Why Practicing with Your Rangefinder Helps You Kill More Deer

Just how good are you at accurately judging distances when you’re deer hunting? If you’re pretty good and don’t need a rangefinder then good for you, but if you’re lousy at it then you easily could cost yourself a deer by blowing the shot at the critical moment.

It’s not like you have to go out and practice in the yard every single day with a rangefinder to get proficient. I mean, you could do that, of course. I know a couple of industry guys who used to carry their rangefinders everywhere. They used them at 3D archery events, yard practice, during lunch, sitting at the red light, waiting in line to pick up the kids, out the office window.

Rangefinders are great hunting tools and also can be something to help young hunters stay interested, even during those "dad, this is boring" moments" in a blind.

Rangefinders are great hunting tools and also can be something to help young hunters stay interested, even during those “dad, this is boring” moments” in a blind.

Most of us, though, won’t be that diehard. Nothing wrong with it but we’re just not. However, every few days take 5-10 minutes to go out and range a few things around the yard and neighborhood. Go for a walk and range the mailboxes, the ducks on the pond, that kid riding his bike along the path or the hay bales by the barn. Just pick out random items, think what you believe the distance is and then range it.

Unless you’re good at judging distance you’ll likely be surprised at how far off you may be. A couple of years ago I was at an event and Bushnell was doing a “judge the distance” contest with three targets. The person closest to the exact yardages won a new Bushnell rangefinder.

Target 1 was at 42 yards, Target 2 was at 68 and Target 3 was set at 202 yards.

My guesses? I guessed 36 yards for Target 1 and while six isn’t terrible, it didn’t make me happy because with a bow in hand I don’t want to be off by six yards. Just don’t.

My other guesses were 110 yards and 289 yards. Yes, I suck at judging long-range distances. I need practice. I now do my best to not go deer, turkey or predator hunting without my old (like, really old!) Bushnell rangefinder or newer Halo XT600 that ranges to 600 yards. My old Bushnell does just what I need it to do — give me the distance without a lot of bells and whistles — while the Halo is updated. I use and like both, and recommend you definitely get a rangefinder to help your hunting.

How will this help you kill more deer? Because if you suck at judging distances and are a bowhunter needing accurate ranges, you don’t want to put a 20-yard pin on a deer standing at 28 or more. If you’re shooting a rifle then you don’t want to be off by wide margins.

Get a rangefinder, practice, learn to judge distances with and without it, and you’ll be a better hunter.

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