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ATA Day 1 – 5: Slash Arrows
I’m with Slash Arrows’ Mr. David Hand, the Originator, Owner and the CEO. What are you talking about here at ATA 2019?
We’re talking a lot about the success of us. We came up with hunters who have made shots where they’ve actually seen the animal drop, a lot of shots and make them drop. We talk about spine, front and center, the proper weight for whitetail deer and elk. We’ve got it covered.
How about dangerous games? Do you go to Africa?
Yes. We’ve got the sixteenth largest stag in the world’s been shot with an arrow. This is the Express arrow, which is blue. It’s a little lighter. It’s about eleven grains per inch series. We make a Magnum arrow, which is about 70 grains heavier, which is for big game, little thicker blades, a little bit bigger cut. You can also put any broadhead you’d want on it. You could probably put a little bit bigger broadheads for bigger game. To effectively get a pass through on a whitetail if you hit ball or there’s a bad shot, it takes a couple of hundred grains up front. The big difference is instead of putting it all on the tip of the arrow, let’s put it four or five inches across the arrow so we get a better flight. That’s what it’s all about is better flight and a heavier arrow.
When you sit here and say, “That’s great. How do I get ahold of Slash Arrows?” How do we do that?
If a person who buys your arrow for the first time, what do you want them to take away from this interview?
I think the takeaway that I have for everybody is there’s a tremendous amount of hunters out there that are pulling lighter poundage, 50, 55 or 60 pounds. Some of them are a shorter draw. The only advantage you have if you’re low poundage and short draw, you have to have a good weighted arrow to maintain momentum. A lot of folks think that these arrows are only for high poundage and long draw and big game. No, they weren’t just as effectively at 40 or 50 pounds as they do 70. Check it out, SlashArrows.com.
How about for the crossbow hunters?
The crossbow hunting is absolutely gone. We’ve sold more crossbows in the last two years. It’s a wonderful weapon for a crossbow. The same setup, same chutes just as flat as any other crossbow. They’re great for crossbows.
I was talking to a broadhead maker here at ATA, and he had crossbow on the package. I said, “What’s the difference?” Those broadheads are exactly the same. This broadhead is made for crossbows.
It’s the crossbow version. It’s fully integrated so this can slide down the rail. It’s got a little bit of a friction lock to it, but a lot larger and thicker blades are coming out inside the animal, great penetration and good momentum. We’ve done our homework here.
How does that go down to the rail?
This is perfectly flat. It slides through this. This is perfectly flat through here, so it sits about right here. It slides right down the rail just like a regular crossbow.
You’re hearing some really neat technology. Technology helps drive the archery business. Mr. Hand has come up with some really great ideas and he’s got hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers.
We’ve got lots of proof of it. It’s been really good.
ATA Day 1 – 5: Plano Synergy Ameristep
I’m going to talk to Andy Baumbach. Andy, first telling me about Plano Synergy.
We’re here in the Plano Synergy booth ATA 2019. I’m super happy to be here. Specifically, in the Ameristep section, we’re going to talk about some ground blinds. Ameristep is one of the brands within our portfolio in the Plano Synergy family of brands. We own several more including Barnett Crossbows, Wildgame Innovations and Plano Molding. It’s quite a bit in our portfolio. We’re going to talk about a couple things about our new ground blinds.
What’s so special about Ameristep? You can count them on your hand how many other pop-up blinds are in the house here.
Ameristep is just one of those names that resonate really well with consumers and rings a bell with a lot of people. Ameristep is one of the oldest and original ones in the ground blind market, known for great durable products that last consumers a long time, which is what they love. When they know they’re going to invest in an Ameristep one, they know it’s going to last. They can just cross the line. It’s just great innovation every year. Ameristep continues to push the boundaries as you say. It’s just the ground blind. How can we continue to make it more innovative? Ameristep continues to put some things out there that helps consumers and help them be more successful whitetail hunters in the end. That’s where it’s about. I’ve hunted out with Ameristep blinds as long as I can remember. They’re just great, durable pieces of equipment and great for season after season use.
That blind there, that’s got a little peak to it. What’s up with that?
This was a blind that was launched in 2018 called the Distorter Force. It’s available in two camo patterns. One in Mossy Oak breakup country and the other in Realtree Edge. You asked specifically about the peak, which is the most notable feature on these blinds. Every three sides of the blind adjacent from the back window, then the peaks all have an extended hub that reaches outward. What that is, is whenever you’re inside the blind, if you’re in a typical square footprint blind, it can get constrained with space. With the extra hub called our Kickout Hub Technology, it enables you to have much more room to put a vertical bow on a stand or maybe a pack on this side. Even guys that self-film or film with a friend in the blind, they can put that tripod leg in there and it creates a lot more room. Each of the bases also has a net, which acts as a shelf, so it’s great for putting down a grunt call or a range finder or a set of binoculars. It’s a quick, easy to access, grab right there from your chair. You don’t have to worry about storage or land something directly on the ground. Each of the kick out areas is covered in canvas too. It’s got that great durable material. You don’t have to worry about scuffing and kicking it up.
