Intro to Archery: The Rangefinder of Possibilities

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I didn’t own a rangefinder until about three weeks ago. Some of that stems from the fact that I’m not a gadgety person. In fact, one of the main things I relish about living out in the boonies is the lack of cell phone coverage.

This means that I’m one of the few not tapped into the smartphone world – and I am incredibly happy to be in that minority. But after my last bow season, I realized that certain gadgets may be useful so I decided to expand beyond my basic bowhunting gear and enter into the range of possibilities.

My bow setup.

My bow setup.

I have a three-pin sight that is set at 10, 20 and 30 yards. While I’ve read about the benefits of having an adjustable site, I’m comfortable with my current setup. Yet knowing the pins are set at these yardages is only part of the equation. There is another piece of the puzzle. Enter the rangefinder.

Adding a rangefinder to my bowhunting arsenal was a good decision, especially since I hunt from a tree stand (not a ground blind) and I need to know the distance between me and the target from a vertical perspective, not a horizontal one.

Guessing isn’t part of this game; every hunter wants to be sure that it is a lethal shot — not a wounding one. This is where using a rangefinder can be incredibly valuable since they eliminate the guesswork between a missed or poor shot. For a newer hunter, I can vouch for the added confidence in my aim. Knowing the exact distance from where I sat and where I had to aim kept any uncertainty away, leaving plenty of room for the anticipation of every single crinkling leaf.

After asking those I trusted within the hunting industry, I knew that a rangefinder should be simple, efficient and reliable, which led me to the Bushnell ClearShot laser rangefinder. With a range of 7 to 850 yards, I no longer have any doubt about how far away an animal really is from my stand. It is lightweight, compact (fits in the pocket of my hunting jacket), and incredibly easy to use.

202442-featureSimply look through the eye piece, aim at your subject (for me, it was a nearby telephone pole since I hunt along a power line and a few trees to gauge distance), and the yardage shows clearly in the viewing window. Easy. Nothing to mess up or try to figure out.

In fact, it  can be really entertaining when you are sitting up there to start guessing distances to see how accurate you actually are. This particular rangefinder also has the ARC technology, which gives the true horizontal distance by pushing a button. I definitely will never hunt without one and plan to incorporate it into my daily archery practice, too.

Doe right below my tree stand.

Doe right below my tree stand.

While the first archery deer season is over, Vermont’s second archery (and muzzleloader) season will begin Dec. 5. It may be a whole lot colder, but it isn’t over … yet.


CELEBRITY Charles AlsheimerSEE ALSO: Plan Your Best Days to Hunt This Season with the Information from decades of in-field observation with the exclusive DDH 2015 Peak Whitetail Rut Forecast!