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Vortex Optics – Spotting Scope + Tripod Giveaway – $2,500 value!!!

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Wyo Lawmakers Double Down On Corner Hopping

In response to the Carbon County corner hopping case Wyoming legislators are currently seeking to shore up the law so a concrete definition can be formed around what constitutes “corner crossing”. 

“The amendment would add a clause so the statute reads “no person shall enter upon or travel through” private property without permission.”

HB0103, if passed, would amend Wyoming’s hunter trespass laws seeking to eliminate a gray area in the current law regarding passing through the airspace above private property. 

As things stand, interpretations of Wyoming’s current law blow either way when it comes to air space. Private property-rights advocates claim that it is impossible to not pass through privately owned airspace when corner crossing, thus hunter or criminal trespass occurs during corner hopping. 

At the moment HB0103 has 11 sponsors and is moving forward in the Wyoming legislature and has been fitted with teeth to the tune of up to $1000 and six months in jail for persons found guilty… IF it gets passed. 

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Utah: Ethics Course Required For Shed Hunting

Just a reminder that if you plan on collecting shed antlers this spring in Utah and plan on going shed hunting between Feb 1st and April 15th, Utah’s Antler Gathering Ethics Course is a requirement for you to be in the field. 

Moose, elk and deer drop their antlers during the later months of winter. This is a hard time of the year when it comes to animal health and available forage. If you spook animals and cause them to run a long distance they burn up unnecessary energy and can die. Of course, one person bumping big game animals may not be a big deal but when you have droves of people continually bumping and spooking big game animals, it wears them down unnecessarily. 

You can find the free online course on Utah’s DWR website which will help you to understand how to shed hunt during the late winter months. If you wait until after April 15th then you don’t need to complete this course. Shed hunting from Feb 1st to April 15th was previously illegal in the state of Utah but due to the nature of the law and the inability to enforce it, the course was instituted and is mandatory for all shed hunters. After you take the course you can gather antlers in all public areas throughout the state of Utah except Wildlife Management Areas. And of course on private land. Make sure you gain access before venturing onto private property. 

If you find a dead head, Utah requires you to take pictures of the skull from a variety of angles and not touch it, just in case it may have been poached. You will need to report the find to your local DWR office and a warden will investigate before awarding you the antlers. 

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COLORADO Anti-AG, Wolf Advocate named Director Bureau of Animal Protection

Gov. Polis’ Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg hired a wolf advocate with anti-ag ties, Dr. Rebecca (Becky) Niemiec, to lead Colorado’s Bureau of Animal Protection (BAP). 

Niemiec is currently a wolf reintroduction and “humane food choice proponent” as an assistant professor in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Department at Colorado State University. Niemiec conducted a study that advocated for the introduction of wolves to Colorado and is currently leading a half million-dollar National Science Foundation grant in partnership with the City of Boulder and Mercy for Animals focused on promoting plant-based food choices. Mercy for Animals seeks to, “construct a compassionate food system by reducing suffering and ending the exploitation of animals for food.”  So, it sounds like her position boils down to; wolves are good, it’s ok for wolves to eat other animals, but it’s not ok for us to eat them. 

Niemiec is moving on to lead BAP, and their published mission reads, “The protection of companion animals and livestock is a matter of statewide concern. Therefore, it is the mission of the BAP to administer and enforce the provisions of the Animal Protection Act to prevent the neglect, mistreatment, or abuse of animals in Colorado.” The BAP Manager will oversee approximately 100 Commissioned BAP Agents who work outside of the State system and who respond to complaints of animal cruelty and neglect. Certainly, no one wants to see animals abused, but this sounds a bit too Orwellian, especially since we don’t know what Niemiec’s interpretation of “animal abuse” is.

In the press release announcing her hire, Niemiec said, “I look forward to exploring how the BAP Program can use education and outreach as our primary tool to take a proactive approach to prevent animal abuse, rather than a reactive approach once that abuse has occurred.” She continued, “My goal is to support the majority of Colorado ranchers and pet owners who love and care for their animals while addressing those rare instances in which animal abuse and neglect require an appropriate response to ensure the health and safety of the animals are met.”  This raises a similar question, what does Niemiec consider an “appropriate response”?

Niemiec’s appointment sends a concerning message to AG producers.  Terry Fankhauser, executive vice president of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, said, “The message being sent by the governor is agriculture being a mortal enemy of the Department of Agriculture and the state. That message is being heard loud and clear. We are under attack.”   

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Poached Jerky For Sale!

“Investigators sent tissue and jerky samples from these animals to the Game and Fish Wildlife Forensic Lab for DNA comparison,” the release adds. “Through this work, the lab was able to identify a combination of 18 unique mule deer and pronghorn antelope that were poached.”

