It's a simple fact... carrying extra arrows is a necessary element of archery. And the most convenient way to carry those extra arrows is in a quiver.
However, quivers come in as many styles, designs, and categories as bows and arrows do. Bow quivers, hip quivers, back quivers, catquivers, side quivers, and more. For the record, it is our opinion that no one has yet invented the "perfect quiver". The challenge for any archer is selecting a quiver he can get along with.
For now, let's focus on bow quivers. Specifically, bow quivers for traditional archers. We'll discuss the benefits of bow quivers as well as describe the models we recommend.
Fred Bear, founder of Bear Archery, held the first patents on the bow quiver. The first one was a crude hand-held affair that never really caught on. But his unrelenting persistence drove him to continually improve the idea until it was a viable product. He then pioneered its use and through his never-ending marketing and promotion, he almost single handedly caused bow quivers to become the standard quiver of nearly every bowhunter in the country. Good thing he did too. The bow quiver has evolved into the best quiver designed so far for carrying your extra arrows. We owe a debt of gratitude to Fred Bear, for more than just bow quivers. What an incredible bowhunter, inventor, and businessman.
1965 - Fred Bear in Africa, putting his patented bow quiver to good use.
Why use a bow quiver? Longbows and recurves are graceful, even beautiful works of art. They're light and responsive in the hand, and wonderfully balanced. Why then, would anyone want to change all that by attaching a bow quiver full of arrows to their bow? The best answer to that question may very well be, "Why not?"
Everyone appreciates convenience and bowhunters are no exception. With a bow quiver, when you grab your bow your arrows are there. In effect, the bow and the arrows become a single unit, providing you with everything you need to get into the field and hunt. A second arrow can be removed from a bow quiver very quickly, and arrows can be put back into a bow quiver very easily too.
Another convenient feature is "detachability". Many archers prefer to actually take the quiver off of the bow once they are up in their tree stand. In addition, they prefer a bow quiver that can be removed without unstringing the bow. Many of today's bow quivers offer this feature. Bow quivers as a rule are fairly lightweight too. Even though they add weight to the bow, it's not excessive. In some cases adding a bow quiver to the bow can even improve the shot experience by dampening vibration.
Arrow capacity is always an issue with bow quivers. How many arrows should the quiver hold? We carry quivers that hold anywhere from three to seven arrows at a time. We've found that many archers prefer the five arrow model.
The Selway Longbow Slide-On Quiver. A great five-arrow bow quiver.
If memory serves, it was 1988 when Gordy Mickens, owner of Selway Archery, introduced the "Stick Quiver". They were a slide-on quiver that revolutionized bow quivers for traditional archers. The new quiver came in two parts. A hood section that slid down the top limb and a gripper section that slid up the bottom limb. The attachment "arms" were strong rubber that gripped the limb, keeping the quiver parts in place. The hood was tough hand stitched rawhide-leather that offered excellent broadhead protection and had a "natural" look that has always been popular in traditional circles. The bottom rubber gripper piece did a great job holding the arrows securely. The "Stick Quiver" was an instant success and now 17 years later, it remains one of the top selling bow quivers of all time. Of course through the years additional models were developed to fill specific needs. There are now side-mount quivers, bolt-on recurve quivers, and the most exciting development since the first "Stick-Quivers" were introduced, the "Detachable Stick Quiver". The detachable quivers have the same look as the original series but utilize a threaded "cap" that screws over a split bracket holding the bracket in place. To remove the quiver, you simply un-screw the cap, spread the bracket "arms" apart and pull them off the bow. It's a very simple and effective system. To answer the need for less expensive versions of their quivers, Selway developed the "Soft-Kote" line. The "Soft-Kote" hood is a soft, yet strong rubber, retaining attractiveness and durability.
The Selway Soft-Kote line offers an economical bow quiver with quality construction.
Not too long after the "Stick Quiver" hit the market, Jerry Brumm, and Rick Shepard, owners of the Great Northern Bowhunting Company, introduced an ingenious bow quiver that took the traditional market by storm. "The Great Northern Longbow Quiver" offered a beautiful hand stitched leather hood, a heavy-duty wire support (with a lifetime guarantee), a quality rubber arrow gripper, and a rubber strap attachment system that was easy to use yet held the quiver to the bow like a vice. The rubber straps allowed the quivers to be used on bows of all sizes resulting in a truly "universal" quiver. In fact, we remember one of their first ads that listed dozens of bows their quivers would fit. They too have come a long way from their first quiver and now have many models to choose from. Their adjustable model is so well designed that it will fit nearly any longbow or recurve ever made. Just try to find a bow it won't fit. (We don't think it can be done.) They also offer a screw-in model for bows with side bushings and a "Quick-Mount" model for three-piece take down longbows and recurves that use the standard limb bolt attachment system. All of their quivers allow easy attachment and easy removal, which is a great benefit to traditional bowhunters. When deciding which bow quiver is best for you, give the Great Northern Bowhunting Co. serious consideration. Their quivers are superbly designed, and very popular with traditional archers everywhere.
Some argue that the Great Northern Adjustable Bow Quiver is the best, most universal quiver on the market today.
Two fairly recent entries in the traditional bow quiver market are Thunderhorn and German Ridge. Both companies offer quality bow quivers with interesting innovations.
Thunderhorn's hood and gripper sections have a look similar to Selway quivers, but differ dramatically in attachment design. Their "Boa" utilizes a simple rubber strap attachment system, similar but shorter, than that of the Great Northern. Their "Two-Point" is designed for use on three piece take down bows. The attachment brackets are placed under the limb bolts and left on the bow. The quiver components can then be removed or re-installed on the bow without disassembling the bow. By eliminating the use of leather on these two models, Thunderhorn has been able to keep them very reasonably priced as well.
The Thunderhorn Boa Bow Quiver allows you to keep your bow strung during installation and removal.
German Ridge has done an excellent job of re-introducing the spring-arm quiver for recurve bows. Bear Archery made spring-arm quivers for years. Thousands were sold in the 1970's and 1980's. The German Ridge system is unique in that you "build" your quiver to fit your bow. Three lengths of spring arms are available and you select the one that fits your bow. Or, if you have bows of different lengths, you can purchase extra arms that will work for each of your bows. All German Ridge parts are interchangeable. Their hood sections are stitched leather over plastic that offers both protection and good looks. They also have a bolt-on model that fits not only longbows and recurves, but also any bow with sight bushings. If you're looking for a good modular system, German Ridge is an excellent choice.
The German Ridge Spring-Arm Quiver is a "build-it-yourself" quiver that you customize for your bow.
No discussion about bow quivers would be complete without mentioning the "Kwikee Kwiver". They have been selling bow quivers for decades. One of the original models, the "Kwikee Clamp-On Kwiver" still retails for just a little over $15.00! They also have a compact "Kwik-3" (holds three arrows) and the respected standard "Kwikee Kwiver" (holds six arrows). Both of these quivers snap into a receiving piece that is mounted to the sight bushings of the bow, whether it's a recurve, longbow, or compound. Sight mount bushing kits are available and can be installed on most recurves and longbows if desired.
The Kwikee Kwiver not only holds up to six arrows, but also includes an ultra lock bracket system to eliminate any quiver noise.
Traditional archers have many types of quivers to choose from, but the vast majority of them end up with bow quivers. Bow quivers are compact, easy to use, and keep your arrows with your bow at all times. They are popular with all bowhunters and may very well be the best all-round method for carrying your extra arrows.
Dale Karch & Todd Smith
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