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I Was Injured and So Was He

A Field Trial With the Parker Concorde Crossbow

July 12, 2016
By Travis Hunt , Ohio Valley Outdoors

I was injured and so was he. I don't know the story behind the limp that the elusive Ohio eight pointer displayed. Was his limp from a previous injury or was he the victim of one of the larger bucks that frequented my ranch. I could only speculate. I was his biggest fan as I observed him from the comfort of my Shadowhunter blind on two occasions attempting to chase a doe. The limp slowed him down and I cannot say that he was successful. His injury was a mystery; however, I could definitely regurgitate every intricate detail surrounding my injury.

Long story short, my lower back suffered a catastrophic vertebrate injury during a July 2014 deployment. After failed physical therapy, medication, and pain management, surgery was the only option. So, Halloween day 2014, the spinal neurologist removed bad parts, put in new parts, and stitched me up. The seven days in the hospital were only the first steps on the jagged road to recovery. For me, the road to recovery bypassed the 2014 Ohio hunting season. From my window, I could see the leaves on my trees were in full color just before they lost it all. I would often gaze upon the scene and imagine what was unfolding in the woods. I pictured scrapes, heard a faint grunt, and spied antlers moving through the thicket. But for me, I was not able to bend and pulling back a crossbow may not ever happen again. The season bypassed me but where there are deer, there is hope.

Fast forward a year later and preparations for the 2015 Ohio hunting season were swelling in my mind. By this point I was in recovery mode. The surgery went well and I was walking again and even working out on the elliptical. This was a blessing; however, my hunting was impacted as I was unable to draw my crossbow. After discussing this with friends and industry colleagues, I contacted Brandon Hylton of Parker Crossbows (www.parkerbows.com) and inquired about the Parker Concorde. The Concorde features the patented "Quick Draw System" that utilizes carbon dioxide (CO2) to draw the crossbow. You are correct, I set the string, push a button, and the CO2 contained in the integral CO2 canister draws the string to the cocked position, thus performing the work that my back cannot do. This was potentially a game changer for me as I could soon be back in business. All the accolades were fine, but I could not render an opinion until I bonded with the Concorde in the woods of Ohio. That was the plan and soon my Concorde arrived at my doorstep.

Article Photos

The Parker Concorde Crossbow features the patented “Quick Draw System” that utilizes carbon dioxide (CO2) to draw the crossbow. Photo courtesy of Parker Crossbows

Having field-tested and owned other crossbows, I was pleasantly surprised that the Concorde was easy to assemble. The package was complete with a multi-reticle scope, quiver, string suppressors, and a nine ounce CO2 canister. The learning curve with this crossbow was understanding (and ultimately appreciating) the proper positioning, handling, and loading of the Concorde in regards to the CO2 powered internal mechanism. Really, the only rule is that the Concorde must be pointed down when activating the Quick Draw System. This positioning eliminates back-flow of the CO2 into the components of the Concorde. However, this position requirement was not any different than other crossbows that are drawn by hand utilizing the foot stirrup.

Before taking the Concorde into the woods of Ohio, I had to become proficient with the weapon. From the initial set-up to sighting in the crossbow, I was pleased with the simplicity of the operation and efficiency of the set-up. After I filled the CO2 canister at my local sporting goods store, I connected the limbs to the stock and mounted the scope. All the components were included and I was operational within an hour. I gathered three of my five children around and told them to watch as I drew the Concorde. I had let rumors of the Parker "Quick Draw System" out of the bag so they were eagerly awaiting the show. What a show it was; I positioned the foot stirrup on the floor and pushed the button concealed in the butt of the stock. It worked, not that I doubted the engineers at Parker, but seeing it for the first time was almost magical. The integrated tooth between the rails gently pulled the string towards the trigger housing. I heard the click, confirming the cocked position was reached and then a slight exhale of residual CO2. A cheesy smile crept across my face as I, recovering from a catastrophic back injury, had just drawn my first bow in over a year. If I was to never connect with a deer, that was fine but at least I would once again be a participant and not a spectator.

I sighted in the Concorde from a stable rest on my elevated deck to a foam layered block target 20 yards down range. I utilized the Parker Red Hot carbon crossbow arrows that were included in the package and after six shots I was grouping within two inches. The multi-reticle scope that was also included in the package enabled me to set the crosshairs for 20 yards and then the subsequent reticles resulted in exceptional accuracy at 30 and 40 yards respectively. If I did have to complain, I would have preferred rail lube and field points to come in the Concorde box. However, I suspect, like myself, most archers have these supplies on-hand and just reach for them and continue without missing a beat. However, Parker has thought of everything and proudly offers the "Perfect Storm Package" for free to new owners of a Concorde. After submitting the required proof of purchase the "Perfect Storm Package" complete with a case, Red Hot arrows, field points, Red Hot three-blade broadheads, a tube of rail lube, a handy sling, and even a sporty Parker baseball cap will arrive at your door for the marvelous price of free. Free is usually the best deal in the woods and would truly complete the accessorization process.

