Greetings, my name in Mike Hays and I am the owner and founder of Black Canyon Bows. I have been consumed by archery and bowhunting in particular for as long as I can remember. As a kid I would climb any tree I found and cut off any branch I saw that looked like it would make a bow. I obtained several different manufactured bows throughout my youth and spent hours shooting arrows and hunting about anything that would cross my path. This interest in archery and hunting was a mystery to both myself and members of my family as no one else in my family was much interested in hunting or the shooting sports. I suppose that all the passion for hunting from my immediate family must have all ended up in me somehow.

My introduction into making real hunting weight bows came when I was attending Engineering College in my home state of New Mexico around 1987. I met a gentleman named Jerry Anderson who had obtained a book written in the 1950’s by Tom Jennings and Doug Kittredge which dealt with archery and bows. This book had plans for a laminated static recurve bow. Jerry had built several fine shooting and beautiful bows using this design. I was immediately fascinated by the prospect of making my own traditional hunting bows. At that time I was working in a machine shop as a CNC machine programmer and machinist. Jerry and I started making some take down recurves using his experience and my machining background. This continued for some time and we made some nice bows and learned a lot about what worked and what didn’t.

After graduation in 1989 I started Black Canyon Bows as a business which I ran on the side as I worked in the machining industry as a Manufacturing Engineer. As I developed my career in the machining and process engineering field I made bows for myself and a growing following of traditional bow-hunters looking for effective traditional hunting bows. My background in machining, manufacturing and machine design has come in very handy as my bow building has progressed.

Early on I realized that unless you are a big name bow maker and are ordering large quantities of laminations you can often wait a long time to get your material. Often if I desired to make a design change or I wanted a particular wood or lamination taper ratio I often had a long wait before the materials would arrive. This prompted me to make my own lamination grinders and pattern grinders to reduce lead time and gain more control over the development of my product. I feel this has helped me make improvements in both the performance and quality of my bows. I feel the use of computer aided design techniques and the ability to quickly change materials and design parameters has helped to evolve the design of my bows faster and to a higher degree than I might have otherwise. I feel these factors have been a highly influential part of my growth as a builder of fine hunting bows.

My philosophy of what makes a fine hunting bow is pretty simple. I feel a good hunting bow needs to have a few basic characteristics in order to deliver the performance I am looking for. The bow must be stable and durable as well as give good performance while delivering a quiet shot. A good hunting bow needs to shoot a hunting weight arrow with a flat trajectory and straight stable flight. The bow must also have stable and consistent shooting characteristics under field conditions. In addition to these performance factors the bow needs to be durable in order to survive in the field and not let the hunter down on a remote hunting trip. These characteristics must also be paired with a quiet shooting bow. The bow can be fast and stable but if it is loud it fails as a hunting weapon in my opinion. I have worked hard to build these characteristics in to all of the bows I make.

I am fortunate to have many close friends that are very experienced bow-hunters and their feedback has helped me develop these designs into effective and beautiful hunting weapons. The input from these fine hunters, as well as my own experience from years of hunting with the bow and arrow has shaped my bows into what they are today. Whether it is a longbow or a recurve, I feel the best characteristics for a hunting weapon are present in the Black Canyon custom bow.