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Welcome to the 3Rivers Archer's Den

Archer's Den

Welcome to the Archer's Den. Here you will find a gathering of traditional archery stories, tips and techniques, trophy animals taken with traditional bows, and plenty more. Stay a while and learn something. We hope you enjoy and even submit a trophy of your own, or leave a comment on a post.

Tag Archives: clicker

How to Cure Target Panic

by Sam Strong

There’s not much that can be worse in traditional archery than hearing the dreaded words “target panic.” Target Panic is a mental block causing the archer’s form to break down and wreak havoc on your shooting skills. It can sometimes be described as a fear of missing the target. Other archers describe it as shot anticipation. In other words, it’s the expected recoil of the shot, similar to flinching when shooting a firearm. Your body braces itself for what is going to happen at the release.

Target Panic hurts your accuracy with a bow and arrow

Regardless of the definition, I think it is safe to say that target panic is a failure in your shot sequence. It can ruin a lot of the hard work that is put forth into perfecting your form. Fortunately, there is a lot of information regarding techniques and accessories to help you get back on track.

It often starts when an archer places to much mental pressure on making the shot and the fundamentals aren’t followed through, leading to erratic shooting. Probably the most notable flaw is having an inconsistent anchor point. Some archers find themselves unable to get to full draw. Other shooters start to collapse at the shot and their form breaks down just prior to releasing an arrow.

A symptom of target panic is not being able to come to full draw

One of the unique things about target panic is the fact that it may not be noticeable at first, but over time it becomes a full blown problem. The first thing in being able to cure the target panic is recognizing and diagnosing the problem. If you find yourself letting go of the string too soon, not coming to full draw, creeping before the shot, having a poor release, or losing your composure, you just might have the feared disease called target panic.

Overcoming the problem is best done by using a controlled shot sequence. A controlled shot sequence is one where the archer goes through a mental check list, making sure each part of the shot is done properly and precisely the same way each time. Instead of drawing back and shooting, you focus on the individual aspects of the shot. For instance, you break it down into the draw, the anchor, the release, and follow through.

Shooting att a Blank Target to focus on your form
Blind bale shooting to focus on your form

Another technique often used is blind bale shooting. Blind bale is a term used where the archer is shooting at a very close target. Some shooters will close their eyes while doing this exercise while others might not release an arrow at all. The idea is that you learn to focus on the shot sequence and the mechanics, not the target itself. This method is a great way to help develop your form as you “feel” the shot. Just be conscious that you will need to transfer what you have been working on over to the actual shot sequence.

Sideklick Draw Check Clicker in use
Sideklick Draw Check Clicker mounted around the arrow shelf
The limb mounted Crick-It Draw Check

Draw checks are great tools that aid in curing target panic. There are several different types available and often referred to as “clickers.” These devices ensure that you reach full draw each time by giving an audible click to let you know you are at full draw.

Other devices include grip sears and tab sears. They can be somewhat difficult to explain in writing, but it works by giving an audible cue after going through your shot cycle. As you draw the bow, you place a slight amount of pressure on the sear. With practice, you develop a rhythm where as draw the bow pressure steadily increases. When you are at full draw, you use the last bit of back tension to pull through the shot causing the sear to click. This gives an audible cue and a psychological (or mental) note to release the string.  

Handy Clicker in the bow hand

Another device called the Handy Clicker has gained some popularity. It works very similar to a grip sear, but is not attached to the bow. It can also perform as a tab sear, giving the shooter a couple of options to see what works best for their needs.

I think the best advice is learning to re-program your mind and create a shot sequence. By separating the shot into different tasks, such as the release, the anchor, etc., you can develop better form. By concentrating on one aspect of the shot at a time and then linking the tasks together, you eventually learn how to control the shot.

Learn to trust your equipment, your form, and your skill, will lessen the anxiety of the shot. In the end, you will be back to shooting more confident and more proficient than you previously have ever been shooting.

Setting Up a Clicker for Hunting

Denny Sturgis Jr showing a clicker on his hunting recurve bowA clicker, or draw check, makes an audible noise (click) when an archer hits his desired draw length. They are used by almost all Olympic archery shooters to achieve the precision accuracy needed to succeed in that field. They work great as a signal, or trigger, to release the arrow.