A Natrona County, Wyoming resident will be forced to pay $45,070 in restitution, forfeit all weapons used in the poaching and will not be able to hunt or trap for five years in Wyoming and 48 other states which are members of the Wildlife Violator Compact. Authorities were first made aware of the malfeasance when a citizen provided a tip via the “Stop Poaching Hotline.” 

The ensuing investigation showed that the suspect had been illegally taking mule deer and pronghorns to prop up a failing beef jerky business, passing the game meat jerky off as beef and selling it both in Wyoming and online.

Poaching incidents like this can escalate to high levels, impacting wildlife on a large scale if not discovered and snuffed out quickly. This is why we as sportsmen and women must be vigilant and willing to police and report our ranks when we suspect wildlife violations

Most states have poaching hotlines to report suspected violations, a quick Google search will uncover the contact information.  

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$791K In Wildlife Damages!

Photo Credit: (Wyoming Game and Fish)

A wicked stretch of Highway 26 near Dubois, Wyoming is a pinch point for wildlife and racks up over three-quarters of a million dollars in wildlife related accident costs each year. This has prompted the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to produce a mitigation study and propose mitigation measures to save wildlife, people and property. 

The proposed mitigation measures include wildlife over-and underpasses between mileposts 58 and 64.5. The project is expected to pay for itself within the first 25 years of its existence and provide safe passage for both wildlife and motorists into the next century. 

“Game and Fish and WYDOT are excited about the mitigation strategy and are initially focusing on the construction of the comprehensive system of the over-and underpasses in that segment of the highway from milepost 58 to 64.5,” Game and Fish Lander Region Wildlife Management Coordinator Daryl Lutz said. “A huge thank you to the 10 Country Chapter of the Muley Fanatics Foundation, other donors, and the WYldlife Fund for their support of this important project. Of course, contributions and support get us a bit closer to the implementation of this multimillion dollar project and both agencies are grateful.”

It seems to me that projects like this are a no-brainer and I applaud the hard working folks who make mitigation of wildlife/vehicle accidents a top priority. As we continue to watch our mule deer herds spiral downward across the West I truly believe that projects like this one are not only worthy of public support and funding but necessary if we hope to turn the tide. You can help by purchasing a Wildlife Conservation license plate and joining/donating to western conservation organizations. 

https://oilcity.news/community/animals/2022/02/07/video-wyoming-game-and-fish-complete-strategy-for-dubois-area-highway-where-wildlife-collisions-cost-791k-per-year/?utm_source=Oil+City+News+Daily+Digest&utm_campaign=b8473ff4e3-MailChimp+Daily+Digest&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3c37577534-b8473ff4e3-88004395

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Hunters Win Big In Colorado!

Colorado sportsmen and women have banded together to soundly defeat BS… I mean, SB22-031 the bill that would have prohibited the hunting and trapping of cougar, bobcat and lynx(already illegal), in Colorado. 

The bill died in committee with a 4-1 vote. Committee members clearly noted the number of phone calls and emails they received and rightly acted according to the will of the people. 

This is not only a huge win for the hunters and trappers of Colorado but it is clear proof of just how powerful our collective voice can be. Organizations and individuals banded together to defeat this blatantly anti-hunting/trapping bill by standing unified and shouting NO! That is how government of the people, by the people and for the people is supposed to work.

This is the power of unity within the hunting community, when we set aside our differences and rally behind a cause we are a force to be reckoned with and rightly so. The pillars of North American conservation rest solidly upon the money and dedication of North American Hunters, Anglers and Trappers, we are the voice in the wilderness that speaks for wildlife because they cannot speak for themselves. 

The post Hunters Win Big In Colorado! appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Wyoming Corner Hopping Turns Into Hunter Harassment?

The Carbon County, Wyoming corner hopping saga involving four Missouri hunters and the Elk Mountain Ranch continues to evolve as claims of hunter harassment are now being brought into play. 

“Ranch employees spied on them to the point they couldn’t relieve themselves in private, stalked the group, harassed them in their tent, swore, yelled and intimidated them and caused one deer they were pursuing to run off, according to the allegations.”

We may never know the truth of what happened last fall in Carbon County but one thing is for certain, the results of this case could change the landscape of public access in western states dramatically. 

If in fact Elk Mountain Ranch employees are guilty of hunter harassment then the slope toward a dismissal of the trespassing charges just got greasier. However, if the Missouri hunters are lying or even embellishing the truth, a big old black eye is about to be painted on public land advocates. Right now this is a classic case of “he said, she said” and the truth lies somewhere beyond the horizon. 