I used Ameristep blinds and they’re not paying me to say this, but I use them. I’ve got two of them and they all have integrated rest. It’s a piece of plastic and everything, but it came with the blind so it fits right up on the rods. I put my crossbow and my rifles on those. That’s a little different from Ameristep from somebody else down the street.
You asked specifically about the peak of the roof. Obviously with the ATA shows, there are a lot of archers here. It’s a great opportunity for seated blind shots. A lot of guys always run into trouble. That draw is tough if you’ve got a tall vertical bow. Some of these really tall vertical bows have high cams, so it’s tough. You want to make sure that you’re not touching any of the blind fabric or anything whenever you’re getting ready to take the shot because that can be the difference of a great flight of the arrow or not. That extra space, not only is a standing room but the seated draw to have that extra space helps a ton. That’s a great feature in all three of these spots.
If somebody wants to reach out and get ahold of Ameristep, how do they do that?
The best way to get us is Ameristep.com. It’s got all of the new products that we’re launching, including legacy products. It’s great info as far as videos, feature, benefits, all that. Please check us out on the web. Also obviously our social media, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, all those places are great resources to find out more info.
What advice would you give to somebody who just bought a brand-new Ameristep blind, they’re taking it out of the bag for the first time? What would you recommend?
The most notable thing that I love about our blinds is most of them are based on a hub style frame, which is a super easy installation. The first thing you want to do, take it out and let the air out. Open the hubs up and before you take it directly in the field, sink elimination is a huge deal. Let it get acclimated. Then if you are planning in hunting out of that blind, make sure you set it up plenty of time in advance. That’s a well-known thing. Let the animals get used to it. It’s their home. They recognize where things have changed. If you’re going to go put it in the field and then brush it in, make sure you do it well before your hunt. Otherwise, you have the option to dispute game out of your hunting area.If the weight is all on the end, you could get a deflection of the arrow. Click To Tweet
Set it out early as soon as you get it, let it get acclimated to the weather so that it smells like outside. Then make sure you give it ample time before you’re ready to go hunting, whether it would be early archery season, make sure you set it up way in advance of the opener or even rifle late season. The other thing too is if you are planning on hunting out of them, they are durable if they have to stay out all season long. As far as longevity, it helps to bind tremendously. If you’re not planning to a hunt or if you’re going to face some inclement weather for several weeks in a row, you want to make sure that you’re going to take it down and then re-brush it in. It will help in the long-term for the longevity of the blind. That’s the same case in all. Especially in the off seasons, springtime comes and you’re done with your fall deer hunting, take it down, it doesn’t hurt to give it a good cleaning. Sweep the inside, get spiderwebs and stuff on the inside. That’s something to think about too.
You said, “Don’t pop your blind up and hunt at the same day. Don’t hunt in the same week.” My recommendation, at least a week go by and make sure you brush them. Many people’s blind, they just pop it up. It’s camouflaged and they don’t brush it in.
There are lots of schools of thought on that. Everybody’s got their own opinion. I know guys that hunt in the middle of the field with a pop-up blind with zero brushing and have great success. It’s all depending on what you want. Obviously, the blinds are camouflaged and some of our technology edge relief and stuff already helped with that. You don’t have to worry about it looking like a big block out there. My personal opinion is to take it out early, get it brushed in fully. Ameristep comes with a lot of functional feature benefits on the outside of the blind. Tuck in brush, tuck in leaves, sticks, branches and just get it as organic-looking as possible. The other thing that I mentioned with these kick-outs earlier is with traditional blinds, they’re essentially a big cube. With having a little bit more of an organic shape with the floor kickout and the roof kickouts, it helps to just add a little bit more of an organic structure rather than just a big cube in the woods being a dark blob. That’s another benefit that’s great with those blinds.
Andy, anything else you’d like to add?
That is a more premium blind if that’s not something you’re in the market for. We did launch at 2019 a caretaker kickout. This is based on one of our bestselling blinds, which is a caretaker hub style blind. It’s a great option for a mid-price point. We introduced that same kickout technology into some of the sides of this blind for 2019. It’s a great mid-price point option that adds the feature benefits of some of the extended floor space on the inside at a price point that’s a little more budget friendly. Check that out at our website, Ameristep.com, for any other info that you need.
Thank you, Andy, for sharing all about Ameristep blinds.
ATA Day 1 – 5: Vortex
I’m at one of my favorite places because Vortex for everything considered is one of the best brands, if not the best brand, you should consider getting. I’m in with Mr. Mike Tassoul. Mike, what’s so special about Vortex?
