Personnel Spotlight: USACE Middle East district's engineer and inventor
By Kristin Hoelen
Middle East District
WINCHESTER, Va. — Since the age of 14, Joey Behr has had an interest in hunting. Now, at 24, he holds a patent for a product that enhances a bow hunter's odds of hitting his target and has another patent pending.
Behr, a civil engineer intern, began working at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District as a student summer hire in the summer of 2008. He also began the patent process for his first invention at about that same time: the String Sight.
Behr developed the String Sight after he missed seven deer in a row and realized practice wasn't enough. He needed to improve his sighting ability.
The String Sight (U.S. Patent No. 7,805,847) is "an accessory that allows you to shoot more distances with a single pin by having anchor points as yard markers rather than a cluttered sight window full of pins," according to Behr's product label. It can be used on compound or recurve bows to improve a hunter's ability to accurately shoot at farther distances.
"The archer places their nose on the markers and rotates the back of the bow either up or down to change shot distances while focusing on a single pin," explained Behr.
Typically, with multiple pins in the sight, a hunter has the limited choice of targeting objects at 20, 30 or 40 yards. With the String Sight, the three markers help measure those same distances, but also offer the flexibility to target objects at greater distances. Behr claims he can make shots from up to 160 yards away.
The patent process can take a long time from start to finish and can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000 to file domestically, and upwards of $100,000 if filed for worldwide rights. Behr's patent took more than two years to complete.
Behr's process began with several months of research and development. He then took a month to write up the patent information and finally worked with a patent attorney for two weeks to translate it into patent language. The patent was approved on October 5, 2010, and through production and sales of his String Sight, Behr has recovered the costs of the patent in full.
"To get a patent by yourself, not being a company, is rare," said Behr. "But to get a patent and earn your money back is like starting in the Super Bowl. It is that rare."
Behr also has other products that he has created, including the Behr Range Finder, which has been in the patent pending phase for about two years. It is a "non-digital range finder that indicates the distance by comparing two vertical bars with the distance between a deer's front and back legs while at full draw."
Behr is working on a target system that allows the hunter to practice with moving targets. He also makes broad head arrow tips out of aluminum and steel, a process that takes about 20 hours to carve with a Dremel tool.
Behr started selling his products in January 2009 when he got his business license. Since then, his products have sold in every state in the U.S. and in eight countries throughout the world, including Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Australia, Brazil and China.
Behr hopes to one day own his own business and sell his products in mass quantities. He runs the String Sight website at home when he is not working at the Middle East District.