Best Thumb Release for Hunting

What constitutes a clean release? Letting go of the bowstring when it’s at full draw. That’s because, at that point, the highest amount of energy stored in the limbs is transferred to the arrow and allows it to reach its target at an optimum speed.

Archers use different types of releases. And, if you’re an avid hunter that’s struggling to master the clean release, a release aid may be your best course of action. Consider getting the best thumb release for hunting applications if you want to stop going home empty-handed.

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Spot Hogg Wiseguy Release Buckle Review

The Spot Hogg Wiseguy Rigid Nylon Release was constructed specifically for avid hunters who want a wrist-strap-style release, but with the same accuracy and quality as a target release.

This release is one of the easiest to use of its kind. The extra support for the little finger helps reduce the amount of physical stress at full draw.

The jaws swivel 360 degrees. This is helpful for adjusting shooting angles. It also makes the thumb release ideal for both right and left-handed archers.

The design is compact yet the build quality is solid. Making screw adjustments is easy and the light weight allows you to carry and use the thumb release for many hours in the woods.

The pricing is surprising too. As one of the more affordable thumb releases on the market, the Max Hunter Pro 3 performs well above its price range.

Both the handle and the head are made of a quality aluminum alloy. The surface of the grooves is smooth and leaves no room for accidental cuts even when using on a large compound bow.

The trigger release is the most important feature. The trigger is highly sensitive, which means it will facilitate very fast arrow releases. This helps to deal with target panic and the inability to maintain the aim at maximum draw.

Tru-Fire Hardcore Revolution Release Review

This is another interesting choice if you’re looking for maximum stability from your thumb trigger release and it’s worth considering if you’re on a tight budget. The Tru-Fire Hardcore Revolution is sleek, solidly built, and loaded with customization options.

The head turns 360 degrees and the thumb trigger can be adjusted for both right and left-handed archers. The trigger comes with customizable sensitivity levels too, as you will find 16 different positions to experiment with.

Perhaps more suited for highly skilled archers, the Tru-Fire Hardcore Revolution thumb release is a solid choice if you want to improve the consistency of your shots and avoid any unwanted delays when taking aim.

Bow Release Aids and the Value of the Thumb Release

Bow releases are also known as release aids, mechanical releases, or simply releases. They are archery accessories that help archers overcome certain psychological blocks as well as correct technique flaws to some degree.

What Is a Thumb Trigger?

A thumb trigger is known as a release aid which facilitates a quick arrow release while also reducing some of the noise created by this action.

Types of Bow Releases

Compound bow archers have the most variety when it comes to release aids.

Thumb trigger release

Thumb releases are mostly used on compound bows. They feature a handheld sling trigger mechanism which is also sometimes used on recurve bows.

You may want to consider a thumb release aid if you’re a 3D competitor. One of the benefits of the thumb trigger is that it can double as a back tension release, which most archers find comfortable and easy to master.

Index finger trigger release

The index finger release uses a wrist strap or caliper and has similar uses as a thumb trigger release.

Back tension hinge release

This can be used as a handheld release, with a wrist strap and a caliper. It’s considered a cure or corrective accessory for target panic.

Finger Tabs

Finger tabs offer a good feel of the string but they also leave the fingertips exposed. They’re classified as handheld bow release aids and compatible with all types of bows and strings.


Gloves don’t have a complex mechanism behind them. They’re used mostly for the protection of your hands and fingers but may also help maintain a longer draw. At the same time, they offer less feel of the string.

As a side note, it’s important to distinguish between back tension releases and thumb releases. Although both aids work in the same way mechanically, thumb trigger releases don’t ever come with wrist straps.

They feature the classic 3 or 4-groove finger rest and a small sling at the end which releases the string when the trigger is activated.

Understanding the Thumb Trigger Release

It’s important to understand that shot execution is the most important when it comes to hitting your target. Perfectly executed shots can be done without release aids or with index finger release aids, thumb triggers, and anything else along those lines.

A thumb trigger release won’t make you more accurate if your technique and mechanics are awful. However, most expert archers would agree that the popularity of thumb triggers comes from their ease of use.