I personally hope that no matter the outcome of this case sportsmen and women remember that both private landowners and public land supporters are in the same boat when it comes to wildlife conservation and the future of hunting. We need respect, open discourse, understanding and grace if we are to do what is right for wildlife in the increasingly complex private vs public land debate. 

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Montana Hound Hunting Bears: Good or Bad?

The 2021 Montana legislature passed HB 468 to allow the hunting of black bears with hounds during the state’s spring bear season outside of occupied grizzly habitat. 

This decision has come with challenges and questions from both hunters and state wildlife biologists and managers. Is hunting bears with hounds “fair chase”? Will this new practice have too much impact on black bear populations? Can spot and stalk and hound hunters “get along”? These questions and more are facing Montana bear hunters as we move closer to the spring black bear seasons. 

Please bear with me while I set up my soap box…

I’d first like to address the question of fair chase. Anyone who has ever pursued anything with dogs, be they hounds, bird dogs or retrievers, will and should openly scoff at the notion that hunting game with dogs is not fair chase. We are not talking about the red days of running stags into water with a pack of 50 dogs and letting them brutally savage the exhausted game as it dies an agonizing death. Those times and practices are thankfully and rightfully behind us. Today’s houndsmen in particular, are vital participants in the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and whose dedication to their pursuit should be greatly respected. 

If you are of a mind to question hound hunting as being fair chase then you need to tag along with some houndsmen, especially on a bear hunt. Of all the legal methods of taking black bears, doing so with hounds is one of the most rewarding and surest ways of taking only mature boars thanks to the up close and personal nature of the end of a pursuit. When houndsmen approach a bayed bear they can determine sex and maturity very quickly and make a decision to harvest or not. 

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Washington State Predator Update

 

This past winter the predator impact on ungulate populations in the state of Washington has been front and center.  This blog will give you a couple of updates on what is going on and how you might be able to get involved.  

After much pressure from sportsmen, in late January, the Wildlife Commission opened up a public comment period to consider a spring bear hunt again in 2022. The public can make comments online right now at the following link https://publicinput.com/SpringBearPetition102.  I would encourage everyone reading this to put down a quick comment supporting the spring bear hunt as it is scientifically based and will not negatively impact the population.  This will go to a decision probably in the next six weeks so fast action is needed.  We know the anti-hunters will be making their voices heard, hunters need to continue to do the same.  If the spring hunt is approved the season will run from May 1st to June 15th.  This is a very important hunt as it helps reduce the predation on the ungulate population.  

In the Blue Mountains of southeast Washington, a recent survey(2021) of elk calves discovered that only 9 of the 125 calves that were fitted with radio collars survived.  The survey determined that predators accounted for most of the calf deaths.  Of those it was determined that 70% of those predation mortalities were caused by cougars. Such a high mortality rate puts the long term health of the herd in jeopardy. Local county commissioners have made a petition to the WDFW to extend the cougar season in this area to increase the harvest.  A recent predator study showed the Blue Mountains had a considerably higher density of cougars than any other area in the state.  The Blue Mountains have historically held some of the biggest bulls in the state and the population right now is only about 50% of what it historically has been, hovering around 3600 animals which is down from 5700 in 2016.  

The predator population in the State has been increasing since the mid 90’s when hunting with dogs and baiting were prohibited by an Initiative vote of the people.  While Washington may not be a destination state for deer and elk hunters, perhaps it is time to shift the perspective and realize that Washington is probably one of the top states in the continental US for predator hunting.  We have generous seasons and plenty of targets for those who get out there.  The fall bear season that is open statewide has a bag limit of two bears and a season that opens August 1st.  The early cougar season runs September 1st-December 31st, followed by a late season of January 1st-April 30th in units where the harvest guidelines have not been met.  Both of these hunts offer a great opportunity to get out there and help the local deer and elk herds at a time where other hunting opportunities might be limited.  

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Montana FWP Commission Approves New Elk and Deer Seasons

The controversial and high publicized changes to the deer and elk regulations have been passed by the Montana FWP Game Commission. Many residents expressed their concerns about the “rushed” changes but the commission declared too much work had already been done on these changes so they passed them, with the addition of a few amendments. Nearly all of Montana is going to see hunting district boundary changes and many are going to have number changes. The 900 archery elk license has been discontinued and each unit managed individually with the intent to address the elk populations on private property that the general public does not have access to hunt. The one thing that most folks did approve of, who were there for public commenting, was to require all permits to be first and only choice so if you draw that permit you are restricted to hunt in that permit only. Region 4 saw the biggest changes but they were mostly for private property. Permits were reduced and changed to unlimited which will give the outfitters and landowners a little more freedom to sell hunts where the general public is not allowed to hunt. 