I appreciate the opportunity to come in here with you. Vortex is a brand I’ve always loved. The culture of Vortex has always been taking care of the customer. That’s our goal every single day. I think that’s what sets us apart is we do whatever it takes to make sure the customer’s happy, make sure they’re successful in the field. That’s what we strive for every day.
What’s special in the 2019 ATA with Vortex?
The new products that we’re showing off here, we have a brand-new version of our Fury Rangefinding Binocular. These go out to 5,000 yards on reflective targets. We’re getting soft targets out to sixteen, almost 2,000-yard ranges. It does do decimal yardage, so partial yards down to the tenths of a yard. It’s just a great option, a nice upgrade to these. Price did not change, still MSRP at $1,600, just like the old version did. We’re really excited there.
I had a set in New Mexico and I said, “Take these and field test them and give them back to me when you’re done.” He’s in town and they had lichens. Correct me if I’m wrong, when you go on the animal and you push it down, then it gives you the yardage.
If you hold down that button, it goes into scan mode. It will continuously update that range. It’s very fast.
Folks, prove me right, prove me wrong, reach out to me at WhitetailRendezvous@Gmail.com and I’ll listen. I believe that’s unique in the industry. Is it, Mike?
That I’m not sure on. There may be some other ones that may have a scan function. I think this one is probably faster than any of the others I’ve seen though. It is continuously updating that yardage.
If that fool is running away from him, running towards you, it doesn’t matter. If you’re on target, you can keep it pressed down and you can read it out, especially if they’re reading it out for your buddy for a shot. He has turned and the angle’s wrong. You can just read out the yardage.
The other nice part about the scan is that when you go to press down the button, a lot of times you’ll move the entire binocular rangefinder. By holding the button down, you can be a lot steadier as well. Getting those ranges at the farther yardage is a lot easier when you’re in scan mode.
What’s the next thing?
The next product that we’re showing off today’s our brand new Pro Rings. This is another product we’re very excited about, especially on our tech support team. They’re going to be replacing our old version of the Pro Rings. They’re going to stay the same price. They’re still going to be in that $55 to $60 range depending on if you’re looking at a one-inch or the 30-millimeter version. All of the inch-pound ranges that we recommend are actually engraved right on the ring. The quality is extremely good for the price point of these rings. We’re excited about these. A lot of questions that we receive as tech support are scopes that don’t hold zero, don’t track. Usually, it’s because of improperly mounted rings or scope using your rings that can be over tightened and that will cause that issue. These rings will solve a lot of those problems. The next product, I’ve got a ranging reticle eyepiece. This is a product that we’ve been working on for some time ever since we released our new Razor spotting scopes. This will fit the 85-millimeter spotting scope in the Razor line. It makes the scope of fixed 22x magnification. It has the ranging reticle in it for measuring targets. This ring spins the reticle inside, while this ring is a focus for the reticle. It’s a nice little option. It’s a 22-power fixed.
I’ll have a range of about up to what?
It’s a reticle so you can measure targets using it. Use that to range using a mathematical formula or you can call for shots if you’ve got someone shooting. Depending on whether they’re hitting or missing, you can call where their shots are hitting and how far off they are.
Does that have mil dots?
It will have mill hashes either in mill or MOA. The last option is an update to our Razor Gen II Riflescopes. We put in some new reticles in these. We’ve been asked for several different options in these scopes for some time. The first being the Horus reticles. We’ve have put the Horus H59 as well as the Horus Tremor III reticle in these scopes. Those two options will still retail for MSRP at $3,400. You should find them at retailers right around the $2,500 price point. We also added our own reticle into one of these and it’s our EBR-7C brand-new reticle for us. It’s similar to what we had in our Razor AMG with the center floating dot as well as 2/10 windage marks in addition to the half mil windage marks in the middle version. It also has the numbers down the outside of the windage dot tree underneath the reticle. That’s the one difference between ID and the AMG reticle but this is one that we get asked for a lot as far as competition rifle shooters. This is one that I’ve personally been testing for the last few months. I absolutely love this reticle, looking forward to getting this into the hands of a lot more people. The version with our own reticle is going to come in about $500 less than the Horus reticles. It’s going to have an MSRP of $2,999 and should retail right around that $2,000 price point.
How do people get a hold of this? If they want to buy some of these, what do they have to do?Getting those ranges at the farther yardage is a lot easier when you're in scan mode. Click To Tweet
You can jump on our website. We have a lot of contact info on there. It’s VortexOptics.com, hit us up on any of the social media platforms. Search Vortex Optics. You should be able to find us really easy or you can give us a call (800) 426-0048. Hit up our tech team if you want any recommendations, that or extension five or email us at Info@VortexOptics.com.
