By Patrick Meitin
I easily recall the last time I shot a Parker bow, although pinning a date on it would prove more difficult. I was in the midst of my turkey-hunting mania—around the time I shot an archery turkey slam in a single spring—so that would date it to around 2000. I remember that Parker bow being impressively lightweight while tearing up and down New Mexico’s rough-and-tumble Gila Wilderness mountains in search of pure-breed Merriam’s. I could also tell you that it was impressively quiet and shot very well, but I couldn’t tell you what model it was to save my life. Parker was a relative newcomer back then, but also the industry’s fastest-growing bow company of the day. Today Parker is an industry fixture, so a lot of time has passed since I shot my last Parker bow. I couldn’t tell you why this came to be. After all, Parker certainly makes fine bows, and they’re models typically include the types of easy-shooting characteristics I gravitate towards. So some 17 years after hunting with that early model, I’m shooting a Parker once more, and it’s the completely redesigned 2018 Poison 30.
The Poison 30 (and companion Poison 32) carries on Parker’s tradition of providing flagship compound bows at prices well below the industry average. These are straight-shooting, no-nonsense compounds priced for working-class bowhunters who don’t like to compromise with their equipment. The Poison 30 has an MSRP of $779.95 (MAP of $699.95) in a world of $1,000-plus flagship models, and it comes with Parker’s Lifetime Warranty. They aren’t the fastest bows in the business (Parker advertises 330 fps with the Poison 30), but for Parker the focus has always been on pure shootability and real-world needs such as smooth draw cycles, silent operation and deadly accuracy.
The 2018 Parker Poison 30 is fueled by the new 90-percent let-off T2 Cam System. This is a large-profile, concentric dual-track system that’s free of surprises or harsh bumps. The large-profile cams break startup inertia, and then pull through peak and into the let-off valley smoothly and effortlessly. Those cams’ large profile also adds a couple inches to each end of the bow at full draw, effectively increasing the 30-inch axle-to-axle dimensions to something closer to 34 inches. That provides additional forgiveness, and more importantly, it brings the peep closer to the eye for more comfortable anchoring and confident low-light aiming. Draw length is module controlled to ensure peak performance at individual draw lengths.
The T2 system includes tunable limb stops that provide a solid rear wall without being obnoxious about it. This adjustable limb-stop system allows for a large degree of tweaking, so users can find a desired feel. Each cam holds sealed bearings, and axles are fixed straight through the limbs with only a simple pin through the limb tip for laminate reinforcement. The extreme let-off makes holding the bowstring at full draw nearly effortless. Strings and buss cables are premium two-tone Stone Mountain Titanium brand (made right in my backyard) and include factory-installed speed nocks.
The Poison 30 includes a rock-solid machined-aluminum riser with abundant radiused cutouts and a reflexed profile. By design, these cutouts have provided the Poison 30 with exceptional feel and unsurpassed balance right out of the box. That’s a stickler of mine. A well-balanced bow helps any archer shoot their best. It allows them to fully concentrate on executing a technically perfect shot.
Limb pockets are each milled from a single piece of bar-stock aluminum, and limbs are fitted to the pockets with a base pin and synthetic liner to absorb vibrations and prevent draw-cycle creaks. Limbs fi t precisely in the dual-channeled top slots. It is a simple, effective and lightweight arrangement. The riser includes a single set of sight taps, dual rest taps and brass stabilizer mount. The integral braided wrist sling is a nice touch, secured at the riser face with a large set screw so it will stay in place when the stabilizer is removed or replaced. The CNC machined G10 grips (think high-end pistols) give it warmth and a touch of class. Parker spared no expense on this one.
The Poison 30 comes with a full complement of silencing features. The cable slide and string suppressor are based on vibration-absorbing carbon rods, and they’re set straight into the riser and anchored by single set screws. The string suppressor can be adjusted for contact tension but is tuned at the factory for optimum performance. The riser beneath each limb pocket has dual BowJax dampeners. The split limbs each hold a Split Limb BowJax Dampener. The effect is clear. Releasing the string results in zero hand shock, and the bow is hunt-ready without the addition of further silencing accessories.
After release the Poison 30 is absolutely dead in the hand—like there is nothing there. There are no vibrations in the grip whatsoever, which also enhances shooting silence. I’ll normally add string silencers to any bow, even those equipped with string suppressors/stops, but the Poison 30 doesn’t need them, even by my demanding standards.
Shooting the Poison 30 revealed its incredibly pleasant nature. The draw cycle is silky smooth front to rear, and I mean that without any exaggeration. The dual limb stops provide a comfortable and secure back wall that doesn’t jerk your arm down if you become a tad too relaxed while settling in to aim.
Overall, after hitting anchor and settling in for serious concentration the Poison 30 is nearly effortless to control. Its 90-percent let-off means you’re holding nearly nothing, especially when applying proper back tension, and the long riser and extreme-parallel-limb geometry mean it balances effortlessly. In short, the Poison 30 makes it easy to concentrate on aiming finely and executing a technically perfect shot, without sacrificing focus on other areas. This bow seems to shoot itself. It’s also worth noting the speed test wasn’t performed using IBO standards, meaning some of the recorded arrow speeds in the chart are a little different than Parker’s advertised fps, which was attained with IBO standards. Regardless, the Poison 30 packs all the punch you’d ever need.
The Parker Poison 30 is made for bowhunters who concern themselves with deadly silent, one-arrow groups through the middle of vitals, instead of raw speed and price-point bragging rights. This bow, like all Parkers, is also made in the U.S. and comes with a Lifetime Warranty. All told, the Poison 30 gives the hard-working bowhunter a solid and reliable choice that won’t break the family budget.
Learn more on Parker Bow’s website