Archery Release Tweaks For Bowhunting

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archery release
If you contact the trigger of the release with the tip of your index finger, you will have a hard time squeezing the shot.  It is far better to contact the trigger with the inside of the first joint of your finger.  This desensitizes your finger and makes it easier to squeeze off the shot. Hunter shown wearing Mathews Lost Camo.

In trying to time the shot you will fight target panic your entire lifetime. It is that simple. The act of trying to consciously command the trigger eventually results in a nervous condition that is about as much fun as paying taxes. You may be able to get away with it to a certain degree when you are young, and your nerves rock steady, but as you get a little older, you will find it increasingly difficult. Eventually, shooting a bow starts to feel more like torture than pleasure.

The second method for firing an index-triggered archery release is to squeeze the trigger using just the movement of your finger. For reasons already mentioned, this almost never works if you are using the first articulation of the index finger, but with the trigger crossing the second articulation you at least have a fighting chance of producing a surprise release this way. There is still a better method, however.

Finally, the best action is to hook your finger around the trigger solidly and then use the tightening of your back muscles, rather than a conscious movement of the finger, to make the archery release aid fire. It should feel like you are trying to squeeze your shoulder blades together. This virtually assures you of getting the kind of surprise release that forever defeats target panic and leads to a lifetime of archery enjoyment. There is only one archery release aid setting that still remains before this technique will work well for you: the proper trigger tension.

back tension release
If all else fails in your quest to learn to trigger the shot by surprise, purchase a back tension release, such as this Scott Longhorn, to train you to make the perfect release.

Trigger Tension

Trigger tension or trigger pull is a somewhat personal thing, but for most archers a light trigger works better than a heavy trigger. A light trigger permits the bow to fire within the first few seconds of starting the squeeze, and that is important. Beyond the obvious reasons of needing to get a shot off quickly when hunting, most archers become impatient after about three or four seconds of aiming; the longer they aim the more mentally distraught they become. They start to become unsteady too. If the bow shot takes too long to fire, it becomes increasingly tempting to simply pull the trigger with a movement of the finger and be done with it. This defeats the whole process and soon leads the archer to doubt this new method of shooting.

This is where it becomes personal. To assure that the bow shot takes place during the first three or four seconds of the start of the squeeze, you may have to play with your trigger tension. You don’t want a hair trigger for hunting because with gloves on you may accidentally trigger the bow shot before you even get settled and start the squeeze. Most archery releases permit easy trigger tension adjustment. Refer to your packaging or ask an archery shop attendant if you are unsure how to do it. With a little experimenting, you’ll find the perfect tension for you.

spring trigger release
Spring triggers are optional on some release models.  They make it much harder to punch the trigger quickly and train you to squeeze off the shot.  This is a good tweak to use during the off-season to improve your method.

The Final Step

Now you have all the tools and techniques in place. The final step is simply to force yourself to do the same thing when aiming at game. Your tendency will be to rush. Force yourself mentally to squeeze the trigger just as you learned on the range. After a few successes, it will be much easier to trust this method. You will be shocked at how well it works.


Shortening your archery release aid and experimenting with your trigger pull will make it much easier to produce the kind of surprise release that will lead to better accuracy on the range and in the field. You can say goodbye to target panic forever and look forward to a lifetime of enjoyment in archery and consistent shots at game.



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