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Stillwater, OK 74074
NPDC Case Study: Hide-A-Bow
With Doug’s invention of Hide-A-Bow and his work the NPDC Inventor’s Assistance Service program, bow hunters have entered a new field of game hunting.
The Inventor’s Assistance Service is a nonprofit, state-funded service that helps inventors navigate the invention process through education, information and referrals. The service is a program offered by the New Product Development Center at Oklahoma State University and provides guidance and resources to Oklahoma’s inventors. The IAS offers services in the area of preliminary patent searches, market analyses, manufacturing referrals, engineering analyses, drawing and model design and prototyping.
“The New Product Development Center is an outreach unit through the university that focuses on economic development,” said Robert Taylor, director of NPDC. “The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, also called OCAST, provides the funding for us to assist clients in Oklahoma.”
For 30 years, Doug Niemackl has been an avid hunter. With his experience in hunting deer, turkey, quail, pheasant, geese, ducks and predators, Doug had an idea for a product that would allow hunters to draw a bow on a turkey or deer without the animal seeing the draw by their keen eyes. Doug invented the Hide-A-Bow, a new and revolutionary product.
The Hide-A-Bow is a portable blind that can be carried into the field to serve as a cover for a bow hunter. To make the blind easier to transport, it has been adapted for direct attachment to the bow.
Tim Hartman, product manager and patent marketing representative, introduced Doug to the NPDC. Tim has worked with the NPDC for more than five years and assists with the collaboration between the inventor and NPDC staff and student interns.
“Tim informed me about the quality work the students of Oklahoma State University do and how they assist inventors and Oklahoma,” Doug said.
Previously, Doug manufactured the bow blinds at home. When demand started to exceed his supply, the inventor looked for a new plan. Doug was interested in working with the NPDC to discover ways he could build the Hide-A-Bow more effectively and introduce it to a manufacturing company.
With the NPDC, Doug worked with student interns to develop prototype parts using a 3D printer.
“The molding of plastic through the 3D printer gave us an idea on how we can lower the cost of the blind and in the end will be cheaper to the customer” Doug said. “We pride ourselves with being cost effective.”
The bow blind includes a mounting bracket for attachment to a compound bow. The mounting bracket is constructed with a pair of forwardly extending and downturned hooks that support the blind arms.
The blind works in conjunction with the bow, when attached, to support itself in an upright position on the ground to conceal a user from game animals. Bottom portions of the blind accommodate uneven terrain or low-growing brush to keep the blind from tipping over when set down.
For new inventors or new products, Doug suggests that inventors should have an understanding of logistics for parts and ability to network with people.
“Credible people can bring their knowledge to your invention,” Doug said. “They can help you work problems out and lead you in the right direction.
It’s important to reach out to people that can be used as resources.”
Bow hunting is considered one of the most difficult challenges that an outdoorsman can accept. Not only does tracking game require great skill, but also getting close enough to a game animal to make an effective shot.
Photos courtesy of Doug Niemackl