Although not the flagship of the Mathews 2019 lineup, the Traverse has a lot of traction and has been making some noise in the hunting community. With an axle-to-axle length 3” longer and a brace height 5/8” longer than the Vertix, it’s being talked about possibly being a little more shoot-able at long distances (more info here). After a spring and summer of shooting the Vertix, and a couple weeks shooting the Traverse, I decided the Vertix would be my primary bow for the fall elk season, and I’d have the Traverse along as a backup. You can read my review of the Vertix here.

I went through the Mathews Bow Builder and custom built this bow as well (try it here). I took everything in black like–my Vertix–except for a little neon green in the strings and cables, and some neon green dampers. Specs the same, except the Traverse is not available in the mid-range, max weight options. So, I had to order this in a 70# version, and then back down to 65# so the comparison would be the same. If you’re wondering if there was any reasoning of ordering one way or the other, there is. A bow will shoot better at its peak weight, than at the bottom or mid-range of the weight adjustment. It’s more efficient. More info on the Traverse here.

As summer waned and I started final prep for the elk hunt, I began shooting the Traverse daily. I noticed a few minor things:

  • The draw length felt too long, in the 1/4” range. Doing my own bow setups, I know that peep location and loop length would be the same as Vertix. The only other thing to check would be the cam modules. I jumped online and confirmed that the factory had sent the bow out to the right specifications. I’m still unsure to this day, why it felt different, but I don’t notice anything now.
  • On initial feel, it seemed that this bow would “drop” over, the last little bit into the valley. Nothing major, just a slight feel, that was different. Going through the shot sequence was pretty good. I personally always shoot with my quiver on while practicing for Western hunting, and with it off, for hunting whitetails. With the Vertix in my earlier testing, there was a huge pull, forward and to my right, while aiming. I found the Traverse also suffered in this area. This always made it much more difficult to level my bubble. On 20-30-yard whitetail shots this doesn’t have much effect. On Western hunts, it can become quite critical. I didn’t get a chance to cure that before hitting the mountains, so one of my first goals with the Traverse was to get it balanced out as soon as possible on my return.

Back home in early October, I added the Mathews V-bar Quick Connect (link here) and their 12” rear Flatline Stabilizer. With the 12” out front, two extra ounces of weight, and the HHA sight bar out front as far as it would go, the Traverse still had a forward pull. I switched it out to the 8” with no extra weight and the balance is right on. I draw and settle my grip in, center the peep, start the pin float, check the bubble, and then execute the shot. This bow setup is now almost perfectly balanced for me; when I get to the bubble, it’s right where it needs to be. This is something I’ve never experienced and I really look forward to working with in the future.

My last unknown and possible “concern” with this bow would be the length. I was coming from the 28” Triax last year, to the Traverse at 33”, a big jump. Through initial shooting it’s a little heavier, although having a larger footprint and a few more ounces helps stabilize it and hold it steady in any wind. Target shooting has been a breeze, no issues, and shooting out to 80 yards has been very pleasurable. This bow holds on target so well.  I’ve been in a stand with it a couple of times so far. The length is definitely noticeable, but hasn’t been a detraction at all. I’ll update this in mid-November after I get a bunch of sits in with it. I don’t see it being a problem at all.

The specs:
  • Brace Height – 6 5/8″
  • IBO Rating up to – 338 FPS
  • Axle to Axle – 33″
  • Draw weight – 50, 60 & 70
  • Draw lengths – 26.5″ – 32.5″
  • Let-off – 75 OR 85%
  • Physical weight – 4.70 LBS*
  • Cam – Crosscentric
  • MSRP – $1099
In Comparison:

The Traverse has the same Engage Grip style and Crosscentric Cam Technology as the Vertix.  So, the draw and hold should feel the same. The Traverse cam does not have the Switchweight Technology. I think this is a unique feature of the Vertix, and I’m surprised it wasn’t added to the Traverse. As noted above, the Traverse also only comes in the typical even number max weight ranges. Let-off options are 75/85%, versus 80/85% on the Vertix, and the Traverse comes in a few fps slower IBO. Neither of these bother me at all.

In summary

Once again Mathews has pushed the limits of bow possibilities with the Travese. For hunting shoot-ability, this is the nicest bow I’ve ever squeezed the trigger on. It’s a little heavier and bulkier than the Vertix, so for treestand hunting, that will have to factor in, and we’ll see how it goes. Practice with this bow setup is FUN!! I think this would make an ideal Western hunting rig, for shooting some of those longer distances.  Be sure and try one from your dealer or at some of the hunting shows starting soon.

You can ask questions and follow along with the Traverse thread here.

Stay Updated

I’ll also pop in and update that thread in mid-November after I get a few more sits in. If you want to follow those updates, be sure you’re a Rokslide Member (it’s free to join) and hit the “Watch” button upper right of the lead post in that thread and you’ll be notified when I post.

If you’re not following along on my annual “Season” thread, you can do so here. You’ll see exactly what I do to prepare for my Western (and Eastern) hunts every year.

We also have something in the works with Mathews which will be pretty neat. I’ll be receiving the new 2020 flagship bow in Mid-November. Depending on my harvest situation, I’ll be in some state when it’s ready and I’ve arranged for it to land where ever I’m at.  I’ll have along all of my gear to set this bow up on the fly. Goal is to get it one day, and set-it up in the truck that night, and hunt with it the following day! Should be fun! You can follow that project here.  Once again, don’t forget to hit that “Watch” button so you can stay updated.

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Les Welch
Les Welch has been hunting and shooting for over 30 years. He grew up chasing small game and whitetails in the big woods of Northern Wisconsin. Having the ability to roam for thousands of acres hunting, scouting, and exploring without seeing people and civilization ingrained the public land DIY mentality deep within. After harvesting dozens of whitetails with archery equipment, including many P&Y, and countless more with rifle and muzzleloader the desire to explore the mountains had become to much to overcome. In 2006, he started researching antelope. That led to the harvest of 6 DIY, public land antelope in 2007 between him and his father. That trip was the beginning of the obsession/addiction. Since that trip he has traveled West of the Mississippi on 8 more hunts, all 100% DIY public land.....with 100% success rates, harvesting multiple elk, mule deer, and antelope. Coming home to the flatlands after that first hunt back in '07 he realized the need to be in shape if success was going to continue. He dropped 60# and 20% bodyfat in a few months. He has since become a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Coach. Understanding what the body needs to maximize performance whether he is running a race, competing in triathalons, or preparing for 15-20 day backpack backcountry hunts help insure he achieves full potential. Year around gym time, training, scouting, and spending time in the outdoors with family maintain that healthy lifestyle to keep "mountain" ready! He is on pro-staff for Sitka Gear, HECS, and ElkNut Outdoor Productions. When he is not chasing down something with stick and string, rifle, or muzzleloader he can be found spending time hunting, fishing, camping, or something of the like with his family. You will also see him at many of the RMEF events as he is Chapter chair in Wisconsin.