His timing couldn't be better.
While Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games and Hawkeye of The Avengers bring crowds to the silver screen and stoke interest in bow hunting, Khosro Hajari is marketing his latest invention that he says revolutionizes the sport.
TwisterNock is a spring-loaded mechanical notch on the end of the arrow. All arrows have nocks, but Hajari's is spring-loaded to make the arrow rotate as it is shot out of the bow.
To demonstrate, he drops a traditional arrow and a TwisterNock arrow onto a mat. The arrow with the regular nock immediately falls, while the TwisterNock arrow spins like a top.
"It gets 8,000 revolutions per minute," he said. The rotation gives the arrow greater distance, speed and stabilization, reducing the need for feathers, which cause drag.
"No one has ever done anything like this before," said Hajari, who worked for more than two years to obtain a patent on the device.
Hajari invented TwisterNock after developing another product, Tree Apron. The hunting pack carries gear and also straps to the tree trunk to muffle sound.
Hajari came up with that idea after the sound of his clothes scratching against bark when he leaned on the tree scared away too many deer.
"I lost a lot of opportunities," he said.
The Tree Apron proved popular. Hajari, who as a kid growing up in Iran liked to invent and fix things around the house, set his sights on improving how arrows worked after his arrow fletching got caught on a tiny branch and spoiled a perfect shot.
Feathers had been around since arrows had been invented, he said.
"Here we are hundreds of years later using the same technology," he said. His goal was to make an arrow behave more like a bullet.
Hajari bought a milling machine on eBay. Every night in his basement, he worked on a prototype.
Finally, in 2008, he created one that worked.
In 2011, he received U.S. Patent No. 7922609.
He works on developing new products from a mobile home in Wesley Chapel. He came to New York City in 1987 to work as a chauffeur for the United Nations, then started a construction company. He moved to Florida three years ago after growing tired of the big city.
"I grew up loving America," said Hajari, who gave himself the nickname Jeff because it was easy to pronounce. He became fascinated with the United States after he grew up watching Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons.
Moving to the United States was a dream since boyhood, said Hajari, the son of an Iranian army general during the heyday of the Shah.
"After the (Iranian) revolution it was tough," he said.
TwisterNock has received positive buzz since it made its debut. Hajari has since developed lighted versions for easier pullbacks as well as one with a delayed buzzer to prevent lost arrows. The basic version sells for about $6 at hunting stores around the country. Hajari also is working on an online store.
"It actually acts like a drill bit," said Billy Courtney, a retired Tampa dairy farmer and avid bow hunter. He said he tried Hajari's invention on a hog hunt after seeing it at a show in Lakeland.
"It shot through the left rib cage and came out the right front shoulder," he said.
Hajari's business is coming together at a good time. Interest in archery is on the rise.
"It is definitely growing," said Laura Cash, who with her husband, Mike, oversees the state's 4-H archery program. The organization hosts events year-round and offers archery at all its summer camps.
While films like The Hunger Games have encouraged more youngsters to get involved, Cash said it was gaining in popularity even before then because it's easy and can be inexpensive.
"You can do it in your back yard," she said. And kids with handicaps can shoot, too.
"We teach kids who have to pull (the bowstring) back with their mouths," she said.
Hajari said aside from making a living, he wants to make hunting a better sport.
"For me, it's very spiritual," he said. "You feel very one with nature. It's great to see the animals as the world comes to life. You also feel connected with the ones who were here before you."
by Lisa Buie