Fact Box

Parker Concorde Specifications

Draw Weight - 175 pounds

Power Stroke - 9.6"

Cammo Pattern - Next "Vista" with Soft Touch Finish

Arrow Speeds - 300 FPS with 20", 400 grain total weight carbon arrow

Rise - Machined Aluminum

Barrel - Machined Aluminum

Stock Length - 34.5"

Axle to Axle Width - 18.75"

String - Red Hot Synthetic

Suggested Retail Price - $999.95

Warranty - Lifetime

Manufacturing Location - United States

With Concorde in hand, fall leaves doing what they do best, and the Halloween candy distributed, the time was right. My trail cameras had been up for about eight weeks. One camera was standing watch over a winter-oat and sugar beet food plot while the other kept an eye on my tripod feeder adjacent to my Shadowhunter blind tower. The pictures were encouraging and my daughters and I enjoyed counting the three mature bucks that would make any hunter proud to serve for dinner. With scraping and rubbing abounding, I took an early afternoon walk to the feeder and climbed into the Shadowhunter. The feeder spun at 4:00, golden corn dropped to the field, and within minutes I heard the sound of meandering steps in the woods. Today, I was joined by a group of juvenile does and a handful of eastern turkey. I repeated the ritual over the next three days rotating between stands and times. Not until one crisp evening did the first buck appear. He was a juvenile six-pointer that I did not want to settle for. Since the Concorde's 18.75" axle-to-axle distance is easily manageable within a blind, I could have rested the crosshairs of the scope on his pump-station and launched an arrow without the buck even knowing. However, I was confident that a mature, rut-crazed majestic beast would make an appearance any time.

Of course, any time turned into a week. Then on a mid-November day, I took annual leave to hunt in the morning and spend quality time with the boss in the afternoon. She appreciated that and I snuck out to the back food plot before sunrise. The food plot was glistening with winter oats over top of sugar beets. I cut through the food plot and ascended into the tower. I was planning a series of rattles and grunts to break the morning silence. Before the sequence began, the two bucks entered the food plot. I saw that the second one was limping. Although both were eight pointers, the one with the limp needed to be culled from the herd. I was proud of him as I watched his determination when he veered out of the food plot to pursue a pretty young doe. I decided if fate brought us together again, I would take the buck.

On the evening of November 18, 2015, the limping eight-pointer made his way towards the tripod feeder. The group of four doe grazing adjacent to the feeder spotted him before I did. They wanted no part of him and moved to the perimeter of the field. I knew the events would unfold one of two ways; either he would stop to eat at the feeder or he would transect the field in route to the does. Either food or love would be his demise. He chose to eat and that was fine with me. The limping buck closed within 20 yards of my hidden position in the blind and lowered his head to scour the ground for golden goodies. A mature whitetail buck stretched in-front of a loaded crossbow is not a scenario that can be dwelled upon for long. However, I let him linger longer that I normally would have. After all, he was injured and I appreciated every inclination of his innate desire to continue doing what he did before he was hurt. He continued exploring and continued pursuing life. In that moment we were very much alike as I choose to continue doing what I did before my injury. That evening, with the dusky shadows closing in, four doe in the field and a limping Ohio eight-pointer in the crosshairs of the Concorde's scope, I choose to pursue happiness once again by letting my first arrow loose in over a year. I thanked God, my wife, and Parker as the buck took a few steps and stumbled to his final resting place in my field.

Epilogue: The journey from my injury on deployment to placing my hands on the antlers of the Ohio eight-pointer that evening was a difficult and emotional journey. Being physically denied the opportunity to hunt the previous season was a blur to me as I was in recovery mode. However, when I began planting food plots and placing game cameras in the early summer of 2015, I was still unable to draw a crossbow. Therefore, my contact with Parker and Brandon Hylton specifically offered hope where there was none. With 2016 upon us, I have had the opportunity to continue recovery and will be able to once again draw my crossbow. However, this poses a new problem for me.. does that mean I would have to give up the Concord and the "Quick Draw System" and return to a regular crossbow? I suppose I could, but I have grown fond of my Concorde and trust it to perform as needed.

 
 

 

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