Your success on the shot of a lifetime depends not on your shooting ability, but on your decision making ability. You may practice your shooting all year long in an attempt to get better at shooting. The ultimate goal of your practice is to make that perfect shot an automatic movement that will carry you through in that stressful moment. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you only practice your shooting, and not the mental mechanics of the perfect shot, you are only relying on hope. Hope is not a course of action. If you only practice the physicality of shooting, you are not training in the skills you need to transfer under extreme stress. You must use the unnatural act of shooting to practice your concentration. But do not expect the skill of concentration to automatically transfer to a stressful shooting event. You must know the science of “HOW” to concentrate.

Again, it is all about your ability to make decisions. But what decisions need to be made for that controlled shot? When do we need to make these decisions? How do we carry these decisions out once they have been made? I have analyzed all of my successes and my failures in extreme stress shooting. The only difference in those shots was whether or not I had made the decision to shoot a perfect shot.

I always tried to make that decision as that screaming bull elk was coming in, but my mind was racing, thinking of how much of a hero I was going to be. As soon as I knew the bull was coming, I would say to myself, “I’m going to do this right.” However, by the time the bull got to me, so many things had transpired and my mind had been distracted by so many things the decision to run my shot sequence had long past expired. I would then find myself attempting to run the shot automatically, usually a dismal failure.

I then began to notice on the successfully controlled shots, I made the decision to follow my shot sequence within the shot itself. I call it my “Half Draw Moment.” At half draw, I would say those same words, “I’m going to do this right” With such a fresh reminder, it had an extremely calming effect on the shot itself. It set me into the mind frame of shot control. It reminded me of the two jobs within my shot. The “Half Draw Moment” would get me to anchor and aim at the spot. Making that first decision for perfection gave a knockout punch to the autopilot that was trying to run my shot.

That first decision within the shot may knock the autopilot for a loop, however, he is not done yet. There is yet another decision that must be made to completely subdue the autopilot. I call it the “Critical Second.” If you think about any shot you have ever fired as a rushed shot, you have fired that shot within one second of you believing the aim was complete. Can you deny that?

Pro Insight 1

Ultimately, you are deciding to cause your body impact as a surprise. This is something that is completely unnatural for the human mind. It’s that one second in time that autopilot will make one last effort to brace you for the recoil of your weapon system. If you allow your subconscious (autopilot) to fire that round or that arrow for you, your shot activation movement WILL be linked to recoil bracing, and therefore you will have pre- ignition (release) input. That input will deviate your point of impact.

You must get yourself through that critical second in time. This is where the verbalization of the second decision comes in. If you have ever jumped from an airplane or bungy jumped from a high platform, you know you have a make a decision to jump and potentially cause your body impact. You don’t just find yourself automatically falling from the plane. It took a conscious decision to make that leap. What did your decision sound like? I know that may sound strange, but what did you say to yourself? I know when I am in control of a particular shot in a stressful event, my decision sounds like, “Here I go.” If you think about that for a bit, those words of “Here I go” somewhat ready the body for what is about to happen. What they really do is make you more cognizant of what you are about to do. For me, and the people I teach, that verbilization of “Here I go” reminds them of all the things involved in consciously controlling their shot activation movement. I provides that second hit to the autopilot and puts him down for the count. Those words of “Here I go” are said within the critical second. They are said within that one second after you believe your aim is complete. Now you are once again intensely present in the shot. I now make those two decisions in every shot I take in a precision environment, be it with a firearm or a bow.

These decisions became an integral part of my success under extreme stress shooting. But this is only the tip of the iceberg in regards to shot control and overcoming target panic under stress. You still need to know the science behind the decisions and how to carry them out.

The complete science of shot control under stress is the focus of my new book and my online course in, “Controlled Process Shooting – The Science of Target Panic.” The book and the online course are available through my website, The online course is the most comprehensive study of target panic and shot control ever to be created. The book and the course have been compiled over my lifetime of successes and failures in extreme stress shooting. I have unlocked the true code to shot control. This course and the book will teach you the “HOW” of shot control under extreme stress. They address all of the problems I have encountered and experienced in my own shooting career and the shooting styles of every human being that has ever launched an arrow. Every human deals with shot control issues. This science gets to the core problems and will set you on the path to shot control. Life is too short not to have this information.



About The Author:

Joel Turner is the founder and owner of Ironmind Hunting and author of the book Controlled Process Shooting: The Science Behind Target Panic. Joel has been hunting nearly his entire life, but his focus was drawn to traditional archery and watching the mystical flight of a well shot arrow. He has dealt with target panic since he picked up his first recurve 30 years ago and struggled with this demon just like countless other archers. It was through his unique firearms training opportunities that he found and developed the mental mechanics of shooting for both firearms and archery.

In addition to his considerable background in shot instruction he is also a two time Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Professional Division World Elk Calling Champion and has been in the top four callers in the world since 2006. With those credentials, Joel has had the opportunity to hunt throughout the West and pass along his knowledge of elk behavior to scores of elk hunters. You can find out more about Joel’s courses and online learning opportunities at




Posted by JOMH Editor