Summit Treestands
Buck Fever/Target Panic Remedies
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
Bigwoods 10-Nov-21
JohnMC 10-Nov-21
Live2Hunt 10-Nov-21
Bake 10-Nov-21
RIT 10-Nov-21
TREESTANDWOLF 10-Nov-21
Charlie Rehor 10-Nov-21
Pat Lefemine 10-Nov-21
ND String Puller 10-Nov-21
RD in WI 10-Nov-21
Shug 10-Nov-21
BC173 11-Nov-21
Rocky D 11-Nov-21
WV Mountaineer 11-Nov-21
JL 11-Nov-21
Bowhunter09 11-Nov-21
LBshooter 11-Nov-21
JL 11-Nov-21
Live2Hunt 11-Nov-21
South Farm 11-Nov-21
Blood 11-Nov-21
DanaC 11-Nov-21
JL 11-Nov-21
Nocturnal II 11-Nov-21
StickFlicker 12-Nov-21
Live2Hunt 12-Nov-21
mooseslayer 12-Nov-21
drycreek 12-Nov-21
caribou77 12-Nov-21
RD in WI 12-Nov-21
From: Bigwoods
10-Nov-21
I get severe target panic/buck fever at times. I already take propanolol for it and it definitely helps. I'm wondering if anyone has found anything else that helps a lot. Just practicing more actually seems to make it worse. Has anyone tried Joel Turner's course or found something else that truly helps?

From: JohnMC
10-Nov-21
I don’t really think of target panic and buck fever as the same. A lot people say the answer is back tension release. Blank bailing has helped be in the past.

I don’t know that I would take a beta blocker for target panic but I don’t like taking prescription drugs if I can keep from it.

From: Live2Hunt
10-Nov-21
Go out and shoot for 2 weeks without releasing an arrow. Pull up, hold for a minute, think release, let down and repeat. It can tell your brain to relax, you have to control the shot, not your brain.

From: Bake
10-Nov-21
I bought a Carter thumb release and it's helped, but not cured my target panic. I stopped shooting at dots and that has helped more than anything.

I bought a 3D deer target, and it's helped so much, I think because I'm not worried about holding that pin on that exact spot. With a 3D target I can miss by a couple inches, but I can still see that I'm in the kill zone.

People say "aim small miss small". I'm trying to aim big :) I put my pin in the center of mass, and it has really seemed to help.

From: RIT
10-Nov-21
I don’t get target panic or buck fever but there are times in hunting and in life I need to calm down. I even do it if I start to shiver on stand. But look up “Navy Seals Box Breathing”. Anytime I feel rushed, flustered, stressed, or anxious I run through some box breathing exercises. This is used by Navy seals in combat exercises and missions to reduce stress There are a few varieties but my favorite is to picture myself running on the outline of a square and inhale for a count of 4 as I reach the edge of the box, then hold air in your lungs for 4 seconds while traversing the 2nd side, then exhale while I run down the 3rd side for a count of 4. Lastly leave your lungs empty for a 4 count on side 4. A slow 4 works best for me. I always feel better within a few seconds of box breathing. It’s like a quick meditation that works wonders for all types of situations. Outside of that maybe shoot every deer you can until it cured itself.

10-Nov-21
Target Panic = Blank Bale Shooting....a lot Stand 10' away from your practice target, draw back , close your eyes and slowly release a feel the shot.

Buck Fever = Shoot as many does/deer as possible.

Good tips above for sure.

10-Nov-21
This is my 40th year of bow hunting and I’m still trying to get better. I took Joel Turners course a few months ago and it has been a great help. I highly recommend it. Practicing a lot is not going to help. You have to control the shoot from start to finish. Good luck. C

From: Pat Lefemine
10-Nov-21
I was tortured by target panic and buck fever when I shot traditional. So bad that bowhunting stopped being fun for me. I could never get to full draw.

When I started shooting a compound my target panic and buck fever vanished. I never had it again. But I lived through that nightmare and I’m empathetic to guys that deal with it.

10-Nov-21
FWIW. Joel Turner was a guest speaker at our bowhunter banquet a few years back. All I can say is he is the real deal. He has a way of teaching that just clicks with people. I went home and practiced what he presented and it does work.

