White Wolf Red Moon Longhunter S4 50#@28"
Look along a line of archers at a FITA or GNAS target shoot and you will see anodised risers in a huge number of colours, there will be long rods in silver and blue, orange peeps and multicoloured items of kit all over the place. Take a look around at a field shoot and all the bows will be either black or neutral, autumn colours. It would appear that the most radical thing you would see on a field bow would be some highly polished Maple or some inlay, nothing wrong with that as lots of folks will want the wood to do it's own talking. One thing you won't see however is a lot of bright colours.
Are field archers really so conservative ? or is it that bow makers assume that colour is something that field archers just don't want in their lives ? I really don't think so, not when you see the reaction a White Wolf gets when taken to a shoot, I was the same as everyone else when I first saw one, the striking wood patterns and bright finish instantly catch your eye, even the ones employing only natural wood shades stand out from almost every other bow. You are drawn to take a look, the coreflex woods themselves are layered and worked to produce a striated pattern which is quite distinctive, through the riser and all the way down the limbs.
White Wolf bows in natural and wood shades get a lot of attention but when you first see a coloured one almost inevitably you do a double take. For those archers that want their bows to look like more than just polished wood, bowyer Tony Semenuk has created a collection of bows that are not afraid to stand out. This bow on test is a 64" Longhunter S4 in Red Moon
Once the bow has captured your attention you will want to pick it up, and that's when it will surprise you a second time. it's light, really light, in fact this one weights in at just 9 1/2 Oz. The grip on the bow is shaped from the wood with no extra padding such as a leather binding or wrap. For this to work and be comfortable on a wood bow the contouring and profiling needs to be carefully made othewise it can feel like an uncomfortable lump of wood next to the palm, when a bow feels uncomfortable in the hand I can guarantee that regardless of how nice it shoots you won't enjoy the experience and won't want to pick it up again. Tony Semenuk, the bowyer, has obviously paid huge attention to this, there is a slight swell toward the palm and my hands find the right place every time without the need for finger grooves, that alone is remarkable, however the addition of a thumb rest in the form of a small sloping shelf is a stroke of genius, at first you don't notice it, it was only when I studied the grip and feel that I realised what had been done and this bow sits in my hand as possibly the most comfortable bare handled bow that I have shot.
The bow is generally supplied with a Dacron string, having spoken to Tony though he is now switching over to a Fastflight or similar string material, this one came with an 8 strand Fastflight string in red and black which matched the bow perfectly, I am a fan of skinny strings and have in the past used some positively anorexic ones down to 4 strands so this 8 strand string didn't look out of place at all. Because of the weight the bow is very pointable, power is smooth and early, so smooth in fact that I didn't believe it was the 50# it claimed to be and upon weighing it I was surprised to find that on my scale it measured 48#, I suspect that once I have readjusted the brace and played about with the tuning it would be just about on the money. In shooting there was a little handshock, despite it being only a little it is worth mentioning because I noticed that the string loops were not padded, I like my skinny string padded at the loops and sometimes pad them with up to 18 strands. It makes no difference to the shot but can reduce both noise and shock, not that there was any noise with this bow but the addition of a padded loop string would probably reduce still further the little shock it delivered.
The shelf itself is cut 1/8" past center, I do love "past center" bows as this enables you to tune the bow to the arrow and gives you some leeway with spine, meaning that they are generally a little easier to tune, the shelf is heavily radiused and fitted with a calf hair rest, giving the arrow less contact to the bow, the window too is radiused and provides a well framed sight picture.
This bow wasn't through surprising me yet because not only did it feel like a lesser weight to draw it shot the arrows as if they had come from a more powerful bow, I couldn't tell if this was just an illusion due to the physical weight of the bow being so little or because it was so smooth to draw so we headed off to the chrono station to get some hard facts.
Using my standard test weight arrows shot from 2 yards over the chrono I recorded 12 shots with each arrow, discarded the highest and lowest and averaged the rest to arrive at my home made and probably far from scientific test - perhaps it would not satisfy Steve Hawking but it does represent real world shooting...
445gn 9.27gn/# 172fps500gn 10.41gn/# 165fps530gn 11.04gn/# 156fps565gn 11.77gn/# 154fps
As you can see, this is as fast a bow as many that are available, it's worth mentioning that although it shot the lighter arrows well it also coped very well with heavy arrows and as the weight increased the rate the speed decreased was disproportionate so lovers of heavy arrows or hunters will find this bow will still shoot at a very respectable pace and may actually prefer heavy arrows, a heavy arrow sucks up more of the energy on offer and will also give a softer shooting experience. It should also be noted that this is a bow which retails at $559.
The sub $600 market is hotly contested and with archers demanding ever more from their archery dollar this White Wolf bow should be on the short list.
Often overlooked when buying a bow is the after care you might require from your bowyer and the warranty that goes with it. Here White Wolf bows score 10 out of 10, Tony is quite plain regarding his warranty and easily lost is the line which reads " I stand behind my workmanship" - this isn't some clever marketing ploy or a throwaway line used to entice you to buy one. It means exactly what it says, we originally heard of Tony because he was prepared to go above and beyond what would normally be expected from a bowyer and a reputation like that can't be bought. I imagine that it is rare for a White Wolf owner to own just one bow from this stable as I know of those with at least 2, this in itself is a huge endorsement and I find myself now looking covetously at the blue night sky camo version !
I was amazed to find a bowyer offering a custom Longbow for just $559 and then to find that you can buy a bow from just $289 ( add $50 if it's a custom order) shows that not only does White Wolf offer performance but also incredible value.
Features & Design
Guaranteed to catch your eye with a startling colour scheme, it isn't all look though, because some very nice design touches mean this bow will sit nicely in your hand and offers a bare wood grip that feels as if it has been designed on a PC or by someone who understands both wood and hands.
It won't dissapoint archers who judge everything on speed, however those archers who require a bow with pointability, little handshock and lightness in the hand will enjoy this bow.
Value for Money
Whats really astonishing is that this bow offers super value at $559 but this isn't the least expensive bow produced by Tony at White Wolf.
It's no wonder owners rave about their White Wolf Bows, $ for $ the Longhunter S4 offers a hard shooting bow with "out of the ordinary looks" at a price which means it has to be considered. Along with superb back up be sure to have this on your short list when you are next purchasing a bow.