Dismal year? Hard to even crack the cover of a magazine that reminds you that whitetails even exist? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Legions of bowhunters across the country have their elbows on their knees, chins resting wearily in the palms of their hands. And regardless of what made the year so bad, each is planning, vowing to make 2018 better.

How do I know? Because I’ve been there. I wasn’t only a member of the “Next Year Will Be Better” club — I was the president. Oh yes, I would vow to make the next season better, but I would fail because I would never really address my problem. I had no trouble finding myself in the “moment of truth,” but I did have a problem closing the deal. I would always rush my shot — even on a doe. Sure, sometimes I would get lucky and plop a sharp broadhead through a deer’s lungs, but most of the time I missed or, worse yet, made a poor hit.

It took something drastic for me to really face the problem. I missed a 160-inch deer at a chip-shot distance of 27 yards. It hurt. No, it was worse than that. I wanted to unhook my safety harness and jump off the stand on my head.

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Today, I’m thankful it happened. Why? Because I spent the months of January, February and March of the following year mastering a new release and working tirelessly on my shooting form. While working on my shooting form proved critical, I’m a firm believer that taking the time to master and find confidence in a new, high-quality release was the key to making the jump into the “More Grip-And-Grins” club.

If you’re ready to join me, to truly make next year better, more successful and more enjoyable, take a look at one of these four hot, new bow releases and start down the path to an awesome 2018 deer season.

Scott Longhorn Hex Release

bow releases for 2018www.scottarchery.com

MSRP: $160

A two-finger design, handle-style release, the Hex is the perfect option for someone wanting to learn to master a back-tension release without the worry of the release firing during the draw cycle. Scott has eliminated this punch-yourself-in-the-nose chance via the Hex’s pivoting roller design. That’s right, you draw the Hex exactly as you would an index finger release. The difference, once you get it back, is your index and middle fingers fill the dual slots in the open ergonomic full-radius handle. Now, settle that pin and start pulling. It’s that simple. The Hex boasts a buckle-style strap with a patented rope connector for infinite length adjustment. The release is available in black or Realtree Xtra color options.

T.R.U. Ball Execute

bow releases for 2018www.truball.com

MSRP: $180

I know this index finger model falls under T.R.U. Ball’s “Tournament” tab, but make no mistake, this is one index finger release that will build confidence, promote a picture-perfect release and make you deadly in the whitetail woods.

A first of its kind, the Execute boasts a nickel-plated brass body designed to resist corrosion and wear. That means you can depend on the release season after season. The real story behind this heavy-duty release, though, is its customization offerings. The release comes with a forward trigger and a relaxed trigger. Fitting the nickel-plated brass body with the one that feels best to you requires the simple removal of a single hex screw. The Execute is complete with independent trigger travel and sensitivity adjustments, and the locking button located behind the trigger prevents any chance of a misfire.

Tru-Fire Panic-X

bow releases for 2018www.trufire.com

MSRP: $150

Designed to cure what ails you, this release sports a training and live mode to better help you deal with dreaded target panic, buck fever … whatever you want to label it. The Panic-X can be set in a “no-fire” mode, which prevents it from firing when the trigger is slapped/punched. The release will only activate when a smooth, target-panic-free trigger pull is delivered. Though I prefer to leave the Anti-Trigger Punch technology engaged, you can set the release to a live mode when you head to the field. In the live mode, the release will fire even if slapped or punched, but isn’t this something we are trying to get away from? The Panic-X showcases a Foldback Buckle Strap, Capture Hook Deign and customizable length adjustment.

Spot-Hogg Keeton

bow releases for 2018www.spot-hogg.com

MSRP: $100

Enjoy longer, more focused practice sessions where shooting fatigue doesn’t creep in so fast with Spot-Hogg’s all-new Keeton. The unique design of this index-finger masterpiece seamlessly blends two styles of releases into one. The new integrated grip allows the archer to draw and shoot using more than just the shoulder to handle the weight. This creates a steadier on-target hold and helps prevent over-use injuries. When adjusted properly, the shooter can distribute the weight evenly between the grip, wrist, arm and shoulder. At full draw the grip will pivot, instantly aligning the finger with the trigger. This feel boosts confidence and leads to a super-crisp release.

There you have it, four releases ready to make you a better shooter. Yes, you’re going to have to drop a few greenbacks, but if you truly take the time to master your new on-the-wrist buddy, you can look forward to season after season of meat in the freezer, horns on the wall and more grip-and-grin photos than you can shake a stick at.

Let me know how your offseason training is progressing by dropping me a line at jbauserman@grandviewmedia.com. I’d love to hear how things are coming along!

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