Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020 - 59

affected like I was; when even looking at
your bow causes anxiety.
If you use a sight, you might be best
off to start by taking it off your bow. All
you're going to do is stand 5 or 6 feet in
front of a blank target bale and shoot.
Make sure the bale is big enough, and
you're close enough so you can't miss,
then draw back and release.
This is called "blank-baling." All you
should be thinking about is executing
good shots and recognizing what that feels
like. What are your hands doing? What
are your shoulders doing? How are you
releasing the string?
It doesn't matter where the arrow hits.
All you're trying to do is let your muscles
create a shot without the added pressure
of trying to hold a steady aim.
For compound-bow users who use
mechanical releases, I would recommend
getting what's called a tension-activated
release, and using it through this entire
process. This is a release that you must
set so it fires above your specific holding
weight. It has no trigger. What causes it
to fire is a buildup of tension to a certain
weight. When you hit that weight, the
release fires.
Obviously, you want the release to be
set higher than your holding weight, so
that you can come to full draw and anchor
without the release firing. Once you're at
anchor, you can start pulling on the release
and then have it fire either with a little or
a lot more pressure.
Tension-activated releases are great
for helping cure target panic, because you
can't punch them to get them to fire. All
you can do is keep executing your shot
until the release fires. If you do try to
yank it backward to get it to fire, you will
shoot such a bad arrow that you'll know
exactly what you did, and you can take
steps to correct it.
OCTOBER 2020

How long you shoot at blank bales
depends. I did nothing but blank-bale
every day for about a month. I didn't post
a target until I no longer felt any anxiety
about shooting.
At some point while you are blank-baling, you can put your sight back on, if you
use one, to help you get used to having it
in your sight picture, even though you're
not aiming.
When you think you're ready, put up a
target. I started with one with a big center
yellow area, and I stood about 8 yards
away to shoot. Point being, my sight pin
sat in a huge scoring area, so it was almost
like I wasn't really aiming.
Again, shoot like this until you feel no
anxiety. If at any point, you start to feel
anxious, or you notice you are punching
the trigger or prematurely letting go of the
string, you can go back to blank-baling.
There's nothing wrong with starting over.
When you feel comfortable on the big
target, back up to 10, 15 or 20 yards. When
you're relaxed and putting them in at 20
yards, start using smaller targets.
Do aiming drills where you draw, put
your aiming reference on an aiming point
and hold it for as long as you can. Let
down when you start to shake. But never
shoot an arrow. If your mind knows you
have no intention of shooting the arrow,
you'll be surprised how much at ease
you'll feel.
Maybe you don't have crippling target
panic, but you have a problem where your
aiming reference locks just low or off to
one side of your intended aiming spot. Or
maybe you take "drive-by" shots, where
you move your aiming reference across
the intended aiming spot, and time your
release to hopefully send the arrow when
you are on target.
59



Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020 - 5
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Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020 - 7
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Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020 - 21
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Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020 - Cover4
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