I purchased my first archery release the way I bet most new hunters do – you’re in the store jacked out of your mind that you’re finally buying a bow, and then you realize how many extra necessities you hadn’t planned for. Oh yeah, arrows…this box seems good. What? Oh yeah, broadheads for hunting…and don’t forget a pack of field points to practice with. And a target to shoot them into??? As you’re filling up the counter with all the stuff you’re purchasing, the mental math is making you wonder how you’re going to explain to your wife how your “ready to hunt” bow package ended up costing double what you told her it would. And then the guy says, “and do you already have a release?” Yes, Jeff, of course I – the guy who is clearly buying every last necessity to begin bowhunting – already possess a release back at home…I just wear it around to look cool and make people think I have a bow…friggin’ Jeff! So, you run back to the aisle with releases, look at nothing but the price tags, and grab the least expensive one. Anyone else?
Well, for the last six years, I have continued shooting that same budget release. I’ve upgraded my bow three times since then, but never stopped to really consider if my inexpensive Cabela’s brand release might be negatively impacting my accuracy. But, once you start looking into higher-end releases, the sticker-shock can scare you back to your old release in a hurry. Is it really worth it to drop well-north of $100 (minimum) for a high-quality release? In the case of the Spot Hogg Wiseguy…ABSOLUTELY!
The biggest problem with my old release (and most inexpensive releases) is the amount of slop or trigger-travel when executing your shot. Mine was a spring-loaded, dual-jaw caliper release that felt like it took FOR-E-VER to finally release the arrow. As I was trying to focus on using back-tension to break the shot (instead of just punching the trigger), I just couldn’t seem to help eventually rocking that trigger finger and anticipating the shot.
Not so with the Wiseguy! It is advertised as having “no trigger travel,” and they are not exaggerating. Draw the bow, float the pin, rest your finger in front of the trigger, start squeezing your back, and bam…it goes off! In fact, as I was getting used to it and unlearning some bad habits from the old one, I definitely sent a few surprise arrows before I was intending to execute the shot. It is so crisp, it’s unbelievable. In fact, it reminds me a lot of how the magnificent trigger on my Winchester Model 70 feels, and I LOVE that trigger!
If somehow the Wiseguy doesn’t feel crisp enough right out of the box (and if you’re feeling brave) it has an adjustable trigger. By simply turning a little hex-screw underneath the trigger, you can increase or decrease the tension needed to fire. Personally, I can’t imagine making it lighter than it came from the factory since it already feels like it just wants to go off…but to each his own. Spot Hogg’s website boasts that this is the lightest trigger available in ANY hunting release, and I’m inclined to believe them!
Another feature that isn’t exactly an “adjustment” per say, is the fact that the release will flip back and stay against your wrist. I have always been annoyed by my release dangling from my hand, clanking against stuff, and never having a good solution while hiking around in the field. As a guy who self-films most of his hunts, I am typically carrying my bow in my left hand, and a tripod/camera rig in the right. I was constantly doing finger-gymnastics (which sounds like an awesome sport, by the way) trying to keep the release from clanking against the tripod while also maintaining a firm grip on my camera rig. I am so excited for this hunting season when I can just flip that release back and out of the way until the moment I need it!
Okay, if you wanted simple specs and product info, you’d just be on the Spot Hogg site reading it for yourself. The real question is: does this release make a difference in terms of accuracy. I suppose I could conceive of some unique situations where it doesn’t help someone (if they’re used to thumb or target releases, for instance), but for the average hunter who consistently shoots a wrist-strap release…yes, it makes a difference! With my old release, I would struggle to shoot a 6” group at 60 yards (if I haven’t mentioned it before, I am far from an Olympic archer). I have since changed my sight pins to give me a 70-yard option, and I am shooting roughly 4” groups at that distance. I’m not a mathematician, but I’d say 2” tighter groups at 10 yards further is a significant improvement!
So, is it worth the retail price of about $120 to upgrade to the Spot Hogg Wiseguy? In my humble opinion, it’s worth every cent! Having experienced the crisp, clean break of this trigger, I could never go back to what I was shooting before. That old release will live in my bag as a backup in case of emergencies, but the day I’m out hunting and for some reason have to turn to it…I might cry. Personally, I love this release, and don’t see myself shooting anything else for a long time.