Jerry Carter has been an avid archer from a very young age, but the story of Carter Enterprises—one of the industry’s most-respected release aid producers—is far from the cut-and-dried, fated end-game you might imagine. But then again, maybe it is.

“When I met him, Jerry had quit archery completely,” said April Carter, business manager for Carter Enterprises. “Prior to that, Jerry was popular on the shooting circuit, both on a local and national level of course. Then it happened one night about six months after we were married.

“It was New Year’s Eve and Jerry went over to the shop where we had a business machining parts for car engines,” April continued. “After a while, I called and asked if he would be home for dinner. He said that he would. I went about my business for a time then called him again. I told him his dinner was getting cold and he again assured me he would be right home.

“A couple of hours later I called again, and asked if he was planning on coming before I went to bed. My final call was to let him know that I was going to bed without him. He apologized and said he would be home ‘in a bit.’ The next morning Jerry still wasn’t home, so I headed over to the shop. He had been up all night making an archery release aid,” recalled April—who fortunately for Jerry is an understanding wife.

Jerry was not a fan of the current release aids on the market and for years had designed and built his own as he had done on this night. “This was when I found out that Jerry had decided to go start shooting again,” laughed April.

After making his new release, Jerry and April made a trip to Idaho Falls to talk with another archery legend, Dee Wilde. Dee owned Wilde Arrow—a local pro shop—and was national champion at the time. Jerry showed Dee the release and let him give it a try.

“Dee said it was the best release he had ever shot and strongly encouraged Jerry to start making them for the public. By February, Jerry had 20 releases ready and headed off to the World Indoor in Las Vegas. Dee and Jerry walked around the shoot and sold all 20 within the first hour. It didn’t take much prompting from there to make the decision to go into business,” stated April.

“Jerry is the type of personality that constantly strives to improve, make something better. For a while he was into thumb triggers. Then it was little-finger triggers. After that there were the triggerless back tension releases and then triggerless back tension releases with a safety. The next big thing, as I recall, was when Jerry invented the resistance-activated trigger. He’s always coming up with new ideas. Whether it’s new design features such as magnets or an improvement of an existing model, Jerry is always working on a new idea to improve our products,” said April.

“[Currently] we have four main categories of releases: triggerless back tension, thumb trigger, index finger trigger, and resistance-activated. It’s still too early to discuss the possibility of whether or not we will be introducing anything new for 2013, but I’ll tell you about our most popular models that we offer today,” stated April.

The Honey

“The Honey is the sweetest-shooting triggerless back tension hinge release we have ever developed. The Honey combines some of the best features found on our most-popular releases along with new innovations. A new positive safety engagement and disengagement allows you to safely draw or let down your bow without risking a misfire. The Honey floating hinge head design allows you to reach your anchor point before disengaging the safety,” explained April.

The Simple 1

Thumb triggers are certainly near and dear to Jerry’s heart—as well as much of the target shooting community. “We set out to make the release as simple as possible—hence the name,” April said. “The Simple 1 is as easy as pushing in on the cocking lever to close it around the d-loop. One smooth and easy step, that’s all you have to do. Archers will really appreciate the new shorter release head too. The shorter design allows for a longer draw length to increase performance without sacrificing form.”

The Whatever

For years, hunters wanted to shoot the same release as the pros. The ultimate goal for both was accuracy, but the positive click to load or fire the release was just too much for the woods. “We opened up an entirely new market when Jerry came out with his first index-trigger model,” April related. “Today, hunters and target shooters looking to shoot a wrist strap should check out our Whatever. The Whatever features a ‘one push’ closed-jaw system that completely captures the d-loop. It also has an innovative angled loop channel that self-aligns the D-loop to the exact same position from shot to shot for better accuracy.”

The Evolution

Jerry Carter innovated the resistance-activated release and changed the way many have looked at release aids ever since. “The Evolution is resistance activated and the perfect companion to teach proper shot execution. The release fires when you increase the resistance, forcing you to use back tension,” April explained. “You simply hold the safety when drawing and once in the valley and at anchor, you release the safety and begin pulling to build tension. This is the best way for accomplished and struggling archers to learn and promote proper back tension from one shot to the next.”

Contact Carter Enterprises at (208) 624-3467; www.carterenterprises.com