Over the last 10 years or so, archery rests have come a long way. I remember when I started hunting in the mid/late 1990’s that the TM Hunter Rest was the big thing because it was spring loaded. Back then, you had to make a hostage rest by combining parts and pieces from other fixed rests. The other alternative was to buy some of the very first hostage rests, but I found them to be very expensive back in those days. Since those days, we had the onset of the Whisker Biscuit and now what seems like hundreds of other Hostage rests. During the last 10 years, while hostage rests have been very popular, drop away rests have also made a huge run at being one of the top selling type rests. So, I thought I would give you my perspective on both styles of rests, and tell you a little about what I have used.
First, we will start with the drop away rests because that is the first thing I used after getting a new bow and leaving my old TM Hunter rest on the old bow. I started out using a new drop away rest (which I cannot remember the model of right now) and I used it for about 2 months. I set my brand new bow up in late July and had my exciting new drop away rest that promised to affect accuracy less, allow you to get maximum arrow speed, and give you the most consistency. Well, to start, it took a while to get the timing of the drop correct. This is controlled by a small cord that attaches to your bus cable, as you draw your bow, the cord pulls the rest up until your arrow is in position to shoot. When you release the string, the rest drops away and the arrow is on its way with nothing to alter its course. Well, this all sounds good, but I was being nice in saying that it took a while to get the timing right. Even when I thought I had the timing right, the cord started to stretch out after about 30 – 40 arrows and had to be re-adjusted. I finally got it right, and I took it out for opening day of archery season. I will admit that until this point, other than harder setup, it was working nicely. Opening day went fine, but I also did not get a shot at a deer. The next week, I was out shooting before my Saturday outing into the woods and found that my rest was sticking and causing all sorts of problems. Well, after a little lubrication and a test to make sure everything was copasetic again, I was all set. Saturday came and I went out in the woods. It was a chilly morning and by 9am when I had not seen anything at all, I decided to venture down and go check out a little different area to hunt that afternoon. I was walking silently since it was still somewhat early and I came across a doe feeding in a little open area. She had not heard me coming. I decided to see if I could stalk in to try to get a shot. As I got closer, I was in real thick sticker bushes trying to hide myself, just as I drew back on the doe the string to the rest got caught in the stickers and the rest would not drop away and I missed the shot.
After this, I was feeling a little discouraged about the drop away since I had many negative things happen. I gave it another few weeks, while I was shooting one evening the spring that allows the rest to drop away broke. Needless to say, that was it for me, I called the manufacturer and they told me that the spring has a useful life and as much shooting as I did could of caused it to break and that they would happily send me out a new spring. I took them up on their offer, but while I was waiting on the new spring to come I decided to try a Whisker Biscuit, even though I had been given reasons not to shoot one by product representatives, manufactures, and other archers.
The drop away rest came off and has been sitting in my miscellaneous archery products box. I keep these incase someone I know needs something or I need parts for something. The Whisker Biscuit was one of the originals with the heavy duty mounting bracket. It installed quickly and easily and seemed pretty reliable from an accuracy standpoint. So, after installing the Whisker Biscuit while at work, I took it home to sight it in that evening. After a half dozen arrows, I was pretty much dead on at 15 – 20 – 30 yards and feeling very good about this. I thought back to all the bad things I had heard about these types of rests and remember the two biggest complaints that I got was that they slowed your arrow down, and they were very unreliable in accuracy. At this point, I was very happy with the accuracy and after playing with 50 or more different rests while being a bow tech, I found myself wondering where these complaints came from. I had put about equally as many Whisker Biscuits on as drop away style rests and I had more people bring drop away rests back with problems than the Whisker Biscuit or other rests designed like it. I found myself thinking the claim that these style rests did not have good accuracy was blown, even more so after I shot 6 arrows into a quarter size circle (including stacking two arrows). The final complaint I had about these style rests was the speed. So, the next time I was setting up bows at work. I took two brand new identical bows out of the box; I put a Whisker Biscuit on one and a newer drop away rest on the other. I shot 2 of the same weight arrows through the chronograph to see what the real difference was. In the end, my findings were that I lost between 4 – 6 feet per- second.
My conclusion was that I had a lot less problems with the Whisker Biscuit rest and it was much easier to keep sighted in as much as I shoot. Once every 2 seasons I replace the biscuit so the bristles do not get worn, otherwise it has not let me down.
This however, does not mean that I would not use a drop away rest. I am just one of those people that find something they like and stick with it. I continued to install drop away style rests on many bows at work and other than adjustments and the occasional broken cord or spring (on models that use springs) I did not have many complaints. I continued to have some complaints about people whom thought the Whisker Biscuit that came with their bow package was slowing their arrow speed down. However, I had way more compliments about how reliable the Whisker Biscuit was and everyone loves the fact that it keeps your arrow in place when walking, or in a tree.
Overall, I say go with what you like, but I like the Whisker Biscuit myself. My wife and my hunting buddy both use a different style hostage rest as well and they both seem very happy with them. So hostage style rests win in my book, but I am open to someone changing my mind.
Which style rest do you use? Tell me your thoughts and opinions on it and maybe you can get me to try something new this coming hunting season!