Youth do a lot of growing between the ages of 9 and 14. I was looking for a bow that Alex could grow with and found out about the Grow Up With Parker program offered by Parker, a leading manufacturer of archery equipment and accessories. This program eliminates the need to buy a new bow for a growing child every year or two. When young or beginning archers purchase one of three compound bows offered by Parker as part of the program and eventually outgrow the bow, the original owner can send the bow back to Parker to be refitted with new and more powerful limbs for just $50. I got one a Parker Buck Shot Package for Alex's birthday.
The Buck Shot offers a full 10" of draw-length adjustment from 18" to 28". Right now, Alex has a draw length of 20" and he's not likely to exceed the 28" maximum adjustment until his later teen years (if at all). By that time we'll have sent the bow in for new limbs.
The bow has an axle-to-axle measurement of 32", a brace height of 6" and weighs just under 3 lbs. Let-off when the cam rolls over is 75%. Alex is drawing 20 lbs. right now, which means he's only holding 5 lbs. when at full draw. His bow can be adjusted to draw from 20-29 lbs. Buck Shots are also available with draw adjustments from 30-40 lbs. and 40-50 lbs. The handle is a soft, rubber-like composite material that soaks up vibration and reduces hand fatigue. These features combine to make the bow very shooter-friendly.
Parker's Buck Shot Package comes with an impressive array of accessories already installed: Cobra fiber-optic sight with three pins, a prong-style arrow rest, a one-piece five-arrow attached quiver, angled peep sight and string silencers.
The package retails for just under $280, but when you factor in that it may well be the bow a child can use for a lifetime (or at least for many years) the initial price is offset by what you'd pay for another two or three bows as a child grows up.
Alex and I took his new bow to a local Cabela's retail store where it was fitted to him and outfitted with a dozen Beman® ICS Junior carbon arrows. We got him a youth release and helped him get used to shooting with pins and a peep sight. In no time he was shooting nice groups at the small indoor range. It was time for a trip to the local shooting park.
It wasn't long before Alex was shooting enviable groups at 10 yards. Then I put up at life-sized 3-D turkey target 20 yards away. Once a sight pin was adjusted for that range, Alex was consistently putting arrows into the "kill zone."
I set the bottom pin on the Cobra sight for 25 yards. With Alex drawing only 20 lbs., there was a pronounced rainbow-like trajectory as arrows arched their way toward the Block target I'd set up. Alex hit the Block consistently, but his groups opened up considerably causing us to impose a 20-yard limit on any small-game hunting he does this fall.
Good equipment is essential to the success of any shooter, and thanks to the Parker Buck Shot, Alex is shooting tighter arrow groups at longer ranges than he ever has before. As a result, he's enjoying archery more and asking to shoot with me more often. What more could an archery-loving dad ask for?
For a complete listing of Parker bows offered by Cabela's, enter "Parker bow" in the "Find" box at the upper right corner of this page.