I recently decided to use a clicker as a training aid. I needed to get back to the basics of anchoring on every shot instead of short drawing and trying to “sneak up” on it; as my coach Rod Jenkins informed me I was doing. I set a commitment goal of using a clicker religiously for three months. Part of that three month period included spring turkey season though. Which I most certainly was not going to miss.

Styles of Draw Check Clickers
There are several styles of clickers for bows. On the left is one that mounts to the bow’s riser and slides along the arrow. On the right is a style that mounts to the bow limb and attaches to the string.

Clickers are available in several different styles. For hunting, the type that attaches to the string as well as the bow works best with all arrow points including broadheads and blunts. What I used here is the Crick-it Draw Check Clicker. While the light string and adjustable ball chain that comes with clickers works fine on the target range, I felt concern over its longevity in the field and the noise of the click when trying to take a super quiet, close hunting shot.

Jason Wesbrock with whitetail buckI consulted with Jason Wesbrock who has successfully used a clicker for years. Jason is an amazing bowhunter, world champion archer, and star of Masters of the Barebow Vol. 5. I took some tips from Jason and incorporated them into my own experiments and came up with a system that worked well for me on the hunt.

Steps for Setting up a Clicker for Hunting

Step 1 is to disassemble the clickerStep 1: Remove the clicker blade, the piece of metal that makes the noise, from the clicker. For the Crick-it clicker mine required a Phillips screwdriver.

Step 2 for setting up a clicker is removing the metal ball chainStep 2: You want to remove the chain grommet from the clicker blade. It may require a small amount of force, but be gentle.

Step 3 for setting up a clicker is to slide a nylon cord through clicker bladeStep 3:  Slide nylon cord through the hole where the ball chain was. As not all nylon cord is the same diameter, it may require drilling the hole to pull the cord through. You want it to be a tight fit though. 

Step 4 for setting a clicker is to singe the cord in placeStep 4: Using a hand lighter, singe the end of the nylon cord and extinguish it by pushing it straight down into a couple drops of water on a flat, non-combustible surface. This should leave a hard, flat collar on one end of the cord. You can test to see if the end will hold by pulling on the cord to get the blade to make the click sound.

Step 5 for setting up a clicker for hunting is to wrap the blade in tapeStep 5:  To silence your clicker blade you can apply heavy duty outdoor tape to the center of the blade. The more layers you apply, the quieter it will get. It is up to you how much this will be.

Step 6: Reassemble your clicker by screwing the blade back onto the plate in proper position. It is now ready to be installed on your hunting bow.

Step 7: Clean your top bow limb with denatured alcohol and a clean rag several inches below where the string separates from the bow limb. You want the clicker on the top limb so the least amount of nylon cord is used, and it stays out of the brush when moving.

Mounting the clicker to the upper bow limbStep 8: Remove the sticky backing from the clicker and press onto the center of the top bow limb with the string positioned down.

Step 9: Mark the bow string where you would like the clicker nylon string to be located so it resembles the photo.

Step 10: Unstring your bow, divide the bow string strands at the mark and insert the end of the cord through about a half inch.

Step 11: String your bow, and double check brace height and position of the cord. Sometimes the string will twist. If the cord is twisted unstring and remove the cord and insert again from the other side.

Step 12: Once the cord is straight you can adjust the length by pulling it to the correct length to click at the desired draw length. I cut off the extra leaving about ¾” of cord and burn the end (be careful here). On a Flemish twist string the cord will stay in position. On an endless loop type string you may need to serve above and below the cord to maintain position.

For silencing the clicker, I tried a number of different suggestions and ideas and have settled on what I believe is the perfect solution. A piece of Scotch brand outdoor mounting tape stuck to the face of the blade silences the click consistently; the bigger the piece the quieter the click. You can even make it silent if you want and still feel the clicker break in your string hand. I ended up preferring a piece of scotch tape approximately ¼” by ¾”.

Denny Sturgis Jr with jake turkey taken with his bow with a clicker installed

My turkey hunting was very slow that year. When a jake came into my hen calls I decided to take the shot. I hit anchor and pulled while aiming until the muffled click went off and my arrow disappeared in the sweet spot.

I have shot larger toms, but I’ve never been more pumped about making a great shot under pressure and staying on the road to shooting success.

Chase Niblock
Even ‘quick to jump’ African game can be shot with a clicker on your bow… If you have it set up right.

Chase Niblock with BIG buck
Monster deer taken by a bow with a clicker installed.

By Denny Sturgis, Jr.

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