I never did take Joel’s online course but I have a friend that did. He is now placing in the local tournaments again. I even heard Levi Morgan contacted Joel for advice.

My target panic is currently in remission but it seems like long range practice makes it want to come back. I have found by shooting close range in the basement whenever I have a second or two keeps me sharp. Good luck !

From: RD in WI
10-Nov-21
I had target panic since high school. Spent a career in the Army and the target panic persisted. Did a bunch of research after I retired, when I knew I wanted to do some bowhunting with my free time and didn't want to a bunch of wounded animals running around as a result. Read that a person can command a hinge release to fire, so I knew that wouldn't help. Bought a SCAT release from Lancaster Archery and shot it exclusively for a month - no more target panic. It's a hydraulic release and you just aim until it goes off. No triggering the shot, just aiming and pulling. Now, I enjoy panic free practice and hitting the deer where my pin is resting. Good luck finding a cure that works for you.

From: Shug
10-Nov-21
Ingrain your physical to muscle memory… mentally keep your conscience mind in the shot process…

Do lots of off season killing… wood chucks… rabbits.. squirrels etc

From: BC173
11-Nov-21
Go back and read TREESTANDWOLF’s post. This is exactly what I did. Also, during that same time frame, I switched to a back tension release, for all practice sessions. I am a firm believer in the fact, that if you hunt or shoot with an index finger release, it is not if you’re going to get target panic but when. All I use now is a back tension for practice, and a thumb release to hunt with.

From: Rocky D
11-Nov-21
Box breathing for buck fever!

For target panic try closing your eyes as you settle your pin breath in and breathing focusing on breathing then open eyes and finish shot process.

11-Nov-21
Bake x 10,000 for me.

If I shoot to much or, at dots I bore and, I also start flinching at the shot, shooting before I’m ready, etc……. 3D targets and not shooting a lot has helped me tremendously.

From: JL
11-Nov-21

JL's Link
I guess I don't know the medical/psychological definition of a "target panic" is. I've had "deer fever" when I first started bow hunting. That is where my breathing would increase and one of both knees would shake when I had any deer walk in close. I don't have that no more....I guess it went away with more experience, my AFR technique and the mindset I don't need to kill everything that walks in. Alot of times it's just nice to watch them and take some video footage.

WRT to the target panic....I had to look it up. Wiki says there's 3 kinds and it affects archers (not gun hunters??). This is an interesting topic.

From: Bowhunter09
11-Nov-21
I had target panic bad, but never flinched on live deer. Mine started while shooting dots indoors. I finally got it better this year by drawing with my eyes closed in front of the target, then released after a minute. I also limited practice to a few arrows each day, and don’t practice beyond 30 yards. That’s my max shooting from most of my stands anyway.

From: LBshooter
11-Nov-21
I find that when I have a deer approaching, buck or doe that if I repeat "focus" to myself over and over it doesn't allow me to panic. Give the mind something else to think about and it makes me focuse on the "spot" to shoot for.

From: JL
11-Nov-21
^.....ahh....a student of AFR. I'm already looking for the spot I will "Aim" at when the animal comes in close. Once I draw....I'm "Focusing" my aim on that spot and nothing else. I then "Release". I really think that helps folks focus on the mechanics of their shot and get's rid of the fever.

From: Live2Hunt
11-Nov-21
Pat, my target panic actually got better going back to traditional and instinctive. I had it bad with a compound and sights. I would train my brain by the shoot but don't release method, but it was still there. Shooting trad and instinctive now I have eliminated that step of getting the pin on target and now just focus on the target. Blank bailing is good, but it does not fix your main issue with the shot, aiming. That is why the shoot, not release method works. You go through every motion and thought of the shot and hold. It gets you back to being in control of your shot, not your subconscious.

From: South Farm
11-Nov-21
All things in moderation, the more you let one thing consume you, like killing a big buck, the harder it becomes. You need to destress your kill instinct and relax that part of your brain...to which I suggest you take 2 weeks off and go fishing. The deer will be there when you get back.

From: Blood
11-Nov-21

Blood's embedded Photo
Blood's embedded Photo
For buck fever and that incredible rush of adrenalin that gets you shaking and breathing hard……learn to love it. Wrap yourself around the concept that it is a GOOD thing and control it. I always closed my eyes or looked away from the animal and counted backwards from 10 to 0 to calm it down, but it’s just enough to control the feeling enough to draw, hold and shoot.

