Bear Archery Super Kodiak Recurve Bow Review
There is something organic and almost poetic in a good recurve bow – despite its technical inferiority to a compound bow, a recurve often seems more like a part of the archer’s hand, arm, and will, an ancient synergy that includes weapon and wielder and has been known by prehistoric hunters stalking bison and deer in the cold steppes of the late Ice Age, Pharaohs scanning the dusty scrub for antelope from their swift, light hunting chariots, medieval English poachers daring the Norman forestry laws to gain a venison dinner, and modern hunters and sportsmen who prefer this type of bow as well.
The Bear Archery Super Kodiak Recurve Bow is a combination of the timeless appeal of this silent, lethal weapon, and modern high-tech materials technology such as fiberglass laminate. The Super Kodiak is a single-piece bow, meaning it cannot be disassembled for transport, and its 60” length may prove to be an inconvenience in some circumstances. The fact that it is one piece has some advantages over take-down bows – it is even quieter than the best-designed take-downs, and there is, for obvious reasons, no chance of torque between the limbs due to poorly-fitting alignment pins.
The Super Kodiak is available in various draw weights and for either the right or left hand. The right-hand bow is available in eight different draw weights, ranging from 30 pounds to 65 pounds in 5-pound increments, while the left-hand bow choices are much more limited. There are only three draw weights for left-hand Super Kodiaks, specifically, 45, 50, and 55 pounds. Due to the laminated hardwoods and well-placed sections of fiberglass reinforcement on the limbs, the bow’s recoil and vibration are extremely low – present, but not very noticeable. “Stacking” – the resistance of the string during the draw – is evenly distributed throughout the draw, giving you an extremely smooth pull that will not distract you from taking aim.
Further convenience is added by the Super Kodiak’s low weight. The bow weighs only 2 pounds, and a dual-purpose arrow rest and sight window cut out of the riser, allowing you to rest your arrow on this rather than on your hand, and get a clean sight at your target as well. The bow comes with a Fast Flight string fitted – this string has very little stretch, so that the energy transmitted through it to the arrow will be lessened as little as possible by string flex. This allows the bow to drive its arrow faster than it could with a more elastic string.
Shooting a recurve bow is somewhat different from using a compound bow, of course, and there are several accessories which will make your shooting experience more pleasant. Protecting your bow-hand forearm with a bracer of some kind is a prudent step, since the string will inevitably strike it at some time with the same force that it is imparting to the arrow – and a thin string with 65 pounds of force behind it is painful and possibly injurious if it strikes the unprotected arm. A glove for your drawing hand is another help, and you should remember to store your recurve bow unstrung, since keeping it strung constantly will gradually erode its effectiveness by stressing and stretching its materials.
The IBO speed is roughly 200 feet per second while using the Fast Flight string, which is quite low by compound bow standards but a decent speed for a recurve bow. You will need to practice quite a bit to achieve the shots you want to make, since there is an element of art as well as science in firing a recurve bow, but you will also feel a special satisfaction that comes from gaining skill with this ancient but timeless weapon. The Bear Archery Super Kodiak is not merely a toy or a whimsical throwback to the past – it is a fully functional hunting weapon that is able to take game as large as polar bears and Cape buffalo, and which can therefore easily handle the white-tailed deer or elk of the civilized American woods.