Choosing the Right Release Aid

By Hunting NetworkSeptember 25, 2008

LAST UPDATED: May 8th, 2015

Two trends characterize today’s release industry.  First, with more and more bowhunters going to string loops, there are new releases designed specifically for this shooting style.  Second, 3-D shooting techniques have spilled over into hunting with the renewed interest in thumb-triggered releases.  I'll look at both of these product categories as well as several others as I explore each release style with the goal of helping you choose a more accurate system.

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String loops are very popular, however, if you use the loop with a standard release aid you will have to shorten the draw length on the bow to account for the length of the loop.  Using a release with a short distance between the trigger and the jaw will allow you to keep the same draw length.


String loops have grown very popular among target and 3-D shooters during the past several years because they promote good arrow flight, positive peep sight alignment and long serving life.  However, in the past two years they've also begun appearing on the strings of bowhunters.  Not surprisingly, specialized releases were quick to follow. 

These fine releases are designed with a fully exposed peg or hook that easily and quickly snags the string loop as you prepare to draw.  When you squeeze the trigger the hook rolls forward and smoothly drops the string.  

Several of these styles also have a very short distance from the trigger to the hook so that you can maintain your nomal, full draw length when using a string loop.


Possibly the most popular hunting release ever, the caliper has a no nonsense design.  With most models you have to close the jaws by moving the trigger forward giving you immediate feedback that everything is ready for the draw.  You can find hand-held caliper releases (conchos and hand-grips), but most come attached to a wrist-strap. 

Durability and reliability are the caliper's greatest strengths.  I've gone through several release styles through the years, and now hunt almost entirely with these fail-safe devices.  Though some of the thumb-trigger target releases adapted for hunting are machined more precisely with a crisper trigger, the caliper is still precise enough for all but the longest range hunting situations.  In eight years of shooting them, I've never had a caliper release misfire, nor have I ever had a problem getting them hooked to the string when a nice buck came by. 

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