Label it what you want: buck fever, the shakes, anxiety – the fact is, target panic is a nasty little archery nuisance that rears its ugly head from time to time. Personally, I’ve battled target panic numerous times during my archery tenure and I’ve tried most everything to cure it. The one thing I didn’t try, at least until it was recommended to me by a good friend, was changing to a single-pin sight.
Up until I spent some time shooting a single pin, I was a big skeptic. I was worried I wouldn’t have time to make the necessary to-the-yard adjustment in the moment of truth. What if I had the sight dialed in to 20 yards and an approaching bull hung up at 40 yards? (More on that in a moment.)
When I did try a single-pin sight, the first thing I noticed after locking in my anchor and peering through my peep was how clutter-free the housing was. Rather than seeing multiple horizontal pins coming in from the side of the housing, I saw only a single vertical post. I’m no doctor so I can’t explain what this did for my mental psyche, but I will tell you it immediately calmed my shooting anxiety. I enjoyed the increased field of view and quickly discovered that the solo pin allowed me to focus more on the target and less on the pin. Naturally, after a week of shooting my new single-pin sight, my groups started to shrink and my confidence started to grow. I found I wasn’t having trouble putting my pin on the target, and I wasn’t punching my release the moment my pin hit the precise spot on the target. Rather, I was breathing, anchoring, relaxing and squeezing. I was having fun shooting my bow again.
After spending a few months shooting my new single pin, and with my target panic still gone, I began to notice more target-panic-curing benefits of the sight. It’s no secret that most bowhunters hate pin-gapping. If the animal is 36 yards, a natural form of panic sets in because the shooter is no longer holding a pin on the exact spot they want the arrow to impact. A single-pin sight eliminates this worry. In seconds, the shooter can dial the sight to the exact yard and execute the shot. I also found that my single-pin sight increased my long-range game as well. Over a period of several months, I was able to dial my sight in one-yard increments from 20 yards all the way to 100 yards. Not that I would shoot an animal at 100 yards, but shooting accurately at this distance boosts confidence like nothing else.
Now, what about those times when you have the sight dialed in for, say, 20 yards and the animal hangs up at 40 yards? I’ve tackled this problem two different ways. First, spending lots of hours at the range has given me the confidence to make 20-to-45-yard shots with my single pin set at 20 yards. I know right where to hold and have no problem making the shot. I’ve also taken bright pink model paint and a toothpick and dotted a couple of marks on the single-pin post to represent 40 and 50 yards (you could set the marks however you wish).
Yes, I still shoot a multi-pin sight from time to time and have no problem with it. I simply brag on the single pin in this piece because it gave me the ability to overcome my bouts with target panic. I’ve been target-panic free for almost two years. Give a single-pin sight a go and see if it doesn’t put the joy back in your shooting.