Wolverine Longbow by Pete Ward
Sometimes we pick up a bow that just seems too “right” to be true. When I received the Wolverine at the ATBA Jamboree from Abe I knew this was one of those bows as soon as I shot it. The Wolverine is a little brother to the wonderful shooting Cari-Bow “Peregrine” I reviewed a couple years back. I still treasure the Peregrine and shoot it often.
The Wolverine is a 58″ reflex / highly deflexed longbow that has all of the great performance and shooting characteristics the Peregrine has, but in a smaller more maneuverable package. This Wolverine is a 2-piece takedown, Diamond series with a beaver tail wrap and rest. The riser is bubinga with ebony, the limbs are bamboo cores (All Wolverines have bamboo) and quilted bubinga veneers under clear glass that are fabulous to look at. This bow has eye candy, and lots of it.
Normally I prefer a small grip on bows, and this one because of the two-piece take down is quite large. Abe had several Wolverines with him at the Jamboree in every size grip you could ask for. To be honest I was a bit disappointed to see the large grip when I received the bow. The grip circumference at the throat is 5″, compared to the Peregrine grip that has a circumference of 4 1/2″. That quickly changed when I first handled it and drew it back. Within minutes I was at the target butt waiting for Pat, my wife to take the first shots from it so I could have my turn. I was able to luck out and pick some arrows that flew great the first time and it became instant love for the bow.
The large grip is not an issue at all, and I attribute this to the way it aligns your hand to the bows shelf / side plate. Often a large grip on a bow seems to be out of alignment, off center, causing us to struggle and search to find the right hand position in order to shoot it well. This is definitely not the case here. Shooting the Wolverine is as natural as shooting the Peregrine with its much smaller grip. The layout is right, as it should be, but often is not. Now I have to re-think my preference to grip sizes, and I guess it is not the size that matters as much as the position the grip puts your hand in.
The method Abe uses to make the two pieces is a bit different than most two-piece bows I have seen. There are no metal sleeves, hinges etc. The joint is at the bottom of the grip, neatly hidden under the beaver tail wrap. (I looked for the splice joint for a while before I saw Abe take it apart to show a customer the take-down system.) It is a diagonal cut that is fiber glass molded with a key on each side for a perfect alignment every time. I seldom take it apart other than to show the type of joint to someone that is looking at the bow. If you did not know the Wolverine was a take-down you could not tell it was by looking at it, the joint is invisible.
A caution on lubricating the joint is needed here. I used some (lots) string wax thinking it was a good idea. It was great in summer, but when it got cold out the bow was stuck together until I took it inside to warm up. String wax is not a great way to protect the joint. A spray of furniture polish is much better.
As usual with every Cari-Bow I have seen the workmanship is Cari-Bow quality from tip to tip. Excellent craftsmanship, fit and finish along with a great design is what we expect to see from Abe Penner, and this is what we get. I had the chance to handle over 20 bows at Abe’s tent during the Jamboree and every one was Cari-Bow typical high quality.
I was a so taken by how well I could shoot the Wolverine from the first arrows at the practice butts that It was the only bow I shot on the 3D range all weekend. I shot very well with it on the 3D range also. Usually I shoot several bows during a non-scoring shoot. I just kept coming back to the wolverine each time I went out. Over the weekend my test bow was shot by more than a few other shooters, as well as the bows Abe had there for sale. There were lots of arrows shot from it and the feedback I received was always positive. One friend liked it so much he walked over and purchased one of the “on the rack Wolverines that weekend.
Another couple that are friends of mine were looking at a rack model with a smaller grip for his wife, when I met up with them on the way to test shoot it. I gave him my Wolverine and a few arrows I knew flew well to take to the butt, so he didn’t have to stand and just watch as his wife shot the bow she was looking at. When he returned my bow he told me they just ordered two Wolverines, his, just like mine and hers similar to the one she was trying out, but with different woods. Just like mine I asked?
And he said “exactly”, but a couple pounds difference in weight.
Another friend after shooting this bow at the Jamboree also has ordered and received a Wolverine.
There were some shooters with longer draws that were not as impressed as most of us were. The Wolverine is not a bow for a 30″ draw. I believe it handles 29″ quite nicely, after that you should be considering a 62″ Peregrine. One Chap told me he didn’t like the Wolverine, and it was too short for his 31″ draw. He also thought he needed a 70# bow, like he was currently shooting to hunt with. We talked for a while and I gave him my 50# Peregrine to try. When he came back he was a bit surprised to find that a 50 at 28″ bow was shooting the same arrows he used on his 70# at 31″ bow noticeably faster. He had his eyes opened to what a good design can do for us, and the last I heard he was going to be ordering a 50# Peregrine. (I suspect that the Peregrine is drawing close to 58# at his 31″ draw, but I have not scaled it at 31″).
Since hunting season has started I have been hunting with the Wolverine a lot. It is not the only bow I hunt with, but it is certainly a bow I hunt with a lot. At times it is frustrating to have so many great choices, and so little time to hunt with them all. The wolverine has just added to this frustration. It is a hunting bow I really love to carry in the woods and the 58” length does nicely in the pop-up blinds. To say the Wolverine is very quiet is an understatement. This is a bow that is easy to look at and wonderful to shoot. It was made to hunt, and with luck I will have a photo of a successful hunt to add in a later article.
By now in a review I often have some criticism to add in , but we will have to go without any criticism or suggestions for improvements in this review for the Cari-Bow Wolverine. I like it just the way it is.
At this time (Oct 2009) the Cari-bow web site shows quite a few Wolverines in stock as well as the other models, making it possible to have a new bow immediately rather than waiting for one to be built for you. Whatever you decide, I am confident you will receive a very fine shooting and great looking bow when you buy any Cari-Bow. The warranty “3 year warranty against material and workmanship failure” is also very good.
Cari-bow Custom Archery
Bowyer, Abe Penner