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How To Choose the Best Hunting Rest

I could barely believe my eyes… the biggest whitetail buck I’d ever seen was standing 100 yards away in a wide-open field. I was crouching behind a bit of honeysuckle in a fencerow opening just wide enough for a two-track. As the buck began its rutting jaunt, I realized it was going to pass right by me. The 200-pound bruiser came closer and closer, until at 15 yards I had to draw the bow. As the arrow came back, the buck stopped and stared at the movement. My sight pin centered squarely on its chest, when a burst of November wind blew the arrow from the rest. Somehow, I managed to keep my eye in the peep and work the arrow back onto the rest and instantly release. The four-and-a-half-year-old buck nearly made the record book. Ever since that evening, rests have been a priority in archery gear.

So Many Choices

60050006Usually variety is a good thing, but today’s gear offerings have so many choices a person can easily become overwhelmed. To make selection even more difficult, the two basic rest strategies have completely opposite functions. One benefits from total containment (mainly the Whisker Biscuit), fall-away models credit “no-contact” as their best feature, and others tout a combination of each. On February 8, 2003, a new biscuit rest was introduced, with a “V” cut into the biscuit. Dubbed the “Quick Shot” by its inventors, out-of-work semi-conductor industry engineers Steve Graf and Ike Branthwaite, the Quick Shot has become one of the nation’s most versatile and popular rest.

Total Containment: The Whisker Biscuit

thCA6FON7RThe Whisker Biscuit from Trophy Ridge is very versatile and an excellent choice as a hunting rest because it contains the arrow completely and quietly. Had I used that rest in the above deer situation, the wind could not have blown the arrow from the rest. Also, drawing a bow from a tree stand requires different muscles than on terra firma, and an arrow can wobble from muscle strain. The arrow striking the riser will make a distinct sound that can easily spook an alert deer. Finally, the biscuit is easy to load and is very accurate. To see a demonstration, check out Brian “The Pig Man” Quaca shooting a Whisker Biscuit at 136 yards.

Fall Away: Limbsaver

thCA8JSZVGJust as the biscuit has total contact of the arrow and fletching as it passes through the fibers, fall-away rests tout the totally opposite strategy: zero contact. Using Limbsaver’s Fall Away Arrow Rest as an example, the rest is engineered to operate smoothly with a balanced twin-bearing system to quietly draw and release the arrow with zero contact to the fletching as it exits the bow’s riser. Most fall-away rests attach a tether to one of the bow’s cables so that when the bow is drawn, the tether raises the rest and upon arrow release, pulls it down for complete arrow clearance. Most fall-away rests recommend a level arrow nock so that the arrow is launched on a horizontal plane.

Combination Engineering: Trophy Taker Smackdown FC Rest

th[4]Which is best, total containment or contact abstinence? Like most things in life, there are compromises between the extremes, and the Trophy Taker Smackdown FC (Full Containment) rest is a perfect example. This type of rest offers the no-contact benefit of a fall-away with the containment features of the biscuit. The surface of the containment rings is covered in sound-dampening material and the loading slot is angled to make putting arrows on the rest easier. The launcher pivots on solid bearings for smooth, consistent operation and a Drop Stop launcher silencer is included for an extra measure of stealth.

Which Is Best?

Like the choice between Fords and Chevys, the best rest for you is a matter of choice. If you are new to archery or you have a problem keeping your arrow on the rest, the Whisker Biscuit is an excellent choice. It’s less expensive, easy to set up, and basically maintenance free. If you prefer the ultimate release of a no-contact rest, than a fall-away or a containment fall-away model may be best. For more information on the three rests mentioned above, check these links.

Trophy Ridge Whisker Biscuit |  Limbsaver Fall Away | Trophy Taker Smackdown

Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.