The bull was right there at no more than 100 yards through the trees. I really wanted to take a look with my binoculars, but my harness was stuck and I needed another hand to get my binoculars out. Slowly, I bent over to set my bow down and that is when the bull picked off my movement. I needed another hand but having to set my bow down allowed that bull to catch my unnecessary movement.
Creative Outdoors Montana Blow Sling
I have always had a love/hate relationship with bow slings over the years. Some worked okay but I usually left them packed away in my gear tote never to be used again. Most often I have tried the slings that cover the bowstrings and include a harness to throw over your shoulder. Problem was that if I needed to get the bow ready, I had to undo this contraption to use my bow. More unnecessary movement that I didn’t want. So I opted to just carry my bow instead which usually resulted in sore shoulders, elbows, and spooked elk. But that was the trade off that I chose. I had yet to use a sling that made me want to keep it out of my gear box.
Not Another Bow Sling….
When I was first asked to test a new bow sling on the market and to put together a review, I was apprehensive. I had developed a bad taste in my mouth for bow slings but jumped all in hoping that this new sling from Creative Outdoors–called the Montana Bow Sling–would change my mind. I was wanting a new alternative and this looked like it could be it!
First Impression Of Creative Outdoors Bow Sling
When I got the package in the mail I was excited to see how this sling worked. Upon opening the package I found several straps and was confused at first what I was supposed to do with them. So, I quickly jumped on my computer and looked up Creative Outdoors website and took a look at the products. I had received the Quick Release straps and Riser Hook straps. I looked at pictures and explanations of how these are to work, not only on the website but also in our forum on Rokslide.
Who Is Creative Outdoors?
Josh Susic is the owner and creator of the system and has been very helpful on the forum when users or potential users of his products have had questions. His customer service skills have been very helpful and he stands behind his products.
This bow sling is not a run-of-the-mill bow sling like most of us think about. It doesn’t cover your bowstrings or snap into place around any part of the bow with a shoulder strap as I referenced above. This actually doesn’t have a shoulder harness at all. This system works in conjunction with your pack that you may be using at any given time. The straps connect to your pack which in turn connects to your bow.
Quick Release vs Riser Hooks
While out in my shop, I first fitted the Quick Release straps to my pack and then onto my bow. When needed you simply grabbed your bow and opened the quick release buckle to free your bow. The buckle was easy to use and took little time to undo, however, it took too much time in my opinion to hook the straps back up.
I next grabbed the Riser Hooks and fitted them on my pack. This was a much better option for me as I often like to disconnect my bow from my pack for many reasons while on the move. The Riser Hooks take much less time to hook back onto the bow. I was able to move around the straps in various anchor points on my pack to find the most comfortable areas to attach them.
Attaching The Montana Bow Sling
One strap was hooked on the webbing of my pack on the left shoulder strap and the other was secured to the back/side of my pack on another webbing point. I adjusted the length of the Riser Hooks so that my left hand would come to rest naturally and comfortably on the grip of my bow so that I didn’t have to lift my arm higher than natural at rest to be able to reach or stabilize my bow while on the move.
On a recent elk hunt, I left the trailhead in the dark and needed to cross a creek within the first 100 yards. The Riser Hooks were attached to the riser of my bow and I was instantly happy that I didn’t have to carry my bow with just my arms the entire time. My pack soaked up the carrying weight of my bow which made it much more comfortable.
When I got to the creek I had to jump from rock to slippery rock in order to reach the other side. This made using the Riser Hooks much better than the Quick Release straps. The hooks saved me much more time than having to re-loop the quick releases each time. This came into play several times throughout my hunt. The hooks are the best way to go in my opinion, but some might find the Quick Release straps fit their style of hunting better.
Less Fatigue and Natural To Use
By the end of day one, I could tell that my shoulders were not nearly as sore from carrying my bow in my hand. That was the first huge benefit I noticed! Second, it became natural for me to use the sling without even thinking about it. My bow hung naturally off to the side on my left and I held onto the grip of my bow to stabilize it while on the move. At any given time when I needed both hands, I could easily let go of my bow and it hung there in a comfortable spot.
A Couple Small Gripes
When needing to step over large logs there were several occasions when I would have to lift my bow higher due to having short legs. This would cause one or both Riser Hooks to come unhooked. This was only a minor issue and it didn’t cause me to not want to use the sling, just something to remember.
The only other thing I could find that isn’t beneficial is the riser hooks can become tangled or hooked onto branches while you move if the bow isn’t on the hooks. This can be remedied by securing these hooks onto the pack somewhere to keep this from happening. In the end, it is simple to use and very beneficial. This is something that I have not found or tested in a bow sling to date.
This is meant to be used by anybody who owns a bow. I have found that it can be used on any style of hunt whether it be open land spot-n-stalk to backcountry style of still-hunting. I may even consider using it while at the Total Archery Challenge next year if I am carrying my pack. It just flat out works well and is very practical.
At a price point of $49.99, you get all that is mentioned above and can choose between the Quick Release or the Riser Hooks. I am scheming of what other ways I can use these straps for other things as well! I have a rifle hunt coming up and I think I can use the Quick Release straps to help secure my rifle to my pack. Or, I could add the Gun Shoe. Win win!
If I would have had this bow sling when I was hunting the bull in the opening paragraph, I am sure he wouldn’t have spotted my movement and the hunt could have ended very differently!
Rest assured I will be ordering another for my wife and another for a different pack! Order yours here.
You can comment on this review or ask Jared questions here.