It was also noted that mule deer numbers are declining in most areas with Regions 2 and 7 getting the most attention. Due to the Region 2 deer permit areas being moved to general, seasons were shortened to three weeks to prevent over-harvest. Biologists noted that areas where elk populations are thriving, mule deer populations are declining. This has also been suggested in studies from the past when it comes to declining mule deer numbers. Mule deer always seem to avoid thriving elk populations. 

In short, Montana has shuffled the deck and you’ll want to stay tuned to TagHub for up to date information as things shake out and pay close attention to Montana FWP press releases and their website. One thing is certain, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. 

The post Montana FWP Commission Approves New Elk and Deer Seasons appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Western Wolves Back On ESA?

“On Monday, the agency officials sent out a letter announcing their intent to initiate a 12-month status review to determine whether a distinct population segment of the gray wolf in the northern Rocky Mountains or in the western United States should be included on the endangered species list.”

 

So let me get this straight… USFWS is “reviewing” a distinct population segment of the gray wolf for possible re-listing on the Endangered Species List but use the exact opposite argument for keeping grizzlies on the ESA? If they can “review”, read re-list, specific population segments of gray wolves, why can they not de-list specific population segments of fully recovered grizzly bears? 

You there, peasant. Move that goal post seven yards to the right! 

I’m not sure who is more frustrated with USFWS at this point, residents of states impacted by burgeoning wolf and grizzly numbers or the state game managers who are consistently hamstrung by the lack of science based wildlife management oozing out of Washington DC. I can only imagine how the embattled ranchers around Walden, Colorado feel right now as they watch their livelihood being terrorized and torn apart by precious gray wolves.

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Hunters Win Big In Colorado!

 

Colorado sportsmen and women have banded together to soundly defeat BS… I mean, SB22-031 the bill that would have prohibited the hunting and trapping of cougar, bobcat and lynx(already illegal), in Colorado. 

The bill died in committee with a 4-1 vote. Committee members clearly noted the number of phone calls and emails they received and rightly acted according to the will of the people. 

This is not only a huge win for the hunters and trappers of Colorado but it is clear proof of just how powerful our collective voice can be. Organizations and individuals banded together to defeat this blatantly anti-hunting/trapping bill by standing unified and shouting NO! That is how government of the people, by the people and for the people is supposed to work.

This is the power of unity within the hunting community, when we set aside our differences and rally behind a cause we are a force to be reckoned with and rightly so. The pillars of North American conservation rest solidly upon the money and dedication of North American Hunters, Anglers and Trappers, we are the voice in the wilderness that speaks for wildlife because they cannot speak for themselves. 

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Eastmans’ Bowhunting Journal Updated: EBJ 130

 

“When he saw white in the pines, he took a shot at what he thought was an elk.” 

 

Ronald Morosko of Pennsylvania, has been charged with the following crimes after fatally shooting a Colorado bowhunter last fall, whom he mistook to be an elk; manslaughter, a Class 4 felony and hunting in a careless manner (misdemeanor). Morosko was released on bail and returned home to Pennsylvania. On Friday Morosko’s defense attorney entered a not guilty plea and the case is now set for trial beginning May 16th. – CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE

 






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Corner-Hopping Defendants Move For Dismissal

Photo Cedit: Mike Eastman

If you’ve hunted the West much, particularly Wyoming, you’ll understand the complexity surrounding public access through private lands, corner-hopping and the tenuous relationship between private landowners and public land recreationists like hunters. Also, if you’ve been paying attention to this never-ending saga you’ll have noticed that last fall a group of hunters from Missouri used a ladder to cross from one section of public land to another without setting a physical foot inside of the private land sections on either side yet were cited for criminal trespass under Wyoming state law.  

Well, an attorney for one of these men has moved for dismissal of the charges claiming the following… 

Dismissal is warranted because federal law “prohibits any person from preventing free passage over or through public lands,” the motion states. “Of course, then, a person must have the freedom to travel from one section of public land to another distinct, but physically adjoining section of public land,” the filing reads.

“[T]he state’s application of trespass law actually conflicts with federal laws,” Semerand wrote. “Accordingly the State’s application of Wyoming’s criminal trespass statute here is preempted by the federal law on point such that this prosecution ought to be dismissed.” https://wyofile.com/corner-crossing-defendants-move-for-dismissal-of-trespass-charges/?fbclid=IwAR1riOEQy_8BJJG0zJqiRznb6VNo3pnc6Z5OkTeVoEdowWXoGo2yfq5r2RE

It will certainly be interesting to see how this all shakes out as it could have extremely large ramifications for the future of public land access across the West. I do think that there has never been a more important time to be good stewards of the land we hunt on whether public or private as the surest way to lose access to both is to abuse the privilege of its use. 

