providing a smooth easy drawing bow. I even found it extremely easy to draw this bow at 70 pounds because of the shape of the bottom cam and the way it stores energy.

The bow has a very solid draw stop and comes to rest in a position that easily allows me to hold longer at full-draw without fighting an urge for the string to be stripped from my release. At my 26 inch draw length, it is refreshing to find a bow that has received as much care in craft and design in the cam as the longer draw length versions. I say this because quiet often I have other bow models at 28 or 29 inch draw lengths that draw and hold much differently than their shorter draw length counterparts.

I love the feel of the narrow two-piece wooden grip and the suede-feeling covering on the back of the riser. The narrow throat of the grip and the shape of the handle make a comfortable platform for my bow hand. It is very easy for me to feel my bow hand into position without having to look to see if my hand placement is right. This grip provides me with consistent hand placement shot after shot thus giving me consistently good results.

All in all, I believe that Bear Archery has produced a winner. The Bear Instinct is way more bow than the price-tag indicates. I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for, but in this case Bear has put a bargain price on a bonus bow. I look forward to spending more time in the field with the Bear Instinct. It truly brings out the hunter-harvester killer Instinct in me.

Back in the woods in Kentucky, I hear the snap of a twig behind me followed by the shuffling of leaves on the ground. I slowly turn my head to see the mature doe that had winded me earlier on the green plot. Then I had felt a shift in the breeze that was signified by the Kevlar Tiger Whiskers dangling from the end of my stabilizer. The minute stands of Kevlar replicated the wind direction and shifted in the direction of the feeding doe. Without a moment's hesitation, she tucked her tail and bounded from the field. The fawns looked up, but did not follow her lead.

Now, she had gotten up her nerve to further investigate the camoed blob perched on the ladder. Instinctively, I eased into a standing position and shifted my body to facing the tree. I slid my left hand into the grip and raised the bow from the holder. When the doe was totally behind my maple tree, I turned the compact Instinct toward the tree trunk where my back had rested. When the doe now standing inside 15 yards, dropped her head, I moved the bow into position. Unfortunately, she was so close that she caught my movement in her periphery. Her instinct was to flee now and check out the danger further later. She did.

Leaf-covered branches blocked the does, so I held and held not wanting to miss the shot opportunity if one was presented. I had ranged several likely shooting lanes shortly after getting situated in the stand for the evening's hunt. I was certain about my yardages. When and if she stepped from the cover into the shooting lane, my predicted shot was at 40 yards. Stiff-legged she stepped into the opening. I place my 40 yard pin on her belly to allow for her crouching as she responded to the noise of the arrow in flight. The arrow sailed into a patch of weeds after passing about four inches over her back. Her belly appeared to nearly touch the ground as she coiled and fled the scene. She snorted repeatedly. The squirrel's barks chorused as they mocked me for the miss.

This miss was no fault of the bow, but rather the instincts of the shooter. Although I realized the shot was downhill and that I would have to deduct for that fact, I had not adequately judged the true distance that I should have shot. I will take up the issue of shooting from a treestand in a follow-up article.

For now, shoot straight and dream big. Take my advice -- you owe it to yourself to go try a Bear Instinct if you are considering buying a new bow. My instincts tell me the Bear Instinct is a lot of bow for a little money. You might even save enough to go on another bowhunting adventure.

For a chance to win a new Bear Code Bow and more bowhunting gear go to Whitetail University and enter the Christmas sweepstakes.


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