The thumb release is easier to learn and master than the index finger release. Also, using a release aid in general allows you to capitalize on repeatability. You get more consistent shots off with minimal jerking to make up for the archer’s lack of experience.

What’s also important to know is that a thumb trigger release aid doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to use your thumb to manually trigger a release. Most often than not, reaching the appropriate amount of tension will simply pull your thumb into the trigger and release the arrow.

How to Use a Thumb Release

Archers develop their own “techniques” or preferred methods of release. Therefore, there’s no definitive way of doing things when using a thumb trigger. However, there are a few general guidelines that you should follow while practicing with this accessory.

The thumb shouldn’t activate the trigger. Instead, you make use of the tension buildup between your shoulders. As you pull back and build up tension, your release hand rotates in such a way that the trigger is pushed against the thumb.

Hence, the thumb does trigger the arrow release but you don’t do it by moving it on purpose.

Features to Consider – Tips for Buyers

Different manufacturers have their own unique details and design features that make their release aids ideal for certain situations. For example, not all thumb triggers on the market have a fine trigger.

Trigger Sensitivity

The more sensitive the trigger is, the faster you can release the arrow. This may be the difference between getting a clean kill and maiming an animal. If you’re looking for less drag, sensitive triggers are the way to go.

Practice Features

Some thumb releases are designed to be beginner-friendly and actual teaching instruments. A thumb release with trainer lock, like those offered by Stan, is recommended for inexperienced archers.

Trigger Customization

Being able to configure your trigger the way you want can also make a big difference in your hunting experience. Look out for triggers that allow you to adjust the tilt, angle, and projection.

String Compatibility

Without good compatibility between the string of your bow and the release, you won’t have a good time no matter what you’re shooting at.

Make sure that the release you have your eyes set on is compatible with your setup: D-loops, string fasteners, metal tabs, etc. You’re unlikely to make it work if the attachment points don’t match.

Finger Grooves

Notice that thumb releases come with either three or four finger grooves. Some archers may argue that a 3-finger grove design is easier to hold in the long run.

However, it comes down to personal preference really. 4-finger grooves do give a sense of better stability.

It’s also important to check how deep the fingers go and how smooth the edges on the grooves are. Poorly made thumb releases often add too much friction and may cause blisters after intensive use.

What You Need to Know about Hunting with Thumb Releases

So what makes thumb triggers so great for hunters? One of the reasons has to do with noise levels. Because of the way the thumb release mechanism works, there’s little to no clicking noise when you release the arrow.

Of course, the actual noise levels will vary depending on the design of the release aid. But it is important that you don’t give away your position that easily, especially if you’re stalking from close to medium range.

The ease of use relative to a wrist release aid is far better. Any attachment, no matter how useful, is essentially one more thing that can get in your way. Wrist releases have a tendency to do so.

Hunters that use thumb release triggers have the option of removing the handheld release at any point. Especially if the model can clip onto the D-loop with a locking jaw.

Thumb releases also have great adjustability in comparison to wrist releases.

Thumb triggers are known for solving certain target panic issues. Target panic describes premature releases or an inability to maintain the aim on the target’s center mass.

Because the handheld release doesn’t actually need a finger to trigger a release, it allows more time for the archer to set up a perfect execution. The trigger will be activated when the proper tension is achieved and the thumb is pulled into the trigger.

Last but not least, you also have to consider carrying around a spare. The thumb trigger release is known for having the highest number of moving parts and the most complex mechanism of the lot. This means that many things can go wrong and cause your release mechanism to break down.


By now it should be clear that finding the best thumb release for hunting is all about balancing specific features and preferably without having to overpay. If you’ve also picked the Tru-Ball Max Hunter Pro 3 as the top dog, it’s quite understandable.

The trigger sensitivity is hard to beat in or outside its price range. The compatibility with left and right-handed shooting is even better, and the build quality as well as the comfort of the 4-groove design is just what hunters and competitive archers need.

That’s not to say that the Tru-Fire doesn’t make a very good run at the number one spot. However, it is not perfectly tuned out of the box and may require more practice and tinkering before improving your technique.

About Brad Harris