Published by gmoore on 02 Sep 2011 at 11:35 am
Distance estimation is important for archers. Without an exact estimate of the range, a hunter could shoot from the improper sight pin and entirely miss the target. Making use of a bow mounted rangefinder removes the estimation of distance, and will provide a hunter more success.
Even unskilled bow hunters know that arrow fall is impacted more as the distance of the shot increases. Modern compound bows are especially fast, and often experience a small amount of arrow drop at ranges within 20 yards.
An arrow will begin to drop at a greater pace at a distance of 30 to 40 yards. This is due to the effect of gravity and a decrease in arrow speed. A poor gauge at distance will limit the chances for success. If you make a poor estimation of the range of a 40 yard shooting opportunity by as little as 5 yards, it can result in an injured deer, or a complete miss. Estimating distance precisely is by far the most significant variable for success in the field.
It is recommended that a bowhunter be aware of what their bow is capable of and be aware of the degree of arrow drop experienced at different distances. Hunting bows are frequently equipped with sights that make use of a few fiber optic sight pins of various colors. Each of these pins are generally sighted in at 10 yard increments from 20 to 50 yards.
Once your bow sights are properly adjusted, you can do a simple test to see how you may miss your shot if you misjudge the range. Lay a paper plate on your target. This is approximately the dimensions of the vital area of an average whitetail deer. Step off or range your target to a distance of 40 yards. Then draw your bow and place your 30 yard pin right in the middle of that paper plate. With your 30 yard pin in the center of the target, examine where that 40 yard pin falls on the target. You will most likely see that your arrow will land short and miss the vital area of the deer. You will probably end up missing the shot, or possibly wounding the deer.
I’ve never attempted a shot on a deer inside 25 yards, and not delivered a fatal shot. There have been a number of missed shots and a few bad shots that only injured my game. Those shooting opportunities were typically at distances near 30 yards or greater. At a range of of 30 to 40 yards, I was never completely confident. It was rare for me to take a shot past 40 yards. It is tough to regain that confidence in the deer stand. There is a big difference between shooting at the archery range at pre-defined distances, and shooting from the treestand with approximated distances. Small miscalculations in range from the deer stand yielded missed shots and diminished confidence.
Making use of a little, hand-held laser rangefinder helped to bring back a lot of the confidence that I had lost. Deer would mostly be on the move as I ranged them though. So there was still some uncertainty by the time I could draw my bow and accurately shoot my arrow.
There are some high tech and low tech products that can correct the issues with distance approximation. The Leupold Vendetta is an electronic bow mounted range finder, and the Dead-on rangefinder is a non-electronic model. So you can easily determine the range to a deer a split second before actually taking your shot, and know that you are selecting the proper sight pin.
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