The Story of My Sling-A-Ling
It’s true. Necessity is the mother of invention. I’m Jeff, the founder of Jakt Gear and this is the story of our flagship product, My Sling-A-Ling, the magnetic paracord bow sling.
Years ago, after my military service ended, I moved to Bozeman to finish school at Montana State University. I had grown up deer and turkey hunting in the Ozark hills of Missouri and had always dreamed of chasing elk in the Rockies. During my time in Montana, I found myself drawn to the serenity and solitude of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area and that is where I spent most of my time, attempting to harvest my first elk with a bow. It was like turkey hunting on steroids and I was hooked.
It didn’t take me very long to figure out that hunting the backcountry was much different than hunting the small farms and National Forests of Missouri. Everything about hunting the backcountry was hard. By the end of my first day elk hunting, I learned that carrying my bow in my hands for miles on end, in the high altitude and rough terrain is exhausting. After doing it for seven days in a row, I found it to be grueling and downright miserable. I tried attaching it to my pack, but after numerous times of stumbling helplessly into the elk, while they watched me attempting to wrestle my bow off my pack, and I watched them safely disappear into the vast wilderness. I knew there had to be a better way.
As soon as I made it home after my first week of chasing elk, I found some paracord leftover from my time in the Army and fashioned it into my first bow sling. It was crude, but effective...I tied it to both ends of my riser and while shooting, I would stuff the excess length through a cutout in my riser to try to keep it out of the way. I used it the next weekend and it enabled me to hunt more efficiently, go deeper into the backcountry, locate more elk, and harvest my first bull.
During college, I saved up most of the GI Bill money Uncle Sam sent me and after I was finished with school, I used it to get a real backcountry education in the high country. I put all my belongings into storage and lived out of my 1971 FJ-40 Land Cruiser for over six months. I traveled all over Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado scouting and hunting wilderness areas in each of those states. It gave me lots of time to improve my bow sling design. The design worked, but it still had a long way to go. Unfortunately, the time had come for me to leave Montana and go back east to pursue a professional career.
Fast-forward twenty-plus years
Nearly every September, since leaving Montana, I have taken a pilgrimage back out west, in hopes of bringing home a trophy rack and a freezer full of meat. I usually take a few friends and have always made for them whatever the latest version of bow sling I have installed on my bow. During each of these annual trips, my bow sling design constantly evolved. I discovered the cobra braid and learned how to weave the paracord with a solid loop at the top that could be looped back onto itself to lock it in place. I figured out how to incorporate a diamond knot/loop fastening system at the bottom of the sling, which allows the sling to be quickly and quietly attached or removed from your bow without the need to tie or untie any knots. The design was better, but something was still missing.
The “Aha” Moment
A few years ago, my friends and I drew a coveted archery tag in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. As I sat on my couch watching hunting shows and making a new sling for the trip, my youngest son, Jack was on the floor in front of me, playing with some magnets. A light bulb went off and I thought, why not incorporate magnets into the sling to lock it out of the way during the shot.
I played around with a few prototypes until I finally came up with the current My Sling-A-Ling Bow Sling design. The design worked out so well during our hunt, my friends convinced me I needed to apply for a patent and start a company to manufacture them. It was around the campfire during that same hunt in the Gila where we came up with the My Sling-A-Ling name, and it stuck.