Also, I have put PAS in big letters on the back of my riser to help remind me to Pick A Spot. Learn to control the adrenalin and use it in your favor.

From: DanaC
11-Nov-21
What's the first thing you do when you see the deer? The answer should be 'nothing'. Second, slow deep breathe in and out. Then think about what you're going to do. Calm first, act second.

From: JL
11-Nov-21
^....interesting thought. The first thing I do when I see a deer is determine if it is a shoot/don't shoot deer. If a don't shoot....then just get the vid camera and start filming. If a shoot situation.....stand up and grab the bow (or rifle). That usually takes a second or two to make that decision. I figure the deer's actions will dictate what happens next.

From: Nocturnal II
11-Nov-21
So many nuggets of advice from tough lessons being learned from so many. Its a battle I still to this day go through and think about all off season. I sorta praise the guys that are ice in the thick of it. I believe picking a spot on the animal is probably the most important aspect in making the right shot in the moment of truth.

I also found when I imagine him strolling through and arrowing him perfectly, my autopilot is calm and focused when it actually does come true. It can be easy to panic when we decide the moment is here. I recount the times I failed. I would sort of panic in thought of not wanting him to get away, resulting in me rushing the shot. Thats why I think focusing on the spot while in autopilot, we will naturally execute the shot like we practice for.

From: StickFlicker
12-Nov-21
I agree with JohnMC, I don't think target panic and buck fever are at all the same ailment. I've suffered from target panic while target practicing off and on for the last 5-6 years. I don't normally ever suffer from buck fever, and in fact, I shoot much better at game (regardless of the size) than I do at targets. It's my general understanding that target panic is caused by your mind anticipating an explosion near your face, causing you to flinch or prematurely release the arrow (the body's fight or flight reaction). My mind never has the chance to worry about that during a hunt, since it is occupied with so many other things at the time of the shot, so I don't believe I've ever flinched an arrow at an animal like I do at targets.

Buck fever is caused by the excitement of the animal coming into range and adrenalin hitting your system. Again, my mind is consumed by many things at that time, so the adrenalin doesn't typically hit me until after the shot, but it's a totally different mind game than target panic.

From: Live2Hunt
12-Nov-21
Funny thing for me, when I shot compound and sights and was really going through bad TP, I would have no problem on an animal. My feeling I was focused so much on where wanted to hit that animal, the position of the animal and the shot my brain forgot about the TP. But shooting in general before I worked on it? Just angering is all I can say.

From: mooseslayer
12-Nov-21
RD in WI, I also bought a SCAT release right from the manufacturer in Oregon. Helped alot in 3-D league All you had to do was hold the pin on the target, then would go off on it's own. Never used it hunting, too unpredictable when it would fire due to outside temps. Fast when warm slow when cold. Best thing it was impossible to punch the trigger. Often wondered if a voice activated release would work for target panic???

From: drycreek
12-Nov-21
I used to have a little “buck fever”, and it made no difference whether it was a buck or doe. What cured mine was getting a lease in Central Texas where does were plentiful and the limit was five deer a year. Prior to that, hunting E Texas, you might not see five deer in that many days. A target rich environment made me rationalize that if I couldn’t get one today then surely I would tomorrow, thus no more panic. Add to that seeing 15/20 turkeys every morning in bow range. I miss that !

From: caribou77
12-Nov-21
Buck fever…. For that I recommend as others here have, poke holes in as many critters as possible. Experience around animals and situations helps cure all, before the shot. After is tough.

Target panic, back tension releases, learning you don’t need to have perfect arrows every shot, shooting less. 3 good quality arrows is better than 50 poor arrows. Quit on a good note, if you shoot perfect on your first shot don’t be afraid to call it good and be happy.

From: RD in WI
12-Nov-21
Mooseslayer - I only use the SCAT for practice and nowadays only when I feel a shred of anxiety begin to creep in, which has rarely occurred in the last two seasons. For hunting, I shoot an index finger release that I can fire on command when I have to. This year's buck in Minnesota, I took with my mom's back up release. The SCAT was a Godsend and I have no problem holding the pin on target now, even with some pretty poor releases that have a lot of trigger travel before firing.

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