Folks at the beginning of the show, the segment of Whitetail Rendezvous at ATA 2019, I got a testimonial. What happened was I was hunting in 2016 in Buena Vista, Colorado. Someone fell over and broke the tripod. It took a hit. It was not turned off. I go, “What am I going to do?” Bail off the mount, get down and then we get cell service I called Vortex right away. I said, “Let’s call off the afternoon.” They said, “Get the FedEx, get it boxed and we’ll have it back to you in two days.” I said, “Really?” I went down, found FedEx, put in a box and ship it out. Two days later, I went back and they delivered it to my buddy’s place and it was there. I was flat blown away. It was 100% ready to go. We went back up in the mountain that night. Folks, they stood behind their product. The winds blow, the gods flew things over, it doesn’t matter. The warranty was a warranty. I made the phone call and one guy said, “Here’s your number, put that on it, ship it back and FedEx will ship back to you.” It doesn’t get any better than that. Plus, the glass works.
It’s our pleasure. We enjoy being able to help customers and give them the peace of mind that if anything were to happen, we’re going to get it taken care of.
It’s not unheard of. For them to turn around, don’t worry about it, get it done and you get it done. Thanks so much.
- Slash Arrows
- Instagram – Slash Arrows
- Facebook – Slash Arrows
- Plano Synergy
- Barnett Crossbows
- Wildgame Innovations
- Plano Molding
- Distorter Force
- Facebook – Ameristep
- Instagram – Ameristep
- YouTube – Ameristep
- Fury Rangefinding Binocular
- Pro Rings
- Razor Gen II Riflescopes
- Razor AMG
- Social media – Vortex Optics on Twitter
About Slash Arrows
With a SLASH® INsetBlade® Arrow, the 60 grain broadhead with the EXP and the 75 grain broadhead with the MAG,(see features below) at the tip of the arrow enters first, cutting a leading path of destruction. A few inches behind, once the arrow shaft enters, two expandable INsetBlade® Deployable Blades deploy. The INsetBlade® Deployable Blades are aligned so that new tissue is being cut. The total amount of cutting is far greater than any other broadhead and arrow system.
The key to the remarkable killing power of a SLASH® INsetBlade® Arrow is the fact that the revolutionary INsetBlade® Deployable Blades open and expand internally, after entry. This means there is no valuable kinetic energy wasted on entry. All of the available kinetic energy from the INsetBlade® Deployable Blades is used to inflict internal damage and maximum penetration.
SLASH® INsetBlade® Arrows were specifically designed to provide bowhunters with a broadhead and arrow system that maximizes “shock pressure.” They provide over 200% more cutting surface and 275% larger wound channel than a typical broadhead and arrow setup.
About Plano Synergy Ameristep
Plano Synergy, and its affiliated group of companies, are committed to responsible sourcing. To that end, Plano Synergy requires its suppliers to comply with a code of conduct, to ensure the health and safety of workers in the supply chain, human rights, business integrity, and compliance with laws, regulations and standards related to the same. This Supplier Code of Conduct applies to all Suppliers who provide materials and products to any company in the Plano Synergy family of companies. Supplier’s acceptance of a purchase order or supply of goods and or services constitutes that Supplier’s acceptance of the terms set forth in this Supplier Code of Conduct.
Suppliers must ensure that this Supplier Code of Conduct is also observed by Suppliers’ subcontractors, business associates or employees. Plano Synergy will seek to identify and utilize Suppliers who share its commitment and reserves for itself or through third party auditors, the right to conduct, or have conducted on its behalf, audits of production facilities and business practices in order to monitor such Suppliers’ commitments. Plano Synergy also reserves the right to cease doing business with any Supplier who violates any law or regulation regarding the use of labor or materials in the supply chain, at any time. This Supplier Code of Conduct may be amended by Plano Synergy; its enforcement and/or interpretation rests solely with Plano Synergy; and it does not confer or create any rights in favor of any party other than Plano Synergy and its affiliates.
Since 1986 we have been and remain an American Owned, Veteran Owned, Family owned and operated business of hard-working folks located here in south central Wisconsin.
Dan and Margie Hamilton, the original and current owners, moved to Middleton, WI in 1986 and started a small outdoor retail store. The business was started on the belief that if you focused on the customers and helped them achieve their goals with fast, friendly, personalized service that the bottom line would take care of itself. The business grew and evolved over time and in 2002 Vortex Optics was established. Starting with Dan and Margie and now over 200 American team members strong, we work diligently day in and day out to give you the best products and service in the optics industry.
All of our products are designed, engineered, pre-inspected and serviced in our modern facility to ensure you receive the best products and service for your hard earned dollar. We have dealers located throughout the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, South Africa, Australia and elsewhere. We attend all major trade shows in the hunting, tactical and birding/observation markets.