Fact: I don’t enjoy busy shopping malls. For me, Black Friday is never spent at a store trying to get the best deal, it’s spent in the treestand. But don’t get me wrong – I love giving gifts, especially ones that have something to do with hunting, shooting or fishing.
So when my wife asks each year, “Any Christmas ideas for my mom?”, my answer is always the same: “Nope.” However, when she asks, “Any ideas for my dad?”, the ideas come rushing into my mind like Canada geese descending on a freshly picked cornfield. You see, my father-in-law is an avid outdoorsman. Can you say “road trip to Cabela’s”?
The same is true when it’s time to buy birthday or Christmas gifts for our two sons, ages 11 and 14. The youngest just completed Minnesota’s required hunter education course, and the oldest has been turkey and deer hunting for a few years. Plus, they both love to fish, so brainstorming gift ideas for them is easy and fun.
Brief History Lesson: How NOT to Raise a Young Archer
My dad gave me a toy bow when I was 4 or 5, then I graduated to an easy-to-draw fiberglass longbow at 9 or 10. I was deadly on pop cans and other targets with that bow.
Unfortunately, Dad’s next bow purchase for me – while well-intended – turned out to be a mistake. I still have the 55-pound-draw Bear recurve he gave to me for my 13th birthday. Sure, the bow was short, lightweight and easy to carry for a kid, but I couldn’t draw the string back to an anchor point at the corner of my mouth. Try as I might, pulling the heavy poundage lead to poor archery form, as well as frustration in not being able to hit a paper plate, even at close range.
I hunted with that recurve for a few years (I know, bad idea), missed a broadside doe at 12 yards during a still-hunt, and can still remember making excuses as to why I didn’t want to go hunting or target shooting with my older brother and dad. Fact is, I was embarrassed by my lack of strength and skill with that recurve.
Thankfully, compound bows arrived on retail shelves when I was 16, and I remember the day Dad drove my brother and me to the local archery shop to replace three recurves with three brand-new compounds. Once again, I could draw the string to a consistent anchor point and pepper the bullseye with arrows. Target shooting – and hunting – was fun again!
Buying the Right Bow
The reason I’ve taken you on this walk down memory lane is I don’t want you to make the same mistake when introducing someone new to archery. I’m still blessed to be bowhunting with my father, who is 78 years young, but he’d be the first to admit it’s a minor miracle that I stuck with the sport.
So how am I introducing my two sons to archery? In a single word – Genesis.
Genesis Archery is a sister company of Mathews Archery, which makes premier hunting and target bows. This is important: The idea behind Genesis Archery is to build bows that anyone can shoot regardless of their size. There is no let-off, and there is no set draw length, so kids can’t outgrow the bow.
Genesis Archery offers four models – Mini (for kids as young as preschool!), Original, Pro, and the new Gen-X – but it’s the Original version that is the backbone of the company. This is not a misprint: The Genesis Original is used by more than 11 million kids in over 13,000 schools as part of the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). The reason? Simple: Every right-handed student, regardless of size, can shoot the same right-handed bow. And the same is true for lefties.
In other words, even though my 11-year-old and 14-year-old differ greatly in size (see photo above), both boys are sharing the same bow. The draw weight on a Genesis Original adjusts from 10-20 pounds, and right now I have it set for 15. And as I stated earlier, I don’t have to mess with adjusting draw length. Nice!
Because the Genesis Original is easy to draw back to a consistent anchor point, my sons can focus on proper shooting technique and aiming. As a result, they both love to target shoot.
Of course, the Genesis Original can also be used by adults. Its draw length range is 15-30 inches, so I can shoot the bow, too.
I recommend you purchase the bow as a kit/package; that way you receive a tube quiver, adjustable arm guard, and five Easton aluminum arrows. The bow comes standard with a flipper-style arrow rest installed. In addition, the bow riser is tapped to accept bow sights, stabilizer bar and other accessories (not included). Our family chose the blue bow, but the Original also comes in 11 other color schemes.
My wife, who is also an avid bowhunter, and I have been shooting Mathews bows for more than 15 years. We’ve found the quality, workmanship and dependability to be second to none, and the same is true of the Genesis Original.
If you have a youngster on your Christmas list this year who might enjoy archery, I highly recommend the Genesis Original. Chances are good that the positive experience they have with the bow will spark a flame and passion for bowhunting.
Check out the video below for more information on the Genesis Original.
Youth archery photos by Dave Maas