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Ravus Bino Pack by Alaska Guide Creations – Made in the USA!

This review features the Ravus Bino Pack made by Alaska Guide Creations. This innovative new binocular pack is built to be customized to fit the needs of any hunt. Add accessories, including a rangefinder pouch, bear spray, and pistol holsters. Eastmans’ staffer Brandon Mason breaks down all the pack’s features, including a two-way zippered pouch and convenient sleeves for your smartphone.

The post Ravus Bino Pack by Alaska Guide Creations – Made in the USA! appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Mule Deer Money Allocated

Wyoming Conservation License Plates help fund wildlife overpasses like the one in the background near Pinedale, WY along key migration corridors.

Being a lifelong mule deer fanatic, it makes me elated to see so much attention and focus being put on the future of the species’ existence and long-term health.

In late January the Wyoming Game & Fish Commission took another step to help improve habitat and protect migration corridors, aiming at improving and protecting seven herd units. These total up to encompass 25% of the state’s mule deer population.

The Game & Fish Department will invest over $450,000 that will be matched 3-to-1 by other funding sources to help total almost $1.8 million in funding for the “Icon of the West”.

In my opinion, there isn’t such a thing as too much attention and funding that we can give to mule deer. Their numbers, overall, are a fraction of what they’ve been historically.  Having had the good fortune of growing up hunting mule deer in the 80s and 90s, it is hard to swallow seeing how few exist today compared to that timeframe.

Hopefully all of the various mule deer initiatives out West will have a cumulative effect on the magnificent species that many of us cut our teeth on. As usual, sportsmen are stepping up to foot the bill for conservation, and we’re proud to do it!

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Hunter Pleads Not Guilty In Fatal Shooting Of Colorado Bowhunter

 

“When he saw white in the pines, he took a shot at what he thought was an elk.” 

 

Ronald Morosko of Pennsylvania, has been charged with the following crimes after fatally shooting a Colorado bowhunter last fall, whom he mistook to be an elk; manslaughter, a Class 4 felony and hunting in a careless manner (misdemeanor). Morosko was released on bail and returned home to Pennsylvania. On Friday Morosko’s defense attorney entered a not guilty plea and the case is now set for trial beginning May 16th. 

This case has prompted proposed rule changes to the blaze orange/hot pink clothing requirements for bowhunters which were roundly rejected by both bowhunters and the wildlife commission who voted 11-0 to table it. That’s all well and good but there’s so much more to be discussed here thanks to this extremely unfortunate and completely avoidable accident.

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Washington Spring Bear Update: Part II

 

As I have written about in the past, the pressure that the hunters put on the Commission to reinstate the spring bear hunt resulted in a special commission meeting on Friday, January 21st to consider the next steps to take.  There was a lot of back and forth between the various commissioners during this meeting in determining those steps.  On one side were the folks who clearly do not want a spring bear hunt and were willing to use whatever tactics or spin necessary to prevent it from happening.  On the other side were the folks who were more willing to listen to the science and continue the hunt as additional information was gathered.  

Because of a recent commission member stepping down, there was no way the seven-member commission was going to end in a tie with this vote.  In the end, the vote was 4-3 to initiate a spring bear rule-making process, soon.  So what this means is that in the coming weeks the State will begin a process of laying out the framework for establishing a spring bear hunt for the Spring of 2022.  This process will include the season proposals, public comment period, and a final yes/no vote by the commission, again.  Given the short turnaround, it is highly likely that the opening of a spring bear season, if approved, may move to early May as opposed to the normal April 15th opening.   

I anticipate that the anti-hunting crowd will double down on their efforts to stop the hunt.  Hunters must continue to step up and make their voices heard through this process as the fight is definitely not over.  

To further muddy the waters, on Monday, January 24th the Governor appointed three new commissioners to serve, filling two vacant spots as well as one position that had expired.  It is unknown how these new commissioners will vote on this issue as it comes to the commission in late March or April.  Given who the governor has appointed to the commission in the past, sportsmen have a reason to be worried though.  Stay tuned for more updates as the fight to retain our spring bear season in Washington continues.

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2022 Prime – New Inline Cam Technology

This archery review features G5 Prime’s 2022 Inline bow. Bowhunter Dan Pickar speed tests this bow and breaks down Prime’s new single cam, Inline technology. This balanced single track cam system means more consistent arrow flight for tighter groups.

SHOP THE NEW 2022 PRIME LINEUP

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