Friday, March 18, 2016

Old Bowhunter Learns a New Trick

A couple years ago, after some long research, I talked with Mark from Sole Adventure, about using a thumb release vs. my wrist release. We discussed the pros and cons, but he recommended I give it a shot. Despite my reluctance, I tried a thumb release and didn't care for it. I couldn't get comfortable with the release I was using, so I simply went back to my wrist release. Last year, I spoke with him again and he encouraged me to give it another shot, but this time I chose a different release. I have been using the Scott Archery releases for years, so I purchased a Scott Exxus, the same that Mark uses, and began shooting with it. He had much success with it and this time I decided I wouldn't give up so easily this time.

Over the course of a few days, I felt myself falling into the same drab style of frustration and irritation. I could not get comfortable shooting it. What was I doing wrong? Why was this so difficult? I went back and adjusted the trigger, rotated the thumb piece to fit my hand perfectly and tried again. After a dozen shots, I was shooting left by 2-3 inches every time. I knew my anchor was off and that I needed adjustment in my form. Back to the drawing board I went. I videoed my form, release, and then made some adjustments. Same result. Over, and over, and over. Back to the wrist release I went for a week or so.

A few weeks ago, I started shooting with the Exxus again and loved the feel and accuracy, even if I was three inches left. It was a consistent three inches left. I studied my form and found that was fine, but the consistency in my arrows showed me I was being repetitive, which was good. It meant I could fix it. I double checked my stance and that was fine, too. Then came the moment when I shot over the weekend and robin hooded an arrow. Eureka! So I tested what I thought was my issue and shot another round at 5 different targets. I hit every one of them. Low-and-behold I found the issue!

It turns out I was holding the release wrong! So I found the proper grip, anchored properly, and shot some more. It worked like a charm. I am not out of the woods yet though. Now the key will be to find that same point over and over for the next few weeks until it becomes second nature. It's a challenge for sure. We older bow hunters are far from perfect. Take the time to learn something new and work hard at it. You might surprise yourself like I did.

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